William Strong House // 1896

William C. Strong purchased the old Wyman Farm in present day Waban Village in 1875, consisting of 93 acres of open land and rolling hills. He subdivided some of the land after the completion of the Waban Station, later developing the Strong’s Block, the premier commercial block in the village. To kick off the development along Windsor Road, he hired architect Herbert Langford Warren, the Dean of Harvard’s Architecture School (who also owned a historic farmhouse nearby) to design a couple homes for sale. This stunning house is notable for the prominent gable end gambrel roof, shingle siding, and porte-cochere.

Staples-Crafts Farm // 1750

In 1688, John Staples, settled in the untouched landscape seven miles west of Boston, now known as Waban Village in the town of Newton. John was a weaver by trade but he ended up as the first public school teacher, the town clerk, a policeman, and an alderman. John married and lived in a modest farmhouse for decades here, witnessing the birth of a new nation nearby. The couple had no children of their own but raised some of Mary’s relatives including Moses Crafts, who would eventually take over the home. Craft rebuilt the house on the original foundation around 1750, constructing a colonial farmhouse two and a half stories high with five windows and two rooms across, one room wide.

Joseph Crafts died in 1821 at the age of 85, leaving no will and considerable
debts owed. The Judge of Probate ordered the property to be auctioned, and
Joseph’s son, Moses Crafts II, made the winning bid of $5.50 for the house,
barn, and a large tract of land! In 1824, Moses Craft II sold the property to his cousin William Wiswall, who gave the house a Federal period remodeling.

By the late 19th century, the home and ample farm land were acquired by William Strong and his wife Mary. William, President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, used the property for some time as a nursery, with apple orchards and rose gardens. After his petitioning for a train station in Waban, he parceled up the farmland into large house lots for sale, seeing the neighborhood shifting to a suburban village. He soon after built the Strong Block, the first commercial building here.

Georgia C. Stetson House // 1899

This crazy eclectic house in Waban was built in 1897 for a Georgia C. Stetson. The home features a prominent frontal sloped roof, punctuated by an eyebrow dormer, two pedimented dormers, and a Palladian dormer. The roof overshoots the porch on one side, creating a sheltered porch supported by Tuscan columns. I couldn’t find much information on Ms. Stetson besides the fact she lived at the home from when it was built in 1899 until her death, at home, in 1952!

Strong’s Block // 1896

William C. Strong, a prominent local citizen who resided nearby, had this stylish commercial block built to serve the expanding population of the village which eventually became known as Waban. After the completion of the Waban Train Station, the demand for neighborhood retail became apparent and William Strong was an early developer to realize this. He hired Lewis Bacon, an architect who resided nearby, to design the commercial block. The result is a stunning Dutch Revival building with gables showcasing stepped parapets. The upper stories were apparently used as apartments when completed. Notwithstanding Strong’s efforts, the Waban commercial district developed rather slowly. It was not until 1924 that the row of one-story shops was added to its right. The addition was designed by Edward B. Stratton, who followed suit with Tudor and Jacobean motifs, to compliment the Dutch Revival block.

Waban Station // 1886-1958

Image from Harvard Archives.

The village of Waban in Newton, Massachusetts, was named after a Massachusett Chief who had previously resided atop Nonantum Hill on the Newton-Brighton line. This location is believed to have been a favorite hunting ground for Waban (the Wind) and his people. Throughout much of the 19th century, Waban remained a quiet agricultural region. As late as 1874, fewer than 20 families held title to all of its land. In the mid-1880s, however, interest in suburban developments near the Boston and Albany Railroad became increasingly widespread. Seeing suburbanization in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century.

The station that allowed all the development in the early days of Waban was built in 1886. The Boston & Albany Railroad hired renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson to design the station, and many others on branches of the various lines radiating out from Boston. The Highland Branch (which this station was on) was later acquired by the MBTA in Boston, which operated it as a Commuter line. Waban Station closed along with the rest of the Highland Branch commuter rail line in 1958 and reopened a year later in 1959 as part of the Green Line’s D Branch. The gorgeous H.H. Richardson-designed station was demolished in order to build a 74-space parking lot. They literally paved paradise, and put up a parking lot