Area AM - Rumford Road

Located off Woburn Street, the Rumford Road neighborhood is a development of eleven contemporary style houses constructed in 1959. The houses are examples of the split-level design known as the "Peacock Farm" house developed by Cambridge architect and Lexington resident Walter Pierce. Rumford Road is one of five neighborhoods in Lexington developed with houses of this type following the success of the original Peacock Farm neighborhood in Lexington (see Area S). The house won awards in various national design contests in 1956-7 but nowhere is it found in as great numbers as in Lexington.

Rumford Road - Photo 1
10 Rumford Road

The curvilinear street climbs uphill and the orientation of each of the Rumford Road houses reflects the contours of its particular site. Some are sited below grade and others are set on rock outcroppings; some of the houses face the road while a number are sited at an angle. All feature wooded settings which harmonize well with the houses' natural stained siding and simple design.

The houses all have a characteristic low-pitched, asymmetrical gable roof with broadly overhanging eaves displaying exposed beams. The windows are arranged in horizontal bands and include single-pane glass as well as casement and clerestory units. Those on the upper level of the façade are linked by plywood panels. The Peacock Farm house was offered with either lower level living space or a lower level garage and most of the original Rumford Road owners apparently preferred the additional living space option.

Rumford Road - Photo 2
8 Rumford Road

The "Peacock Farm" house was designed to be popular with young professional buyers and the original residents of the Rumford Road neighborhood reflect this demographic trend. Directories indicate that the original households were all comprised of male breadwinners and their spouses, who are listed as housewives. The residents had an average age of 30 in 1960 and their occupations included medical professionals, scientists and a mathematician.

The Rumford Road neighborhood is notable for retaining a high degree of integrity. In comparison to some of the other "Peacock Farm" developments in Lexington, the houses on Rumford Road have seen fewer large additions and the inherent design of the houses remains fully recognizable.

Rumford Road - Photo 3
7 Rumford Road