Area H - Meriam Hill

Bounded roughly by Glen Road, Oakland Street and Meriam Street, Meriam Hill is one of several distinctive residential areas in Lexington developed in the late 19th century. Meriam Hill was home to many of the influential citizens who helped to transform the town from a rural town to a prosperous suburb. Proximity to the depot made Meriam Hill a desirable place to settle for many Lexington professionals who worked in Boston. Most of the neighborhood residents knew each other from financial clubs and many had first come to Lexington as summer residents. A number of the buildings in the neighborhood are architect-designed. This area includes one property, the former Merriam Factory at 7-9 Oakland Street, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2Chandler Street & 27 Meriam Street
2 Chandler Street & 27 Meriam Street

The area takes its name from the pre-Revolutionary Meriam family who owned much of area in the 19th century. The hill was first divided into thirty-three house lots in the 1870s although construction did not take place until the 1880s. One of the first to buy was Matthew P. Merriam (no relation to the earlier Meriams) who purchased eight lots and established a shoe findings factory at 7-9 Oakland Street in 1882. The factory employed approximately thirty workers at a time, most of whom were women. In the late 19th century this was the largest manufacturing facility in Lexington. The building was later home to the Adams Press and later, the Lexington Press. In recent years the former factory was renovated for housing for victims of brain injury. At the age of 60 Matthew Merriam had a new house built across the street from the factory at 2 Oakland Street, designed by Boston architect Walter Paine who also designed the Hancock Church.

7-9 Oakland Street
7-9 Oakland Street

Grain broker G.S. Jackson and E.P. Bliss, an importer of carriage goods, were typical of the early Meriam Hill residents. They were both originally summer guests at the Massachusetts House and decided to build adjoining summer cottages at 17 and 19 Oakland Street in 1883. The buildings were constructed by John May of Magnolia. Boston architects Allen & Kenway designed #17 while #19 was later remodeled by Lexington architect Willard D. Brown in 1907. Among the unique features Brown added was a grotto in the basement with trickling waters falling into a granite basin complete with fishes and exotic plants.

19 Oakland Street
19 Oakland Street

G.S. Jackson of 17 Oakland Street served on the building committee for the Episcopal Church of Our Redeemer that was erected at 17 Meriam Street in 1886, designed by Boston architect E.A.P. Newcomb. A 1910 addition to the church was designed by Lexington resident Edward Reed, a communicant of the church. In 1954 the spire of the building was blown off during a hurricane. In 1957 the Episcopal Church moved to larger quarters across the street and the church was purchased by the Greek Orthodox congregation. The house next door to the church at 19 Meriam Street was built by prominent local builder David Tuttle who also built 27 Meriam Street and 20 Oakland Street.


19 & 17 Meriam Street
19 & 17 Meriam Street

Most of the buildings on Meriam Hill date to the late 1880s and early 1890s and include excellent examples of the Queen Anne, Shingle Style, Colonial Revival and English Revival styles.

Architect William R. Greeley lived in this house at 16 Oakland Street after his marriage to Marjory Houghton in 1907. Lumber dealer Edward Houghton built the house in 1887.

16 Oakland Street
 
16 Oakland Street

The house at 25 Oakland Street is one of Lexington's finest Shingle Style residences and was constructed by local builder Abram C. Washburn in 1887. Washburn also built the Queen Anne house with corner tower at 4 Chandler Street in 1895 and the more Colonial dwelling at 35 Meriam Street in 1906, as well as M.H. Merriam's house at 2 Oakland Street.

25 & 23 Oakland Street
25 & 23 Oakland Street

The houses at 3, 4 & 6 Upland Road and 4 Glen Road were constructed by Washburn on a speculative basis and are slightly more modest in scale.

4 & 6 Upland Road
4 & 6 Upland Road

The houses at 27 and 29 Oakland Street were both constructed in 1895 for members of the same family who moved to Lexington from Charlestown. Eben Ferguson and his family lived at 29 Oakland while his mother-in-law, Charlotte Smith, resided at #29.

27 Oakland Street
27 Oakland Street

29 Oakland Street
29 Oakland Street

One of the most interesting houses on Meriam Hill is undoubtedly the house at 20 Meriam Street, which local architect Willard D. Brown designed for his own use in 1905. Educated at Harvard and at the MIT School of Architecture, Brown opened his own office in Boston in 1902. The house includes many features commonly seen in his other works including a low hip roof with broad eaves and exposed rafters and a strong sense of horizontality. Brown's design for the house won him a prize of $200 in Beautiful Homes magazine in March 1909 for the best design for a house under $10,000. He continued to occupy the house until his death in 1944.

20 Meriam Street
20 Meriam Street

Willard D. Brown was also the architect for his older brother, Fred's house at 28 Meriam Street in 1907. Known as "Ogeedankee", the shingled dwelling is representative of the Craftsman/Arts & Crafts mode.

Detail - 4 Oakland Street
Detail, 4 Oakland Street