Area Y - Fair Oaks

The area of Lexington known as "Fair Oaks" is located on the south slope of Loring Hill, bordered on the north by Outlook Drive, on the south and west by Marrett Road and on the east by Wachusett Drive and Fair Oaks Drive.

In 1909 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began exploring the option of establishing a hospital for the insane in this area, on land that had been the estate of Dr. Robert Means Lawrence. Lexington residents opposed the hospital as evidenced by the more than one thousand who attended a protest meeting at the State House. The plan was subsequently dropped and later that same year the Fair Oaks subdivision was laid out.

The original plan for the Fair Oaks residential development was the work of Arthur E. Horton, a landscape architect who had worked for the Metropolitan Park Commission, for much of this time under the direction of renowned landscape architect Charles Eliot. The roads were built according to this plan, curving to follow the topography. The original plan included 52 large lots.

Fair Oaks Planning Map

Only a handful of houses were built immediately. In 1910 or 1911 George and Effie Briggs built a house which they named "Fair Oaks" at 75 Outlook Drive. The substantial Colonial Revival dwelling is capped by a gambrel roof with Craftsman influence evident in the front pergola. It was designed by Lexington architect Willard D. Brown. George Briggs was president of Lexington Lumber. The house was featured in the local directory in 1928.

75 Outlook Drive
75 Outlook Drive

Other early houses which date to the original subdivision include 9 Prospect Hill Road, an unusual brick Bungalow with a Spanish Mission influence evident in its red tile roof. It was constructed about 1912.

9 Prospect Hill Road
9 Prospect Hill Road

Produce dealer Fred Lord built a larger brick dwelling down the road at 40 Prospect Hill Road about 1914.

40 Prospect Hill Road
40 Prospect Hill Road

Although Arthur Horton continued to live in the area until his death in 1921, little additional construction occurred. After Horton's death, ownership of the land passed to Neil McIntosh, a Boston-based developer who was also responsible for several other local residential subdivisions including Farmcrest and Vine Brook Farm. In 1924 the town finally accepted a revised layout for Fair Oaks. Instead of the 52 original lot subdivision, the new plan included 150 lots.

Advertisement, 1924 Lexington Directory
Advertisement, 1924 Lexington Directory

49 Outlook Drive
49 Outlook Drive

Most of the houses that were actually built are modest structures constructed from the mid 1920s on. The mix includes both pre and post World War II buildings. The styles represented include Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial, Bungalow, Tudor Revival, English Cottage, Cape and Ranch.

42 Wachusett Drive
42 Wachusett Drive