Suburbanization, 1870-1915

Between 1870 and 1915, Lexington's population more than doubled - from 2,270 to 5,538.  During this period the improved access offered by the railroad continued to have a major impact on development in town, transforming the rural town into a railroad suburb.  In 1867 the name of the railroad was changed from the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad to the Lexington and Arlington Railroad.  In 1870 the line became part of the larger Boston and Lowell Railroad and within a year service had been expanded with eight trips a day from Lexington to Boston and two on Sundays.  The line was extended to Bedford and Concord in 1873.  In 1886 the Boston & Lowell laid double track to Lexington.  In 1900 eleven trains ran daily each way between Lexington and Boston with seven runs on Sundays.  By 1904 there were four station stops in addition to the main depot - in North Lexington at Bedford Street, at East Lexington, at Pierce's Bridge (near Maple Street) and at Munroe Station in Tower Park.  Only the main depot stands today.   The Lexington and Boston Street Railway system began service on April 19, 1900.  Within a few years the street railway offered service to Woburn and Waltham as well as Boston.  Speculative development occurred along the trolley routes - Mass. Ave. in East Lexington, Bedford Street at North Lexington and Waltham Street around Marrett Road - in the early 20th century.   The streetcar also brought with it new entertainment possibilities.  In 1901 the Street Railway Company purchased Boardman's Grove near the Bedford town line for "Lexington Park", a multipurpose amusement facility which included a theater, casino, dining pavilion, shooting gallery, roller skating rink, library, observation tower, women's building and zoo animals. 

Lexington - suburbanization
Source: Beverly Allison Kelly, Lexington: A Century of Photographs

Railroad service introduced several different demographic groups to Lexington.  At the lower end of the economic spectrum were a significant number of Irish immigrants who found in work in Lexington, building and later maintaining the railroad, laboring on farms, and working as domestics, especially at local hotels.  By the late 19th century foreign immigrants constituted a significant proportion of the town's population.  The 1885 State Census lists the proportion of residents who were first or second generation immigrants at 45 percent.

A number of the Irish immigrants who came to Lexington were farmers.  By 1870 about a dozen former Irish farm laborers living in Lexington had bought their own farms.  The Maguire family purchased the Katahdin Woods property in 1864 and by the end of 19th century owned the eastern length of Wood Street.  The farm raised corn, potatoes, apples, strawberries and milk for sale in Boston and Cambridge.  The Kinneen Farm was located at the corner of Burlington and Hancock Streets.  By 1888 the 200 acre spanned from Grove Street to Diamond Middle School and included what is now Kinneen Park.  James Alexander Wilson was born in Ireland in 1859 and came to America in 1877 working on the farm of his uncle, William Wilson, a market gardener who owned land in East Lexington and in Arlington.  When James became of age, he leased a farm along Pleasant Street, eventually buying it in 1903.  He specialized in celery but also grew tomatoes, beets and carrots. 

By the late 19th century Lexington was renowned for its agriculture, especially dairy and animal breeding.  In 1875 only Worcester produced more milk and grazed more cows.  In 1885 there were 1,320 cows in Lexington.   In the late 19th century the Vine Brook Stock Farm on Middleby Road had a herd of nearly 100 cows.  It was later owned by Joseph Middleby, a breeder and trainer of horses, who laid out a half mile track in the meadow between Middleby Road and Reservoir (Reservoir Stock Farm).  Members of the Lawrence family on Pleasant Street were also well known dairy farmers.  In 1890 John Willard on North Street maintained a dairy herd as well as 2000 chickens.  In 1875 F.H. Reed began selling milk and other dairy products to the town of Arlington from his farm at 72 Lowell Street in East Lexington.

72 Lowell Street
Reed Dairy Farm, 72 Lowell Street
Source: Beverly Allison Kelly, Lexington: A Century of Photographs

Another important demographic group which came to Lexington due to the railroad was the middle-class businessmen/professionals. The middle-class businessmen and professionals who decided to make Lexington their home settled near the train stations and constructed large Victorian houses on Bloomfield Street and on Meriam Hill and Munroe Hill.  By 1887 it is estimated that 23% of Lexington's business and professional workers were commuters.   Rail access from Boston combined with the town's higher elevation led to Lexington's popularity in the late 19th century as a summer and winter destination for city visitors.  Many of those who would later erect homes initially spent time at one of Lexington's hotels.  The two primary establishments were the Russell House and the Massachusetts House.  At Massachusetts Avenue and Woburn Street, the Russell House was opened by James Russell in 1882 and became a particular favorite of Boston and Cambridge residents.  The house itself was built in the pre-Revolutionary period with a large wing added in the 1880s.  The establishment continued to operate into the early 20th century (no longer extant).  The Massachusetts House, which was located on the site of 1713 Massachusetts Avenue, also attracted its own following.  The building was initially erected as an exhibit at the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition, disassembled and transported to Lexington to serve as a hotel.  It closed as a hotel about 1890 and the building was demolished in 1917 to make way for stores.  Also at Lexington Center, the Monument House, later known as Adair's Tavern, Central House, Leslie House and Paul Revere Tavern, generally accommodated more transient lodgers.  It was demolished in 1929. 

 
Russell House (no longer extant)
Source: Worthen Collection, Cary Memorial Library

Among Lexington's most prosperous late 19th century residents was Francis Brown Hayes, railroad official, lawyer, state senator and U.S. Congressman, who purchased a home at 45 Hancock Street (no longer extant) in November 1861 and used it as a summer home.  Over time he acquired additional small farms extending over Granny Hill to beyond Grant Street, encompassing nearly 400 acres.  In 1883-4 Hayes built a 32-room fieldstone mansion "The Castle" or "Oakmount" on what is now Castle Road (it was torn down in 1941).  By 1900 only 6 of the 400 acres remained, the rest was sold as houselots.  Another prominent resident of Meriam Hill was Charles Goodwin.  His house and barn were torn down in 1937.  Col. William Augustus Tower, a prominent merchant and banker, constructed his own luxurious Victorian mansion overlooking Massachusetts Avenue in 1873.  By 1886 the Tower estate included a barn and stable, 2 cottages, a tea house with a flower garden and greenhouse, a windmill, 8 horses, 2 cows, and 8 carriages.  Initially Tower spent summers in Lexington and winters on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston but later he lived in Lexington year around.  By 1904 when he died, Tower owned 127 acres.  His mansion was located on the present site of the Museum of Our National Heritage, close to Pelham Road.  Other luxurious, late 19th century mansions which were erected in Lexington but have burned or been demolished include the Cary Mansion which burned in 1895 & 1948, the Benjamin Brown Mansion and Taylor Mansion.  Among those that remain are the A.E. Scott Mansion at 277 Waltham Street (9 Bushnell Drive), the Whipple Mansion at 265 Lowell Street, the Richard Tower Mansion at 33 Marrett Road, and the Harry Fay Mansion at 6 Eliot Road.

Francis B. Hayes Estate
Oakmount - Francis B. Hayes Estate
Source: Worthen Collection, Cary Memorial Library

Stetson street
Stetson Street, Meriam Hill
Source: Beverly Allison Kelly, Lexington: A Century of Photographs

The arrival of wealthy, professional residents also brought a new range of leisure activities and clubs to town.  In 1864 a driving club for the racing of trotters was built on Hayes' land, the first in the state.  The half-mile track with a grandstand on each side was located between what is now Saddle Club Road and Grant Street.  Harness racing took place at Reservoir Trotting Park at the town reservoir.  The Lexington Field and Garden Club was formed in 1876 to preserve and enhance the town's aesthetic qualities.  In 1892, the Old Belfry Club, one of the first social clubs in Lexington, was organized.  Two years later, a clubhouse was dedicated at the corner of Muzzey and Forest Streets.  The facility included a tennis court and bowling alley.  It was destroyed by fire in 1979.  Three financial clubs - the Lexington Associates, the Lexington Club and the East Lexington Finance Club - shared an interest in improving the town as well as sharing investment knowledge for personal gain.  The Lexington Golf Club was founded in 1895 and began as a nine-hole course on the hill behind the Munroe Tavern.  In 1899 the Club leased the Vaille Farm on Hill Street, eventually buying it in 1906. 

Old Belfry Club
Old Belfry Club
Source: Beverly Allison Kelly, Lexington: A Century of Photographs

Some of the wealthy city folks who used Lexington as a summer residence also operated gentleman farms, hiring foremen to run their operations.  Leisure activities for these gentleman farmers included horse racing, pigeon shoots, fox hunting, and breeding fancy cattle.  What is now the Idylwilde Farm Conservation Property near Middle & Lincoln Streets was once the elaborate summer estate of the Cary family.  J.W. Hayden's 20 acre estate at 376 Lincoln Street was called Ponywold after the 22 Shetland ponies he kept there in addition to poultry and sheep.  His residence was constructed from two former schoolhouses that were moved to Lincoln Street and remodeled into a single dwelling.  In the late 19th and early 20th century what was later known as Grassland Farm on Marrett Road near Spring Street was owned by Edward Payson, who operated a stock farm and raised "blooded" Golddust-Morgan horses and Shetland ponies. 

By the late 19th century Lexington was being transformed from an isolated agricultural town to a more populated suburb.  Many old farms had already been sold off and divided into house lots.  Levi Prosser purchased the Munroe farm behind the tavern and in 1872 subdivided it into 150 foot square lots along what are now Bloomfield Street, Eustis Street and Percy Road (originally Mount Vernon Street).  For more information on these areas see Area Forms N & O).   In 1881 slightly smaller lots were laid out nearby in the Warren, Washington and Bennington Streets neighborhood.   Richard Blinn laid out the "Belfry Hill Stock Farm" on the land that is now Parker Street in 1872 (see Area Form J).  The residential streets of Grant, Sherman, Fletcher and Sheridan Streets (Area Form G) were laid out in the late 1880s on land owned by David Wood Muzzey and Charles G. Fletcher. Meriam Hill was first divided into house lots in the 1870s although construction did not take place in earnest until the 1880s (see Area Form H).

In the northern part of town, Elm Hill Farm, which had passed through six generations of the Reed Family, was sold to Mark Meager in 1891.  Meager divided the former farm including Tophet Swamp into over 1,500 building lots measuring 1/16 of an acre (Lexington Heights - Area AJ).  By 1895 three hundred lots had been sold but only eleven houses had been built.  Another more successful developer, George F. Tewksbury of Winthrop, opened up the Hill Street/Tewksbury Street/Shirley Street neighborhood.   The Fair Oaks subdivision was first laid out in 1909 as was developer J.W. Wilbur's "Liberty Heights" subdivision in East Lexington.  (These areas are more fully described in Area Forms Y & Q). 

Industrial activity remained limited, compared to many communities.  In 1870 the paint mine on Simond's Farm, off Grove Street, was incorporated as the Lexington & Boston Paint Company.  A 350' long rope walk was located on the meadow south of Waltham Street opposite Allen Street in 1880.  Matthew Merriam's shop manufacturing trimmings for boots and shoes moved to Oakland Street in 1882 and at its peak employed fifty.  Muzzey & Whitcher's Grain Mill was built behind what is now 1775 Massachusetts Avenue in 1884.  George Grant opened a gear works near the end of Fletcher Avenue in 1888.  The factory building was purchased by Jefferson Union Company in 1905. 

The influx of professional newcomers along with a number of progressive long-time residents also had a major impact on town government and the provision of local services.  Although East Lexington and the Center continued to vie for dominance, a new Town Hall building was constructed at the Center and dedicated on April 19, 1871.  The four-story brick building also housed the Cary Library.  The Lexington Minute-man weekly newspaper began publishing in 1871.  A new engine house was built on Meriam Street in 1876.  The Lexington Gas Company began operation in 1875 and sixty six gaslights were installed by the town to light the Center Village, replacing kerosene oil lamps.   Telephone service was first offered in 1882 and two years later there were thirty-one subscribers.  The Lexington Water Works was founded in 1881 as a private business.  The pumping station on Concord Hill was completed by 1885 with a second reservoir constructed north of Marrett Road a few years later.  In 1895 and 1901 the City of Cambridge took at least 220 acres in southwestern Lexington and built a reservoir.  Lexington joined the Metropolitan Water District in 1902. 

Cary Memorial Library
Cary Memorial Library
Source: Library of Congress

At town meeting in October 1887 William A. Tower offered to fund a library building if the town would provide a site.  Mrs. Maria Cary, at the same meeting, offered the town $10,000 toward securing the land.  Mr. Tower later withdrew his offer.  The Cary Memorial Library was eventually constructed in 1906, a gift of Miss Alice Cary and other family members.  In 1892 Miss Ellen Stone gave the Library Trustees the house next to the Follen Church in East Lexington to be used for a branch library.  In 1894 Hastings Park was purchased by the Lexington Field and Garden Club; it was given to the town three years later.  The Hayes Fountain, incorporating Henry H. Kitson's Minute-man Statue, was unveiled in 1900.

The 1870-1915 period also witnessed dramatic changes in local education.  In 1890 the school committee merged the six ungraded district schools in town into the Adams School and the Hancock School, thus allowing students to learn with peers of similar ages and encouraging teachers to specialize in subject matter.   A new Hancock School was constructed in 1891 after the previous building was destroyed by fire.  As the school population continued to grow, the Munroe School was constructed in 1904.   In East Lexington, a new brick Adams School was constructed in 1912 on a site behind the Stone Building.   A new High School structure was constructed in 1902 on the same site that had formerly housed the town hall and first high school.

Hancock School
Hancock School
Source: Beverly Allison Kelly, Lexington: A Century of Photographs

Several new religious congregations were formed and structures built during this period.  St. Brigid's Roman Catholic parish was established in response to the influx of Irish immigrants.  Masses were held in the Lexington Town Hall in 1852 and at various other sites before the construction of the church in 1875.   The Hancock Congregational Church was organized in 1868 and constructed its own building opposite the Green in 1892.  A group of summer residents established the Church of Our Redeemer on Meriam Hill in the early 1880s and a chapel was completed in 1886.    In East Lexington, a cornerstone for a Jewish synagogue was laid on Sylvia Street in 1913.

Antiquarian interest has always been strong in Lexington but became more organized in the late 19th century.  In 1884 the Town appropriated funds to mark places of historic interest and two years later the Lexington Historical Society was organized.  In 1891 the Society was given the Old Belfry on the Hancock School lot on Clarke Street and in 1894 the Society purchased the Hancock Clarke house and moved it across Hancock Street to save it from destruction.  After the initial Belfry was destroyed in 1909, a replica was erected.  In 1911 the Munroe Tavern was given to the Society.  In 1913 the Town of Lexington acquired the Buckman Tavern.  The "restoration" of the Jonathan Harrington House by owner Leroy Brown in 1910 is said to have inspired William Sumner Appleton in establishing the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities the same year.

Surviving Properties - Residential

Along with the Italianate style, the French Second Empire style dominated urban housing in this country between 1860 and 1880.  Although it was intended to be an imposing style, it was also translated to smaller, domestic buildings.  Examples of the style frequently resemble Italianate designs but are topped by the ever-present mansard roof. 

6 Stratham Road
6 Stratham Road

Lexington's most elaborate extant mansard-roofed house is the George Robinson House at 6 Stratham Road.  Originally constructed in 1846 as a Gothic cottage, the house was remodeled in the 1870s in the French Second Empire style.  Robinson, a successful Boston provisions merchant, made significant additions to the house including a bell-cast mansard roof with arched dormers and bracketed cornice, a bracketed door hood and six-sided porch.  The addition of a mansard roof could make an older house appear more stylish while adding additional living space.  Other houses in Lexington with later mansard roofs include 20 Hancock Street, 956 Massachusetts Avenue and 2173 Massachusetts Avenue. 

The French Second Empire style was also used for more modest cottages including houses on Hanover Avenue and Forest Street.   The Hanover Avenue cottages were built on speculation by local builder and developer John L. Norris beginning in 1871.  The five cottages on the north side of Forest Street between Waltham and Muzzey Streets were constructed in 1873-1874 for J.E. Hodgman. 

5 & 7 Hancock Avenue

The cottage at 58 Hancock Street is notable for retaining its flat-roofed door hood with milled brackets with pendant drops.  Other more altered mansarded cottages include 11 Curve Street, 23 Middle Street, 14 East Street, and 3 Stetson Street.  In East Lexington, the structure at 851 Massachusetts Avenue appears to have been the first of a grouping of mansard-roofed row houses although it was the only one constructed.

***

The Stick Style is an architectural style which met with limited popularity in Lexington and elsewhere in the 1870s and 1880s.  This transitional mode is one which was a precursor to the more exuberant Queen Anne style.  As its name suggests, it is identified by the vertical and horizontal stickwork which was applied as decoration, with no structural relation to the wood-frame structure.  Houses which include elements of the Stick Style include several on Bloomfield Street, Raymond Street, and the Fletcher/Sherman Street neighborhood.

8 Raymond Street
8 Raymond Street

The towered Stick Style houses at 39 Highland Avenue and 36 Forest Street were constructed by prominent local builder Abram C. Washburn according to the same plan.  The Forest Street house was the builder's own house for almost forty years. 

39 Highland Avenue
39 Highland Avenue

* * *

The Queen Anne style was widely used throughout Lexington and is evident in many variations, shapes and sizes.  In the most ambitious expressions, there are towers, turrets, projecting pavilions, bays and porches. 

2139 Massachusetts Avenue
2139 Massachusetts Avenue

The building at 2139 Massachusetts Avenue is one of the best preserved Queen Anne houses in town and includes many distinctive finishes including a profusion of gables with half-timbering at the tops, contrasting patterned shingles and wood clapboards, varied window treatments and a spindle frieze on the front porch.   The use of balloon framing in the late 19th century allowed for irregularities in plan and techniques to avoid flat surfaces including cut-away corners, bay windows, wall insets and cantilevered gables.  

25 Parker Street
25 Parker Street

One of the town's exuberant Queen Anne designs is the house at 25 Parker Street which builder Abram C. Washburn constructed in 1890 for Daniel Owen.  The house incorporates many hallmarks of the style including a wraparound porch with turned posts, brackets, bay windows and stained glass but is distinguished by more unusual features including a porch pediment with carved foliate decoration and a broken front gable which is finished with patterned wood shingles interrupted by a curved bay window. 

Some examples of Queen Anne style houses which incorporate prominent towers are houses at 149 Adams Street, 2 & 4 Chandler Street, 47 Grant Street, 2016 Mass. Ave., 16 Oakland Street, 29 & 31 Sherman Street, and 14 Stratham Road

29 Sherman Street
29 Sherman Street

24 Bedford Street
24 Bedford Street

Locally, the Queen Anne was also used for many more modest dwellings as well.  Typically these were gablefront dwellings where elements of the style may be limited to turned porch posts, spindlework, windows with colored glass and/or contrasting clapboards and wood shingles.   These houses are found throughout the town along and immediately behind main routes.

2016 Massachusetts Avenue
2016 Massachusetts Avenue

* * *

Also dating to the late 19th century, the Shingle Style was a uniquely American style with roots in New England Colonial architecture.  Houses built in this style typically mix rough cut shingles, left to weather naturally, with rubble and fieldstone.   Unlike the Queen Anne, decorative detailing is used sparingly.  In Lexington, the style was a perfect fit for those who came to town from the city and built vacation retreats.  As a result, many of the Shingle Style homes are found in the affluent neighborhoods that saw development in the 1890s including Munroe Hill, Meriam Hill and Winthrop Road.   Other examples are found on Bloomfield Street, Grant Street, Hancock Street, and Waltham Street.  The style continued to be used locally until about 1910.

30 Grant Street
30 Grant Street

Lexington's finest Shingle Style house is the Augustus E. Scott House at 9 Bushnell Drive (formerly 277 Waltham Street), constructed in 1891.  The house is believed to have been designed by prominent Cambridge architects Hartwell and Richardson.   The firm also designed the Hancock School in 1891; A.E. Scott served as the chairman of the building committee.   Scott was one of Lexington's most prominent citizens.  He was a state legislator, organized the Lexington Field and Garden Club, one of the original members and first president of the Historical Society and a founding member of the Lexington Savings Bank.  He was also an accomplished mountain climber, early president of the Appalachian Mountain Club and was active in planning and building paths to important points in the White Mountains.

Many of the Shingle Style dwellings in Lexington are capped by gambrel roofs.  Among the earliest and best Shingle Style dwellings on Munroe Hill is the house constructed in 1893 at 14 Percy Road for Col. Charles Thornton, a resident of Cambridge who summered at the Russell House for several years.  The house next door at 16 Percy Road was constructed at the same time for his sister. 

14 Percy Road
14 Percy Road

Other examples of Shingle Style dwellings with gambrel roofs include 7 Bennington Road, 183 Waltham Street, 50 Bloomfield Street and 4 Washington Street.  The Shingle Style is also exhibited in a number of smaller-scaled, gambrel-roofed cottages including 9 Audubon Road, 6 Forest Street, 2 Oakland Street, 50 Bloomfield Street, 10 Winthrop Road,  60 Pleasant Street, 6 & 8 Glen Road and 6 Upland Road. 

183 Waltham Street
183 Waltham Street

* * *

The Colonial Revival style was widely used in Lexington in the late 19th and early 20th century. Like the Queen Anne and Shingle style structures, many of these ambitious, high-style homes are found in the town center and along Mass. Ave.  Many of the Colonial Revival dwellings of this period are free stylistic mixtures of "Colonial" features with elements of other styles that were popular at the same time.  Typically the designs are without regard to historic precedent or accuracy.   

Many houses combine the Queen Anne style with the emerging Colonial Revival. Usually Colonial Revival houses of this period have asymmetrical designs, unlike their historic prototypes, or exaggerated proportions.  Some illustrations of this trend include the house which architect S.D. Kelley designed in 1893 for Warren Sherburne at 11 Percy Road, 12 Warren Street, 29 Maple Street and 48 Hancock Street (below) constructed in 1903-4.   

48 Hancock Street
48 Hancock Street

The Colonial Revival style was also the style of choice for some of Lexington's most formal homes.  In 1906 New York architect Oswald Hering designed a massive brick mansion for Harry Fay at 6 Eliot Road.    Nearby, the Richard Tower Mansion at 33 Marrett Road is another brick Colonial Revival manse.  It is now part of the Museum of Our National Heritage. 

6 Eliot Road
6 Eliot Road

Gambrel-roofed Colonial Revival dwellings were also popular in Lexington's more affluent neighborhoods at the turn of the century.  Several notable examples are found on Munroe Hill and include the houses at 4 Bennington Road and 5 Pelham Road

4 Bennington Road
4 Bennington Road

A number of the most interesting residences constructed in Lexington in the early 20th century were designed by local architect Willard Dalyrimple Brown (1871-1944) who graduated from the MIT School of Architecture in 1894 and set up his own practice in Boston in 1902.  Brown's highly original early works reflect the various influences that were prevalent during the eclectic times including the Colonial Revival, Shingle and Craftsman modes.  His own house at 20 Meriam Street (1905), embodies many of his typical details including a low hip roof with broad eaves and exposed rafters and an emphasis on horizontality. 

20 Meriam Street
20 Meriam Street

The George Whiting House at 8 Adams Street (1903) is one of Brown's earliest commissions and one of the largest high-style Craftsman houses in Lexington.   

8 Adams Street
8 Adams Street

Other houses designed by Willard D. Brown during this period include houses at 18 & 20 Adams Street, 28 Meriam Street, 75 Outlook Drive,  376 Lincoln Street, and 11 & 15 Winthrop Road.     The use of fieldstone, stucco and shingles is common to many of these designs.

* * *

Today, there are few remnants of the elegant mansions which were erected by Lexington's turn-of-the-century gentry.  One of the few is the Whipple Mansion at 265 Lowell Street, a 1903 English Tudor remodeling of a c.1870 Stick Style house.  After housing the Fairlawn Nursing Home for many years, this is now the home of the Lexington Prep School.

265 Lowell Street
265 Lowell Street

The former stone carriage house at 60 Meriam Street is all that remains of Lexington's most splendid estate, the Francis B. Hayes property, also known as Oakmount.   It is one of three carriage houses on Meriam Hill that have been remodeled into residences.  The others - at 15 Patriots Drive and 6 Wadman Circle - were part of the Benjamin Brown estate. 

Other Property Types

Town Buildings

Population growth and expanded town services resulted in the construction of a number of important town buildings in the 1870 -1915 period. 

The Meriam Street Fire Station was built in 1876 and stood on its original site until 1947 when the top half of building was moved to 3 Hayes Lane where still stands as VFW Hall (former façade is at the rear).

The brick Romanesque Revival Hancock School at 33 Forest Street was erected in 1891 according to designs by the prominent architectural firm of Hartwell and Richardson.   The first building in town constructed to house a high school was built at 1475 Massachusetts Avenue in 1902, designed by architects Cooper and Bailey.  (It was later substantially enlarged in 1924).

1874 Massachusetts Avenue
1874 Massachusetts Avenue

The fieldstone and stucco Cary Library at 1874 Massachusetts Avenue was constructed in 1906 according to designs by local architect Willard D. Brown.   Brown also designed the Munroe School at 1403 Massachusetts Avenue in 1904.  The building was later modernized about 1915 by facing the front and side walls with brick. 

A new Adams School (739 Massachusetts Avenue) opened behind the Stone Building in East Lexington in 1912.  The brick building was designed by Boston architects Brainerd & Leeds. 

Adams School
Adams School

* * *

Churches

The Church of Our Redeemer (Episcopal) at 17 Meriam Street was completed in 1886.  The original simple wood-frame structure with its half-timbered gablefront, slight steeple and open porch was designed by Boston architect E.A.P. Newcomb. 

A growing congregation led to the construction of a new Hancock Church at 1912 Massachusetts Avenue beginning in 1892.  The fieldstone church with squat tower and repeating arches was designed by Walter J.  Paine of the Boston architectural firm of Lewis & Paine.  Images of the church were published in the national publication American Architect & Building News in 1893.

The First Baptist Church at 1580 Massachusetts Avenue also dates to 1892 and replaces an earlier Baptist structure constructed on the same site in 1834, remodeled and enlarged during the 1880s and destroyed by fire on May 13, 1891.  The Shingle Style building was designed by Boston architect J. Williams Beal and was reportedly built after the plan of a church "just completed" in Randolph. 

1580 Massachusetts Avenue
1580 Massachusetts Avenue

The town's first Jewish synagogue was constructed in East Lexington at  23 Sylvia Street in 1913.  It was designed to be adaptable for residential use in the event the congregation did not thrive. 

23 Sylvia Street
23 Sylvia Street

* * *

Commercial/Industrial/Agricultural

Constructed in 1903, the Hunt Block at 1752 Massachusetts Avenue (corner of Waltham Street) is of interest as an early work of local architect Willard D. Brown and possibly his only known commercial design.

1752 Massachusetts Avenue
1752 Massachusetts Avenue

The so-called "Stone Store" at 2219 Massachusetts Avenue was built in 1906 by Nellie and Thomas Breslin.  Constructed entirely of fieldstone, it is the only building of its kind in Lexington.

Lexington has few surviving industrial buildings and even fewer date to this period.  Matthew H. Merriam's former shop at 7 Oakland Street, is a 200 x 35' wood-frame structure constructed in 1882 for the manufacture of trimmings for boots and shoes.  The building now serves as housing. 

George Grant opened a gear works at 31 Fletcher Avenue in 1888.  The factory was purchased by Jefferson Union Company, makers of pipe fittings, in 1905.  The original building was greatly expanded over the years and a storehouse was built.  The property remained in active industrial use until 2005 and has since been converted into residential condominiums. 

31 Fletcher Avenue
31 Fletcher Avenue

Although the railroad built four additional stations (North Lexington, East Lexington, Pierce's Bridge, Munroe Station) in town during this period, none of them survives today.   The former Lexington and Boston Street Railway Company Powerhouse at 177 Bedford Street was constructed in 1900.   The impressive brick building combines fireproof construction, utilitarian function and graceful Classical Revival design.  The building is dominated by corbelled semi-circular arched openings.  Brick trim includes window caps and a band above the window openings and below the metal cornice.   The summer and car houses that stored the trolleys are no longer extant.

177 Bedford Street
177 Bedford Street

In 1913, the Boston Edison Illuminating Company constructed a transformer station at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Grant Street (4 Grant Street).  The fireproof building was constructed of brick and concrete with steel frames, concrete floors and roof and metal sash and trimmings.  The stuccoed exterior is Classical Revival in style, with quoins trimming the building corners and the large arched openings.

Among the documented agricultural buildings dating to the late 19th to early 20th century is the post-and-beam barn at 160 Wood Street.  Set on a fieldstone foundation, the 1 ½-story gablefront structure was built in 1889 during the ownership of Joseph Ballard.   Indicative of its period of construction the timbers have circular saw marks and are pinned with machine-turned dowels with hand carved points and toe nailed with machine cut nails. 

* * *

Monuments

Many of Lexington's best known statues and monuments were erected during the late 19th and early 20th century.  These include Henry Hudson Kitson's bronze Minute Man Statue, erected as part of the Francis B. Hayes Fountain in 1899, as well as the Meetinghouses Marker (1884) and the Battle Line Boulder (1884), also on the Green.   Other monuments erected by the town in 1884 include the Stone Cannon in front of the former Muzzey High School, the stone tablet at 1412 Massachusetts Avenue commemorating the British retreat, and the tablets marking the Hayward Well and the Bluff, both now within the Minute Man National Park.  The Old Belfry Monument (replica) which stands in Belfry Park on Clarke Street dates to 1910. 

Stone Cannon
Stone Cannon