Criterion C: Architecturally Significant Structure

The Kendal Green Historic District developed gradually over two centuries, and because of this long evolutionary process, contains diverse building styles and types. Except for Boston Post Road in the town center, no other area of Weston encompasses the same high quality and diversity. Because of its unique history and associations with the Hobbs Tannery, Hastings Organ Factory and the Thurston family’s Drabbington Lodge, the area contains unique buildings designed to serve specialized functions or, in the case of the lodge, to provide a resort atmosphere.
5 houses on Brook Road, built in the 1890s to house organ factory workers
Layout & Grouping
Important groups of buildings are related geographically, in their proximity to each other, and historically because of their associations with the Hobbs, Hastings or Thurston families. With a few notable exceptions, important buildings are located on the north side of the road, where the ground is higher than on the south side. The continuity of the streetscape on the north side of the road has been largely maintained.

Whitney Tavern
The earliest house within the district and one of the most important of Weston’s Colonial houses is the Whitney Tavern (171 North Avenue, Map #11, MHC 18). The angled placement of the house to face directly south, along with its corner location and saltbox profile, make the former tavern a prominent feature of the streetscape. Not only has the original saltbox shape been preserved, but the interior detailing has remained remarkably unchanged.

Josiah Hobbs' House
When Josiah Hobbs purchased 122 acres on North Avenue in 1729, the deed from John Cheney Jr. mentions a “house and barn” and also “houses.” Parts of the house at 121 North Avenue (Map #6, MHC 23) as well as the small north ell on the Isaac Hobbs House (87 North Avenue, Map #2, MHC 27, NR) may date to that period. The ell has also been dated to the 1730s-40s.

Double House
In 1758, Josiah’s son, Ebenezer gave his son Isaac one-third part of the house at #87 and a half interest in the tannery. Isaac built a large addition onto 87 North Avenue by 1761, and from then on it was always called the “double house.” The house remained in the Hobbs family until the end of the 19th century and was shared by various members of the family, each of whom took part in family business centered around the tannery. The architecture was further updated in the 1880s, when General James F.B.Marshall-the grand-nephew of Isaac Hobbs, added the central pediment and entrance porch to his new country retirement home.

Hobbs-Hagar House
The Hobbs-Hagar House at 88 North Avenue (Map #38, MHC 26) is significant architecturally because of its age, prominent location, decorative detailing and intact quality. The house was built in two sections, a fact which adds to its architectural interest.

On the exterior, the house incorporates Georgian features- thick corner quoins, eight-panel front doors, and heavy window caps on the first floor -with Federal front door surrounds with an elaborately molded cornice and fluted pilasters, 6/6 sash, and a roof cornice with fine dentils.

On the inside, the house retains fine late Georgian paneling in the earlier section and Federal mantels and trim in the addition, including an elliptical staircase sometimes attributed to Charles Bulfinch. Although no documentation exists to support the attribution, the staircase does have a refined and graceful quality typical of the best of Federal design. According to neighborhood tradition, the houses at 99 North Avenue (Map #3, MHC 25) and 107-9 North Avenue (Map #4, MHC 24) were originally of the Hobbs-Hagar House. Map evidence suggests that they were moved across the street to their present position sometime between 1852 and 1866.
Hastings Homestead
The Hastings Homestead at 199 North Ave (Map # 17, MHC 14)) was built in 1823 by Jonas Hastings. Of architectural significance is the agreement between Jonas Hastings and the housewright, Phinehas Conant of Stow, recorded in the Middlesex Registry of Deeds (Book 250/67).

Conant was to receive $527 to build a house 40 feet long, 18 feet wide, and two stories high, with one chimney and three fire places. The description includes other specific details of construction and indicates that an “old house” was to be taken down. The Hastings Homestead Barn (Map #16) is thought to have been built several years before the house. Together, the house and barn form a well-preserved ensemble representative of early 19th century farmsteads in Weston.
The Hastings Homestead at 190 North Avenue
Bigelow-Coburn House
A second fine example is the Bigelow-Coburn House at 161-163 North Avenue (formerly called the Abijah Whitney House)(c.1820, Map 10, MHC 19). The house bears similarities to the Hastings Homestead and is thought to have been built about the same time, although some of the architectural fabric may be earlier.

Seven Gables
In 1885, at age 49, Francis Henry Hastings built himself a new house, “Seven Gables,” at 190 North Avenue (Map #22, MHC 16), designed by the Boston firm of Hartwell and Richardson and located almost directly across from the Hastings Homestead. The same architectural firm is thought to have designed the shingled stable at 191 North Avenue (1885, Map #14, MHC 15) across the street adjacent to the Hastings barn.

Hartwell & Richardson
In her monograph “Hartwell and Richardson: An Introduction to Their Work,” published in an issue of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians devoted to Victorian Architecture in Boston, Susan Maycock Vogel analyzes the career of Henry Walker Hartwell (1833-1919) and William Cummings Richardson (1854-1935), who established their practice in Boston in 1881. Hartwell was one of the founders of the Boston Society of Architects in 1867. Richardson, a Boston-trained architect, was more than twenty years his junior and became the principal designer for the firm, with Hartwell primarily responsible for construction.

Success as Followers
The two practiced together for almost forty years and, according to Vogel, achieved particular success in the 1880s and 1890s, though as “followers rather than innovators:
“Hartwell and Richardson’s buildings were neither forward in style nor innovative in interior planning. Rather, Hartwell and Richardson were successful apparently because they could be relied upon to provide buildings which were competently designed, excellently constructed, and comfortably up-to-date in the accepted styles of the day. . . . Vogel adds that “. . . their work, especially in the 1880s, provides an excellent example of both popular architectural taste in Boston and the influence of H.H.Richardson on his contemporaries.”

Houses for Businessmen
Vogel notes that most of the firm’s large suburban houses were built for newly successful businessmen and merchants, rather than for members of Boston society. This is true in Weston, where the firm designed the homes of F.H. Hastings and another manufacturer, Charles Dean, also a self-made man. The Charles Dean estate house was built at the turn of the century in the Colonial Revival style and has since been demolished.

Francis Henry Hastings House
The Francis Henry Hastings House is an notable example of the firm’s Shingle Style houses, which they produced only between about 1884 and 1889. Their first Shingle Style house, built just a year before the Hastings house, reportedly included Queen Anne exterior features, whereas the Weston example is “pure” Shingle Style- horizontal in orientation, with a round tower and large dormers balanced against the recessed porch to create a well-balanced sculptural composition. The house has a uniform shingle covering, including shingled gunstock porch posts. Diamond shingle patterns like those in the gable of the F.H.Hastings House became a trademark of Hartwell and Richardson houses of the 1880s. Otherwise, ornament has been largely eliminated and the success of the design depends on massing and a pleasing simplicity in the handling of the shingled surfaces. The shingles on the Hastings House-like those on nearby shingled houses described below-were originally stained a dark brown color.

Caretaker House
Six years after he built his own house, Hastings built a house behind his stable for his caretaker/gardener (189 North Avenue, 1891, Map #13, MHC 17). This simple shingled residence represents the first use in the district of the gambrel roof-a popular Colonial Revival form repeated on many nearby Shingle Style structures built over the next decade. The caretaker’s house is built with a cross-gambrel plan, which Hastings used again in 1893 for the building of the three workers’ cottages at 225, 227 and 231 North Avenue (Map 17,18,19).

Drabbington Lodge
The same cross-gambrel form was used on a larger scale for the construction of the new Drabbington Lodge (135 North Avenue, 1899, Map #7, MHC #22), which replaced an 18th century farmhouse used as a lodge until it burned in 1898. Thus the new building, unlike many small summer hotels of the period, was built specifically as a hotel and incorporates the latest amenities. Designed by architect Frank Weston, the lodge was completed in 1899. A newspaper article written at the time of the opening called it “one of the best of suburban hotels.”

Floors & Rooms
The first floor was devoted to lounges and dining rooms and the second and third floors to sleeping rooms “beautifully furnished, according to the price paid for their occupancy.” Guests enjoyed the luxury of two bathrooms per floor. Servants’ apartments were in the basement, along with the kitchen, vegetable cellar and laundry. Drabbington Lodge was probably the first major building in Weston wired for electricity, introduced into the town about 1897.

Current Use
Although Weston had one other resort hotel, located on Glen Road on the south side, Drabbington Lodge is the only one still remaining. The building, now used as a retirement home, is significant not only as an uncommon building type, but also as a well-preserved example of the late Shingle Style with its original first floor plan and detailing.

Thurston Cottage
In 1902, the Thurston family, owners of the Drabbington Lodge, built a handsome house on a ledge just west of the lodge (153 North Avenue, 1902, Map #9, MHC 20). This fine example of the Shingle Style was designed by architect George E. Strout of Wareham, who three years earlier had designed the Methodist Church down the street (since demolished). The house became known as the “Thurston Cottage.” The use of a gambrel roof repeats the roof form of the earlier lodge. The gambrel end faces south for maximum visual prominence. Skilled craftsmanship is evident in the high fieldstone foundation, fieldstone steps and terracing, used artfully to adapt the house to a difficult site.
Thurston Bungalow
Two years later, the Thurstons built a second house which became known as the “Thurston Bungalow” (147 North Avenue, 1904, Map #8, MHC 21). Also designed by George E. Strout, this house is unique in Weston and represents an adaptation of the bungalow form for use in a summer resort setting.

About Bungalows
According to Marcus Whiffen’s American Architecture Since 1780, the word “bungalow” is a corruption of a Hindustani adjective used by the British in India to signify a type of low house surrounded by a veranda, built by the Indian Government along main roads to serve as rest houses for travelers. The name is now associated predominantly with small single-story houses; however, late 19th and early 20th century bungalows came in all sizes and styles, often inspired by exotic architecture from Japanese and Spanish to the Swiss chalet.
The Thurston Bungalow with its Adirondack lodge style and log construction
Types of Bungalows
Whiffen refers to a book on bungalows from the second decade of the century which divides American bungalows into nine types, of which the relevant two types here are the “retreat or summer house,” and the “Adirondack lodge,” built of logs.

Bungalow Popularity
The popularity of the bungalow form in the early 20th century stems largely from the work of Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, two brothers who practiced together in Pasadena, California. About 1903, they began designing houses influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, oriental wooden architecture, and their early training in the manual arts. These houses, now known as “Craftsman” style, include not only the small one-story Craftsman bungalows which swept the country but also large, intricately designed landmark examples which have been called “ultimate bungalows.”

Construction of Thurston Bungalow
The Thurston Bungalow is unique in Weston in its Adirondack lodge style and log construction.

Craftsman Movement
The Thurston Bungalow exemplifies an interest in materials and craftsmanship typical of the Craftsman movement. It is built of large round logs (probably early telephone poles) notched at the corners. The one-story porch, which extends the entire width of the front facade, carries out the rustic theme by using a fieldstone base and log posts and brackets. The wide unenclosed eave overhang with exposed roof rafters and a decorative brace under the gable is typical of the style. Also notable are the paired fieldstone chimneys. On the property is a gazebo probably built at the same time as the house using a fieldstone base and log posts.

Kendal Green Fire Station
Another building within the district is unusual in its use of another-this time very modern-material, reinforced concrete. The Classical Revival Kendal Green Fire Station (no # North Avenue, Map #32, MHC 240) was constructed in 1908 from designs by Boston architect Alexander S. Jenney, a resident of Weston who did this as an independent commission but previously practiced as a partner in the firm of Fox, Jenney and Gale. Kendal Green was the first fire station built by the Town of Weston. Previously, fire apparatus for the area had been housed in a barn on the Hastings property. Although the apparatus was horse drawn, the new building makes no provision for horses, which were borrowed from local farmers when the need arose.

Functional & Attractive
According to a 1909 article in The Municipal Journal and Engineer, the new station was designed to be not only functional but also attractive. The use of reinforced concrete made the building “practically uninflammable.” In the design, “an effort was made to give [the new station] an appearance which would be sufficiently artistic for its surroundings…simple in outline but of attractive proportions.”25 The 1908 Town Report discusses the fire station at length and includes the following statement about the design and innovative nature of the reinforced concrete material:
“That the general appearance of the house is satisfactory is shown by the fact that the Sunday “Herald” of a few weeks since included a photograph of the building taken by a stranger who seemed to consider it a thing of beauty. The “Christian Science Monitor” has exploited the building as an illustration of the best of work in reinforced concrete and as being conspicuous from the fact that it is the only fireproof station in the United States. The article adds that “the building has been commended by prominent architects, and all of this praise has come unsolicited.”

Closing the Fire Station
Only six years later, when a second fire station was built in the town center, the town’s needs had changed, as fire fighting apparatus was by that time motorized. The Kendal Green Fire Station was closed in 1917 as an economy measure in World War I and never reopened. The high cost of wrecking the building and removing the concrete has kept this unusual building standing to the present day.