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Allston Heights Architecture

The Allston Heights area possesses one of the finest collections of commodious, well-detailed, late 19th century residences in Allston-Brighton. Its geographic proximity to Union Square, just to the east, might suggest that Allston Heights be considered within one large Union Square area. The Allston Heights area, however, generally represents a later period of development than the area called Union Square/Allston Street for the purposes of this survey. The Allston Heights area, particularly south of Cambridge Street, possesses a considerable number of substantial and ornate Queen Anne and Shingle Style houses. The houses in this area between North Beacon and Cambridge streets tend to be placed close together, resulting in densely built-up streetscapes of two story, rectangular, cross-shaped and L-shaped houses with street-facing gables and the occasional mansard roof. High Rock Way, Cambridge Terrace and the south side of Cambridge Street (between Gordon and Eleanor streets) are particularly rich in Queen Anne and Shingle Style residences. This residential housing stock is characterized by large and complex forms, contrasting surface textures and sometimes unusually exuberant ornament and elements.

This area, for the purposes of this survey, is circumscribed on the north by numbers between 78 and 60 North Beacon Street. The northern boundary jogs southward to include 7 to 9, 11, and 15 to 17 Gordon Street. Crossing to the east side of Gordon Street, this boundary continues along the side lot line of 14 to 16 Gordon Street and the back lot line of 550 Cambridge Street. The eastern edge of this area follows the side lot line of 550 Cambridge Street, crossing Cambridge Street to include 528 to 542 Cambridge Street. At Imrie Road, the eastern boundary continues southward to include 1 to 49 and 2 to42 Imrie Road.

The southern edge of the Allston Heights area encompasses Stanley A. Ringer playground between Allston and Gordon Streets. Crossing Gordon Street, the southern boundary of this area follows the side lot lines of 61 and 65 Gordon Street as well as the back lot lines of numbers 20 to 66 Ridgemont Street and 630 Cambridge Street. At 630 Cambridge Street, this line turns eastward to include 604 to 630 Cambridge Street. At 604 Cambridge Street, the western boundary jogs northward across Cambridge Street to follow the line separating the grounds of St. Joseph's Academy from the side lot line of 599 Cambridge Street, the back lot lines of 10 to 30 Saunders Street, 2 to 6 Barstow Street as well as the side lot lines of 5 and 6 Barstow Street and 39 and 40 Pomeroy Street.

The houses and lots of North Beacon Street and Cambridge Street, the major avenues of this area, tend to be larger and more ample than those situated on the side streets of this area. The noteworthy exception to this rule are the stylish and substantial Queen Anne and Shingle Style residences of High Rock Way and Cambridge Terrace, on the south side of Cambridge Street. 62 North Beacon Street located between Gordon and Saunders Streets, is a well-preserved example of the Queen Anne style. Possessing an L-shaped form, its clapboard- sheathed, 2.5 story main block is enclosed by intersecting gambrel and gable roofs. The paired and clustered Tuscan columns of the full length Colonial Revival front porch rise from paneled plinths and support the deep overhang of the gambrel roofed component of the house. Opening on to the front porch are the original multi-panel front door and polygonal bay window. Nestled into the intersection of the gambrel and gable roofed components, at the northeast corner of this house is a small, slat-work railing enclosed porch. The main facade's gambrel is fully enframed, visually separating the attic from the rest of the building and enframing a handsome Palladian window with molded surrounds. The three-bay side walls, in typically Queen Anne fashion exhibit a variety of window shaped including standard size rectangular, small square, diamond-shaped and pediment surmounted attic windows.

Situated at the northwest corner of North Beacon and Saunders Streets, 78 North Beacon Street provides a fine introduction to the Queen Anne houses of Saunders Street. Briefly, Saunders Street houses face small front yards, rise to a height of 2.5 stories, possess rectangular forms and stand with projecting and enclosed front porches and gables facing the street. Situated on an ample, shrub bordered corner lot, 78 North Beacon Street is a good example of a Queen Anne/Shingle style house with a distinctly Medieval sensibility, a sensibility that is atypical for houses north of Cambridge Street. Built c. 1890-1897, this house possesses a cross-shaped form. Rising to a height of 2.5 stories, this house's first and second floors are clad with clapboards while its attic gables and dormers are sheathed with a "skin" of wood shingles. Both clapboards and shingles have been stained a dark brown color which enhances the Medieval qualities of this house; qualities which include the flared eaves of the side gables and main facade's dormer roof as well as the diamond pane upper sash of the attic windows. This house features an encircling verandah which wraps around the hip roofed portion of the main facade that projects from the gable roofed component of this residence. Projecting from the Saunders Street wall is the first floor's off-center polygonal bay.

Pomeroy and Guilford Streets are densely built -up with modest Queen Anne houses of the 1880s and 1890s. 2 Guilford Street, corner of Saunders Street, represents a small, 2.5 story Queen Anne house which possesses an irregular plan. Clad with clapboards and enclosed by a slate shingle- covered hip roof, this house, for all its modest scale, is not without some stylish, charming characteristics such as the chimney of the two-bay Guilford Street facade which exhibits crisply rendered, recessed brick work panels and terra cotta tile detail near its ,ase. On either side of the ornate chimney's two bay facade are enclosed porches which were originally open and retain their turned, typically Queen Anne porch posts.

15-17 Gordon Street, corner of Pomeroy Street, has the appearance of a c.1850s or 1860s Italianate 5-bay, double pile, rectangular house. Suffolk County deeds indicate that there was no house on this lot when the Gordon family subdivided their estate in 1873; the possibility remains that this house was moved from another location. This house's siting, volume and Italianate characteristics are of principal interest. 15-17 Gordon Street provides a memorable, if atypical introduction to the single and two-family Queen Anne residences of Pomeroy Street. I t is located at the bend in Gordon Street, at the intersection of Pomeroy, Guilford and Gordon Streets. The center entrance of its main facade opens on to a small porch with square posts and curvilinear bracing. The roofs of the porch and flanking polygonal bays as well as the broad end wall gables feature paired saw-cut brackets.

Across the street at 14-16 Gordon Street is a double Italianate/Mansard house, that like 15-17 Gordon Street is atypical of this area as a whole. This T-shaped, 2.5 story house is covered with wood shingles and a mansard with a steeply pitched slope. After 1873, the lower slope of the mansard roof was modified to eliminate loss of headroom within the attic. Brighton atlases indicate that this house was built as late as c. 1885, late indeed, for a roof type that was going out of style by the early 1880s. This house features paired entrances which are located at the center of an enclosed entrance porch. To the rear of this house is a large, L-shaped stable that was originally associated with a large house that once stood at the northeast corner of Cambridge and Goidon Streets, now the site of the Brighton Avenue Baptist Church.

Both sides of Cambridge Street, between Imrie Road and the campus of Mount St. Joseph Academy retain the appearance of a prosperous, main, residential thoroughfare that is similar to the streetscapes of commodious homes and churches located within the boundaries of any number of streets located in much smaller towns around New England. This small- town -sensibility is evident in the juxtaposition of the Gothic Revival Brighton Avenue Baptist Church at 30 Gordon Street, corner of Cambridge Street, with towered and verandah encircled Queen Anne houses of Cambridge Street, situated as they are on lots with relatively ample front and back yards.

The Brighton Avenue Baptist Church at 30 Gordon Street was designed in the Tudor Gothic Revival style by Blackall Clapp and Whittemore in 1930. With its T-shaped form enclosed by intersecting gables, this church is constructed of light red brick walls with trimmings of cast stone. The main facade is characterized by a broad street-facing gable which is flanked by a four-story tower at its southwest corner. The main entrance is situated at the tower's Cambridge Street facade. The tower, like the entire building, rises from a rock-faced granite basement and displays buttresses at its corners. In general, windows are square -headed and are enframed by cast stone trimmings. The upper most walls of the tower are pierced by louvered, lancet windows. Culminating in a stepped parapet, the tower is enclosed by a pyramidal roof cap. The nave of the church exhibits three-bay, tripartite square headed windows which are interspersed with wide buttresses. This ecclesiastical edifice's clear story is pierced by tripartite windows set within broad pointed arches. Contiguous with and overlapping the nave's rear wall is a rectangular rectory and parish hall which exhibits surface treatments similar to those of the sanctuary and tower. Next door to the Brighton Avenue Baptist Church at 541 Brighton Avenue is the much altered, Brighton Universalist or Unity Church which was designed by Allston architect Thomas Silloway in 1861.

The houses bordering Ridgemont Street exhibit stylistic characteristics of the Queen Anne, Shingle and Colonial Revival styles that date these houses to the 1880s and 1890s. A larger percentage of Ridgemont Street residences are two families compared to those bordering North Beacon and Cambridge street. The back yards of the houses on the south side of the street border a ledgy, hilly area, Barry's Ledge from the nineteenth century. This ledge and the hills of the Stanley A. Ringer Playground constitute the "heights" of the Allston-Heights area. The residential stock is characterized by asymmetrically massed houses, all 2.5 stories in height with gambrel or gable fronted facades. Many homes have synthetic siding. Although the Queen Anne/ Jacobethan Revival residence at 41 Ridgemont Street has a first floor that has been covered with vinyl siding, its second floor retains its original wood shingles while its attic exhibits half-timbering. This house is rectangular in form with a two bay main facade and a four-bay depth. Its off-center front door is flanked by an oval window to the right and a one-story polygonal bay to the left. Striking a decidedly Medieval note, typical of this area is an overhanging second floor. Above the tripartite and double windows of the second floor are tripartite and double windows is the half- timbered Jacobethan Revival attic of the street-facing gable; rising through this gable's apex. Projecting from the east wall is a two-story polygonal bay whose steeply pitched pyramidal roof cap lends a decidedly towered look to this bay.

10-12 and 14-16 Ridgemont Street are two-family residences which illustrate the widespread popularity of the gambrel roof configuration in Colonial Revival houses of the 1890s. Although both houses are covered with synthetic materials, their primary interest lies in their form and its impact on the streetscape. 10-12 Ridgemont Street is essentially rectangular in form with a full-length front porch with single and clustered Tuscan Revival porch columns which rise from solid railings. Surmounting the front porch are a pair of dormers with tripartite windows and gable roofs with arched attic windows. The three bay sidewalls are dominated by unusually broad gambrel end walls. The west wall 's first floor displays a polygonal oriel near its northwest corner. Near the apex of the gambrel's upper slope are multi pane Palladian windows. 14-16 Ridgemont is characterized by an unusually complex roof configuration, celebrating the distinctiveness of the gambrel roof configuration through the paired gambrels of its main facade and rear facades as well as the single gambrels of its sidewalls. Rising from the side roof slopes of the street facing gambrels are two attic floors of gable-roofed dormers. This house rests on a ledge stone foundation that was probably quarried near this area. Entrances are located on the short south walls of side porches that are recessed beneath the comers of the main facade's gambrels.

The segment of Gordon Street, between Cambridge Street and Ringer Playground is characterized by stylistically diverse houses that includes the ornate, San Francisco "Painted Ladies" interpretation of the Queen Anne Style at 40 Gordon Street that was designed by Universalist preacher and architect Thomas Silloway during the 1870s.

40 Gordon Street ranks among the most extravagantly ornamented examples of the Queen Anne style in Boston. This house was apparently built in at least two stages with an Italianate/Stick main block predating 1875 and a towered Queen Anne north ell built in the early 1880s. It is the curving walls and copper finial topped cylindrical roof cap that calls attention to this house's unusual surface treatments and initially causes this house td be "read" as a Queen Anne house built in a single stage. The tower's walls are enlivened by octagonal shingles, brackets and apron panels ornamented with raised sun flower and diamond shaped motifs. The cylindrical roof cap is pierced by round arched wall dormers. This house celebrates the carpenter's craft with its plethora of saw-cut and turned elements. Possessing an irregular form which verges on the cross-shaped, the northern arm of the "cross" is contiguous with a bowed and conically capped tower. The three -story tower exhibits apron panels beneath the windows which are ornamented with floral bosses. Interrupting the curving sweep of the tower's bracketed roof is a trio of arched windows.

This house rises 2.5 stories from a ledge-stone basement to an intersecting, slate shingle-covered gable roof. Projecting from the northwest corner of the main facade is an open entrance porch with cross-hatched railings, trellises and arch spandrels. This open "checker board" detail enframes the porches pointed and segmental arches. Additionally, spindles enliven the porch transoms. The two-bay street-facing gable exhibits a polygonal bay on the first floor. In general windows are framed, with the majority surmounted by arched lintels containing saw tooth detail. Particularly noteworthy is the square, shed-roofed oriel on the north wall, its arched, stained glass windows presumably light a stair hall. This two-story oriel is supported by large, ornate wooden brackets. This house's gables exhibit deep eaves and a fringe of vertical sawtooth boards beneath the apex of the gable. The main facade's pointed arch Carpenter Gothic attic window opens on to a feature that has the appearance of an Italianate door hood with large saw cut brackets but without a corresponding door. Diagonal bracing flanks the attic window.

Situated at the northern edge of Ringer Park, three houses numbered 54, 60 and 62 Gordon Street command attention by the way they are sited in relation to each other. The middle house at 60 Gordon Street is deeply set back from the street overlooking a shrub-bordered, wooded yard. 54 and 62 Allston Street are sited close to the street. All three possess boxy gable-roof enclosed forms. 60 and 62 face Allston Street and measure five bays in width, four bays in depth. 54 Gordon Street's narrow, 2-bay end-wall gable with return eaves faces Allston Street. Although clad in vinyl siding, 54 Allston Street's distinctive form remains intact with its main facade's first floor treated as one large polygonal bay surmounted by a 2-bay, overhanging second floor. Situated at the apex of the gable is a broad oriel with curved walls. 60 Gordon Street's form is rectangular and boxy. A two-story angled bay accents its northwest corner. Enclosed by a gable roof with return eaves this house features a center shed roofed dormer. Possessing a rectangular main block with a rear ell, 62 Gordon Street is the most architecturally distinguished member of this trio with wood shingles stained dark brown and a sweeping and flared roofline that places this building squarely within the Shingle Style. Particularly noteworthy is its open front porch with massive, square rubble stone posts. Rising from the center of the main elevation's roof slope is a steeply pitched gable containing a single, standard size window. Projecting from the center of the north wall is an oriel window.

One of the most important historic resources in this area is High Rock Way and its collection of turn of the century buildings. T his winding way meanders through an area of ledge out croppings and mature trees. It is lined with residences exhibiting elements of the Shingle, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles. Particularly noteworthy are the Queen Anne/Shingle style houses at 26, 30, 32 High Rock Way built around 1900.

Another enclave, with an important collection of substantial, well-detailed houses is Cambridge Terrace. Most of the houses bordering this L-shaped lane were designed during the mid 1890s by Eugene Clark, architect of the Allston Congregational Church (1890). Providing a fine introduction to the Queen Anne houses of this terrace is the towered house at 542 Cambridge Street.

The houses on the north side of Cambridge Street, between Gordon and Saunders streets constitute a still-handsome, although altered collection of Italianate and Queen Anne houses that were built during the last three decades of the nineteenth century. Further to the west at 581 Cambridge Street is a c. late 1870s T-shaped Italianate house that rises 2.5 stories from a rubble stone basement to an intersecting gable roof with attic windows whose pointed arches nod to the Gothic Revival style. Located to the right of the one-bay, street-facing gable is an open entrance porch with chamfered posts which rise from railings with crossed slats. Additional Stick Style treatments include the porch's diagonal bracing and board of the shed roof's profile. These porch treatments suggest that prior to the application of vinyl siding, the entire house may have exhibited a Stick Style as well as Italianate sensibility. Its walls may have been covered with an overlay of vertical and horizontal boards. The possibility remains that the original surface treatments are encased within the synthetic covering of recent years. The main entrance is situated on the short south wall of the house's rear rectangular segment. Square, hip-roofed bays project from the street-facing and east gables. Projecting from the west wall is a one-story ell that appears to be a later addition.

Similarly, the south side of Cambridge Street, between Imrie Road and Eleanor Street represent a progression of noteworthy late 19th century residences. These residences tend to possess siting more varied, volumes more commodious, roof configurations more complex and historic fabric more intact than that of housing on the north side of this thoroughfare. Particularly noteworthy is the siting and design of the 1890s Queen Anne residences at 590 to 596 Cambridge Street. These houses were designed by Allston architect and builder Robert F. Miller in 1895.

Particularly memorable are the full blown Queen Anne residences at 2 and 8 Cambridge Terrace. Possessing an irregular plan, the wood shingle-sheathed 2 Cambridge Terrace rises 2.5 stories from a ledge stone basement to an intersecting gable roof. Its 2-bay main facade exhibits a pedimented, half-length front porch with Tuscan columns enframed by a broad segmental arch. To the left of the porch is a polygonal bay topped by a Colonial Revival slat work railing. Extending from the facade gable's attic is a polygonal oriel. In general, widows retain original 1/1 wood sash.

Blending Queen Anne and Colonial Revival elements, 8 Cambridge Terrace is a compact, rectangular residence encircled by a pedimented, Tuscan columned verandah with slat work railings. A Palladian window is located above the main entrance of this 2.5 story structure. Enclosed by a steeply pitched roof, the main elevation's roof slope displays double, twin gable roofed dormers.

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