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Cleveland Circle Architecture

The Cleveland Circle-Englewood area is noteworthy for its stylish and substantial collection of single family Queen Anne, Shingle and Colonial Revival residences. Commonwealth Avenue, between Chiswick Road and Chestnut Hill Avenue, is lined with architecturally significant Classical and Georgian Revival apartment buildings. Together with their relatively ample front lawns, these buildings constitute one of the most memorable segments of this boulevard.

For the purposes of this survey, the Cleveland Circle/Englewood Area is bordered on three sides by major traffic arteries: Beacon Street and Cleveland Circle on the south, Chestnut Hill Avenue on the west, Commonwealth Avenue on the north. The northeastern border is formed by Chiswick Road, Selkirk (western segment) and Strathmore roads. This area represents the extreme southeast corner of Brighton, bordering the Brookline town line. Its street pattern is considerably less complex and its terrain not as rugged as that of the adjacent Aberdeen area to the north/northeast. Architecturally significant streetscapes include Commonwealth Avenue between Chiswick Road and Chestnut Hill Avenue. This segment of the avenue is dominated primarily by large apartment buildings with relatively generous set backs from the curb and great expanses of 3-5 story masonry facades, both flat and undulating, with polygonal bays overlooking hedge bordered front yards. The interior of this area is characterized by an eclectic mix of apartment buildings and Queen Anne, Shingle Style and Colonial Revival single family residences that survive to provide a glimpse of this area's more suburban, late 19th century appearance. At the center of this area's street system is the great X-shaped configuration formed by the intersection of Englewood Avenue and Strathmore Road.

Cleveland Circle Clock

The north side of Cleveland Circle is distinguished by the "place making" building at 1962-2002 Beacon Street. Designed in the Classical Revival and Georgian Revival styles, this large cast stone and tan brick building dominates the Sutherland Road/Beacon Street/Chestnut Hill comer at Cleveland Circle. This 6 story building stands apart from neighboring structures by virtue of its height which exceeds the neighborhood standard of 3-stories. The great expanse of its walls is relieved by square and polygonal bays. The monumental Doric columns of its Chestnut Hill Avenue entrances contribute to this building's striking appearance.

Although altered by the addition of modern storefronts, the bowed three story facades of the yellow brick apartment buildings at 1914-1960 Beacon Street, also add interest to the northeastern side of Cleveland Circle. These apartments stretch from Ayr Road to Cleveland Circle and extend around the comer to include 1-7 Sutherland Road.

The section of this area east of Sutherland Road and north of Beacon Street is characterized by a diverse collection of substantial, turn-of-the-century single family residences as well as apartments dating from c. 1910 to 1950. The southern leg of Strathmore Road, between Englewood Avenue and Beacon Street is lined with apartment buildings characterized by a variety of forms and historic architectural styles. For example, 39-47 Strathmore Road, is a group of five, three story, bow front apartments. Built to house three families, these residences have the scale and overall appearance of an elegant row of Georgian Revival single family row houses. The sinuous lines of this group's bow fronts is continued around the corner by the red brick Georgian Revival apartments at 48-50 Englewood Avenue. Composed of contiguous rectangular and L shaped, three story forms, these buildings are prominently sited at the southeast corner of Strathmore Road and Englewood Avenue. The broad, bowed wall of this corner, memorably addresses the Englewood/Strathmore roads intersection. Combining elements of the Tudor and Georgian Revival styles, its Englewood Avenue wall features paired entrances which are flanked by Ionic pilasters. Above the entrances are a pair of recessed two story porches. The top floor porches are recessed within segmental headed arches. 48-50 Englewood Avenue's flat roof is encircled by a low parapet ornamented by cast stone panels and arched segments.

Across the street at 48-52 Strathmore Road are the Art Deco Strathmore Court Apartments. This U-shaped, tan brick building has a T-shaped court yard which opens on to Strathmore Road. Particularly noteworthy is the cast stone Art Deco ornament of its entrance facades which consists of stepped and fluted piers. The upper stories of the four bay entrance facades feature brick piers which separate windows with apron panels containing recessed diamond shaped ornamental detail. Flanking the entrance bays are open porches with ornamental iron railings.

Strathmore Road, northwest of Englewood Avenue, is almost completely lined with substantial apartment buildings. Particularly noteworthy is the Art Moderne apartment building at 65 Strathmore Road. Its 4 bay entrance wall is flanked by projecting wings. These wings are stepped and partially shelter a landscaped , open court yard. The salient features of this H-shaped building, and indeed the Art Moderne style include planar red brick surfaces which are pierced by large casement windows . Ornament is limited to simple, narrow, bar window sills, which in the case of corner casements, project beyond the intersection of the window planes. This building celebrates clean lines, planar masonry wall surfaces and windows that nod to an industrial aesthetic.

58 Englewood Avenue, another product of 1890s construction in this area, is a symmetrical, three bay, double pile Georgian Revival residence. Its substantial clapboard sheathed main facade features a center pavilion with Tuscan columned front porch , second floor Palladian window and pedimented gable containing an oval window. Flanking the center pavilion, on the first and second floors, are 8/1 wood sash windows exhibiting raised moldings. Culminating in a denticulated cornice, this house is enclosed by a gable roof.

In this area, isolated examples of single family houses are located on streets dominated by large apartment houses. Situated on a wooded lot, the Shingle Style, c. 1890 105 Strathmore Road, is the only single family house on Strathmore Road between Commonwealth Avenue and Chiswick Road. Built for Horace J. Phipps of Phipps, Slocum Company, makers of stained and leaded glass, this 2.5 story house possesses a towered, rectangular form. Capped by a conical roof, the tower's first floor porch is enclosed by multi pane windows flanked by Tuscan columns that rise from a high rubble stone porch railing. This wood shingle sheathed house rises from a moderately high rubble stone basement to a low pitched gable roof.

Similarly, l860 Commonwealth Avenue is the sole, single family residence between Chiswick Road and Chestnut Hill Avenue. This hip roofed 2.5 story stucco covered house measures 2 bays in width and is three bays deep. Projecting from its main facade is a full length front porch with stocky, square columns. Providing a fine introduction to the collection of single family houses lining Braemore Road, its lot is enclosed by a low wall composed of random ashlar granite and mortar.

Commonwealth Avenue, between Chiswick Road and Chestnut Hill Avenue, is the segment of this boulevard that most closely approximates Olmsted's vision of narrow, wooded parks lining a meandering thoroughfare. The ample front yards of apartments bordering Commonwealth Avenue are enclosed by hedges and shaded by trees. Built during the 1920s, 1810-1820 Commonwealth Avenue is a Y shaped, 6 story red brick and cast stone structure. The landscaped, deeply recessed court yard opens on to Commonwealth Avenue. Blending elements of the Renaissance and Georgian Revival styles, its first and second floors are faced with rusticated cast stone while its upper floors are constructed of red brick. Rising from the second floor, pairs of monumental Corinthian pilasters flank the end bays of its 5 bay main facades and terminate at denticulated frieze boards. Each of its three main entrances exhibit are set within tall arches. Its front doors open on to shallow porches flanked by monumental, paired and fluted Corinthian columns. Encircling the flat roof is a low brick parapet ornamented by rectangular cast stone panels. Cast stone urns surmount the parapet.

Possessing a V shaped form, 1848-1850 Commonwealth Avenue is a 5 story apartment house constructed of dark red brick with Georgian Revival cast stone ornamentation. The main entrances of the principal facade are located at the center of 4 bay facade's flanking a recessed 6 bay facade. The entrances are set within 3 bay, 2 story cast stone segments. Each of the front doors are flanked by slender, engaged Corinthian columns and are surmounted by broken scroll pediments. Flanking the three windows above each entrance are paired, monumental, Doric pilasters surmounted by a molded and denticulated entablatures. Rising from each end of the entablatures' cornices are free standing urns. Enlivening broad expanses of brick work are cast stone elements such as corner quoins and the key stones of soldier brick lintels.

Before continuing westward on Commonwealth Avenue, brief mention should be made of the Art Deco apartment building around the corner from 1848 to 1850 Commonwealth Avenue at 114 Strathmore Road. The Art Deco style, popular in New York, Chicago, Miami and other American cities from the mid 1920s until well into the 1940s was never an architectural mode taken to heart by conservative Boston architects. Although exceptional examples of this style do exist in Boston, such as the well-designed United Shoe Building at High and Federal streets, Art Deco buildings are mostly few and far between. The Art Deco style relies heavily on stream lined elements and stylized geometric motifs derived from ancient Greek, Roman and Mayan architecture. Scattered about the apartment enclaves bordering Commonwealth Avenue, in Allston-Brighton, are apartment facade's ornamented in this style. Essentially rectangular in form, 114 Strathmore Road's main facade is divided into four bays by cast stone piers whose light gray color contrasts with the more extensive dark red brick wall surfaces. The segments of the piers at the first floor are set off by fluted pilasters which culminate in arched and stepped ornamentation. Above the center entrance is a central panel containing floral motifs and flanking panels containing arrow like motifs. Situated beneath the tripartite windows of the two center bays are tapestry brick apron panels.

9 Braemore Road is a fine example of an early 20th century Georgian Revival apartment house. Measuring 4 bays in width with a depth of eight bays, its main facade features a two-bay planar entrance facade flanked by two bay bow fronts. Constructed of red brick, this building rises 3.5 stories from a rock faced, rusticated basement to a flat roof exhibiting a denticulated, modillion block cornice. The center entrance is reached by a flight of granite steps with low granite shoulder railings. The original double doors are surmounted by a transom and enframed by a pedimented entablature ornamented with triglyphs and gutae. In general, the granite trimmed windows contain original 1/1 wood sash.

Muting the claustrophobic effect that often accompany walls of tall masonry apartment facades on a streetscape are generous set backs from Commonwealth Avenue at 1866-1880 Commonwealth Avenue. Overlooking ample, hedge bordered lawns, this group of five contiguous,T-shape, five story structures is constructed of yellow brick with gray, granite trimmings. The main facade exhibits elements of the Renaissance Revival and Georgian Revival styles. The rear walls of these buildings are characterized by a progression of long rectangular court yards. With the exception of the bowed wall at the corner of Braemore Road and Commonwealth Avenue, the main facades of this group form a rhythmic repetition of polygonal bays and high stooped entrances which are sheltered by distinctive segmental arched cast stone hoods which are supported by pairs of Doric columns. In general windows contain 6/1 wood sash and are surmounted by splaid, key stone granite lintels. These buildings culminate in deep, bracketed cast metal cornices.

The segment of Chestnut Hill Avenue between Commonwealth Avenue and Cleveland Circle has little in the way of of historic architectural fabric. Here, a gas station, parking area and non descript, modern one story commercial concerns overlook Chestnut Hill Park across the street.

West of Sutherland Road, 126 Englewood Avenue is another survivor from the earliest wave of this area's development. Built for and by Francis F. Morton, "contractor for buildings of every kind", this c. 1890s house is a boxy, rectangular, three bay double pile wooden residence which is rendered in the Colonial, or more specifically, Georgian Revival style. Although its main facade has been altered by a later projecting and enclosed entrance porch, it retains its flanking cornice headed windows, east polygonal first floor bay, narrow corner boards and a denticulated frieze board at the eaves which is flush with the tops of the second floor windows.

Returning to Englewood Avenue, east of Sutherland Road is a house that approaches mansion scale. Built in 1892, 77 Englewood Avenue presently houses Congregation Chai Odom. Architecturally, it represents an unusual hybrid of the Queen Anne, Georgian Revival and Chateauesque styles. Constructed of orange brick, its front porch's roof is carried across a driveway as a porte cochere. Situated at its south east comer is a towered component which culminates in a corbelled cornice and conical roof cap with its three narrow gable roof dormers intact. The east wall originally overlooked a triangular side yard which has been mostly obliterated for the purposes of parking. The east wall exhibits this building's main alteration: a one story, window less, solid concrete addition which runs from the towered component to a square bay at the northeast corner. Projecting from the square bay is a one story octagonal bay. This building's massive chateauesque hip roof with its narrow gable roof dormers is a particularly memorable feature of this residential structure which has been converted for use as a house of worship.

Braemore Road, running one block between Commonwealth Avenue and Chiswick Road, retains the appearance of an early 20th century suburban way lined with single family residences of considerable style and substance. Providing a fine introduction to the Braemore Road's fine collection of turn of the century homes is 14 Chiswick Road. Although covered with vinyl siding, this Queen Anne house retains integrity of siting, form and elements. Possessing a three bay, double pile rectangular form which is enclosed by a gable roof, this house is particularly noteworthy for its first floor's rugged, rubble stone materials. The entrance to the front porch is memorably set off by a rubble stone arch. Built for dentist William H. Potter by 1899, 19 Braemore Road is a handsome three bay, double pile Georgian Revival residence. Rising two stories from a pudding stone basement to a gambrel roof, this clapboard clad house exhibits a center entrance porch whose square posts support a heavy entablature and flat roof with a modillion block cornice. Above the entrance is a Palladian window. On the first floor, large, fully enframed cornice headed windows flank the entrance bay while on the second floor the tops of the windows are flush with the entablature. In general, windows exhibit 1/1 wood sash. Its edges are accented by paneled Ionic pilasters. Ranged across the main facade's roof slope is a trio of dormers. The center, double dormer, is surmounted by a swans neck scroll pediment while the single, flanking dormers are enclosed by pedimented gables. The wood shingle clad Colonial Revival 15 Braemore Road stands with its broad gambrel profile facing the street. A substantial brick chimney rises from ground level, two stories and is enclosed within the overhanging attic gambrel. Entrance to this house is gained via an entrance located at the center of a one story enclosed porch projecting from the northeast wall, probably representing a later addition. In general, its walls are pierced by fully enframed, 6/6 double windows. Other single family residences on Braemore Road that survived early to mid 20th century apartment construction in the area include the brown shingle covered, yellow trimmed Colonial Revival house at 16 Braemore Road, now containing apartments and the boxy, rectangular stucco covered Craftsman style house at 20 Braemore Road.

Set out between 1896 and 1898, between Strathmore and Ayr roads, the north side of the street is built up with single family, yellow brick Queen Anne/Colonial Revival houses numbered 11 to 27 Orkney Road, while the south side is lined with several large apartment buildings, including 10-14 and 20-22 Orkney Road. Particularly noteworthy is the streetwall at 32 to 46 and 41-47 Orkney Road. On the north side of Orkney Road, the Classical/Georgian Revival 41-47 Orkney Road's 3 story polygonal bays and well detailed molded metal cornices provide an interesting contrast to the more sinuous bow front apartments at 32 to 36 Orkney Road across the street. The Georgian Revival apartments at 36-46 Orkney Street also exhibits the same exterior design as 1914-1930 Beacon Street, to the rear of the Orkney Road group.

The Cleveland Circle/Commonwealth Avenue area also contains substantial single family residences although not as extensive as those found in the Aberdeen area just to the northeast. Englewood Avenue, between Sutherland and Strathmore Road, is bordered by the earliest housing in the area. Built in 1886 from designs provided by C. R. Beal, 89 Englewood Avenue ranks among the oldest single family residences in this area. Possessing an irregular form, it is constructed of red brick with rock faced brown stone trimmings. Formally finished on all sides, its walls culminate in corbelled cornices. Enclosed by a slate shingled hip roof, single and double gable roof dormers rise from its slopes. Designed in the Queen Anne style, its main 2.5 story (Englewood Avenue) facade overlooks a 5 foot high brick terrace. The main facade exhibits a flat 2-bay segment containing the main entrance (altered by the installation of a modern glass and metal door) and a polygonal bay. The three bay Sutherland Road facade exhibits an off center square, one story bay.

84 Englewood Avenue across the street, is a fine example of the Spanish Colonial style. Constructed of stucco covered brick, its three bay main facade exhibit a full length porch with piers supporting segmental arches. On either side of the center entrance are projecting square bays containing tripartite windows on the first and second floors. The entrance bay rises three stories, achieving a tower like appearance. Typical of the Spanish Colonial style, eaves exhibit exposed rafters while the roofing material is red Mediterranean tiles.


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