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9/18/2018 2:09:48 PM
9/18/2018 2:09:47 PM
Property - StreetNumber
John Wilson Lane
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BUILDING FORM <br /> ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION ❑ see continuation sheet <br /> Describe architectural features. Evaluate the characteristics of this building in terms of other buildings within the community. <br /> 1 John Wilson Ln. is the only Greek Revival cottage in Lexington that is still surrounded by its original farmland. The house <br /> (MHC#638) is rectangular with a side ell, 1'/2 stories,three-by-four bays,and has a steeply-pitched front-gabled roof with two <br /> side chimneys. The ell is three bays long and has a similarly-pitched side-gabled roof. The house is set on a granite foundation, <br /> clad with wood clapboards, and roofed with asphalt shingles. On the west elevation of the ell, a three-bay addition on a granite <br /> foundation with a center gable on the south side and front gable on the north connects it to the barn. At the rear of this addition a <br /> side-gabled connector attaches a one-car gabled garage on a concrete foundation The barn(MHC#639), which faces west, is 2'/i <br /> stories, three-by-six bays, and front-gabled. The main entry, on the facade of the original house, is flanked by full-length <br /> sidelights; windows are 2/2 double hung sash. In addition to the sidelights, Greek Revival on the main block include a full <br /> entablature on the east elevation, paneled cornerboards, a full-width porch with fluted columns across the facade,and gabled <br /> dormers on the east slope of the roof and south slope of the ell roof. The interior has surprisingly elegant finishes for a vernacular <br /> farmhouse: a gracefully curving front stairway, pedimented window surrounds on the first floor with paneling that echoes that of <br /> the comerboards, and simpler pedimented window surrounds on the second. New finishes on the barn include double glass doors <br /> with transom lights in the facade and a small stained glass window in the gable pediment. The shed north of the house is <br /> rectangular, 1'/i stories,two-by-one bays with a steeply pitched front-gabled roof, it is clad with wood clapboards and on concrete <br /> posts. <br /> HISTORICAL NARRATIVE ®see continuation sheet <br /> Discuss the history of the building. Explain its associations with local(or state) history. Include uses of the building, and the <br /> role(s) the owners/occupants played within the community. <br /> Lexington assessors' records indicate that this house was built in 1846 by William Gleason (1805-1881),who in 1840 had <br /> purchased the I I-acre farm on which it is located from Stephen Robbins (1758-1847). Robbins had established a fur dressing <br /> industry in East Lexington in the early 19th century,thus contributing to the development of East Lexington as an early craft <br /> village, and passed the business on to his son Eli (1786-1856). In 1835 the latter built a three-story observation tower on Mt. <br /> Independence just northwest of what became the Gleason farm. It was said that one could see in all directions from this tower <br /> including, strange as it now seems, as far as Boston Harbor! Eli Robbins reportedly also built at least one road"at great expense" <br /> to the top of Mt. Independence and connected the two driveways to the summit with a walk an eighth of a mile long. The road was <br /> probably present Bridle Path Ln.,which once was part of a loop that went up the hill from Pleasant St. and down what is now <br /> Gibson St. to Massachusetts Ave. Robbins may also have built today's Fern St. The walk connecting the two roads to the <br /> summit still exists between two stone walls just west of the lot on which this house is located. In appreciation for Robbins' <br /> improvements to Mt. Independence,the East Villagers staged a Fourth of July celebration near the observatory, erecting a 200- <br /> foot long tent over a dance floor where dancing went on for three successive evenings. The observatory was also the site of a fair <br /> held in August 1839 to raise money for the completion of Follen Church. Again a tent was erected and the event went on for <br /> several days, featuring a supper for a dollar a plate, sale of ice cream and candies, rides to the Arlington line and back, and an <br /> auction. <br /> BIBLIOGRAPHY and/or REFERENCES ®see continuation sheet <br /> Bryant, Albert W. "Lexington Sixty Years Ago." Proceedings of Lexington Historical Society 2 (1900): 36-37. <br /> Clippings book. "Mt. Independence." Scrapbook of late 1940s—early 1950s clippings from Lexington Minute-man. In <br /> possession of Nancy S. Seasholes, Lexington, Mass. <br /> Frederica Cushman, personal communication 1998. <br /> ❑ Recommended for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. If checked,you must attach a completed National <br /> Register Criteria Statement form. <br />
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