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Foster Street Architecture

Surrounded by the southern edge of the Brighton Center residential area to the north, on two sides by areas of large apartment buildings bordering Chestnut Hill Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue to the east and south, respectively and the picturesque campus of St. John's Seminary to the west, the upper Foster Street area represents a patch work quilt of suburban residential subdivisions built between the World Wars. This area's subdivisions include Greycliff and Gerald Roads, Lane Park, Rose Garden Circle, and Radnor and Kirkwood Roads. A few houses bordering Foster Street predate 1915, including the c. 1860 Italianate Lane farmhouse at 249 Foster Street and two houses dating from the 1890s including the Queen Anne of one of the Rebecca Brown heirs at 280 Foster Street and the Colonial Revival Elizabeth G. Shephard house at 284 Foster Street.

The Lane Farm House at 249 Foster Street is an L-shaped Italianate farmhouse and is similar, in terms of form, massing and elements to the c. 1855 house of Malcolm Chandler at 70 Lake Street. It is composed of a 2-story, three bay, double pile main block with a long, narrow, 2-story rear ell; the main block and ell are both enclosed by gable roofs. Its main block's edges are accented by narrow corner boards. At the center of its main facade is a projecting front porch with chamfered posts, narrow entablature and low-hipped roof. Although sheathed in vinyl siding, this house retains enough original form and elements to be recognizable as one of the oldest buildings in southwestern Brighton. During the late 1920s, this house was moved slightly to the southeast and tilted in that direction to accommodate the Lane Park residential development, becoming a flagship house for the fledgling enclave that consisted of a circular road with an island of homes at the center of the development.

The 16 houses of the 1920s and '30s Lane Park development are situated close to the street facing short lawns. 52-64 Lane Park are representative of the housing in this enclave. 52 and 56 Lane Park are boxy, rectangular wooden residences, which stand with their gambrel profiles facing the street. Measuring two bays in width, with a depth of three bays, these houses may be categorized within the Colonial Revival style. 60 and 64 Foster Street are L-shaped brick dwellings, which are five bays wide and three bays deep and are enclosed by hip roofs. Small, enclosed and off center entrance porches project from these facades. Evidently most of these houses were built by Malden contractor Carl Olson from designs provided by Boston architect Frederick H. Gowing.

Developed in 1928, the Rose Garden Circle development encompasses five duplexes bordering a cul de sac comprised of a short street and landscaped rotary. The houses on the south side of the circle at 9-11,15-17 and 19-21 Rose Garden Circle are solid examples of suburban middle class two- family houses built on the eve of the Great Depression. This enclave was developed by Brighton contractors Sheehy and O'Connor while the designs for these houses were the product of "private plans". 15-17 Rose Garden Circle is a charming Colonial Revival/Craftsman style residence that has been owned by the Burke family since the late 1920s. Rising from a ledge stone basement 2.5 stories to a hip roof, this house measures three bays in width with a depth of four bays. Projecting from its center entrance is a small, open, pedimented porch that is supported by Tuscan columns. In general, windows are fully enframed and contain 4/1 wood sash.

Two commodious 1890s Queen Anne houses border the east side of Foster Street between Kirkwood and Radnor roads. 278 Foster Street is a 2.5 story clapboard sheathed structure measuring four bays in width with a depth of five bays. Enclosed by a steeply pitched hip roof, its main facade features a full length front porch with paired Tuscan columns rising from paneled plinths and balusters turned in the Georgian Revival manner. The porch's roof supports a second floor porch that is enclosed by railings with turned balusters. Opening on to the front porch is an off-center main entrance with simple molded surrounds. To the right of the front door is a window with moldings contiguous to those of the front door. Above the front door, French doors open on to the second floor porch. Above the second floor windows is the roof's bracketed cornice. Rising from the center of the main facade's roof slope are a pair of small, single dormers enclosed by hip roofs.

284 Foster Street is a large, rectangular residence which rises 2.5-stories from a rubble stone basement to an intersecting gambrel roof. Built for Miss Elizabeth G. Shephard, this house was constructed by Roxbury contractor Neil McKinnon. Although covered with vinyl siding, this house retains integrity of siting, form and elements. Measuring five-bays in width with a depth of three-bays, broad gambrel profiles dominate the north and south walls of the house while a narrower, more steeply pitched gambrel rises from the center of the main elevation's second floor porch. The center entrance opens on to a front porch with paired Doric pilasters. Springing from the porch's posts and Doric pilasters are broad, segmental, key stone arches. The second floor porch is treated in an identical manner and is set back from the first floor porch's shed roof. Projecting from the center of the sidewalls are two-story polygonal bays. Particularly noteworthy is the stained glass of the fanlights atop tripartite windows flanking the main entrance and at the house's southeast corner.

The 1920s and '30s Kirkwood/Radnor Roads development is lined with and eclectic collection of single and two family houses constructed of brick and wood exhibiting characteristics of the Tapestry Brick, Craftsman, Tudor and Colonial Revival styles.

The boxy, redbrick, two story hip-roofed houses at 22, 26 and 30 Radnor Road bear striking similarities to the houses of the Hatherly-Portina development. Representing restrained rendition of the Georgian Revival style, these houses were built in 1939 by Watertown contractor James Livoli from plans provided by Boston architect John J. Mahoney.

The stucco-parged Colonial Revival residence at 30 Kirkwood Road was built in 1925. Built and designed by J. Scott Mc Learn of Ashford Street, Allston, this house's original owner was the Puritan Realty Company. Possessing an irregular form, this house is enclosed by broad, intersecting gables. Projecting from the southwest corner of its two-bay main facade is a small Tuscan columned entrance porch. Its four -bay sidewalls exhibit broad, overhanging, pedimented gables.

44-46 Kirkwood possesses a T-shaped form. This 2.5 story house is enclosed by an intersecting gable roof. Projecting from the center of the 5-bay main facade is a three bay by one bay component noteworthy for its extensive, half-timbered wall surfaces. A small and narrow enclosed entrance porch, which measures a single bay in width and depth, extends from the center of the half-timbered component. The main block's sidewalls are two bays deep with the rear ell extending an additional three bays.

Presiding over the bend in Kirkwood Road, at its intersection with Radnor Road, 58 Kirkwood Road rises to a height of 3.5 stories. Rectangu1ar in form, this brick structure is enclosed by a broad clipped gable roof covered with red terra cotta. Stylistically, this house seamlessly blends characteristics of the Tapestry Brick, Georgian and Colonial Revival stands. Measuring four-bays wide its sidewalls are four bays deep. A steep flight of brick stairs with high, solid and shouldered brick railings leads to the small entrance Tuscan columned entrance porch.

The 37 house of the Greycliff and Gerald Roads development were built between the mid 1920s and early 1940s. Representing the Georgian, Spanish Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles, many of these single family residences were constructed and designed by Henry J. Fitzgerald, the principal developer of this area. Varied in terms of form, massing, materials and elements, these houses are constructed of wood and brick.

Noteworthy examples of c. 1930 Henry J. Fitzgerald designed housing in this development include the charming Colonial Revival residences at 48 Greycliff Road and the twin-gabled 52 Greycliff Road. The boxy, 2-bay double pile rectangular form house at 48 Greycliff Road is enclosed by a steeply pitched roof. Clad with wood shingles, a small enclosed and pedimented entrance porch projects from the eastern section of the main elevation. 52 Greycliff Road is a rectangular, 2.5 story wood shingle clad residence with a main facade distinguished by a pair of broad and flared gables. This four-bay, double pile house exhibits a shallow center entrance with Tuscan columns supporting a gable roof with return eaves.

Striking decidedly Spanish Mission and Craftsman style notes is the stucco parged residence at 37 Gerald Road. Built between 1925-1935, this house is characterized by an irregular form and distinctive massing. Enclosed by an intersecting hip roof, its main facade is treated as a succession of three structural components. The main entrance is located on the main facade of the western most structural component and recessed within an enclosed porch with broad pointed arches on three sides containing infill window treatments.


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