Silver Hill Historic District

The Silver Hill Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 2004, includes the following properties:
  • 173, 181, 185, 189, 193, 194, 198, 204, 213, 217, 221, 222, 226, 227, 230, 231, 235, 240, 242, 245, 246, 251, 254, 255, 260, 261, 268, 269, and 271 Merriam Street
  • 4, 5, 11, 14, 17, 19, 22, 24, 27, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 44, 49, 54, 55, 56, 61, 67, 70, and 71 Silver Hill Road
  • 12, 14, and 18 Westland Road
More Information
For the full text of the 2004 nomination form, including data sheets and photographs, see the Silver Hill Historic District Form.
40 Silver Hill Road
The Silver Hill Historic District is a residential neighborhood located in the northwest corner of the town of Weston, a Boston suburb. The district of approximately 54 acres includes part of Merriam Street, a scenic country road dating back to the early settlement of the town, as well as Silver Hill Road and part of Westland Road, which were laid out in 1905 as part of Weston’s first large-scale subdivision. Many of the houses on Merriam Street date from the 1890s and first years of the 20th century, while houses on Silver Hill and Westland Roads date primarily between 1905 and 1941. The oldest house in the district was built in 1892 and the most recent in 2002, with the majority from the early 20th century.

The district contains a total of 80 resources: 79 buildings and one railroad bridge. Sixty-six are contributing and 14 are non-contributing buildings constructed after 1954. Of the 65 contributing buildings, 24 are barns, garages, or other outbuildings, and the rest are residences. The one- and two-story houses range in size from about 1,000 to 4,500 square feet. Lot sizes range from two-thirds of an acre to about 21/2 acres.

Silver Hill is one of only a few turn-of-the-century neighborhoods in Weston and contains the type of solidly constructed, middle-class Queen Anne and Colonial Revival houses that are typical in other Boston suburbs but not common in Weston.

Almost all the houses are of wood frame construction with shingle or clapboard sheathing. Many are set on high fieldstone foundations and have generous front porches. Silver Hill Road has a cohesiveness created by harmonies of scale, style, and massing. Houses generally share a common setback line, adding to the visual unity of a neighborhood. Visual interest is enhanced by the varied topography, with many houses set on slight rises.

Stone walls and stone retaining walls add landscape interest, as do the mature trees and shrubs. Common house types include the 21/2 story gable-front house built using either Queen Anne or Colonial Revival detailing on the porch, as well as the early 20th century “Four Square,” the traditional five-bay Colonial Revival, and a myriad of simple 11/2-story cottages. As is typical of Weston, most houses within the Silver Hill Historic District have limited architectural embellishment.

Earliest Houses
The earliest houses in the Silver Hill Historic District are located on Merriam Street and include the Roland Rand House at 227 Merriam St.(1892, MHC #226, Map #37; barn: MHC #227), the Waldo C. Hill House at 231 Merriam Street (1896, MHC# 601, Map #38), the Albert Harding House at 222 Merriam Street (1900, MHC #606, Map #53) and 181 Merriam Street (ca.1902, MHC #600, Map #30, Photo #8). All four are 21/2 story, gable-front Queen Anne houses with porches across the front. The Hill House has been altered by the addition of aluminum or vinyl siding and by screening the front porch, but retains its form and massing.

227 & 181 Merriam
Both 227 and 181 Merriam have typical Queen Anne features like patterned shingles in the gable and turned porch posts with decorative brackets. 181 Merriam Street is important because the house visually marks the entrance into the Silver Hill Historic District from the south.
Frank & Carrie Brooks House
In 1900-1901, three substantial houses were added on the east side of Merriam Street, all built by members of the same family. The Frank and Carrie Brooks House at 245 Merriam St.(1901, MHC #602, Map #40) is a 3 x 2 bay, 21/2 story Colonial Revival with a hipped roof and prominent one-story center entrance porch. The square massing of the house is broken by a two-story polygonal bay in the center of the front facade. The house underwent a complete renovation in 2008 and now has wood clapboard siding.
245 Merriam Street
Charles Peakes' House
Just north of Brooks’ house, his brother-in-law, Charles Peakes, and sister Mabel built the clapboard house at 255 Merriam Street (1901, MHC #228, Map #41, Photo #3. Barn, MHC# 229). This is also a 2 x 3 bay, 21/2 story Colonial Revival with a wraparound porch and simple classical detailing including a Palladian window in the gable.

Arvilla Stickney's House
Next door is a house built for Brooks’ widowed mother, Arvilla Stickney, at 261 Merriam St. (1901, MHC #603, Map #42, Photo #3). The corner polygonal tower and polygonal cap on this 21/2 story shingled house make it more elaborate than other Queen Anne examples in the district. The house is set with its gable end to the street and features a pedimented entrance porch with turned and chamfered porch posts and a simple railing.
Development of West Side of Merriam
In 1905, the Weston Land Association began developing the west side of Merriam Street. Silver Hill and Westland Roads were laid out with 89 lots ranging in size from about 1/2 acre to over one acre, some of which were set up to sell as double lots.

Winslow & Alice Washburn's House
One of the first houses, built for Winslow and Alice Washburn at 198 Merriam Street (1905, MHC #598, Map #27, Photo #4) stands at a prominent corner at the entrance into the subdivision. The shingled “Four Square” has a hip roof and generous wraparound porch across the front and north side. The house sits on a high fieldstone foundation with arched openings at the basement level enclosed with semicircular lattice panels. The fieldstone is built up above the level of the first floor, forming a porch enclosure that substitutes for a railing. Simple porch columns are grouped in pairs. The house has bay windows and also large central hip-roofed dormers with paired windows, facing to the front and north side.
198 Merriam Street
Edmund & Cora McKenney's House
Four years later, almost the exact same house-also designed by George Strout- was built for Edmund and Cora McKenney, at 40 Silver Hill Road on the corner of Westland Road (1909, MHC #594, Map #20, Photo #1). The Washburn house also bears a distinct stylistic similarity to the 11/2 story Frank and Margaret Whelpley House at 4 Silver Hill Road (1912, MHC #591, Map #14), also thought to have been designed by Strout. Like the Washburn and McKenney houses, 4 Silver Hill Road has a high fieldstone foundation with arched openings filled with semicircular lattice. The fieldstone foundation here accommodates a change in grade, as the house is set on a rise. The front porch is supported with simple wooden columns on stone posts, with railings between the posts. Like the Washburn and McKenney houses, 4 Silver Hill Road features bay windows as well as hip-roofed dormers on the front and side facades.

44 Silver Hill Road
Another of the substantial early houses in the Silver Hill neighborhood is 44 Silver Hill Road (1906, MHC #595, Map #21, Photo #1), a prominently located corner house. The house was built as a two-family, with the second living unit on the second floor. It is clapboard, with 3 x 5 bays, a cross gable roof, and an irregular fenestration pattern. The front facade facing Silver Hill Road features a two-story bay at left, a one-story, flat-roofed entrance porch, wide overhanging eaves with show rafters, a pent eve between the second and attic stories, and a sunburst pattern at the peak of the gable.
Walter Reed House
Grouped around this corner and along the south end of Silver Hill Road is a collection of early 20th century houses that together give the neighborhood its special sense of place. Like those mentioned above, all were built within the first decade after the land was subdivided. On the east side of the road, the Walter Reed House at 31 Silver Hill Road (1910, MHC #590, Map #8, Photo # 5) is a 2 x 2 bay gambrel-roofed Colonial Revival, which features a front-facing gambrel wall gable and a wraparound porch with square posts and simple curved brackets.

Frank & Grace Carr House
The Frank and Grace Carr House at 37 Silver Hill Road (1909, MHC #589, Map #7, Photo # 6) is a 11/2 story, 2 x 3 bay early 20th century example with a front-facing gable and screened-in porch across the front.
37 Silver Hill Road
Henry & Amy Lawrence House
The Henry and Amy Lawrence House at 49 Silver Hill Road (1911, MHC #587, Map #5, Photo # 7) is another of the neighborhood’s gable-front houses, this one with Colonial Revival detailing. The front facade has a hip-roofed entrance porch and bay window. There are lintels over the windows on the second and third floors and dentils at the roofline. The garage, which appears contemporary with the house, is 11/2 stories with a large vehicle opening, elliptical fanlight window above, jerkinhead gable, and horse weather vane (MHC #588).
Westside Houses
  • On the west side of the street, the Almon and Arabella Wright House at 24 Silver Hill Road (1906, MHC #230, Map #17) is a late Queen Anne cottage with porch.
  • The William Frank Tucker House at 28 Silver Hill Road (1906, MHC #593, Map #18) is a straightforward 3-bay Colonial Revival sited on a hill.
  • The Edward Parkhurst House at 14 Silver Hill Road (1907, Map #15, MHC #592), now being restored, features a notable shingle-style porch.
  •  The Percy and Ethel Rand House at 12 Westland Road (1911, MHC #597, Map #26) is a solidly built Colonial Revival with central entrance porch, paired columns, and a turned railing and balustrade.
14 Silver Hill Road
Ruby Howard House
Of the early 20th century houses, the only brick example is the Ruby Howard House at 204 Merriam Street (1911, MHC #607, Map #54). This brick Colonial Revival on a corner site atop a wooded hill features an enclosed, brick-pedimented entrance vestibule, side sun porch, and shingled dormers.
Colonial Revival Examples
Also notable within the district are two handsome Colonial Revival examples built across from each other in 1917 and 1920. Both are traditional 5 x 2 bay, 21/2 story examples with the gable end to the side.

Howard & Flora Stone House
The Howard and Flora Stone House at 55 Silver Hill Road (1917, MHC # 586, Map #4) is notable for its doorway with elliptical fanlight, pedimented portico with paired columns, and side sun porch with high fieldstone foundation. The charming fieldstone garage, designed with the gambrel roof facing the street, was added about 1922.
54 Silver Hill Road
Henry & Mabel Grimwood House
Across the street, the Henry and Mabel Grimwood House at 54 Silver Hill Road (1920, MHC #596, Map #22) is also a traditional five-bay Colonial Revival house with a one-story porch on each gable end, one screened and one with glass windows.

Merriam Street Houses
A discussion of the architecture in the Silver Hill district would not be complete without noting the prevalence of small, 1 1/2 story houses located both on Merriam Street and occasionally within the subdivision. Of these the most architecturally detailed is the Dutch Colonial cottage at 230 Merriam Street (ca.1926, MHC #605, Map #51), with its hood over the center entrance door, supported on heavy brackets. The shingled cottage built for Frederick and Martha Kenyon at 254 Merriam Street (1911, MHC #604, Map 47) is set on the high promontory reached by fieldstone steps and features wide overhanging eaves with braces, a front screened porch, and 15/1 sash. Other 11/2 story cottages include 185, 217, 230, 235, 242, 246, 268, 269, and 271 Merriam Street and 37, 56 and 67 Silver Hill Road.

In recent years, many houses within the district have been renovated and expanded, generally in ways sensitive to the original. Attractive new Shingle Style houses have been built at 43 Silver Hill Road (Map #6) in 1996 and 22 Silver Hill Road (Map #16) in 1999. Both these houses occupy the unused part of what were formerly double lots, eliminating some open space but not replacing original structures. A well-proportioned gable-front Queen Anne Revival was constructed at 213 Merriam Street (Map #34) in 2001, replacing a late 19th century house that had not been well maintained. Preservation efforts and the use of historical styles for new construction have helped to keep the integrity of the district strong overall.
Weston Land Association Silver Hill Map