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Brackett & Co.
See the research note below
(On Permit Date):
H. & Isabelle C. Brown
house built on Weybridge Road as part of the Blake Park development,
this house is one of two Blake Park houses designed by Leroy G.
Brackett. The other, 33 Somerset Road, is attributed to him and
this one to his firm, the L.G. Brackett Co. See the research
note below for more on Brackett.
Dunlavy, who built 25 Blake Park houses in conjunction with architect
Royal Barry Wills, was listed as the owner on the building permit
for this house, although he was not listed as the builder.
residents of this house were Edmund and Isabelle Brown. Edmund Holmes
Brown (1883-1979) was a musician in a theater orchestra. His wife
Isabella (born c1880) had no occupation listed in the Street List,
but was shown as proprietor of a tea room in the 1930 U.S. Census.
The Browns had been married shortly before moving to this house.
It was the second marriage for Isabella.
were listed at this address from 1927 to 1930. Daniel M. Webster,
an accountant, was listed with them the first two years. Osborne
H. Snow, Isabella Brown's son from her first marriage, was listed
with them in 1929 and 1930. He worked in a wholesale hardware business.
U.S. Census listed the residents as: Edmund H. Brown, 46, musician,
(theater orchestra); Isabelle Brown, 50 (wife), proprietor (tea
room); and Osborne H. Snow, 29 (step-son), cost man (wholesale hardware).
The house was valued at $28,000.
residents were Henry F. (Harry) and Madelaine Hamilton. Harry Hamilton
was a dentist, born in Maine c1856. Madelaine (1887-1970) was his
second wife. They had a son, Benjamin Fisher Hamilton (1917-2004),
who attended the Dexter School and Phillips Exeter Academy and earned
a degree in industrial engineering at Yale. The Hamiltons were listed
at this address from 1931 to 1933.
the Hamiltons here were Howard C. and Alice H. Rand. Howard Cheever
Rand (born 1875 in New Hampshire) was a banker/investment broker.
(In the 1944 Street List, when the Rands lived on Tappan Street,
he was shown as a partner with Proctor & Cook.) He and his wife
Alice (born in Maine c1880) were listed at this address from 1934
residents were Harold K. and Evelyn F. Gross who moved here from
Newton. Harold K. Gross (1899-1992) was an executive at Filene's
department store. He graduated from Harvard and from the Harvard
Business School and joined Filene's in 1922 as to assistant to Louis
Kirstein, the store's general manager. Gross was later promoted
to promoted to merchandise manager for all ready-to-wear clothes
for women, according to his obituary in the Boston Globe.
the French shops at Filene's and introduced the designs of Christian
Dior, Yves St. Laurent, Emilio Pucci and others to the store. After
retiring from Filene's in 1957, Gross was a principal of the Botany
Corp. of New York, a consulting and investment firm.
and his wife Evelyn (1908-2004) were listed at this address from
1938 until the late 1960s.
Little Note About Missteps
In the Thickets of Historical Research
earlier list of the houses of Blake Park and their architects,
compiled for the Brookline preservation office from index
card files in the building department, attributed the design
of 33 Someret Road to Lucy Brackett and of 31 Weybridge
Road to the L.G. Brackett Co., which I assumed to be the
seemed unusual for the 1920s when there were few women practicing
architecture. But when I visited the Building Department,
there it was: Lucy Brackett typed on the index card and
Lucy G. Brackett written by hand on the building permit.
information about Lucy Brackett remained elusive, however,
and it remained one of the more intriguing mysteries of
L.G. Brackett & Co. listed in Boston directories in
the 1930s and 1940s, but no information about any individual.
I also found an L.G. Brackett Co. in Winchester today, a
provider of building and land surveying services, but the
current owners had no connection to or knowledge of the
original L.G. Brackett.
after several fruitless attempts to find any trace of Lucy
Brackett, I saw a listing for L.G. Brackett & Co. at
88 Tremont Street in a 1947 Boston directory, later than
any I had seen before. It also indicated that L.G. Brackett
lived in Lexington. That led me to a 1942 Lexington directory
that listed a Leroy G. Brackett, civil engineer.
Could Lucy have actually been Leroy, misread on the handwritten
building permit when the information was transferred to
the typewritten index card? And misread again by me, seeing
what I expected to see?
went back for another look and, sure enough, the name on
the permit was Leroy. The loop on the e
was tight enough so that it might have been mistaken, in
combination with the r, for
a u. And maybe a quick glance
would have seen the o as a
c. But Lucy was definitely
signature below is not from the building permit, but from
Leroy Brackett's World War I draft registration card [obtained
via Ancestry.com]. You can see how the same mistake could
have been made reading the signature here.)
Mystery solved. Intrigue over. The only woman to design
houses in Blake Park was not a woman after all.