Quincy, Mass. Historical and Architectural Survey

355 Highland Avenue

The Wollaston/Forbes Hill neighborhood of Quincy is bounded by the M.B.T.A. tracks (east), Furnace Brook Parkway (south), Adams Street (west) and Beale Street (north). In 1869 the Wollaston Land Associates purchased an initial 300 acres on and near the Wollaston Hills for the purpose of developing a status residential area. This was a portion of the tract allotted in 1636 by the Town of Boston to William Hutchinson, the husband of Mistress Anne Hutchinson. The development accelerated after George F. Pinkham, the business manager of the Associates, got the Old Colony Railroad to issue free passes good for three years to anyone purchasing a house lot from the land company. To quote H. Hobart Holly: "This emphasis on commuting was an important factor in setting the pattern for Wollaston and communities to the north as primarily residential rather than manufacturing areas."

Boston architects Cleveland & Godfrey were the designers of the $14,000 house at 355 Highland Avenue in 1913 for Frank Burgess, owner of the nearby Boston Gear Works, 14 Hayward Street, which he moved to Norfolk Downs from Boston in 1906. Number 355 Highland Avenue may have been one of the first of Cleveland & Godfrey's commissions in Quincy, but in 1917 they designed both the Francis W. Parker School, 148 Billings Road and the Daniel Webster School, Lancaster Street. The builder for the house was William Keller of Newton. The land on which Number 355 Highland is built was subdivided by 1876 and then owned from 1888 to 1907 by George Litchfield, a Boston realtor who lived nearby at 201 Warren Avenue.

Assessors Records.
Building Permit.
William Churchill Edwards. Historic Quincy, Massachusetts. 1957, p. 297.
H. Hobart Holly, ed. Quincy: 350 Years, 1974, p. 51.
D. Foster Taylor. "Wollaston As It Was In 1870's." (written in 1946). Quincy History, Quincy Historical Society, January 1985.

The "Prairie Bungalow" Style, a Cambridge Historical Commission label, describes residences built in the early 20th century which espouse elements from both the California based Bungalow Style and the Middle West based Prairie Style. Architects of both styles sought to escape from the historicism of the past and the emphasis on classicism; they were interested in building simpler and more functional houses which also relflected the climatic conditions of their respective areas. The California Bungalow is characterized by a low pitched gable roof with a shed dormer and covered veranda while the Prairie type house has a predominantly horizontal appearance which relates to the rolling prairies. Materials used include stucco, contrasted with dark wood trim, cobblestones for foundations and chimneys and wood left in its natural state.

It is interesting to note that there are two Prairie-Bungalow residences almost across the street from each other on Highland Avenue. This one was built first in 1913, while the other was constructed in 1925. The most picturesque and unusual components of this house are the front portico with the typical Craftsman type open rafters with shaped ends (see photograph), the red tile roof and the stuccoed walls. The elegant entrance is composed of two sets of sidelights and a plain entablature. The house rests on a typical Quincy granite foundation, has a compact massing and regular fenestration. It will be recommended that this fine property be included in the proposed Natiortal Register Wollaston Hill Historic District.