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Hooper-Lee-Nichols House

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1685–1689; 1717; c. 1760; 1916, Joseph Everett Chandler. 159 Brattle St.

Now the home of the Cambridge Historical Society and open for tours, the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House is one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge. The large fireplaces and low-ceilinged rooms of the west end reveal its First Period origins. The third floor and probably the corner quoins were added by Cornelius Waldo, a wealthy Boston merchant, between 1733 and 1742. Judge Joseph Lee acquired the property in 1758, and about 1760 added the rough cast on the west facade and probably the projecting entrance vestibule. George Nichols, reusing the altar rail from St. Paul's Church, Boston (BD3), installed the roof balustrade after he purchased the house in 1850. In 1916, Nichols's grandson hired restoration architect Joseph Everett Chandler, who uncovered some original fireplaces and expanded the rear of the house, creating Colonial Revival spaces in sympathy with the earlier section. The interior contains hand-painted scenic wallpapers from the Dufour Company of Paris showing views of Italy (installed 1821) and of Turkey (installed 1850). In 1939, William Duguid designed a two-story version of the house nearby at 146 Brattle Street (NRD/LHD), approximating the appearance of this building before its eighteenth-century expansion.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Hooper-Lee-Nichols House", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 352-352.

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