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Middlesex School

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1901–1993 with additions, multiple architects. 1400 Lowell Rd.

Sited around a central oval campus designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1901, Middlesex School, a nonsectarian private boarding and day school founded by Frederick Winsor, has developed over the twentieth century as a consistent architectural exercise in Colonial Revival design set in a parklike landscape. Beginning with Bryant-Paine House (1901) and Higginson House (1902), both cottage-plan dormitories, the school employed Peabody and Stearns, the Boston architectural firm that significantly shaped the development of collegiate and boarding school design from the 1870s on. Using two colors of red brick counterpointed by gray brick headers and white-painted wooden trim, the architects established a design idiom for the school. Eliot Hall (1911), the main classroom building, dominates the east end of the oval. Opposite stands Memorial Chapel (1924), designed by their successor firm, Appleton and Stearns, with a monumental four-column portico and an interior reminiscent of King's Chapel (BD7) in Boston. On the north edge of the oval, Charles Cummings designed Ware Hall (1904), the dining hall and social center for the campus. Geoffrey Platt of New York introduced modernist designs in sympathy with the Georgian style, beginning with Clay House (1968) to the south and east. He then set Warburg Library (1970), the Wood Theater and Arts Center (1975), and the Clay Science Center (1978) behind and below the buildings along the eastern rim of the oval. In the 1990s, Schwartz/Silver reinvigorated the Peabody and Stearns formula with renovation and expansion of Ware Hall (1995) and construction of Kravis House (1993), a dormitory north and west of Ware, forming a new courtyard between Ware and the gyms to the north. Bowie Gridley Architects completed the courtyard with a new dormitory at the eastern end, a building that closely resembles the character of Peabody and Stearns's earliest projects for the school.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Middlesex School", [Concord, 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, 455-455.

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