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Peacock Farm

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1951–c. 1960; Danforth Compton and Walter Pierce. Peacock Farm Rd., Mason St., Trotting Horse Dr., and Compton Circle.

Peacock Farm, a neighborhood of sixty-five modern houses, is noted for the award-winning split-level Peacock Farm house design, developed in response to market research among young professionals. The inexpensive open plan house featured a logical division of functions on three levels, a low asymmetrical roof pitch, broadly overhanging eaves, stained vertical cedar siding, and horizontal bands of windows. The midlevel living space was intended to be at ground level, as was the garage/playroom area half a story below. Houses were flipped and turned to match the sloping sites and natural settings of the south-facing hill, a feature that distinguishes this development from others. The Peacock Farm house won first prize in the national Homes for Better Living contest sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1957.

A few houses of a single level with a raised basement were built in the neighborhood before the split-level design was adopted. Houses designed individually by the architects (Walter Pierce, 14 and 16 Trotting Horse Drive and 48 Peacock Farm Road; Henry Hoover, 23 Peacock Farm Road); one Techbuilt design (10 Trotting Horse Drive; see LX14); and numerous additions (controlled by architectural restrictions), many by Pierce and Hoover, add to the variety of the neighborhood. The original farmhouse (c. 1830) at 3 Peacock Farm Road served a dairy operation for most of the nineteenth century; peacocks were raised here in later years.

Developments of modern houses, built in the first decades after World War II, are found in greater numbers in Lexington than any other suburban town in the Boston region. Of eleven such neighborhoods, four feature Peacock Farm houses. All attracted young professional and academic families, their sense of community enhanced by shared interests such as neighborhood swimming pools, children's play groups, and the use of a few acres of commonly owned lands.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Peacock Farm", [Lexington, 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, 438-440.

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