This small residential district near the Mystic River historically served the important shipbuilding industry in Medford. Between 1802 and 1873, Medford firms built 567 vessels in this vicinity. Most of the houses in the district were also constructed during that period, with the majority having been erected before 1855. Many were the homes of shipwrights, joiners, blacksmiths, carpenters, and housewrights. Robert Ellis, a ship joiner, built five houses on land he acquired on the west side of Park Street in 1828 and 1832 from famous shipbuilder Thatcher Magoun. Four of these, numbers 14, 22–24, 30, and 38, are simple wood frame houses. For himself, Ellis constructed an elegant five-bay Federal house at 50 Park Street with an elliptical portico and an elaborate paneled door framed by sidelights and transom.
Housewright Oakman Joyce developed additional house lots in 1844, by which time the dwellings were built in the Greek Revival style. The double house at 152–154 Riverside Avenue and the house at 158 Riverside Avenue are two good examples from that period.