On the crest of Hunnewell Hill, which forms the municipal boundary between Boston and Newton, sits the John Q. A. Whittemore House, partially located in both cities. With its high elevation and views toward Boston and the Charles River, Hunnewell Hill became the location of a number of large homes following the incorporation of Brighton into Boston in 1874.
This grandest of the houses on Hunnewell Hill features one of the most extraordinary displays of the English Queen Anne style, learned by J. Merrill Brown while working for H. H. Richardson and Peabody and Stearns before establishing his own office in 1882. Here Brown substituted lavish use of English Renaissance decorative motifs for the rather vapid American Colonial detailing then common on typical Queen Anne houses. The Whittemore House has no less than seven gables filled with this trim, which also embellishes the windows. In addition, combinations of thin clapboards, bands of sawtooth shingles, and a broad vergeboard frieze form a background to the decorative embellishments, roof dormers, and corner turret.