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Nathaniel Allen House

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c. 1844. 25 Webster St.
  • Nathaniel Allen House (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

Nathaniel T. Allen, who acquired this house in 1854, established the West Newton English and Classical School here. Allen's model school was founded on the principles of coeducation and racial integration and included the first kindergarten in the country and the first gymnasium in a secondary school. One enters this Greek Revival house through a portico on the east side that leads to a staircase parallel to the double parlor. A four-column Ionic portico fronts the street elevation. The builder used flush board siding for the wall beneath the portico, a common practice that imitated masonry.

Several additions were made to the house during Allen's lifetime (d. 1903), as well as subsequently when his daughters operated a school for girls. Tradition and physical evidence suggest that the barn is an older structure moved to the site when the house was built. This barn has been enlarged and remodeled for a gymnasium and classroom, with a bowling alley on the second floor. Extensions have also been made to either side of the original ell. The small porch on the west end of the main block of the house is also an addition, although in the Greek Revival style.

Opposite the Allen House at 432 Cherry Street is the gambrel-roofed Georgian Dr. Samuel Warren House (NR), built in three sections during the eighteenth century. The oldest section (c. 1716) forms the south three bays with the present main entrance. Extended twice (first around 1750 and then around 1785), the house originally stood on Washington Street in the center of West Newton; moved to the present site in 1868, it was converted into a tenement. In about 1960 the house underwent restoration, including a reproduction entrance with pilasters and pediment.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Nathaniel Allen House", [Newton, 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, 488-488.

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