A Wakefield resident, John Stevens established his architectural practice in 1850 in Boston. For Daniel Dearborn's new house, either the client or the architect selected Design X, “A Symmetrical, Bracketed Cottage, with Verandah,” illustrated in Andrew Jackson Downing's 1850 publication, The Architecture of Country Houses. Stevens added round arched windows for the second floor and substituted clapboard siding and Gothic label molding for the windows instead of board and battens and plain trim shown in Downing's book. During the mid-nineteenth century, Stevens designed a large number of churches and public buildings in New England, including the 1868 Wakefield town hall (demolished) and the 1871 high school at the corner of Lafayette and Main, which was extensively altered for the present town hall in 1938.
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