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H. H. Hunnewell Estate

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1851, Arthur Gilman; 1866 conservatory, Gridley J. F. Bryant; 1865 upper lodge, Gridley J. F. Bryant; 1866 lower lodge, attributed to John Hubbard Sturgis. 845 Washington St.
  • H. H. Hunnewell Estate (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

In 1851 the Hunnewells commissioned Arthur Gilman to design a house for their new estate (845 Washington Street), which was named Wellesley in honor of the Welles family. Gilman provided an Italianate design for the residence, separated from Washington Street by a very deep landscaped lawn. Hunnewell developed the grounds of his property over several decades. Behind the house, he created a French parterre garden (now demolished) and a naturalized landscape focused on a rustic summerhouse (1852). Northwest of the house, Hunnewell created his most famous landscape, an Italian topiary garden (1854) composed of clipped evergreens arranged on seven earthen terraces descending to the level of Lake Waban. Inspired by the topiary garden Hunnewell had visited at Elvaston Castle in England, the Italian garden can be visited by walking from nearby Wellesley College (WL11) along Lake Waban. A grapery (1852), tropical house (1857), pinetum (1866), orchid greenhouse (1867), and specimen plantations of rhododendrons and azaleas were gradually added, much of which was described by Henry Winthrop Sargent in his 1859 Supplement to the sixth edition of A. J. Downing's Treatise on Landscape Gardening.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "H. H. Hunnewell Estate", [Wellesley, 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, 520-520.

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