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Cottage Street Workers' Houses

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Cottage St.

Small cottages, built to house workers in a shoe factory located at the corner of Cottage and Washington streets, dominate Cottage Street and provide an anchor for the Wellesley Local Historic District. In the early 1860s, Charles Lovewell, who lived in an 1848 Greek Revival house at 641 Washington Street, built a shoe factory across the street. Over the years, he constructed small cottages nearby for workers, many of whom did finish work at home. Influenced by the Greek Revival style, the early cottages include story-and-a-half, sideentrance, end-gable houses and Cape Cods. Lovewell sold his factory in 1875 to James Tucker, who built a much larger, machine-run factory to the rear of the old building, which was converted into a dormitory for women workers. The new factory threatened to turn the primarily residential neighborhood into an industrial zone, worrying the neighbors. In 1885 Pauline Fowle Durant, cofounder with her husband, Henry, of Wellesley College (WL11), a short distance away, bought the Tucker property. The large four-story factory was razed and the original factory turned into Eliot House, a Wellesley College dormitory. Eliot House was itself razed in 1953; its site is now a parking lot for St. Andrews Church. The factories that prompted the cottages are long gone, but the district preserves the essentially small-scale residential appearance it had when Wellesley was incorporated in 1881.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Cottage Street Workers' Houses", [, 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, 515-516.

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