A rugged terrain and limited waterpower potential kept Dover a sparsely settled community throughout its history. Part of the 1636 Dedham grant, a separate town of Dover was only incorporated in 1836. Relatively few farms were developed along the Charles River in the colonial period, and the construction of the Charles River Railroad through Dover in 1861 had little impact on population growth. Household industries of shoemaking and basket weaving supplemented the agricultural economy. The early twentieth century witnessed the first period of substantial development, as wealthy Bostonians discovered Dover as a site for estate development, especially along the Charles River. Large landholdings were assembled, many of which survive, and immigrants came to staff the estates. Older buildings were restored and expanded, and many new country houses built, including a few important experiments in modern architecture in the 1930s and 1940s. After the World War II, Dover opened slightly for general suburban development, but the community has remained isolated and underpopulated by choice.
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.