Ormond Street / Hiawatha Street

Ormond Street / Hiawatha Street

From the Boston Landmarks Commission

The Walk Hill Area encompasses the Fessenden Street Area (MHC Form BOS.YV) and the Ormond Street Area (MHC Form XXX), with little variation in building form and styles. The overall area spans both sides of Blue Hill Avenue roughly from Greendale Avenue to Almont Street. Streets are largely in a modified grid pattern, in some areas at right angles to Blue Hill, and in some branching off at an angle, creating interesting intersections and vistas; and there is one curvilinear area around Wellington Hill, Outlook Road and Ormond Street. Lots are small and buildings fairly large, but there are many trees and other greenery in much of the area.

This area was heavily built up in the early 20th century, and contains a mix of building styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Colonial Foursquare homes, generally three bays wide with porches on the first and second floors. These porches have been enclosed in many of the homes. Large Queen Anne and other Gothic Revival style homes are found in areas, and these too have been altered with porch additions or enclosing pre-existing porches. Many Triple Deckers and large apartment buildings in the Renaissance Revival Style filled the need for the new living spaces in Mattapan. Along Blue Hill Avenue there are many mixed-use commercial and residential buildings, which have also been altered greatly. There are a few older homes in the Greek Revival style, like the home at 76 Hiawatha Street which is a 2 1/2 story side hall entry late Greek Revival form with a steep gable, which has a front porch addition.

This area is fairly large, and sits atop a hill, overlooking Blue Hill Avenue within the larger Walk Hill, Hiawatha Street Area (MHC Form BOS.YW) and is approximately sixty properties. Encompassing Wellington Hill Street and Ormond Streets, with Duke Street, Hillsboro Road, and Outlook Road within. These curved streets create a curvilinear area that circles up to Wellington Hill and the Solomon Lewenberg School. A great deal of trees and greenery surround the school. The Colonial Four-Square house is dominant in this area. The heavily massed, hipped roof with hipped front facing dormer house generally has porches for the first and second floor. Alterations have taken place on some porches have been enclosed. The Triple Decker is generally closer to Blue Hill Avenue. The Renaissance Revival Triple Deckers have semi-hexagonal bays and porches, again some have been enclose, none retain their decorative trim. Two large Victorian styles cap Wellington Hill Street, near Blue Hill Avenue a large Shingle Style breaks up the Triple Deckers marching up the hill. At the other end is a complex Queen Anne with a large tower, which sits stately over the smaller homes. There are several gable-fronted houses that have no trim and numerous additions making style identification nearly impossible. The homes in this area may not have their trim, but they have been well kept and cared for.


Through much of the nineteenth century the area was largely unsettled. Industrial activity was prominent in lower Mattapan along the Neponset River and the railroad corridor but agriculture still dominated the central rural area into the 1860s. By 1874 there had been a great deal of development in the southern area at the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue and River Street, which began to move northward along Norfolk Street. A cluster of development appeared at the intersection of Blue Hill Avenue and Jamaica Street (current Walk Hill) where a cluster of new roads were created: Tilestone Street, Tilestone Avenue and Mattapan St. A significant number of large landowners owned the land of this area: William Wellington; Jas. Houghton; George W. Goodale, a farmer; James & Abbott Lawrence, of A. & A. Lawrence & Company; Clement W. Sumner, a farmer into the 1870s and later a depot master; Elisha M. Dyer, and George W. Haven.

A development boom in the area by 1889 led to the construction of many roads including Dyer Avenue, Mt. Hope Avenue, Collins Street, Atkins Street, Hersey Street, Fessenden Street, and Evelyn Avenue. The surrounding area was plotted, however most of them remained empty. During the next decade settlement began to filter into the area, which occurred in unison with the expansion of electric trolley lines. The turn of the century saw another wave of land division in the area and continued road construction. Building remained steady but many plots remained vacant for several decades. By the 1930s the area was densely settled with many businesses along Blue Hill Avenue, a playground off of Almont Street and two schools: the Samuel [sic] Lewenberg School, the Martha Baker School and the Charles Logue School.

Through much of the nineteenth century the area was largely unsettled. Industrial activity was prominent in lower Mattapan along the Neponset River and the railroad corridor but agriculture still dominated the central rural area into the 1860s. Large landowners still owned the land by the 1870s: William Wellington, James Houghton, and George W. Goodale. By the 1880s, land previously owned by Wellington was owned by Hannah F.C. Holbrook. At the turn of the century there was a large influx of land division and road building, which occurred in conjunction with the improved transportation of the electric trolley system. Duke Street, Ormond Street and Ponemah Street were among the new streets in this area. By 1904, a golf club appeared on Wellington Hill on land and that was previously owned by Hannah Holbrook and then owned by Edwin Holbrook. By 1910 the golf club was gone and Holbrook’s land had been subdivided. Winfield Street, Hillsboro Road, Westmore Road, Byers Road, Outlook Road, Ormond Road and Goodale Road were built by this time. Marcus M. Goodale, heir of George Goodale, still maintained the open farmland but by 1918, most of it had been sold and divided. At this time, many of the small lots still remained empty. It was not until 1933 that the area was densely settled. It was also at that time that the Samuel [sic] Lewenberg School first appeared on the atlas. It is currently the Solomon Lewenberg Middle School.


Posted on

June 18, 2022

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