Hancock St Architectural Tour
It was just before midnight on April 18th, 1775 when Paul Revere passed by Buckman’s Tavern and its numerous outbuildings. He turned onto this country lane and spurred his horse onward toward the Clarke Parsonage. He needed to warn Patriots John Hancock and Samuel Adams that British Troops were marching from Cambridge to arresting them and seize the arms at Concord.
What would he have seen? The blacksmith’s shop and his small home set among the farm fields and pastures with the Parsonage further down the road.
Fast forward 75 years and you would have just walked over the rail bed of the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad. (now the Minuteman Rail Trail) The coming of the railroad had increased the popularity of Lexington as a summer and winter destination and this led to an increase of families moving to Lexington. The rural town became a suburb, the farmland became house lots and between 1830 and 1870 the construction of the featured houses along this street.
As we walk down this street we will pass homes with many different architectural styles. Architectural style is simply the features that make a building notable. These styles change with time, new ideas, technology and materials.
Just as the street has changed so have the houses. A simple federal farmhouse gets a Greek revival doorway or a Greek Revival home built in 1845 is remodeled 50 years later with a Porte-cochere.
Along this short (2 block walk) you will encounter the Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Gothic Revival styles and hopefully, gain an appreciation for some of the particularly quirkier styles.
As you begin your walk down Hancock Street stay on the right hand side of the street so that you can easily view the houses on the left hand side of the street. Please respect private property and view these homes from a reasonable distance.
Be on the lookout for granite foundations, ells, barns and carriage houses.