Amos Lawrence (1814-1886)
photo: Ferris Hall
The current design and character of Cottage Farm can be traced to Amos A. Lawrence, his brother William, and the wealthy businessman who sold them 200 acres of land north of Beacon St. in 1850, David Sears. It was Sears who had purchased 500 acres of land for his family and friends in the present day Longwood and Cottage Farm areas when the construction of the Mill Dam Road connected Boston with Brookline in 1821. Sears laid out Mason and Knyvet squares following the European model of houses lining and facing the open spaces. They remained the private preserves of the abutters until the descendants of Sears donated them to the town in 1902-1903. This was part of a planned residential development but his interest was tempered by the fact that his family spent only half the year in Brookline. It was the Lawrence brothers who were most interested in the business potential of the area. They played a central role in developing Beacon St. as an extension of the Mill Dam Road and foresaw the increase in demand that would occur with the improved commute to Boston.
photo: Ferris Hall
The Lawrence brothers built their own homes in Cottage Farm and, in contrast to the southern side of Beacon St., purposely limited development in the area. As a result, most of the homes date back to the early 20th century. The name "Cottage Farm" derives from the then popular English Cottage style of building and associated lifestyle of genteel country living, particularly the Gothic Revival form. Amos Lawrence's house at 135 Ivy, designed by architect George Dexter and built 1850 -1851 of pudding stone from Roxbury, illustrates this style. George Dexter purchased a lot at 156 Ivy from Amos Lawrence and built a similar house in 1851. Another classic example of this style is the cottage built in 1850 for Frederick Sears at 24 Cottage Farm Road.
Anna Powell Sears (1813-95), daughter of David Sears II, married William Amory and they built their house (burned down in 1895) on what is now 20 Amory St.; their 25 acre estate became the site of Amory park in 1903-04. Cottage Farm is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and is officially designated as a Brookline Local Historic District.