18 Moccasin Hill, Lincoln

Architect Hoover and Hill, 1959

In the 1950s, on over forty acres of land in Lincoln, an unusual community took shape. Twenty-three Modern houses would be built for, and sometimes by, “engineers, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, artists, editors, a photojournalist and other professionals,” recalled Ruth Wales, one of

the community founders.  She and her husband Langdon Wales purchased two acres at the end

of Moccasin Hill, one road within Brown’s Wood, and asked Lincoln architects Hoover and Hill

to design their house in 1959. They chose a lot larger than most within Brown’s Wood because the

Wales wanted enough space to keep a horse on their property. The horse remained until their

youngest daughter went off to college. The house itself remained in the family until recently; it will

be placed on the market this April through Janowitz & Tse of Lexington.

The Modern housing stock of Brown’s Wood ranged from the vernacular to the architected by practitioners both within and outside Lincoln. In the case of the Wales house, Hoover sited it to

take full advantage of its wooded site. The low one-story building nestles comfortably between

a dramatic rock outcropping to the north and woods to the south. Extensive use of wood inside and

out and large glass windows integrate the house with its setting. Its plan of intersecting rectangles

allow private rooms to be separate from the core public areas. In sum, the house was designed

for comfortable, informal family living.     

The subdivision of Brown’s Wood was approved by the Town in 1955. Remarkable for the 21st

century, the community’s original character is largely intact. There have been changes to certain houses, but the quality of the relationship of Modern houses to their natural wooded setting

powerfully remains in Brown’s Wood.

Photos courtesy:  Katherine Mierzwa

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