207 Old Concord Road, 1950

Architect Henry B. Hoover

A mid-century modern house with a high level of integrity today is a rarity. One is 207 Old Concord Road, designed in 1950 by Lincoln modern architect, Henry B. Hoover (1902-1989).  Having had only one other owner after construction, the house has not been changed, apart

from certain later modifications by the architect himself. The house is on the south branch of the subdivision of Old Concord Road planned in the late 1930s by architect John Quincy Adams.

Hoover’s clients were DeWitt and Morley John. Although then not yet the Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, a position he held from 1964 to 1970, John by 1950 was the newspaper’s political reporter. Perhaps John learned of Hoover from Saville Davis, editor of the Monitor (1909-1991), who knew Hoover and had constructed his own house in Lincoln in 1941. 

Hoover’s house for John, then Hoover’s ninth in Lincoln, contains ideas and approaches recognizably Hoover’s  - careful siting, good circulation, an understated exterior with interior drama, and above all, livability. The low, one-story house is sited on 5+ wooded acres, which slope steeply to the northwest toward Fairhaven Bay. This topography allows for full living space on the house’s view side. The entry is situated between wings that splay out either side of the house’s central core. After a characteristic Hoover surprise turn, one enters a space flooded with light. Hoover originally angled the glazed living room toward the view, then in the 1970s, opened up the angle of the floor-to ceiling windows to enlarge the room and allow passage to a study (originally the master bedroom with bath) behind the living room fireplace wall. A dining room to one side and kitchen complete the public core. A now-enclosed glazed porch linking a two-car garage, changes made by Hoover in the 1960s, form one wing; the other at the other end of the house is comprised of two bedrooms with bath.   

207 Old Concord Road displays great sensitivity to residential design. The unobtrusive house, which follows the contour of the hillside, is superbly integrated with its site, which has been kept largely natural. Wood exterior siding and interior wood paneling and plaster maintain a natural aspect, while large windows provide inside/outside connections. The house speaks quietly but assuredly of the advantages of mid-century modernism.   

Hoover would design well over 100 houses in Lincoln, Lexington, Newton, Wellesley, Weston, MA, as well as Jaffrey, NH, Miami, FL, and Thomasville, GA. His clients, appreciative of his ability to translate their needs into houses they would often live happily in for the rest of their lives, would frequently return to him for modifications or indeed other residences. With few exceptions, Hoover focused his career on residential architecture, succeeding in satisfying those who sought his carefully conceived, comfortable spaces for living.       

Original House Plan 1950

View from Living Room

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