Please know these homes are private properties. Please do not enter the property without permission from the owners.
At the heart of the proposed district is the architectural and historically significant Italianate inspired villa designed by Boston architect Harold W. Hathaway and built for American artists Hermann Dudley Murphy and his wife Nellie Littlehale Murphy. The beautiful landscape was designed by the noted firm of the Olmsted Brothers and has been considered perhaps “the finest example of early 20th century landscape architecture in Lexington”. (Grady 1984) The Murphy House sits in 1.74 acres and is a unique example of early 20th century Italian Villa style in Lexington. In addition, the house reflects Craftsman/Prairie style elements that were popular during that time. The base of the three-story observation tower erected by Eli Robbins in the early 19th century for the enjoyment of the community, appears to remain at the top of Mount Independence and was incorporated in the Olmsted landscape.
The Murphy’s were leading lights of the Boston School of Painters. Graduates of The Museum of Fine Arts Museum School they gathered around them other important artists to create Lexington’s only known Artist Colony. They shared their home and a studio with John Enser. Their friend and prominent painter Aiden Ripley built his home and studio directly behind them at what is now 52 Follen Road.
This property has been designated by the Massachusetts Historical Commission as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and eligible to be part of a National Register District.