The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House is a historic Colonial American house, initially constructed 1685, but enlarged and remodeled many times. It is located at 159 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and is the second-oldest house in Cambridge (after the Cooper-Frost-Austin House, c. 1681-1682). The house is now headquarters for the Cambridge Historical Society; tours are given several times a week.

The house was originally built in 1685 by Dr. Richard Hooper as a typical "first-period" farmhouse, although its ceilings were plastered, which was unusual for a modest house. When Hooper died in 1691, his wife took in boarders and the property then began fall into disrepair. She in turn died in 1701, and the house continued its decline until 1717, when it was inherited by Hooper's son, Dr. Henry Hooper. He added a lean-to and rebuilt the chimney with cooking ovens. In 1733, he sold the house to Cornelius Waldo, who added a third story and wooden quoins at the house's corners. Waldo also installed larger windows. The result was a house that looked thoroughly Georgian. Judge Joseph Lee bought the house in 1758, adding the enclosed entry porch and applying stucco to the west wall. Lee was a British Loyalist and hence vacated his house during the first days of the American Revolution; he returned however in 1777. In 1850, George and Susan Nichols rented and began to renovate the house. They enlarged the rear and installed the roof balustrade, containing balusters once part of the chancel of Saint Paul's Cathedral in Boston. In 1916 their grandson raised the rear of the house to a full three stories. Finally in 1923 William and Frances Emerson purchased the house. He was for many years Dean of Architecture at MIT; and she deeded the house to the Cambridge Historical Society which came into its possession in 1957. In the early 1980s, the Society made extensive exterior restorations. The house is open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 and 3 PM.

External Link and references
  • Cambridge Historical Society: Hooper-Lee-Nichols House

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

Building Activity

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