History

According to Walter Marx, the late historian of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society:

“In the Victorian era Jamaica Plain’s 200-acre Moss Hill was also known as Bowditch Hill, named for one branch of the Bowditch family of Salem fame, who lived there. Grandfather Jonathan Bowditch brought his family to Moss Hill in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1885 his son Alfred built a house, still standing, for his family on the hill’s northern side. In 1950 Rosamond Bowditch Loring wrote a brief memoir of Moss Hill [Life Here a Century Ago : A Memoir of Moss Hill], which has been republished by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society. A few years ago her older sister wrote a lengthy memoir, complete with photographs [Mary Orne Bowditch Memoir]. Both texts are now at the Massachusetts Historical Society.” Source: Jamaica Plain Historical Society

If you have more information about the history of Moss Hill, even interesting facts, trivia, and photographs, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at website@jamaicahills.org.

Books about Jamaica Plain:

Sammarco, Anthony M., Jamaica Plain. Mount Pleasant, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 1997.

Sammarco, Anthony M., Jamaica Plain: Then & Now. Mount Pleasant, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Wee Stone House, Louder’s Lane

WEE STONE HOUSE is the story of the picturesque stone house at 57 Louder’s Lane, the short dead-end street that really should be called Lowder Lane, and a unique neighborhood, the Jamaica Hills section of Boston.  It began with the mystery of a beautiful unidentified bride in a 1939 photograph.  It relates local people to world history: Corporal John Lowder who fought in the Battle of Lexington; the Nichols and Bowditch families, descended from a victim of the infamous Salem witch trials and “The Great Navigator” Nathaniel Bowditch; and the Wilsons who built Wee Stone House, inspired by Ernest Flagg, a world-famous architect who wanted to provide affordable houses for the common man.  Their daughter Toni Wilson, the bride in the 1939 photograph, dated the actor Sterling Hayden, experienced first-hand China’s Anti-Japanese War, and met notables such as Chiang Kai-shek, Chou En-lai, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Even the origin of the term “gung ho” is revealed.

The author is Steve Lerman, retired pediatrician, the seventh owner of Wee Stone House, long-time member of the board of the Jamaica Hills Association, and leader of the movement to save the 1822 Jabez Lewis Farmhouse on Centre Street in the Arnold Arboretum.  His wife, Phyllis, did the graphic design. Contact Steve at savethefarmhouse@jamaicahills.org.

Download a PDF (6.8 MB) of Steve’s engaging research, WEE STONE HOUSE, including maps, photographs, and historical documents.

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