Elmer H. Baker house, circa 1990 (Source: MACRIS database)

In 1889, P. Howard Baker of Sharon bought this property from Martha S. Day. She notes she inherited it as part of her father’s estate. This ownership makes sense because on land deed maps, notations name the landowners as Moses Sumner (1800-1862) and Ebenezer C. Day, who were in-laws. When Sumner died he owned three pieces of property, his homestead on Washington Street, near Chapel, a 5¼ wood lot and “land on Winter Street, about ½ acre with a dwelling house. It has yet to be discovered when Sumner acquired the land and from whom. It did not come from Sumner’s wife’s parents, Ichabod Gay and Catherine Ellis, and it does not appear to have been Sumner property. When Sumner passed, his estate came into the hands of his only two living heirs, his wife Catherine (Gay) Sumner and his daughter Martha (Sumner) Day. It does not appear that Martha and her family ever lived here, as her husband Ebenezer Colburn Day had a house lot, with barn and a workshop on Nahatan Street, near the end of Nichols Street. 

When P. Howard Baker bought this property, it had a house on it. It is not clear when the original house was torn down and replaced with the house that stands there today. Early maps indicate the original house was set further back on the property and was an “S” shape. The 1882 bird’s eye view map has a house on the corner of Winter and Nichols, but it is not clear if it is an old house or the new one. So it seems this new Queen Anne style house was built in the late 1880s/early 1890s.

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            Elements of the Howard Baker Queen Anne Style house:

  • Rectangular plan with side hall entrance
  • 19th century farmhouse
  • Gable roof
  • 2 ½ stories
  • 2 ½ double hung windows
  • Bay window with paneling
  • Barn/Stable with cupola still on property
  • Ancient beech trees in yard.

The first family to live in this house was Elmer H. Baker, he was P. Howard Baker’s son. It appears Howard Baker bought this property for his son, as continued to live in Sharon with his wife and daughter. In 1900, Elmer is living at 179 Winter Street, but he is renting the house, but by 1910, he is the owner of the property. Elmer Howard Baker was born 1855 in Sharon, MA, the son of P. Howard Baker and Cynthia Carpenter. By 1880, Elmer was living in Norwood, boarding at the home of John D. Chickering, and working in a carpet shop. In 1881, he married John Chickering’s daughter, Sarah. Elmer and Sarah had three children; Carl Howard (1882-1826); Nina (1886-1971); and Elsie Kelton (1888-19??). Over the years, Elmer became a successful grocery salesman. After Elmer’s death in 1934, Sarah, along with her daughter Nina, continued to live in the home until her death in 1951. In 1953 the ½ acre lot was divided in half, making the lot about an ¼ acre in size, and Nina Baker built a house (#108 Nichols) on the newly sub-divided lot and lived there until her death in 1971. After almost 65 years of the Baker family owning this home, Nina Baker and Elsie (Baker) Warren sold the home to the Robert & Louise Cook in 1953.

The Elmer Baker house today. (photo by LLKearney)

Robert Henry Cook was born 1900 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the only child of Arthur L Cook and Dora Sternagle. He attended three years of college, and worked for many years as a “station engineer, operating electric lights.” He married about 1923 to Louise May Tierney, and together they had one child, Carolyn, born 1925. Cook moved his family to Norwood by 1935, and in May of 1953 they bought the beautiful Queen Anne home on the corner of Nichols and Winter Streets. In the 1940s Carolyn Cook married Leo Lavitre, the newly weds moved into the Cook family home and became the parents of two children Robert and Anne. Robert Cook died in 1987 in Norwood and his wife died in 1992 The Cook/Lavitre family owned this home for fifty years before selling it in 2003.

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