It appears this Queen Anne style house was built by William Dexter around 1898/99. The land had been part of the Cragin Estate and was bought by William’s daughter Nellie in 1897. It is unclear why Nellie was the buyer the property, as in 1897, she would have been 26 years old and working as a stenographer, which was her job per the 1900 census, and in that census, William is listed as the owner of the property. The house is a beautiful home, and as a local newspaper said “the house is one of the best modern houses that had been built in Norwood in a long time,” and the article went on the say that it “had all the modern conveniences and is one of the most comfortable, and best appointed and beautiful homes in the vicinity.” This article also noted the home was constructed by George F. Bagley.
This house is an example of both the Queen Anne Style and the Colonial Revival style.
Colonial Revival Elements:
- Compact form
- First floor windows
Queen Anne Elements:
- Corner tower
- Porch used to wrap around the house
- Arched gable
- Outrigger at apex
William Wallace Dexter was born in 1827 in Cumberland, Rhode Island to Andrew Dexter and Diana Arnold. He was a painter by trade and worked in Wrentham, Walpole and Norwood. In 1852 he married Harriet A. Blake (1929-1871), she was the daughter of Asa Blake and Harriet Harding of North Wrentham (now Norfolk). Tragedy struck the family in the summer of 1871. On July 30th, William’s wife and daughter Harriet died, then two days later on August 1st his sister-in-law Ellen died and six days after that his other child Carrie died. All four females died of Angina Maligna or Diptheria. By the end of that summer, William only had one child living, his daughter Nellie. Two years later, in 1873, William married again. His second wife was Eliza Maria Blake (1843- 1917), she was the daughter of Asa Blake and Harriet Harding, and the sister of William’s first wife. William and Eliza had a son Louis who lived to be nineteen years old. William died in 1911 and was buried in the family plot in the Norfolk Cemetery.
In 1920, Mary B Blake (1839-1920), sister of William’s two wives was listed as the owner of the home. Also living with Mary was her sister Hannah T. (Blake) Guild (1835-1923). In the 1930 census the home is owned by Herbert A. Baker, an attorney. According to deeds, he bought the house in 1923 from the estate of Nellie Dexter.
Herbert Allison Baker was born in 1890 in Boston to Herbert L Baker and Mary A. Handy. In 1916 he married Ruth C. Anderson (1894-1962), and together they had one son, Herbert A Baker, Jr. (1918-1979). He attended Roxbury Latin School and was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War 1, and was general council for the Boston law firm of Wright, Brown, Quigley & May. Baker also was a Selectman for the town in 1930 to 1933. At the time of his 1955 death he was living in Dedham.
In 1950, George Streeter Williamson (1910-1979) and his family were living in the home. The 1950 census does not ask if the home is owned or rented, although the fam
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