Blake Park: Brookline, Massachusetts
History of a Neighborhood, 1916-2005

The Houses and People of Blake Park


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55-57 Greenough Street

87 Greenough Street
Next (See note below)
Year Built:
19th Century
Moved to Greenough Street:
1921 or 1922
First Resident at this Address:
Abbie L. Paige and Thomas & Mary O'Connor

One of a handful of pre-1900 buildings in Blake Park, this house apparently was once part of the Blake stables on what is now Lowell Road. It was moved to its present location, reportedly by oxen, in late 1921 or early 1922. A 1922 permit was issued for its conversion from a stable to a garage with an apartment overhead.

The first residents of this house on Greenough Street lived in other Blake-owned properties on what became Lowell Road -- possibly even in this house itself -- before the house was moved to Greenough Street. Abbie L. Paige and Thomas and Mary O'Connor were listed at 1 Greenough Street Within in the 1921 Street List. ("Greenough Street Within" and "Off Greenough Street" were used to refer to the area of the Blake stables before Lowell Road was developed and named.) In 1922, the O'Connors were listed at 10 Lowell Road and Paige was listed next door at 14 Lowell Road..

By 1923, Paige was listed at 55 Greenough Street, and the O'Connors joined her -- in the same building but with a different address -- at 57 Greenough in 1925. The 1930 U.S. Census showed Paige paid $40 in monthly rent and the O'Connors paid $35.

Abbie Louise Paige (1872-1960) was a Taunton native and a Wellesley College graduate who had a long affilliation with that school. She was president from 1918 to 1940 of the Wellesley Students' Aid Society, an organization that disbursed loans and gifts to students having trouble covering their expenses. The spirit of the students, she told the Christian Science Monitor in a 1926 profile, "pays me for the work involved. I am working with young people, full of promise, and working in the midst of the beauty of Wellesley. I feel that there could not be a more satisfying kind of avocation."

Paige also worked with young people in Brookline. She taught Latin at Brookline High School for several years (and briefly in St. Louis, Missouri) and later ran the A.L. Paige Tutorial School -- most likely out of her house on Greenough Street. There she tutored students in Latin and other subjects in preparation for college entrance exams.

"Boys and girls of Brookline, Mass.," reported the Monitor, "know Miss Paige as a tutor who, sitting in her little brown house in a tangle of syringa bushes, is able quietly to draw the sting of college entrance examinations." The tutoring school, according to Paige's 1960 obituary in the Wellesley Townsman, "gave Miss Paige what she felt was her richest and most rewarding teaching experience."

Abbie Paige lived at 55 Greenough Street until moving to the Hotel Brunswick in Boston in 1948.

Thomas and Mary O'Connor were both born in Ireland. Thomas (born c1876) came to the U.S. in 1904 and Mary (born c1882) in 1905, and they were married around 1917. They had two sons, John and Thomas Jr.

Thomas O'Connor was a chauffer, most likely the chauffer for the Blake family. He was listed at "off 62 Greenough Street" in the Street List in 1919 and 1920, then at 1 Greenough Street Within and 10 Lowell Road in 1921 and 1922. The family was not listed the next two years before reappearing at 57 Greenough Street.

The 1930 U.S. Census lists the residents of 57 Greenough as: Thomas O'Connor, 54, chauffer (private family), born Irish Free state; Mary O'Connor, 48, born Irish Free state; Thomas L. O'Connor, 8; and John J. O'Connor, 11. As noted above, they were paying $35 a month in rent.

The O'Connors continued to be listed at this address in the Street List through 1937. They were followed by the family of Allen and Ethel Austin, who were listed from 1938 until after World War II. Allen Austin was also a chauffer. It's possible he succeeded Thomas O'Connor in that role for the Blake family, although he continued to be listed as a chauffer after the death of Frances Blake and the sale of rest of the estate in 1939.

The Austins had two grown daughters and a young son living with them at the time they moved to Greenough Street. One daughter, Anna, worked as a secretary and stenographer. Her sister Alice was listed at various times as a waitress and a dietician. She left the home in the early 1940s, but returned with her husband Harold Phillips, who was then in the army, in 1945. The Austins also had a young son, Allan Jr.

Note: The odd-numbered houses on Greenough Street between #55 and #87 are not included here. These buildings (or their predecessors) were not part of the Blake Park development or of the Blake estate in 1916.