Recent History of the District

Recent History of the District (1930 to the present)

The North Avenue School (District School #4) closed at the end of the 1931-32 school year.

Kendal Green had strongly supported its neighborhood school even after more than three decades of centralized schooling. School #4 was the last of Weston’s six one-room schoolhouses to remain in use, and its closure marked the beginning of change in this close-knit community.

The Hastings Organ Factory closed in 1935 and was demolished in 1936, marking the end of the industrial era in Weston. The closure and subsequent removal of the huge wooden factory building took away an institution which had been central to the Kendal Green community for over 45 years. By that time, in the middle of the depression, the factory had been faltering for some time, and many workers had already been let go. For some employees, the transition was eased by the fact that they could continue to rent their company-owned houses. The extensive organ factory land holdings– including worker housing on Brook Road, Viles Street, North Avenue and Lexington Street– were not subdivided and sold until 1951, after the death of Anna Coburn Hastings. By that time, the economy had improved, and some families were able to purchase the homes they had rented for decades.

The Drabbington Lodge also closed during the Depression, and the building was leased to the Posse-Nissen School, where girls were trained in physical education. In later years, the former lodge was adapted for its present use as a retirement home. The Kendal Green Post Office and Brodrick’s general store closed during World War II and the building was converted into a private residence. The Coburn dairy farm (163 North Avenue, Map #10) continued in operation into the 1950s, and Coburn descendants recall that the fields around Kendal Green were still planted with corn until the post-war building boom began.

The Weston section of Route 128 opened in 1951 and the road was completed to Braintree in 1958. Technology firms flocked to the Route 128 corridor, increasing the value of land in Weston as well as the volume of traffic along North Avenue (Route 117). Although North Avenue does not connect directly to Route 128, it still carries traffic to the highway and to the many industrial complexes which lie in Waltham just over the town line. The speed, volume and noise of vehicles is a continuing cause of complaint.

Like other cities and towns along the 128 corridor, Weston experienced explosive growth beginning in the 1950s–growth which resulted in subdivision of larger properties. Within the Kendal Green Historic District, the first parcels to be subdivided were the Coburn farmland south of North Avenue and the land behind the Drabbington Lodge, which had once been the golf course for the hostelry. Modest Colonial and ranch houses were built here in the early 1950s.

After Philip Miller’s death in 1956, the Miller Farm was subdivided and 28 acres, largely outside the district, were developed on Hobbs Brook and Forest Ridge Roads. Hobbs Brook Road was put through the former Brown Estate/Miller Farm in the early 1960s. Overlook Road was developed on former Hastings land in the late 1950s and Whitney Tavern Road on former Coburn farmland in the late 1960s.

Although development clearly changed the Kendal Green district, residential buildings in place by the turn of the century still remain except for an organ factory tenement house on Viles Street.

Industrial and institutional buildings have been lost, including the organ factory, Hastings Hall (demolished 1944) and the North Avenue School. Substantial outbuildings have also been lost, including the Drabbington Lodge stable, which burned down in 1928, and two large dairy barns on North Avenue belonging to the Coburn and Miller farms, which burned down or were demolished after World War II.