Augustus Lemon House

183 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, Mass.

Year Built: ca. 1868
Year Demolished: ca. 1964

This house was designed by Charles Brigham in ca. 1868 and was demolished in ca. 1964 to make way for an apartment building. Previously, in the mid 1880s, the Otis Brothers and Chester Sprague developed the large 8 1/2 acre parcel on which this house sat and laid out house lots. This house remained during that development and new houses were built around it. No picture or plans are known to exist of this building.

The commission cost $300 which means that the house cost $6,000 to construct. The firm strongly believed that architects should receive a commission of 5% for their work. In the burgeoning field of architecture, commissions to architects were uncommon and/or low. Sturgis and Brigham and other architects formed trade groups to ensure that architects were properly paid for their work.


• Letter from Charles Brigham to John Hubbard Sturgis, September 30, 1868, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library.

• Watertown Property Tax Records, 1875-1887, owners were Augustus Lemon, Benjamin Dana and finally Horace Otis. The house occupied Lot 23 of the development.


1879 O.H. Bailey Birds Eye Map. 183 Mt. Auburn Street is the middle house along the street toward the top of the illustration.

1951 Sanborn Insurance Map, Sheet 23

1892 Watertown Columbus Day Photo, courtesy Watertown Free Public Library. 183 Mount Auburn Street is on the left, behind the tree.

Close up of 1892 photo, indicating 183 Mount Auburn Street

1875 Beers Atlas of Middlesex County, pp. 97-98

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