John Noyes Morse House

Some days, you remember exactly what was happening in an older photo. I kept having a weird look on my face at this house, so after a few tries, we just settled on this photo and moved on. Welllll…. I’ll spare you the details, but this was the last house I posed in front of before my mom discovered I had eaten a sock.

Anyhoo, don’t let that take away from the cuteness of this mini Mansard, built in 1872 in Lexington, Mass.

It was one of a number of houses local builder and contractor John L. Norris constructed on Hancock Avenue in the late 19th century. A brief mention appeared in the Lexington Minute-man on September 14, 1872:

“Mr. J.L. Norris has sold to Mr. J.N. Morse, the cottage lately built by him on Hancock avenue, with 12,215 feet of land, for $3500. Mr. Norris has a nice residence for himself opposite, and we understand it is his intention to build two cottages more, beyond Mr. Morse’s. This will fill up one side of the avenue as far as the railroad with houses of a uniform finish.”

John Noyes Morse (b.1844) was a Civil War veteran who was severely wounded at Poplar Grove Church resulting in his discharge in January 1865. He was captain in the State Militia in 1866 and became a resident of Lexington in 1869.

On May 16, 1874 the newspaper included a brief description of a surprise party Mrs. Morse gave her husband for his birthday. “About fifty friends gathered at his residence on Hancock Avenue. A nice supper was prepared and enjoyed. The Arlon Quartette was present, and contributed much to the pleasure of the evening” (Lexington Minute-man, May 16,

J.N. Morse worked as a cashier in Boston for many years. He was still living here in 1932.


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