On the Market: A Historic Harvard Square Home
29 Follen Street, Cambridge
Size: 4,970 square feet
Located on historic Follen St. in Harvard Square, this home boasts a colorful history and an interesting list of past inhabitants. Called “Cloverden,” the Greek Revival was constructed in 1838. According to information obtained from the Cambridge Historical Commission by the listing agent, the house was once home to public education founder Horace Mann’s second wife, Mary Tyler Peabody Mann. Mann moved into the house after her husband’s death, and lived there with her son, Horace Mann Jr.
Mann and her sister, Elizabeth Peabody, were champions of early childhood education, and used a portion of the house which is now a one-bedroom apartment as one of the first kindergartens in Cambridge.
Mann made her mark on the house with a touch of blue. In the middle window on the second floor of the home, blue squares of glass are visible from the street. Mann placed the cobalt glass in the bathroom window specially for Horace Mann Jr. He contracted tuberculosis as a young man, and cobalt was thought to remedy the illness. It’s said that Mann Jr. would sit in the bathtub and face the sunshine streaming through the cobalt window panes.
Other inhabitants included Josiah Whitney, the geologist that Mt. Whitney (the highest summit in the mainland United States) is named after. Two astronomers also boarded there while studying at Harvard. The duo built the first observatory in Cambridge in the property’s backyard before the Harvard College Observatory was built down the street in 1839.
Today, the home is on the market for the first time in more than 50 years. It has been well-preserved, and maintains original details like Doric columns on the front porch, triple-hung windows, bow-front bay windows, and a curved staircase. The first floor apartment contains two fireplaces, and outside, there’s a two-car garage and exquisite gardens.
For information, contact Susan Condrick, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, susancondrick.com.
The Boston Home team has curated a list of the best home design and home remodeling professionals in Boston, including architects, builders, kitchen and bath experts, lighting designers, and more. Get the help you need with FindIt/Boston's guide to home renovation pros.