A Family Home

Wealthy clients Robert Treat Paine and Lydia Lyman Paine were social reformers open to the progressive ideas of Richardson and Olmsted. At work, the Paines strove to bridge the great divide between “haves” and “have nots” in post-Civil War America. At home, they opted for an open plan which removed barriers between rooms and between indoors and outdoors, and naturally fostered a less formal, more modern and healthy way of living.

Stonehurst’s hilltop site was part of the 400-acre country estate built in 1793 by Lydia Lyman Paine’s grandfather, Theodore Lyman. As a child, she had spent her summers there. George Lyman, her father, built seasonal houses for his children in the fields and woodlots overlooking the main house on Beaver Street. The family compound brought together siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents every summer.

Robert Treat Paine

Robert Treat Paine

Lydia Lyman Paine

Lydia Lyman Paine

The Paine Family

The Paine family owned Stonehurst for over a century and occupied it only seasonally. Here for six months of the year, family members and friends found welcome refuge from urban heat and congestion and the demanding social rituals of the Victorian era. The house survives remarkably intact, owing its continued existence to the family’s dedication and care over generations, to the non-profit Friends of Stonehurst (Robert Treat Paine Historical Trust), and to its current owner the City of Waltham.

Robert Treat Paine and Lydia Lyman Paine

Robert Treat Paine (1835–1910) and Lydia Lyman Paine (1837–1897) were devoted humanitarians and philanthropists. Married during the Civil War, Robert and Lydia produced seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood. By the time they completed Stonehurst in 1886, Edith had married, Bob was in college, and Ethel, George and Lily—ranging in age from 20 to 10—remained at home.

The Next Generation

In the twentieth century, the Paines' eldest son, Robert Treat Paine (1866–1961), lived here with his wife Marie Mattingly Paine and children Robert (Bob) and Dorothy (Dotsy). He occupied the house until his death in 1961 at age 96.

Servants' Domain

Robert and Lydia Paine paid considerable attention to the well-being of the seven resident female staff, who had their own bedrooms on the second and third floors of an older section of the house accessed by a back staircase. A one-story service wing added by Richardson included a large light-filled kitchen, laundry, and servants' hall. These areas in comparable houses were often relegated to the basement.

Male staff—gardeners, a coachman, and laborers—lived with their families in downtown Waltham or in outbuildings on site. The men worked out-of-doors and brought fresh food and flowers from the farms, orchards and greenhouses to the service wing.