clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is This Cambridge's Priciest Residential Demolition Ever?

New, 4 comments

The 5,451-square-foot house at 26 Reservoir Street to the west of Harvard Square in Cambridge was last owned by famed jurist Alan Dershowitz. Designed in 1955 by architect Frederic Coolidge, the house represented a high-style version of a post-World War II Ranch house, according to a March 2014 assessment from the Cambridge Historic Society, and had been "executed in a manner more familiar to the West Coast, the location of the architect's practice." It was, indeed, "the sole representative of a California-style post-war Modern house in the city..."

The house was built for Frederic Coolidge's parents: A. Sprague Coolidge, a chemist and political activist (he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1934 on the Socialist ticket), and Margaret S. Coolidge, a musician. The next owner after the Coolidges was David Baltimore, winner of the 1975 Nobel prize in medicine (hey, this is Cambridge, after all). Dershowitz bought it from Baltimore in 1990 for $1,150,000; he added a pool enclosure in 1994 and a two-story addition in 2003-04. And he also had what had to be one of the funkiest living rooms in town (see above).

Dershowitz and wife Carolyn Cohen sold the house in late 2013 for $3,400,000 as they decamped to Manhattan. At the time the spread was the priciest on the Cambridge market (no small feat) and the purchase price made it one of the most expensive trades in the city in 2013.

Now, the buyers have leveled the whole thing, with plans to rebuild "to maximize the potential of this lovely corner lot property on top of the hill," according to papers filed with the city. That makes the trade and subsequent demolition some sort of Cambridge record: $3.4M to tear down and start anew? The next house will not only be powered in part by solar panels on the roof, but will have a smaller footprint than the last version of 26 Reservoir, including more open yardage. It's rendered above. Stay tuned.
· Alan Dershowitz Rules in Cambridge Now [Curbed Boston]
· Fame as Marketing Tool: Selling the Homes of Hub Celebrities [Curbed Boston]
· Cambridge's Most Expensive House Lands a Buyer [Curbed Boston]

Harvard Square

Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138