Brookline Historical Society
The Edward Devotion House
Devotion House Today
Devotion House Today
347 Harvard Street
Brookline, Massachusetts 02446

Open for Tours:
Sunday, August 13, 2023 from 11-2, and by appointment

Contact the Curators:
The Edward Devotion House is one of the oldest Colonial structures in Brookline. Owned by the town and administered by the Brookline Historical Society, it is a fine example of mid-eighteenth century architecture.

Devotion House, 1895
Edward Devotion House, circa 1895
Note barn still standing
Edward Devotion (1621-85) settled in Brookline around 1645. At that time, Brookline was a farming community known as Muddy River. Devotion's acreage along Harvard Street included apple orchards and pastureland for sheep and cattle. His grandson,* also Edward Devotion, left a bequest to the town for public schooling in his 1744 will. (This second Edward Devotion was a slave-owner; an accounting of his possessions at his death included “one Negrow” valued at £30.) The Edward Devotion School, which today surrounds the house on three sides, was named for him in 1892 in recognition of his earlier bequest for a school.

School Buildings
Sandwiched among the Devotion School Buildings
Left (1899). Middle (1913), Right (1892)
Although the appearance of the Devotion House dates from around 1740, recent research has identified within it a house frame that dates from around 1680. This older structure may have been erected by the first Edward Devotion or his son John. A later owner, Solomon Hill, probably added the circa 1740 structure after acquiring the Devotion estate from the second Edward Devotion. It subsequently had a variety of owners and occupants. Among them were tavern-keeper William Marshall, who may have used the apple orchards to supply cider to the famous Punch Bowl Tavern in Brookline Village, and financier Israel Thorndike and farmer George Babcock, who are remembered in the names of nearby streets. The Devotion House was purchased by the Town of Brookline in 1891.

The Devotion House contains eighteenth- and nineteenth-century furnishings and Brookline-related artifacts. Some of the most significant objects are gifts of the Devotion family. Others are associated with early Brookline families, such as the Goddards.

In addition to being a museum, the Devotion House serves as the headquarters of the Brookline Historical Society. The society is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Brookline history. It was founded in 1901 and began meeting in the Devotion House that same year.

*One source says the second Edward Devotion was the son, not the grandson, of the first Edward.
Devotion School Students, 1905 and 1996
Devotion School Students 1905.jpg
Devotion School Students 1905.jpg
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