"Stonehurst," the romantic name the Paine family chose for their 109-acre country place, paid homage to the elemental beauty of their stony, glaciated land on a “wooded hill,” or hurst in old English. 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.

Artistic Masterpiece

Completed in 1886, Stonehurst is a masterpiece of integrated design crowning the career-long collaboration of two Boston-based visionaries, architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, whose work continues to inspire culturally and environmentally sensitive design. The splendid integration of house, interiors and grounds at Stonehurst anticipated the unified organic architecture practiced by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 20th century.

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To see their artistic masterpiece, visit the blue sections of the floor plan on the virtual tour >

Robert Treat Paine Lydia Lyman Paine

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.

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Robert Treat Paine: Capitalist with a Conscience

Descended from early New England settlers, a patriot “founding father,” and generations of reverends, governors and lawyers, Robert Treat Paine came of age as the United States entered into Civil War. Paine’s three brothers risked their lives in the service of the Union, and one died at Gettysburg never knowing the country would be reunited. Paine opted out of military service, but was called to action of a different sort, namely improving the lot of the working poor and promoting international peace.

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To see where Robert Treat Paine, his family and servants lived, visit the peach-colored sections of the floor plan on the virtual tour >

Books about Stonehurst

To place an order, please email info@stonehurstwaltham.org or call 781-314-3291. Friends of Stonehurst receive a 10% discount.

Stonehurst, The Robert Treat Paine Estate: An American Masterwork by H.H. Richardson and F.L. Olmsted
by Ann Clifford and Thomas M. Paine, 2007


The official 40-page, full-color guidebook to Stonehurst contains  many new breathtaking images by Thomas P. Lang.

A Home in the Woods: Stonehurst
by Ann Clifford, 2010


The children of Stonehurst–today's and yesterday's–inspired a new book written especially for them. This picture book is an introduction to the site that appeals to the child's sense of wonder and adventure.