A walk down Elm Street from Main Street will take you past the Easton Y, Shoveltown Brewery, the back of the Governor Ames Estate, beautiful older homes, Spring Hill, and then Wayside. Wayside, the home of Mary Shreve Ames, later Mary Shreve Ames Frothingham, was built in 1912. Today what remains of the Wayside estate sits just east of Whitman’s Brook Drive. It was designed by architect Guy Lowell. Five years after Mrs. Frothingham’s death in 1955, Wayside was gifted to the town for $1. Today, the lovely Georgian Revival mansion is the home of the Easton Town Offices.
When Mary Shreve Ames decided to build her own home she began buying land on Elm Street, just across the street from her childhood home, Langwater. This took some time. The sketch below, taken from the booklet Wayside written by Hazel Varella, illustrates the various parcels, and from whom they were acquired. Four houses had to be moved down the street to make room for the future Wayside. They are now the homes located at 154, 158, 160, and 164 Elm Street (from Wayside by Hazel Varella). I believe those houses are now gone and newer homes have replaced them.
As the photo below indicates Elm Street at the time of construction was quite rural. According to Frank Meninno in a previous EHS blog, Elm Street was still a dirt road.
Spring Hill, the home of William Hadwen Ames, was built off Elm Street in the mid-1890’s and can be vaguely seen in the rear center of the above photo. Easton Historical Society.
Wayside under construction. Easton Historical Society.
Mrs. Frothingham (she married Louis Adams Frothingham in 1916) was a generous philanthropist, giving time and financial support to the Easton Schools, Unity Church, Ames Free Library, the Red Cross, Frothingham Park, and more. Interestingly, Mrs. Frothingham was very much involved in the anti-suffrage movement, while her cousin-in-law Blanche Ames at Borderland, was a noted suffragette. “Despite this, the two women maintained a friendly and cordial relationship, agreeing to disagree. For example, when the 19thAmendment passed, guaranteeing women the vote, Blanche telephoned Mary to ask whom she should vote for in the coming election.” (Blanche Ames Archives-Oakes Ames Memorial Hall)
What I love most about Wayside is the ghost of the once brilliant rose garden and the marble well that still remains. Still a lovely spot. If you continue walking to the end of Elm Street and take a left you’ll soon come to The Beanery on Washington. Stop in and enjoy a hot coffee and a decadent donut!
Anne Wooster Drury
Anne Wooster Drury