We are happy to report the December sale of this wonderfully unique property in Lincoln for buyer clients of ours. The listing brokers were Lois and Lauren Thetrault of Coldwell Banker, who passed along valuable history of the property. The sale price was $1,911,000.

The Austin-Hodges House was built in 1852 for Loring Henry Austin and Jane Goodwin Austin in 1852 by a stonemason names Cyrus Pierce. The Austins were relocating to the countryside in Lincoln from a house in Cambridge, coinciding with the broader trend of the Transcendentalist back-to-nature movement. In fact, Henry David Thoreau himself mentions this specific house in his journal in 1860:

An acquaintance who had bought him[self] a place in Lincoln took him out one day to see it, and Austin was so smitten with the quiet and retirement and other rural charms that he at once sold his house …  bought a small piece of rocky pasture and then out-of-the-way part of this out-of-the-way town, and with the funds raised by the sale of his old house build him a costly stone house upon it. Now he finds that this retirement is the very thing which he does not want, but, his property being chiefly invested in the house, he is caught in a trap, as it were, for he cannot sell it, though he advertises it every year. As for society, he has none; his neighbors are far and few between, and he never visits them nor they him. They can do without him, being as old settlers, ascripti glebae [persons attached to the soil]. He found one man in the next town who got his living by sporting fishing, and he has built him a little hut and got him to live on his place for society and helpfulness. He cannot get help either for the outdoor or indoor work. There are none thereabouts, who work by the day or job, and servant-girls declined to come so far into the country. Surrounded by green fields he sends to Cambridge for his oats, and, as for milk, he can scarcely get any at all, for the farmers all send it to Boston, but he has persuaded one to leave some for him at the depot a half-mile off.

The Austins were also friends with Nathaniel Hawthorn, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa Mae Alcott. Jane Auston published her first novel, Fairy Dreams, in 1859. Her initials are still etched in one of the dining room windows.

In 1860, the house was purchased by Ann Frances Hodges and Edward Fuller Hodges, who had the stone barn constructed in 1861.


It is unclear whether the addition of the el section of the house came before or during their ownership. The Hodges had eight children, only three of whom survived to adulthood. After the death of Edward, Ann continued to live at the house with her son, George Clarendon Hodges.

George’s estate sold the house in 1932 to Greta Wood Snider and Joseph Lyon Snider, a professor of business economics at Harvard, for $9,000, which included 20 acres that the Hodges had purchased from an adjacent farm. During this time, a bathroom was installed in the el, with what is believed to have been the first attached/installed bathtub in the area. The Sniders also installed a modern kitchen, updated heating system, and a second bathroom.

In 1952, the house was sold to Mary Brewster Collins, who owned it only for one year before it was sold to Mary A.P. Coolidge, who in turn sold it to her son, Henry P. Coolidge, a professor of English literature at Harvard and Tufts, and his wife, Alice M.T. Coolidge. The Coolidges owned the property until this 2013 sale. They were responsible for a new landscaping plan designed by Alice Pickman, and installation of the granite terrace that remains today. The Coolidges modernized the electrical and heating systems, in addition to other updates over their 60 years of stewardship.

We are proud to be the brokers who facilitated this latest transfer of ownership for buyers who are smitten with the house and property. We know that the previous owners would be happy to know that the home is in good hands.



Thanks to Lois and Lauren for sharing the history.