111 Marlborough was designed by architect Charles K. Kirby and built in 1872, for speculative sale, one of four houses in a similar design (111-113-115-117 Marlborough) with brownstone façades built in 1872-1873. He also had designed three houses to the east, at 105-107-109 Marlborough, built ca. 1871. The façades of 109 Marlborough and 111 Marlborough are identical in design and detail, with the exception that 109 Marlborough is faced with brick and 111 Marlborough faced with brownstone.
111 Marlborough was built on a lot owned by James Henry Standish. He purchased the land on June 14, 1872, from attorney Edward Ingersoll Browne, who had purchased it from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that same day. 113-115 Marlborough were built on land owned by Charles Kirby, and 117 Marlborough was built on land owned by James Henry Standish’s father, James M. Standish.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 111 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 419, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.
James M. Standish and his wife, Sarah (Grant) Standish lived at 283 Dartmouth, and James Henry Standish lived with them. James M. Standish was a mason and builder, credited by Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay with constructing eighteen houses in the Back Bay in the 1860s and 1870s. James Henry Standish was a carpenter and builder, probably working in association with his father.
James Standish and his son probably were the builders of 111 Marlborough and 117 Marlborough, where they owned the land, and quite possibly also built 113-115 Marlborough under an agreement with Charles Kirby whereby he provided the architectural drawings and they built the houses. Bainbridge Bunting credits Charles Kirby with designing 111-113-115 Marlborough, but does not attribute 117 Marlborough to him. However, it is likely that he designed all four houses, based on the similarity of design and the balance of the composition, with 113-115 Marlborough as a symmetrical pair flanked by 111 Marlborough and 117 Marlborough (with the bay of 111 Marlborough to the east and the bay of 117 Marlborough to the west).
The four houses were built at about the same time. Construction of 111 Marlborough began in late June of 1872 (the Boston Journal reported on June 21, 1872, that James H. Standish had received a permit to build, and the Boston Traveller reported on July 19, 1872, that “the walls are rising for a brownstone residence for Mr. James J. Standish”); construction of 115-117 Marlborough began in late September of 1872 (the Boston Herald reported on September 20, 1872, that Charles Kirby had been issued permits for both houses); and construction of 117 Marlborough began in November of 1872 (the Boston Herald reported on November 8, 1872, that James Standish had been issued a permit to build).
The landowners fine-tuned their boundaries as the houses progressed. On July 9, 1872, as 111 Marlborough was beginning construction, Charles Kirby sold James H. Standish a six inch strip of his land under the party wall with 109 Marlborough, which had already been built. On August 19, 1872, James H. Standish sold Charles Kirby a seven inch strip of land at the west of his land under the party wall with 113 Marlborough, and on November 1, 1872, Charles Kirby sold James M. Standish, a six inch strip to the west of his land at 115 Marlborough, under the party wall with 117 Marlborough.
On April 16, 1873, 111 Marlborough was purchased from James H. Standish by Clara Louisa (Page) Barnes, the wife of woolens dealer Charles Benjamin Barnes. They previously had lived at 150 Boylston. They also maintained a home in Hingham.
The Barnes’s four children — Edith Page Barnes, Clara Fessenden Barnes, Mary Page Barnes, and Charles Benjamin Barnes, Jr. — lived with them.
Clara F. Barnes married in December of 1887 to Benjamin S. Blanchard, a physician, and moved to Brookline. Edith Barnes died in January of 1892. Charles Benjamin Barnes, Jr., married in November of 1887 to Josephine Lea Low. After their marriage, they lived in Hingham.
Clara Barnes died in June of 1904. Charles Barnes continued to live at 111 Marlborough with their daughter, Mary. By 1909, they had been joined by his sister-in-law, Miss Ellen M. Page.
On September 5, 1912, 111 Marlborough was acquired from Charles Barnes’s estate by his daughter-in-law, Josephine (Low) Barnes. Charles and Josephine Barnes made it their home. They previously had lived at 398 Marlborough and also continued to maintain a home in Hingham. Mary Barnes continued to live at 111 Marlborough with them until about 1915.
Charles Barnes, Jr., was a lawyer and also served as president of the Hingham and Nantasket Steamship Company.
On March 5, 1923, Josephine Barnes transferred 111 Marlborough into her and her husband’s names.
Josephine Barnes died in December of 1946. Charles Barnes continued to live at 111 Marlborough and in Hingham until his death in August of 1956.
On April 30, 1957, 111 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Barnes’s estate by Theodore Higier and his wife, Patricia Kent Higier, of Cambridge.
In August of 1957, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into eight apartments.
The property subsequently changed hands and on July 26, 1979, was purchased by Farshid Hodjat and Fred B. Wilcon, trustees of the 111 Marlboro Trust. In March of 1979, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units from eight to five, and on August 28, 1980, they converted the building into five condominium units, the 111 Marlborough Street Condominium.