112 Beacon was designed by architect Gridley J. F. Bryant and built ca. 1856. It was originally numbered 106 Beacon, but re-numbered as 112 Beacon ca. 1862 when homes were built on the south side of the street.
112 Beacon is one of seven contiguous houses (104-106-108-110-112-114-116) built ca. 1856 in the same design, all in brownstone with French Academic details, ridge roofs, and a common cornice line (the copper-clad oriels at 106, 108, and 110 Beacon were added in the mid-1880s). 104-106 Beacon, 108-110 Beacon, and 112-114 Beacon are each symmetrical pairs.
Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay does not attribute 104-116 Beacon to a specific architect. However, the October 1859 edition of the Architect’s and Mechanic’s Journal, commenting on the houses built on the first block of Beacon in the Back Bay, indicates that they were “from the designs of Mr. G. J. F. Bryant, architect.”
112 Beacon was built as the home of Nathaniel Hooper and his wife, Harriet Rose (Wilson) Hooper. They previously had lived at 11 Temple. His brother, Dr. Robert William Hooper, a physician, lived next door, at 114 Beacon.
Nathaniel Hooper had been a merchant in the East India trade, and then became a wholesale dry goods merchant and cotton mill agent in the firm of Minot & Hooper, in partnership with George Richards Minot.
Nathaniel Hooper purchased the land for 112 Beacon on June 28, 1855, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation. On November 13, 1857, he transferred the property to his brother, Robert Hooper, and John H. Reed, in trust for the benefit of his wife and children.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 112 Beacon.
Harriet Hooper died in May of 1864. In February of 1867, Nathaniel Hooper married again, to Elizabeth Lincoln Bird. After their marriage they lived in France, where their son Samuel was born in July of 1868. By 1869, they had returned to Boston and were living at 27 Commonwealth with his brother and sister-in-law, Samuel and Anne (Sturgis) Hooper.
On March 11, 1867, 112 Beacon was acquired from Robert Hooper and John Reed, trustees, by Susan Hammond (Timmons) Perkins, the wife of Augustus Thorndike Perkins. They previously had lived at 11 Mt. Vernon.
Although trained as a lawyer, Augustus Perkins never practiced law as a profession, devoting himself instead to his business investments, among which was the Douglass Axe Company, of which he served as president. He also authored a biography of the artist, John Singleton Copley.
During the 1886-1887 winter season, the Perkinses were traveling in Europe and 112 Beacon was the home of cotton broker Ellerton Lodge Dorr and his wife Mary Louisa (Stanwood) Dorr. They previously had lived in Chestnut Hill. By the next season, they had moved to 262 Beacon and Augustus and Susan Perkins had resumed living at 112 Beacon.
An April 5, 1891, illustrated article in the Boston Globe commented on the oriel window at 112 Beacon: “An oriel window, with a flashing gilded roof, a rival, by the way, of the State House dome sprouts out from the residence of Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Perkins, at No. 112, just at the right hand of the front entrance. Through colored glass and heavy plate glass, chysanthemums (sic) in full bloom throw a summer’s greeting to the wintry winds without and bid them howl on.”
Augustus Perkins died in April of 1891, and Susan Perkins died in February of 1894.
112 Beacon remained the home of their unmarried daughter, Elizabeth Greene Perkins, who continued to live there until her marriage in September of 1901 to William Austin Wadsworth. After their marriage, they lived at 45 Beacon.
On February 18, 1903, 112 Beacon was purchased from the estate of Susan Hammond Perkins by Alice (Crowninshield) Bradlee, the widow of Josiah Bradlee, who had died in September of 1902. Prior to his death, they had lived at 247 Marlborough. She also maintained a home on Peach’s Point in Marblehead.
Her unmarried daughter, Sarah, lived with her.
In July of 1915, Alice Bradlee acquired 114 Beacon, next door, and then resold it in February of 1916 to Alice Putnam (Bacon) Lothrop, the widow of banker William Sturgis Hooper Lothrop. As part of the transaction, Alice Bradlee added a deed condition restricting the erection of any structure in the rear yard of 114 Beacon larger in dimensions from any structure in the rear yard of 112 Beacon. The restriction was superseded by an agreement on October 20, 1926, among the owners of all of the houses at 104-116 Beacon limiting rear additions for a period of fifteen years.
Alice Bradlee died in April of 1926 and Sarah Bradlee moved soon thereafter to 68 Beacon.
On July 29, 1926, 112 Beacon was acquired from Alice Bradlee’s estate by real estate dealer William J. Stober.
The house was not listed in the 1927 Blue Book.
On June 8, 1927, 112 Beacon was acquired from William Stober by Robert Ernest Belknap. He and his wife, Elizabeth Treat (Lyon) Belknap, made it their home. They previously had lived at 42 Pinckney. They also maintained a home in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and later (from about 1933) in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
Robert Belknap was a retired steel industry executive.
In August of 1927, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to reconstruct and expand an existing coal shed at the rear of the building, converting it into a garage.
On January 15, 1931, Robert Belknap transferred the house into his and his wife’s names.
During the 1934-1935 winter season, the Belknaps were living elsewhere and 112 Beacon was the home of banker John Hurst Purnell Gould and his wife, Emily Lee (Higginson) Gould. They previously had lived in New York. By 1936, the Belknaps were living there again.
Robert Belknap died in June of 1936. Elizabeth Belknap continued to live at 112 Beacon with their son, Robert Belknap, Jr.
On December 12, 1937, photographs of the interior of 112 Beacon were featured in the Boston Globe (“an exclusive camera visit to a beautiful Boston residence”), the article indicating that the home was the “creation of Putnam and Cox,” architects, who apparently had been retained by Mrs. Belknap to remodel the interior.
Elizabeth Belknap and Robert Belknap continued to live at 112 Beacon until about 1939. By 1940, she was living in an apartment at 282 Beacon.
On May 11, 1939, 112 Beacon was purchased from Elizabeth Belknap by Dr. Richard Warren and his wife, Cora (Lyman) Warren. He was a physician and surgeon, and maintained his medical offices at 264 Beacon. They continued to live there in 1942.
On September 11, 1942, 112 Beacon was acquired from the Warrens by the Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College. 112 Beacon also was the home of Theresa G. Leary, the school’s principal, and her sister, Anna T. Leary, the associate principal. The school previously had been located at 229 Commonwealth, and the Learys had lived at 90 Fenway.
Anna Leary died in September of 1943. By 1944, Theresa Leary was listed in the City Directory at 112 Beacon as president of the school. Neither Miss Leary nor the school were listed in the 1945-1947 City Directories, and it appears to have suspended operations. In 1947, Chamberlayne was acquired by Matthew J. Malloy, who operated the Stratford School at 128 Commonwealth. That same year he purchased 130 Commonwealth and Chamberlayne resumed operations at that location.
On May 31, 1944, 112 Beacon was acquired from Chamberlayne by Fisher Business School (later Fisher College), located at 118 Beacon. It operated 112 Beacon as a dormitory for girls called “Florence Hall.”
In 1952, Fisher College acquired 114 Beacon, and in 1954 it acquired 116 Beacon. In 1961, it acquired 108-110 Beacon, and in 1962 it acquired 102-106 Beacon.