112 Marlborough was built in 1868 by Ivory Harmon, mason and builder, for Charles William Freeland, one of eleven contiguous houses (110-130 Marlborough) built for speculative sale on a parcel with a 198 foot frontage. Charles Freeland was a merchant, cotton manufacturer, and real estate developer. He and his wife, Sarah Ward (Harrington) Freeland, lived at 117 Beacon.
The eleven houses are arranged in a symmetrical composition, with two houses at each end of the group (110-112 Marlborough and 128-130 Marlborough) on 19 foot wide lots with bays which carry into the mansard roof, two pairs of intermediate houses (114-116 Marlborough and 124-126 Marlborough) on 17 foot 8 inch lots with oriel windows, and a central grouping of three houses (118-120-122 Marlborough), with 118 Marlborough and 122 Marlborough on 17 foot 8 inch lots and 120 Marlborough on a 16 foot lot.
Click here for a composite image of 110-130 Marlborough illustrating the symmetrical composition, assembled from several photographs taken in March of 2013.
The land for 110-130 Marlborough was sold by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at its public auction on April 9, 1863, as six 25 foot lots and two 24 foot lots. Dwight Foster, an attorney, was the successful bidder for five of the 25 foot lots, and Dr. John Cauldwell Foster, a physician, was the successful bidder for the sixth 25 foot lot and the two 24 foot lots. Charles Freeland subsequently acquired their rights to purchase the land and, on March 28, 1868, the Boston Daily Advertiser reported that he had begun construction of the eleven houses. He purchased and took title to the land from the Commonwealth on October 26, 1868, as they were approaching completion.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 112 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 424, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.
In August of 1868, while the houses were under construction, Charles Freeland offered them for sale as a group. An August 10, 1868, advertisement in the Boston Traveller by real estate dealer John Jeffries, Jr., described them as “a block of 11 houses now being erected on Marlborough street. These houses are to be built in the most thorough manner, under the supervision of Mr. Ivory Harmon. They vary in size and price, and are intended to meet the present demand for medium-priced houses in a good locality. The horse cars are to pass within one hundred feet.”
The advertisement continued to run in October of 1868 (and possibly later), but the houses ultimately were sold to individual buyers.
On June 1, 1869, 112 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Freeland by Warren L. Tower, a dealer in shoe manufacturers’ findings. He and his wife, Lucinda P. (Stoddard) Tower, made it their home. They previously had lived at 13 Walnut. They continued to live at 112 Marlborough in 1871, but had moved to the Commonwealth Hotel by 1872.
Elizabeth Danforth died in November of 1885. Mary Danforth continued to live at 112 Marlborough until her death in March of 1889.
On May 6, 1889, Samuel Torrey Morse purchased Elizabeth Danforth’s one-half undivided interest in 112 Marlborough from her estate, and on September 12, 1890, he purchased Mary Danforth’s one-half undivided interest from her heirs.
Samuel Torrey Morse was a shipping merchant. He and his wife, Harriet Jackson (Lee) Morse, lived at 12 Marlborough.
112 Marlborough became the home of their son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Henry Lee Morse and Jessie Frances (Scott) Morse. He was a physician specializing in ear, nose, and throat diseases, and also maintained his medical office there. They previously had lived at 160 Mt. Vernon and he had maintained his office at 109 Boylston.
Samuel T. Morse died in November of 1890. The property remained in his estate.
Jessie Morse died in October of 1909. Henry Morse continued to live at 112 Marlborough with their daughter, Jessie Gwendolen Morse.
Henry Morse’s mother, Harriet (Lee) Morse, died in June of 1911. On February 17, 1912, the trustees under Samuel T. Morse’s will transferred 112 Marlborough to Henry Morse and his two sisters, Frances Rollins Morse and Mary Lee (Morse) Elliot, the wife of John Wheelock Elliot. On February 19, 1912, Francis Morse and Mary Elliot transferred the property to Henry Morse.
Henry Morse and his daughter continued to live at 112 Marlborough during the 1913-1914 winter season, but moved soon thereafter, probably to Medfield, where they were living on a farm in 1920.
112 Marlborough was not listed in the 1915 Blue Book.
During the 1915-1916 and 1916-1917 winter seasons, 112 Marlborough was the home of Francis William Bird and his wife, Margery Willard (Phelps) Bird. A former attorney in New York City, Francis Bird was editor and publisher of the Advertiser newspaper. The firm was sold to William Randolph Hearst in November of 1917.
112 Marlborough was not listed in the 1918 Blue Book.
On January 31, 1919, Henry Morse transferred 112 Marlborough to his daughter, Jessie Gwendolen Morse.
By the 1918-1919 winter season, 112 Marlborough was the home of Dr. James Dellinger Barney, a urologist, and his wife, Margaret (Higginson) Barney. They previously had lived at 80 Marlborough. He maintained his office at 99 Commonwealth (260 Clarendon). They continued to live at 112 Marlborough during the 1920-1921 season, but moved thereafter to 87 Marlborough.
By the 1921-1922 winter season, 112 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Benjamin Harrison Ragle and his wife, Marguerite (Williams) Ragle. B. Harrison Ragle was a physician. He was personal physician to Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr., and was a consultant on medical matters to Byrd’s 1939-1941 exploration of the Antarctic. Ragle Glacier in Antarctica is named in his honor.
They continued to live at 112 Marlborough in 1923, but had purchased and moved to 226 Marlborough by 1924.
On April 15, 1924, 112 Marlborough was purchased from Jessie Gwendolen Morse by real estate dealer Franklin Goldthwaite Sherrill. He was unmarried and lived there with his mother, Maria Knox (Mills) Sherrill, the widow of Henry Williams Sherrill.
Maria Sherrill died in September of 1932, and F. Goldthwaite Sherrill died in March of 1933.
The house was not listed in the 1934 and 1935 Blue Books, and was shown as vacant in the 1934 and 1935 Boston City Directories.
The property changed hands and was operated as a lodging house, although it lacked the egress required for that purpose.
On July 15, 1937, 112 Marlborough was acquired by Ingeborg G. Nielsen. She also owned 114 Marlborough, where she lived and operated a lodging house.
In January of 1938, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy of 112 Marlborough as a lodging house and to cut doors in the party wall with 114 Marlborough to connect the two buildings.
Ingeborg Nielsen continued to live at 114 Marlborough and operate the two properties as a lodging house until the early 1950s.
On October 4, 1951, 112-114 Marlborough were acquired from Ingeborg Nielsen by Walter H. Eldredge. He died in February of 1952.
On September 21, 1954, 112-114 Marlborough were acquired from the estate of Walter Eldredge by Miss Grace (Grajia) J. Inferrera. She lived at 112 Marlborough and operated both properties as lodging houses.
On October 27, 1964, 112-114 Marlborough were acquired from Grace Inferrera by Frederick Rosenbaum, trustee of the Clark Realty Trust.
112-114 Marlborough subsequently changed hands, remaining lodging houses, and on April 18, 1978, were purchased by real estate broker and investor Patrick J. Glynn.
In June of 1996, he applied for permission to convert 112 Marlborough from a lodging house for fourteen people into fourteen apartments. His application was denied and his appeal was dismissed by the Board of Appeal.
On January 22, 1991, he transferred the property to himself and his wife, Anne T. Glynn, as trustees of the 112-114 Marlborough Street Trust, and on December 31, 1991, they transferred 112 and 114 Marlborough to Glynn Realty Associates II, LP.
112-114 Marlborough remained lodging houses in 2016.