115 Commonwealth

115 Commonwealth (2014)

Lot 28.6' x 124.5' (3,561 sf)

Lot 28.6′ x 124.5′ (3,561 sf)

115 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Clarendon and Dartmouth, with 113 Commonwealth to the east and 117 Commonwealth to the west.

115 Commonwealth was designed by Cummings and Sears, architects, and built ca. 1876 for dry good merchant Walter Hastings, Jr., one of three contiguous houses (113 Commonwealth built at the same time, and 117 Commonwealth built ca. 1872).  113 and 115 Commonwealth originally were designed a symmetrical pair.

Walter and Elizabeth (Glidden) Hastings lived first at 117 Commonwealth (from about 1872 to about 1877) and then at 115 Commonwealth (by 1878), where he was living when he died in October of 1879.  Elizabeth Hastings continued to live at 115 Commonwealth during the 1879-1880 winter season, but moved soon thereafter.

By the 1880-1881 winter season, 115 Commonwealth was the home of Oliver Ames and his wife Anna (Ray) Ames.  Oliver Ames was a partner in his family’s pick and shovel firm, and an officer and director of numerous railroads.  He served as Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor in 1882-1885, and as Governor in 1886-1887.

The Ameses probably leased 115 Commonwealth from Walter Hastings’s estate (Walter Hastings’s Heirs are shown as the owners on the 1883 Bromley map) while their home at 355 Commonwealth was being built; they moved there in about 1883 after its completion.

By the 1883-1884 winter season, 115 Commonwealth was the home of Isabella Melissa (Walker) Weld, widow of shipping, railroad, and real estate magnate William Fletcher Weld, and their unmarried son, George Walker Weld.  Before her husband’s death in December of 1881, they had lived at 1 Arlington.  The Trustees of George Walker Weld are shown as the owners of 115 Commonwealth on the 1888 Bromley map, and William G. Weld (William Gordon Weld, Isabella Weld’s stepson) et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1895 and 1898 maps.

Living with them was a cousin, Miss Isabella Hazen Dana (she was Isabella (Walker) Weld’s second cousin, once removed, their common ancestor being John Frink of Rutland, Massachusetts).

Two of Isabella Weld’s step-daughters lived on the same block: Sarah (Mrs. George) Pratt, lived at 127 Commonwealth from about 1872 until her death in 1902, and Anna (Mrs. George) Perkins, lived at 123 Commonwealth from about 1888 until her death in 1924.

115 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

115 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

George Walker Weld died in February of 1905 and Isabella Weld died in October of 1908.  She is shown as the owner of 115 Commonwealth on the 1908 Bromley map.

Isabella Hazen Dana continued to live there during the 1908-1909 winter season, but moved soon thereafter.

In the fall of 1909, 115 Commonwealth was purchased from Isabella Weld’s estate by Everett Morss and his wife Ethel (Reed) Morss.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on November 11, 1909.   They previously had lived at 303 Marlborough.  Ethel R. Morss is shown as the owner of 115 Commonwealth on the 1912, 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps. They also maintained a summer home in West Manchester.

Everett Morss was president of Simplex Wire and Cable Company, founded by his father, which manufactured insulated wires and cables.  He also served as Treasurer of MIT.  Ethel Morss was a leader of the Woman’s Municipal League of Boston, and meetings of the League (including the 1923 annual meeting) frequently were held at 115 Commonwealth during the 1920s and early 1930s.

The Morss’s three children — Constance (“Conney”) Morss, Everett Morss, and Noel Morss — lived with them.

Constance Morss married in October of 1919 to Gardiner Horsford Fiske, a cotton broker.  After their marriage, they lived in Weston and later at 206 Beacon.  Everett Morss married in September of 1928 to Anne Wentworth.  After their marriage, they lived in an apartment at 250 Beacon.  He joined his father’s firm and later would succeed him as president.

Everett Morss died in December of 1933.  Ethel Morss continued to live at 115 Commonwealth with their son, Noel, a lawyer and amateur archeologist.  Edith Morss died in November of 1936.  Noel Morss married in 1937 to Mrs. Marion (Hayward) Clancey.  They lived at 115 Commonwealth until about 1939, when they moved to Needham.

115 Commonwealth was shown as vacant in the 1939 City Directory.

In February of 1939, real estate dealer Henry Joseph O’Meara purchased 115 Commonwealth from the Morss family.

By 1940, 115 Commonwealth was the home of Katherine Theresa Foley, who operated it as a lodging house.  She previously had lived in Brookline.  She continued to live (and operate a lodging house) at 115 Commonwealth in 1941, but had moved to 167 Commonwealth by 1942.

By 1941, 115 Commonwealth also was the headquarters of the Pan-American Society of Massachusetts, formed (according to an April 6, 1941, Boston Globe article) “at a time when the friendly relations between the Americas are of increasing importance.”  It had moved to 205 Commonwealth by the Fall of 1942.

In October of 1941, 115 Commonwealth was purchased by Charles A. Sawyer.

By 1942, 115 Commonwealth had become the St. Botolph Club, previously located at 4 Newbury. The Club remained there until 1972, when it moved to 199 Commonwealth.

In September of 1972, 115 Commonwealth was purchased by attorney Frank S. Ganak and his wife, Yola Nina (DiCecca) Ganak.  They converted the property into six or seven apartments, and lived in one of the apartments.  At about the same time, they also purchased 131 Commonwealth.

On December 14, 2004, the building was severely damaged by fire.  It was subsequently repaired and the number of apartments was reduced to four units.

In September of 2012, 115 Commonwealth was acquired by Robert Atchinson and his wife, Michelle Atchinson.  In February of 2015, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the interior and reduce the number of units from four to three.