116 Beacon was designed by architect Gridley J. F. Bryant and built ca. 1856. It was originally numbered 108 Beacon, but re-numbered as 116 Beacon ca. 1862 when homes were built on the south side of the street.
116 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.”
116 Beacon was built as the home of banker and stockbroker Thomas Handasyde Perkins, III, and his wife Elizabeth Jones (Chadwick) Perkins. They previously had lived at 37 Chestnut.
The land for 116 Beacon was purchased on November 3, 1855, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation by Christopher C. Chadwick and William W. Tucker, trustees of a trust established on July 9, 1855, to manage property inherited by Elizabeth (Chadwick) Perkins from her father, Ebenezer Chadwick, for her benefit and the benefit of her children.
The original deed from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation included a condition, inserted for the benefit of Robert W. Hooper, who had purchased the adjoining lot at 114 Beacon, prohibiting any owner of the lot at 116 Beacon from building any structure in the rear of 116 Beacon that extended any further north than the north wall of 114 Beacon or was larger in dimensions than any structure in the rear yard of 114 Beacon, unless permission was granted by the owner of 114 Beacon. This restriction subsequently was superseded by an agreement on October 20, 1926, among the owners of all of the houses at 104-116 Beacon limiting rear additions for a period of fifteen years.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 116 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
The Perkinses continued to live at 116 Beacon in 1857, but moved thereafter to 17 Mount Vernon and then, in about 1864, to 201 Beacon (285 Clarendon).
Samuel Hammond married in October of 1858 to Mary Crowninshield (Warren) Hammond. They lived at 116 Beacon after their marriage and also maintained a home in Nahant.
In 1861, the were joined at 116 Beacon by Knyvet Winthrop Sears and his wife, Mary Crowninshield (Peabody) Sears. They previously had lived at 1 Louisberg Square, and by 1862 had moved to 132 Beacon.
During the 1887-1888 winter season, the Hammonds were living elsewhere and 116 Beacon was the home of Francis Inman Amory, an attorney, and his wife, Grace Josephine (Minot) Amory. They had lived at 53 Marlborough during the previous season. By the next season, they had moved to 265 Beacon and 116 Beacon was once again the Hammonds’ home.
During the 1892-1893 winter season, Samuel Hammond moved temporarily to an apartment at The Grosvenor at 259 Beacon, and 116 Beacon was the home of Richard Dudley Sears and his wife, Eleanor Mary (Cochrane) Sears. They had lived at 302 Berkeley during the previous season. They also maintained a home in Nahant. Richard Dudley Sears was a real estate trustee. In 1881, he had been the first American men’s singles champion in lawn tennis, and was the winner of that title for each of the six following years. By the 1893-1894 season, Richard and Eleanor Sears had moved to 83 Beacon, and by the 1894-1895 season to 86 Marlborough.
By the 1893-1894 winter season, Samuel Hammond was once again living at 116 Beacon. He continued to live there until his death in May of 1896.
On April 24, 1897, 116 Beacon was acquired from the Samuel Hammond’s estate by Eliza A. Hubbard, the wife of Dr. Rufus Peabody Hubbard. They had married in 1896.
Among her lodgers in 1899 was Baroness Rose Moore (Smith) Posse, the widow of Baron Nils Posse. She previously had lived at 64 Commonwealth. She operated the Posse Gymnasium at 23 Irvington, a school teaching (according to its advertisements in the Boston Evening Transcript) a “normal course in Medical and Educational Gymnastics for men and women.” The school had been founded by her husband, who had died in December of 1895. By the 1900-1901 season, she had moved to The Cambridge at 483 Beacon.
Also among Eliza Hubbard’s lodgers during the 1899-1900 winter season were Shirley Potter Draper and his wife, Florence Blanche (Higley) Draper, who had married in October of 1899. He was a bank clerk and later treasurer of an automobile supply company. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 304 Marlborough with his parents, Dr. Frank Winthrop Draper and Fanny (Jones) Draper. By mid-1900, they had moved to Newton Centre.
On October 31, 1901, 116 Beacon was purchased from Eliza Hubbard by Abby Collins Brown and her sister, Rebecca Warren Brown. They previously had lived at 80 Beacon.
Rebecca Warren Brown was a Revolutionary War historian and author.
On June 3, 1915, 116 Beacon was purchased from the estate of Rebecca Warren Brown by Dr. Charles Allen Porter. He was a physician and surgeon, and also was an associate professor (and later professor) at Harvard Medical School. He and his wife, Margaret Cochran (Dewar) Porter, lived at 254 Beacon.
Charles Porter was a physician and surgeon, and also was an associate professor (and later professor) at Harvard Medical School. He maintained his medical offices at 254 Beacon. Margaret Dewar also was a physician and had served as resident surgeon at Sheffield Hospital in England prior to their marriage in April of 1898. She had graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1894, among the first women in Scotland to receive a university degree and the first to receive a university medical qualification. Although she was a registered physician in Massachusetts, she appears not to have practiced after their marriage.
In June of 1915, Charles Porter applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel 116 Beacon, lowering the front entrance to street level and excavating a sub-basement under the front portion of the building. The remodeling was designed by architect William Chester Chase. In 1916, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to further remodel the building, relocating two windows in the rear of the house.
Charles Porter died in July of 1931. Margaret Porter continued to live at 116 Beacon until 1936, when she purchased and moved to 251 Beacon. She continued to own 116 Beacon and in January of 1937, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert it into a lodging house.
By 1937, the lodging house at 116 Beacon was operated by Ella G. (Adams) Eells Haig, the widow of John H. Eells and of Dr. Andrew A. Haig, and her sister, Evelyn G. (Adams) Wardwell, the widow of George J. Wardwell. They previously had lived at 284 Commonwealth. They continued to live at 116 Beacon in 1939. By 1940, Ella Haig had moved to 72 Commonwealth and Evelyn Wardwell was living temporarily at the House of the Good Shepherd, a convent and home for women and children at 841 Huntington (she had joined her sister at 72 Commonwealth by 1941).
By mid-1940, 116 Beacon was the home of insurance broker Fred Perkins Kinney and his wife, Lillie W. (Dickerman) Kinney, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived in Jamaica Plain.
On October 5, 1942, the Franklin Savings Bank purchased 116 Beacon from Margaret Porter for the amount outstanding on the mortgage it had entered into with Charles Porter on June 9, 1921. On October 15, 1942, Fred and Lillie Kinney purchased the house from the bank. Fred Kinney died in July of 1944.
On August 22, 1944, 116 Beacon was acquired from Lillie Kinney by Carlton Lloyd Bain and his wife, Harriet Preston (Kelly) Bain. He was employed with the Internal Revenue Service. They previously had lived in Maine. They continued to operate 116 Beacon as a lodging house.
On November 29, 1945, 116 Beacon was acquired from Carlton and Harriet Bain by Matthew Joseph Malloy and his wife, Ione Wilkinson (Lohr) Malloy. They lived at 227 Marlborough and operated the Stratford School at 128 Commonwealth. They continued to operate 116 Beacon as a lodging house.
On September 25, 1950, 116 Beacon was acquired from the Malloys by Francis E. Brown.
On May 19, 1954, 116 Beacon was purchased from Francis E. Brown by Fisher Junior College (later Fisher College). It also owned 112-114 Beacon and 118 Beacon. In 1961, it acquired 108-110 Beacon, and in 1962 it acquired 102-106 Beacon.
In July of 1954, Fisher College applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 116 Beacon from a lodging house to a school building and to consolidate the property with 118 Beacon. It cut through connections between the buildings on the basement and third floor levels.