116 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 116 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 February 26, 1870, 116 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Freeland by Caroline (Carrie) Heywood (Richmond) Coffin, the wife of banker and broker Edward A. Coffin. They had married in October of 1869 and 116 Marlborough probably was their first home together.
The Coffins continued to live at 116 Marlborough in May of 1872, when their son, Richmond, was born, but moved soon thereafter to Lowell, where Edward Coffin joined his father-in-law’s paper manufacturing company. They continued to own 116 Marlborough and lease it to others.
By 1873, it was the home of Edward Livingston Adams and his wife, Emily (Macy) Adams. They had lived at 224 Beacon in 1872. Edward Adams was affiliated with his father’s express firm, the Adams Express Company, and also was treasurer of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Rail Road.
They continued to live at 116 Marlborough in 1874, but by 1875 had moved to 144 Marlborough.
By 1876, 116 Marlborough was the home of George William Pettes and his wife Mary Rebecca Hathaway (Balch) Pettes. In 1975, they had lived in Jamaica Plain.
George Pettes was an editor, journalist, and advertising agent. and previously had been a chemical merchant. He is credited with authoring American or Standard Whist (published in 1881) on the card game whist, although it may have been written by his son, George Wesley Pettes, who lived with them at 116 Marlborough and was employed at the Boston Custom House (the book was authored by “G. W. P.” and is frequently credited to George William Pettes; however, the Book News for June, 1891, indicates that George Wesley Pettes wrote Whist in Diagrams in that year and also wrote a column on the game for the Boston Evening Transcript, both written under the name “G. W. P.”).
George and Mary Pettes continued to live at 116 Marlborough in 1878, but had moved to 361 Beacon by 1879.
During the 1878-1879 winter season, 116 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. M. B. Hayward, probably Mrs. Mary Bartlett (Vose) Hayward, the widow of Isaac Davenport Hayward (who had died in May of 1878 in Milton). By June of 1880, at the time of the 1880 US Census, she was living in Milton; by the 1883-1884 winter season, she was living at 346 Marlborough.
By the 1879-1880 winter season, 116 Marlborough was the home of wholesale dry goods merchant Patrick Arklay and his wife, Julia Cornelia (Parker) Arklay. They previously had lived at the Hotel Hamilton at 260 Clarendon. They continued to live at 116 Marlborough during the 1881-1882 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 95 Mt. Vernon.
By the 1882-1883 winter season, 116 Marlborough was the home of merchandise broker Henry A. Holden and his wife, Sarah Octavia (Hill) Holden. They previously had lived at the Hotel Berkeley (southeast corner of Berkeley and Boylston). They continued to live at 116 Marlborough during the 1883-1884 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to Brookline.
On May 16, 1884, 116 Marlborough was purchased from Carrie Coffin by a trust established under the will of James B. Dow, and it became the home of his widow, Mary (McBurney) Dow. She previously had lived at 13 Ashburton Place. She continued to live at 116 Marlborough until her death in June of 1889.
The trustees under James B. Dow’s will sold 116 Marlborough sold 116 Marlborough at public auction on September 3, 1889. The successful bidder was William Henry Pitkin, who took title to the property on September 12, 1889. The Boston Evening Transcript’s September 4, 1889, report of the sale noted that the price paid (which was $100 over the assessed valuation) “is no criterion as to the value of land in that locality, as the house, which is a good one, was in need of repair.”
William Pitkin and his wife, Mabel (Washburn) Pitkin, made 116 Marlborough their home. They previously had lived at the Hotel Huntington (Huntington at Blagden).
William Pitkin was a dealer in upholsterers’ supplies, in partnership with his brother, Charles Lewis Pitkin. Charles Pitkin also was his brother-in-law; his wife, Nellie (Washburn) Pitkin, was Mabel Pitkin’s sister. Charles Pitkin died in August of 1891 and William Pitkin retired from active business.
William and Mabel Pitkin raised their four children at 116 Marlborough: Edith, Margaret, Helen, and William. Edith and Margaret Pitkin were twins.
Helen Pitkin married in May of 1915 to Richmond Lennox Brown. He was an attorney in Brooklyn, New York, where they lived after their marriage.
William H. Pitkin died in October of 1925. Mabel Pitkin continued to live at 116 Marlborough with her three unmarried children.
William Pitkin served in World War I and then, in August of 1919, became a real estate and insurance dealer in partnership with his double cousin, Donald Stevenson Pitkin (the son of Charles and Nellie Pitkin).
Margaret Pitkin married in September of 1929 to Jessie Herbert Van Alstyne, president of an elevator company. After their marriage, they lived in New Rochelle, New York.
On July 18, 1941, 116 Marlborough was acquired by real estate dealer Eugene N. Siskind. In May of 1942, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
Jane (Jennie) T. (Sheehan) Sullivan Goodwin, the widow of John F. Sullivan and of William James Goodwin, operated the lodging house for Eugene Siskind from 1942. She previously had lived at 523 Beacon. She continued to live and operate the lodging house at 116 Marlborough until late 1944, when she moved to 155 Beacon.
On October 2, 1944, 116 Marlborough was acquired from Eugene Siskind by Miss Anna Florence Hoole, who operated it as a lodging house. She was a secrretary and lived at 116 Marlborough with her mother, Mary Edith (Davis) Hoole, the widow of William H. Hoole. They previously had lived in an apartment at 82 Commonwealth.
Mary Hoole died in March of 1949. Anna Florence Hoole continued to live at 116 Marlborough until about 1950.
On March 6, 1950, 116 Marlborough was acquired from Anna Florence Hoole by William Bull Elmer, an electrical engineer, and his wife, Aletha A. (Smith) Steele Elmer. They lived at 113 Pinckney.
On July 10, 1951, 116 Marlborough was acquired from the Elmers by Frank A. Silver. The Elmers divorced soon thereafter and William Elmer married again in May of 1953 to Cathleen Burns. After their marriage, they lived at 113 Pinckney. On July 10, 1954, William Elmer acquired 116 Marlborough back from Frank Silver.
On December 29, 1959, 116 Marlborough was acquired from William Elmer by real estate dealers Stuart H. Hastings and Joseph A. Gautreau. In April of 1960, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into ten apartments.
The property further changed hands. It remained an apartment house in 2020.