120 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 120 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 October 1, 1869, 120 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Freeland by Adelaide Elizabeth (Griswold) Griswold, the wife of dry goods distributor Daniel Chase Griswold. They previously had lived at the American House hotel.
They continued to live at 120 Marlborough during the 1879-1880 winter season, but moved thereafter to 366 Columbus. They continued to own 120 Marlborough and lease it to others.
By the 1880-1881 winter season, it was the home of Sidney Frederick Tyler and his wife, Mary Woodrow (Binney) Tyler. They previously had lived at 134 Marlborough. He was Massachusetts General Agent for the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. They continued to live there during the 1882-1883 winter season, but moved thereafter to 192 Marlborough.
By the 1883-1884 winter season, 120 Marlborough was the home of Miss Madeleine Curtis Mixter. At the time of the 1880 US Census, she had lived at 195 Beacon with her uncle, Nathaniel Curtis. She continued to live at 120 Marlborough during the 1889-1890 season, but moved thereafter to 241 Marlborough.
130 Marlborough was not listed in the 1891 Blue Book.
By 1892, 120 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Myra De Normandie, a physician. She continued to live there in 1894, but by 1895 had moved to an apartment at 409 Marlborough, where she was living at the time of her death in January of 1896.
By the 1894-1895 winter season, 120 Marlborough was the home of wine merchant Thomas H. Snow and his wife, Mary A. (Pecker) Snow. They previously had lived at 6 St. James. They continued to live at 120 Marlborough during the 1895-1896 season, but moved soon thereafter to Exeter Chambers (southeast corner of Exeter and Blagden).
By the 1896-1897 winter season, 120 Marlborough was the home of retired iron merchant Isaac Lowell Pratt and his wife, Emily (Cutter) Pratt. They previously had lived at 187 Beacon. Isaac Pratt died in October of 1896. Emily Pratt moved soon thereafter to 4 Audubon Road.
By the 1897-1898 winter season, 120 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Frederick E. Cheney, a physician and ophthalmologist, and his wife, Grace (Cartwright) Cheney. He also maintained his medical office there. They previously had lived at The Ludlow (southwest corner of Clarendon and St. James). They continued to live at 120 Marlborough in 1903, but had moved to Concord by 1904 (after they moved, he maintained his medical office at 126 Commonwealth).
By the 1904-1905 winter season, it was the home of Thomas Pelham Curtis and his wife Frances Kellogg (Small) Curtis.
In 1894, Thomas Curtis had been a member the Boston Athletic Club team that participated in the first Olympics, held in Greece. He won the 110-meter hurdles (gold medals were not awarded to first place winners until later Olympics). He was an engineer in the electric wiring and construction businesses, associated with his MIT classmate, Frederick W. Lord. Frances (Small) Curtis was a leader in the Massachusetts movement for women’s suffrage.
The Curtises continued to live at 120 Marlborough during the 1905-1906 season, but moved thereafter to an apartment at The Chesterfield at 371 Commonwealth, then to the Hotel Canterbury at 14 Charlesgate West, and then to 391 Commonwealth.
On May 2, 1906, 120 Marlborough was purchased from Adelaide Griswold (by then a widow, Daniel Griswold having died in August of 1898) by Helen Maria (Bird) Loring, the wife of banker Stanton Dunstan Loring. They previously had lived in Newton Centre.
During the 1914-1915 winter season, 120 Marlborough was the home of mining company executive Richard Fay Parker and his wife, Emma Rosalie (Guild) Parker. They previously had lived at 95 Mt. Vernon. By the 1915-1916 season, they had moved to 193 Beacon.
On January 31, 1917, he transferred the property into his wife’s name.
They continued to live at 120 Marlborough during the 1918-1919 winter season, but had moved to New York City by 1920.
On August 24, 1920, 120 Marlborough was purchased from Bessie Wiggin by Josephine Ethel (Brush) Smith, the wife of Dr. Richard Mason Smith. They previously had lived at 329 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Ipswich.
Richard Mason Smith was a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. He was the author of the book, The Baby’s First Two Years. He also served as a member of the Massachusetts Public Health Council in the 1930s and 1940s.
They continued to live at 120 Marlborough until about 1948, when they moved to an apartment at 401 Beacon.
On July 28, 1947, 120 Marlborough was purchased from J. Ethel B. Smith by Mrs. Constance Cutler (Templeton) Rhinelander, the former wife of Frederic William Rhinelander. She previously had lived in Brookline. She also maintained a home in Gloucester. She continued to live at 120 Marlborough in early 1955, but moved soon thereafter to 417 Beacon.
On February 17, 1955, 122 Marlborough was purchased from Constance Rhinelander by John T. Hayes and his wife, Hester (Swain) Hayes. They previously had lived in an apartment at 295-297 Beacon. John Hayes was an attorney and later served as general counsel to the Red Sox.
Hester Swain died in December of 1962, and in October of 1963, John Hayes married again, to Mrs. Irene (Hagan) Eaves, the widow of Jack D. Eaves. She was a teacher and technical director for Katharine Gibbs School and previously had lived in an apartment at 125 Marlborough.
John Hayes’s mother, Ellen (Gallagher) Hayes, the widow of James J. Hayes, was living at 120 Marlborough at the time of her death in December of 1966.
Irene Hayes died in November of 1980 and John Hayes died in April of 1981.
On September 17, 1981, 120 Marlborough was purchased from John Hayes’s estate by Joseph F. Patton, Jr., and his wife, Joan H. Patton. In May of 1984, Joseph Patton filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize of the property as a single-family dwelling (there being no record of the legal occupancy in the Building Department’s files).
It remained assessed as a single-family dwelling in 2020.