121 Marlborough was built in 1877 by J. and H. M. Harmon, builders, for Charles William Freeland, one of seven contiguous houses (121-123-125-127-129-131-133 Marlborough) built for him between 1877 and 1880, all in the same design and built for speculative sale. 121-123 Marlborough were built first, with the original permit application for the two houses dated March 3, 1877.
The architect is not identified on the original building permit application for 121-123 Marlborough, but Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay attributes them to Peabody and Stearns, who are shown as the architects on the application for 125-127-129 Marlborough, built in 1879-1880, and for 131-133 Marlborough, built in 1880.
Charles Freeland was a merchant, cotton manufacturer, and real estate developer. He and his wife, Sarah Ward (Harrington) Freeland, lived at 117 Beacon.
On April 2, 1877, Charles Freeland purchased a 168 foot wide lot from the estate of Gardiner Howland Shaw, who had purchased the land from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on June 12, 1866. Charles Freeland probably had originally planned to subdivide it into seven equal lots of 24 feet each. However, after building the first four houses at 121-127 Marlborough on 24 foot lots and beginning construction on 129 Marlborough at the same width, he purchased an additional 12 foot wide lot to the west on November 28, 1879, from Henry Lee, Jr. (part of a lot Henry Lee had purchased from the Commonwealth on November 18, 1879), and built 131-133 Marlborough on 30 foot wide lots.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 121 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 419, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.
On November 1, 1877, 121 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Freeland by the estate of former US Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis to be the home of his widow, Maria Malleville (Allen) Curtis. Prior to her husband’s death in September of 1874, they had lived at 21 Marlborough.
Benjamin and Maria Curtis’s son, Allen Curtis, a stockbroker, lived with her until about 1887, but had moved to 277 Clarendon by the 1887-1888 winter season.
Maria Curtis continued to live at 121 Marlborough during the 1892-1893 winter season, but moved thereafter.
On July 8, 1893, 121 Marlborough was purchased from the estate of Benjamin R. Curtis by Helen E. (Skelton) Cary, the widow of Richard Cary. Their daughter, Georgina S. Cary, lived with her. They previously had lived at 38 Chestnut. Richard Cary had been killed in August of 1862 at the Battle of Cedar Hill (Virginia), while serving as a Captain in the Union Army.
On June 14, 1933, 121 Marlborough was purchased from Georgina Cary’s estate by Miss Mary Buckminster Lothrop. Her brother, attorney Thornton Kirkland Lothrop, Jr., lived with her. They previously had lived at 152 Mt. Vernon, and prior to that at 27 Commonwealth with their widowed mother, Anne Maria (Hooper) Lothrop, until her death in July of 1930.
On June 5, 1947, 121 Marlborough was acquired from Mary Lothrop’s estate by Susan Edith (Waterbury) Weld, the widow of Stephen Minot Weld, Jr. Mary Frances (Blodgett) Nye, the widow of Theodore Herbert Nye, lived with her. They both previously had lived at 159 Beacon.
Susan Edith Weld died in September of 1960. 159 Marlborough was inherited by Mary Nye, who continued to live there until her death in September of 1972.
On April 11, 1973, 121 Marlborough was acquired from Mary Nye’s estate by Anthony P. Baker. In December of 1973, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into nine apartments. He abandoned the permit, but may have proceeded with some remodeling nevertheless.
On October 2, 1975, the Stephen Finance Corporation (Alton G. Cherney, president and treasurer) foreclosed on its mortgage to Anthony Baker.
On November 25, 1975, 121 Marlborough was acquired from the Stephen Finance Corporation by Architectural Renovations Incorporated (Peter K. Gearhart, president and treasurer).
In March of 1976, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into five apartments, which it indicated was an existing condition.
On November 10, 1976, Architectural Renovations converted the property into five condominium units, the 121 Marlborough Condominium.