125 Beacon was built in 1865-1866. In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting does not attribute 125 Beacon to a specific architect. However, an August 19, 1865, article in the Boston Daily Advertiser indicates that it was designed by architect Alden Frink:
“On the lot no. 125 Beacon street a house has just been started which is to be built from plans by Alden Frink, the architect. A. H. Kelsey is the builder. This house is to be four stories high with basement and French roof, brown-stone front, twenty-two and a half by seventy feet, and to be built in good style in keeping with other houses in the neighborhood.”
Albert Hannibal Kelsey, who built 125 Beacon, was a building contractor and mill engineer best known for his extensive work in Lewiston, Maine, where he built the canal and guard locks, planned the streets, and built the Bates, Hill, Androscoggin, Lewiston, and Continental Mills, and the DeWitt Hotel. He and his wife, Charlotte (Upton) Kelsey, lived in Belmont.
The land for 125 Beacon had been owned by John Wooldredge, a shoe manufacturer from Lynn. On May 1, 1865, he had entered into a contract with architect Charles K. Kirby, who was just completing the houses at 119-121 Beacon. Under the contract, Charles Kirby agreed to “immediately take possession of said land and commence erection of a dwelling house” to certain specifications, and John Wooldredge agreed to sell him the land once the house was completed. On July 8, 1865, Charles Kirby assigned his rights and responsibilities to Albert Kelsey, who proceeded to build the house with Alden Frink as the architect. On May 22, 1866, after the house was completed, John Wooldredge sold the land to Albert Kelsey.
John Wooldredge had purchased the land for 125 Beacon on April 19, 1864, from William Warren Goddard and Abbott Lawrence. It was part of a tract of land William Goddard and Abbott Lawrence’s brother, T. Bigelow Lawrence, had purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on August 1, 1857. That tract included all of the land on the south side of Beacon Street from Arlington to Berkeley.
Click here for and index to the deeds for 125 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land on the south side of Beacon from Arlington to Berkeley, north of Alley 421.
On September 29, 1868, 125 Beacon was purchased from Albert Kelsey by A. Louisa (Thompson) Eldridge, the wife of John Seabury Eldridge. They previously had lived at 232 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Canton.
John Eldridge was a lawyer and President of the Boston, Hartford, and Erie Railroad, and had served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1859-1860 and as a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1865.
They continued to live at 125 Beacon in 1874, after which they made their home in Canton (he died in March of 1876).
On July 2, 1874, 125 Beacon was purchased from A. Louisa Eldridge by carriage manufacturer William Philip Sargent. He and his wife, Hannah J. (Clement) Sargent, made it their home. They previously had lived at 407 Columbus.
Hannah Sargent died in February of 1885. William Sargent continued to live at 125 Beacon until his death in February of 1888.
By the 1889-1890 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of the Sargents’ son and daughter-in-law, Charles William Sargent and Elizabeth (Denny) Sargent. They previously had lived at 249 Newbury. He was a dealer in leather and hides.
Charles and Elizabeth Sargent were living elsewhere during the 1890-1891 winter season and 125 Beacon was the home of shoe manufacturer Charles Patten Shillaber and his wife, Helen Starr (Camerden) Shillaber. They previously had lived at the Hotel Palmerston at 177 West Chester Park. They had moved to 339 Beacon by the 1891-1892 season.
Charles and Elizabeth Sargent resumed living at 125 Beacon. They continued to live there during the 1895-1896 winter season, but moved thereafter, possibly to Pasadena, California, where he died in January of 1898. 125 remained in the Sargent family and was leased to others.
During the 1896-1897 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of wholesale boot merchant Chester Hasbrouck Davis and his wife, Florence Elizabeth (Endicott) Davis. Florence Davis’s sister, Mary Caroline Endicott, lived with them. By 1898, the Davises (and possibly Mary Endicott) had moved to 118 Beacon.
During the 1897-1898 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of Quincy Adams Shaw, Jr., a mining engineer, and his wife, Sarah (Pemberton) Shaw. They had married in May of 1896. By 1899, they had moved to 11 Exeter.
During the 1898-1899 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of attorney John Lowell, Jr., and his wife, Mary Emlen (Hale) Lowell. They previously had lived at 237 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Chestnut Hill. By 1900, they had moved to 24 Commonwealth, which had been his parents’ home (his father had died in May of 1897 and his mother had moved soon thereafter).
By the 1900-1901 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of Henry Salisbury Millard and his wife, Harriet (Stevens) Millard, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 121 Beacon, where they also operated a lodging house. He was a real estate dealer and formerly had been a boot and shoe manufacturer in North Adams, Massachusetts.
They continued to live at 125 Beacon until about 1903, when they moved to 169 Beacon.
By the 1903-1904 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of Dr. William Lothrop Edwards, a physician, and his wife, Alice (Loring) Edwards. They previously had lived at 102 Beacon.
The Edwardses continued to live at 125 Beacon in 1905, but had moved to 145 Beacon by 1906.
On August 1, 1905, 125 Beacon was purchased from the Sargent family by attorney James Lowell Putnam. He and his wife, Eleanor Jay (Robinson) Putnam, made it their home. They previously had lived at 32 Commonwealth. They continued to live at 125 Beacon in 1913, but had moved to 2 Raleigh by 1914.
During the 1914-1915 winter season, 125 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Harriet Pierce (Weeks) Anthony, the widow of banker Silas Reed Anthony, who had died in March of 1914. Their unmarried children — Ruth Anthony and Reed Pierce Anthony — lived with her. Prior to her husband’s death, they had lived at 113 Commonwealth, which Mrs. Anthony continued to own. They had moved to 175 Beacon by the 1915-1916 season.
125 Beacon was not listed in the 1916 Blue Book.
On July 15, 1915, 125 Beacon was acquired from James Putnam by attorney Edward Sohier Welch. He and his wife, Barbara (Hinkley) Welch, made it their home. They previously had lived at 23 Charles River Square. They also maintained a home in Weston.
The Welches continued to live at 125 Beacon in 1925. They divorced in 1926 and on June 24, 1926, he transferred 125 Beacon to her. E. Sohier Welch remarried to Margaret (Permain) Bowditch (the former wife of metal dealer Manfred Bowditch) and moved to 20 Louisburg Square.
Barbara Welch continued to live at 125 Beacon. She also continued to maintain a home in Weston.
In July of 1928, Barbara (Hinkley) Welch married again, to attorney Roger Wolcott, Jr. He previously had been married to Claire Morton Prince; they had divorced in 1927.
After their marriage, the Wolcotts lived at 125 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Milton.
In 1936, Barbara Wolcott had 125 Beacon remodeled into apartments. Two applications were filed, in both cases by the architect, George Nelson Jacobs. In February of 1936, H. Pierce from Nelson’s office filed to remodel the house into ten apartments. The application was approved by the Board of Appeal on November 18, 1936, but was then abandoned. A new application was filed in December of 1936 by George Nelson Jacobs. It was approved by the Board of Appeal on January 6, 1937. The new proposal included significant modifications to the façade, “squaring out” the mansard roof of the original townhouse and adding another story. During the construction, the number of units was increased to thirteen.
On January 6, 1937, 125 Beacon was purchased from Barbara Wolcott by real estate dealer Bernard Brooker. The remodeling probably had been undertaken under an agreement with him that he would acquire the property after the approvals were received (in February of 1936, when the first remodeling permit was filed, E. Sohier Welch had released to Bernard Brooker any residual interest he might have in the property; the release was not recorded until January of 1937 along with the conveyance of the property to Bernard Brooker by Barbara Wolcott).
On January 26, 1940, Edward Isaac Fine and Solomon H. Rubin foreclosed on their mortgage to Bernard Brooker and took position of 125 Beacon. Edward Fine was president of the Eagle Electric Supply Company. He and his wife, Beatrice (Bach) Fine, lived in Newton.
125 Beacon remained the property of the Fine family, remaining an apartment house.
On June 1, 1981, J. Stephen Cohen, grandson of Edward and Beatrice Fine (son of Dr. Wilfred E. Cohen and Judith (Fine) Cohen) and trustee of the Fine Family Realty Trust, transferred 125 Beacon to S C Enterprises, Inc. Stephen Cohen was president of S C Enterprises.
On July 22, 1982, S C Enterprises converted 125 Beacon into thirteen condominium units., the Beacon Place Condominium.