125 Commonwealth

125 Commonwealth (2014)

Lot 26' x 124.5' (3,237 sf)

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

125 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Clarendon and Dartmouth, with 123 Commonwealth to the east and 127 Commonwealth to the west.

125 Commonwealth was designed by architect William G. Preston and built ca. 1872, one of two contiguous houses (123-125 Commonwealth).  125 Commonwealth was built as the home of attorney George William Tuxbury and his wife, Harriet Matilda (Beals) Tuxbury, daughter of William Beals, co-founder of the Boston Post.  123 Commonwealth was built for Harriet Tuxbury’s sister, Elizabeth Bishop (Beals) Kendall, the widow of Isaac Kendall.

In 1870, the Tuxburys had lived at 147 Boylston.

George Tuxbury is shown as the owner of 125 Commonwealth on the 1874 Hopkins map.  They continued to live there in 1878, but had moved by 1879 and were living in Framingham at the time of the 1880 US Census.

121-129 Commonwealth (ca. 1875), detail from photograph taken from the Brattle Street (First Baptist) Church tower; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

121-129 Commonwealth (ca. 1875), detail from photograph taken from the Brattle Street (First Baptist) Church tower; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

By 1879, 125 Commonwealth was the home of Joseph H. Gray, a cotton and wool merchant, and his wife Maria L. (Dewey) Gray.  They previously had lived at 4 Union Park.

Maria Gray is shown as the owner of 125 Commonwealth on the 1883, 1888, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.

Joseph Gray died in September of 1904.  Maria Gray continued to live at 125 Commonwealth until her death in August of 1907.

The house was not listed in the 1908-1911 Blue Books.

By the 1911-1912 winter season, 125 Commonwealth was the home of William Barry, a merchant tailor, and his wife, Leonie (Dueth) Barry, a former actress.  They previously had lived at 214 Newbury.

Leonie Barry’s unmarried sister, Rosalie (Rose) N. Dueth, lived with the Barrys at 214 Newbury, and probably moved with them to 125 Commonwealth, where she was living with them at the time of the 1920 US Census.

123-125 Commonwealth (ca. 1927), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

123-125 Commonwealth (ca. 1927), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

The Barrys operated 125 Commonwealth as a lodging house.

Among the lodgers living with the Barrys were retired architect George Frederick Meacham and his wife, Ellen Louisa (Frost) Meacham. They had lived at the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Boylston and Clarendon) in 1911.  George Meacham designed the Boston Public Garden in 1860 and several significant Back Bay buildings, including the Hollis Street Church (1883) at the corner of Newbury and Exeter, and the Boston Bicycle Club (1884) at 152 Newbury.  He died in December of 1917, and by the 1918-1919 winter season, Ellen Meacham had moved to 174 Commonwealth.

The Barrys did not own 125 Commonwealth during the first two decades of their residence there.  William J. Stober, a real estate dealer, is shown as the owner on the 1912 and 1917 Bromley maps, and Charles F. Ayer is shown as the owner on the 1928 map.  Charles Ayer also owned 127 Commonwealth, where he and his family lived.

By 1921, the Barrys had acquired 365 Marlborough, which they operated as a lodging house.

In about 1922, the Ayers moved from 127 Commonwealth.  After they moved, it was consolidated with 125 Commonwealth and the Barrys ran both as a lodging house.  Many of the new residents at 127 Commonwealth moved from 365 Marlborough, which the Barrys converted into a dormitory.

123-125 Commonwealth (2014)

William Barry died in March of 1924.  Leonie Barry continued to live at 125 Commonwealth and operate 125-127 Commonwealth as a lodging house.  In the 1930 US Census, Leonie Barry is listed at 125 Commonwealth with her occupation is listed as “proprietor, boarding house” and the servants are all indicated as employed in a boarding house.  127 Commonwealth was not listed separately in the Census.

Sometime after the 1930 US Census was taken, Leonie Barry acquired 125 and 127 Commonwealth.  She is shown as the owner of both properties on the 1938 Bromley map.

Leonie Barry continued to live at 125 Commonwealth until about 1946.

By 1946, 125 and 127 Commonwealth were owned by Marie B. Stone.  In the fall of 1946, Mary K. Creamer purchased 125 and 127 Commonwealth from Marie Stone.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on September 15, 1946.  They subsequently were acquired by real estate dealer Thomas H. Diab, and in early 1947, were purchased from him by Mary F. Page.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on January 19, 1947.

Mary Page continued to operate 125-127 Commonwealth as a lodging house.  In 1954, she sought a zoning variance to permit her to charge for parking at the rear of 125-127 Commonwealth.  The variance was denied by the Board of Appeal.

125-131 Commonwealth (2013)

125-131 Commonwealth (2013)

Mary Page continued to live at 125-127 Commonwealth and operate the properties as a lodging house until about 1960, when she began to operate them primarily as student housing. By 1962 they were called the Page House Dormitory.  She continued to live there until about 1964.

By the early 1960s, 125 and 127 Commonwealth were owned by Mildred C. Murphy.  In July of 1962, they were purchased from Mildred Murphy by Harry Freedman, who held them in the name of Rainbow Realty.

In November of 1964, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to change the legal occupancy of both buildings from lodging houses to girls dormitories for use by Bay State School of Business (later Bay State College), located at 122 Commonwealth.

They continued to be dormitories in 2014.

Commonwealth Avenue, looing northwest from Clarendon (ca. 1875), photograph taken from the Brattle Street (First Baptist) Church tower; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

Commonwealth Avenue, looking northwest from Clarendon (ca. 1875), photograph taken from the Brattle Street (First Baptist) Church tower; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library