127 Beacon was built in 1860-1861, one of two contiguous houses (127-129 Beacon) built in the same design. As originally built, 127-129 Beacon both had flat front façades; sometime between 1912 and 1917 a one story oriel was added on the second story of 129 Beacon (it is not shown on the 1912 Bromley map but is shown on the 1917 map). Two other houses, 131-133 Beacon, in a similar style, were built at about the same time on slightly larger lots.
All four houses were built on land owned by William Warren Goddard and T. Bigelow Lawrence, part of a tract of land they 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 an index to the deeds for 127 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land on the south side of Beacon from Arlington to Berkeley, north of Alley 421.
Three different builders constructed the houses: James Standish built 127 Beacon, John Danforth Dunbar built 129 Beacon, and Samuel Shurtleff Perkins built 131-133 Beacon. In each case, after the buildings were completed, the land was acquired by the builder from William Goddard and T. Bigelow Lawrence, and then the builder resold the house to its first occupant.
On May 16, 1860, James Standish filed with the Board of Aldermen a Notice of Intention to build at 127 Beacon. On March 23, 1861, after completing the house, he purchased the land from William Goddard and T. Bigelow Lawrence. He and his wife, Sarah (Grant) Standish lived at 73 Worcester.
On September 13, 1861, 127 Beacon was purchased from James Standish by William Craig Wharton. He and his wife, Nancy Willing (Spring) Wharton, made it their home. They previously had lived at the Tremont House hotel. The Whartons’ three children — Nancy Craig Wharton, William Fisher Wharton, and Edward Robbins Wharton — lived with them.
In 1873, William Fisher Wharton graduated from Harvard Law School and Edward Robbins Wharton graduated from Harvard College. In fall of 1873, the Whartons offered 127 Beacon for lease for a two year period, during which they lived elsewhere, probably traveling in Europe.
By 1875, 127 Beacon was the home of George C. Taylor, a broker. He previously had lived at 101 West Chester Park. By 1876, he had moved to 189 Warren Avenue and the Whartons had resumed living at 127 Beacon.
William Fisher Wharton, an attorney and future Assistant Secretary of State in the Benjamin Harrison administration, married in October of 1877 to Fanny Pickman and they moved to 18 Marlborough. Edward (Teddy) Wharton married in April of 1885 to Edith Newbold Jones, later to become the noted author Edith Wharton, and they moved to Newport. They divorced in 1913.
On August 20, 1885, William Craig Wharton transferred 127 Beacon into his wife’s name.
William Craig Wharton died in May of 1891, a suicide. Nancy (Spring) Wharton continued to live at 127 Beacon and in 1892 purchased Pine Acre in Lenox. Nancy Craig Wharton continued to live with her and, on December 16. 1908, Nancy (Spring) Wharton transferred 127 Beacon to her.
Nancy (Spring) Wharon died in August of 1909.
During the 1909-1910 winter season, Nancy Craig Wharton was living elsewhere and 127 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Hazel Kortright (Mixter) Appleton, the former wife of Randolph Morgan Appleton, and their daughter, Madeleine Appleton. Their primary residence was in Ipswich. Madeleine Appleton married in September of 1910 to Alfred Vincent Kidder.
During the 1910-1911 winter season, 127 Beacon had once again become the home of Nancy Craig Wharton. She moved thereafter, probably to Lenox (where she died in October of 1921), and 127 Beacon was not listed in the 1913 Blue Book.
By the 1913-1914 winter season, it was the home of George Bridge Leighton and his wife, Charlotte (Kayser) Leighton. They previously had lived at the Copley Plaza Hotel and, before that, at 301 Berkeley. They also maintained a home in Monadnock, New Hampshire.
George Leighton was president of the Allegheny By-Products Coal Company, and previously had been president of the Los Angeles Terminal Railway and then of the Leighton & Howard Steel Company.
The Leightons continued to live at 127 Beacon during the 1915-1916 season, but moved thereafter to 35 Commonwealth.
On June 22, 1916, 127 Beacon was purchased from Nancy Craig Wharton by Lucy (Harris) Frothingham, the wife of retired banker Theodore Frothingham. They previously had lived in Philadelphia. They also maintained a home in Dark Harbor, Maine.
The Frothinghams were living elsewhere during the 1925-1926 and 1926-1927 winter seasons
During the 1925-1926 winter season, 127 Beacon was the home of Miss Rosalind Wood. She previously had lived at 21 Fairfield with her parents, William Madison Wood and his wife, Ellen Wheaton (Ayer) Wood. She had moved by the next season, and in June of 1928 married to Count Francesco Mario Guardabassi, a portrait artist.
127 Beacon was not listed in the 1926-1927 winter season.
In 1927, 127 Beacon was the home of cotton broker Thomas Spriggs Blumer and his wife, Nancy Warburton (Scott) Blumer. They previously had lived at 486 Beacon and in July of 1927 purchased and subsequently moved to 18 Marlborough.
The Frothinghams had resumed living at 127 Beacon by the 1927-1928 winter season.
Theodore Frothingham died in June of 1930.
During the 1930-1931 winter season, Lucy Frothingham and their daughter, Dorothea, traveled to Europe and 127 Beacon became the home of Dudley Leavitt Pickman, Jr., and his wife, Vivian (Wessell) Cochrane Pickman. They had married in November of 1930 and 127 Beacon was their first home together. Vivian Pickman was the widow of Alexander Lynde Cochrane, who had died in January of 1928; they had lived at 452 Beacon at the time of his death. Prior to her marriage to Alexander Cochrane, she had been a stage actress. Dudley Pickman was the nephew of Fanny Pickman, who had married William Fisher Wharton in 1877 while he was living with his parents at 127 Beacon. By 1932, the Pickmans had purchased and moved to 303 Commonwealth.
By the 1932-1933 winter season, 127 Beacon was once again the home of Lucy Frothingham and her daughter, Dorothea.
During the 1933-1934 winter season, Lucy and Dorothea Frothingham lived at the Hotel Lincolnshire at 20 Charles and 127 Beacon was the home of Quincy Adams Shaw, II, and his wife, Naneen Campbell (Mitchell) Adams. They also maintained a home in Manchester, which was their primary residence.
During the 1934-1935 winter season, Lucy and Dorothea Frothingham were living at 127 Beacon once again.
On April 3, 1936, 127 Beacon was purchased from Lucy Frothingham by Karl Edvard Berggren, an electrical contractor.
Lucy Frothingham moved to 63 Chestnut. Dorothea Frothingham married in September of 1936 to banker James Outram Bangs and they moved to 112 Revere. Dorothea Frothingham’s brother, William Bainbridge Frothingham, was married to James Bangs’s sister, Harriet Amory Bangs.
In April of 1936, Karl Berggren applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 127 Beacon from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
Karl Berggren and his wife, Constance F. (Stanley) Berggren, lived at 82 Shepton in Dorchester in the early 1940s but had moved to 127 Beacon by 1943. They continued to live and operate a lodging house there until the early 1970s.
Constance Berggren died in January of 1973 and Karl Berggren moved soon thereafter.
On November 3, 1975, 127 Beacon was acquired from Karl Berggren by Kevin O’Reilly and Peter A. Bailey, trustees of the Sheeba H Trust. On December 30, 1975, it was acquired from them by Robert W. Butt and Ronald Q, Butt. They continued to operate it as a lodging house.
On June 15, 1984, 127 Beacon was acquired from Robert and Ronald Butt by Mary Elizabeth Brady, trustee of the 127 Beacon Street Trust.
On March 30. 1987, Helen Wollaston, successor trustee of the 127 Beacon Street Trust, attempted to convert the house into twelve condominium units, the 127 Beacon Street Condominium. The conversion was undertaken without first legally converting the property from a lodging house into twelve apartments. By 1992, all twelve condominiums were owned by the First Needham Street Realty Corporation.
On March 23, 1992, Patrick O’Byrne and his wife, Gloria O’Byrne, acquired the the condominiums from the First Needham Street Realty Corporation.
In March of 1992, the O’Byrnes applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 127 Beacon from a lodging house into twelve apartments, legalizing the existing condition, and on November 24, 1992, they retracted the earlier condominium conversion.
On July 1, 2002, 127 Beacon was acquired from the O’Byrnes by David Pogorelc, trustee of the John 127 Realty Trust.
On the same day, David Pogorelc withdrew the O’Byrnes’ removal of the condominium status of the twelve units, reinstating the 127 Beacon Street Condominium originally established in 1987.