130 Commonwealth

130 Commonwealth (2019)

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

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

130 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Clarendon and Dartmouth, with 128 Commonwealth to the east and 132 Commonwealth to the west.

130 Commonwealth was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1882 by Antoine Xavier, builder, one of two contiguous houses (128 and 130 Commonwealth). 130 Commonwealth was built for building contractor William Seavey Rand, who is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated July 18, 1882; 128 Commonwealth was built for building contractor Samuel M. Shapleigh, who is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, also dated on July 18, 1882.  As originally built, both houses had brownstone façades and octagonal bays.

William Rand purchased the land for 130 Commonwealth on June 22, 1882, Anna Cathrine (Collett) Schiotz Börs, the wife of Christian Börs. They lived in New York City, where he was a commission merchant and consul general for Sweden and Norway, He had purchased the land on May 25, 1867, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, while a resident of Boston. A widower, he subsequently moved to New York City, where he remarried to Anna (Collett) Schiotz, the widow of Soren Daniel Schiotz (Schjotz). On December 2, 1875, he transferred the land in Boston to Charles S. Gill, a commission merchant and Belgian consul. On June 21, 1882, the day before it was acquired by William Rand, Charles Gill recorded a deed, dated December 3, 1875, transferring the property to Anna Bôrs.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 130 Commonwealth, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Commonwealth and Alley 435, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.

On April 13, 1883, William Rand sold 130 Commonwealth to Edmund Hatch Bennett. He and his wife, Sally (Crocker) Bennett, made it their Boston home. They also maintained a residence in Taunton.

Edmund Bennett was a lawyer and judge, the first Mayor of Taunton, and dean of the Boston University Law School.

The Bennetts’ three children – Edmund Neville Bennett, Samuel Crocker Bennett, and Mary A. Bennett – lived with them.

Edmund Neville Bennett died in May of 1881.

Mary Bennett married in November of 1884 to Dr. William M. Conant, a physician. After their marriage, they lived briefly at 130 Commonwealth with her parents and he maintained his medical office at the house. By 1886, they had moved to 252 Newbury.

Samuel Bennett married in September of 1885 to Amy Reeder Thomas. After their marriage, they lived in Brookline. He was a lawyer in partnership with his father and succeeded his father as dean of the Boston University School of Law.

Edmund and Sally Bennett continued to live at 130 Commonwealth in 1890, but moved soon thereafter.

130 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

130 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

On December 15, 1890, 130 Commonwealth was purchased from Edmund Bennett by George H. Brooks. The deed specified that possession of the house was to be given on or before January 20, 1891.

George Brooks was a real estate investor, having formerly been a retail clothing merchant in Boston and then a wholesale liquor dealer in Cincinnati. He and his wife, Sarah T. (Smith) Brooks, previously had lived at the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon, which he had built in 1885-1886.  They also maintained a home in Swampscott.

Their son, banker and broker George Chelson Brooks, and his wife, Carrie L. (Story) Brooks, lived with them at 130 Commonwealth and also previously had lived at the Hotel Royal.

George and Sarah Brooks were legally separated by December of 1895 and he died in May of 1896.  In his will, he left his entire estate to his son, George (whom he also named as executor), and left his wife “the sum of $1.00 and such interest in property of which I shall die seized, both real and personal, as she is entitled to by operation of law, and no more.” On July 9, 1896, George C. Brooks transferred a one-half undivided interest in 130 Commonwealth and the Hotel Royal to his mother, and she named him her “attorney irrevocable” for all matters associated with the Hotel Royal.

George and Carrie Brooks moved back to the Hotel Royal, and 130 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1897 Blue Book.

On October 12, 1898, 130 Commonwealth was purchased from Sarah (Smith) Brooks and George C. Brooks by Dr. Dwight Moses Clapp. He and his wife, Clara Josephine (Simonds) Clapp, made it their home, He was a dentist and also maintained his dental office at the house. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at 62 St. James. They also maintained a home in Lynn.

In addition to his own offices, Dr. Clapp also provided medical office space at 130 Commonwealth for several other doctors and dentists.

By the 1904-1905 winter season, the Clapps had been joined at 130 Commonwealth by Clara Clapp’s mother, Jane (Lewis) Simonds, the widow of Henry Simonds.

Dwight Clapp died in September of 1906. After his death, Clara Clapp continued to live at 130 Commonwealth with their son, Howard, and her mother. Howard Clapp also was a dentist and assumed his father’s practice.

Jane Simonds died in December of 1907.

Clara Clapp and Howard Clapp moved soon thereafter, she to 154 Newbury and he to 238 Newbury.

In March of 1908, 130 Commonwealth was purchased from Clara Clapp by Charles Henry Bond, her neighbor at 128 Commonwealth. The property was conveyed to Charles Bond on May 15, 1908.

Charles Bond was president of President of Waitt and Bond (one of New England’s largest cigar manufacturers) and a real estate investor.

The March 12, 1908, Boston Globe article describing transaction stated that it was Charles Bond’s “intention to make extensive improvements by using both estates and erecting one of the finest private houses in this section of the Back Bay.”  In his memoirs, Charles Bond’s son, Charles Lawrence Bond, indicated that his father “bought the house at 130 Commonwealth Avenue with the intent of having a large music room in which to entertain.  To eliminate the walls between the houses required major changes in the foundations and supporting beams.”

Architectural rendering of the remodeled front façade of 130 Commonwealth (1909) by Otto Strack, architect; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department, Boston City Archives, and The Gleason Partnership

Charles Bond purchased the house at a point when his finances already were over-extended following the financial panic of 1907 and a series of commercial real estate acquisitions. On May 18, 1908, he transferred his property to John C. F. Slayton and Arthur W. Newell as trustees of the Charles Bond Trust, formed to manage his properties in Massachusetts and Washington DC on his behalf.

Charles Bond died in July of 1908 at his home in Swampscott.

Work to combine 128 and 130 Commonwealth had commenced, but after his death, according to his son’s memoirs, the walls between 128 and 130 Commonwealth “were restored so that 130 Commonwealth could be sold.”

On January 1, 1909, 130 Commonwealth was purchased from the Charles Bond Trust by Frances (Thorley) Goodwin, the wife of Augustus Franklin Goodwin. He was a candy and grocery merchant and later Chairman of First National Stores.

Both 128 and 130 Commonwealth then were significantly remodeled; the original brownstone façades and bays were removed and replaced with complementary Beaux Arts façades.  The entrance to 128 Commonwealth was lowered to street level and the entrance to 130 Commonwealth was centered on the façade.

In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting erroneously placed the remodeling at about 1905, but noted: “The files of the city Building Department, usually so complete, fail to mention these alterations. The facades were evidently entirely rebuilt and some new interior paneling and mantels added; the floor system and partitions of the old structures, particularly on the upper levels, were retained, however.”

Bunting does not attribute the remodeling of the two buildings to a specific architect. Douglass Shand-Tucci, in his Built in Boston, speculated, “one wonders if Arthur Bowditch could have been their architect,” and Susan and Michael Southworth’s AIA Guide to Boston (second edition), perhaps relying on both Bunting and Shand-Tucci, credits Arthur Bowditch with the design and dates the remodeling to 1905.

In fact, the two houses were remodeled in 1909, each designed by different architects: 128 Commonwealth by James T. Kelley and Harold S. Graves, and 130 Commonwealth by Otto Strack.

When he purchased 130 Commonwealth it was Charles Bond’s intention to combine it with his home at 128 Commonwealth. He retained architect James T. Kelley to design the combined house, as reported by the Boston Evening Transcript on May 8, 1908: “Plans for the alterations and additions to the estate of Charles H. Bond, 130 Commonwealth avenue, Back Bay, have been prepared by James T. Kelley. The new front will be of limestone, and a four-story addition of brick and stone will be built on the rear lot.”

After Charles Bond’s death and the sale of 130 Commonwealth, revised plans for 128 Commonwealth were drawn by James T. Kelley and his partner, Harold S. Graves, and separate plans for 130 Commonwealth were prepared for Augustus and Frances Goodwin by New York architect Otto Strack.

The drawings by Otto Strack for remodeling 130 Commonwealth were prepared in January of 1909 and include front elevations, a longitudinal section, floor plans, and a chimney plan.  Copies of the plans were provided by The Gleason Partnership, reproduced from the plans in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection, originally part of the holdings of the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department and transferred to the Boston City Archives in 2019.

Click here to view the architectural drawings for the 1909 remodeling.

The Goodwins’ choice of Otto Strack as their architect probably reflects his prior work for Frances Goodwin’s father, Charles Thorley. He was a prominent florist in New York City and a major real estate investor. He held the ground lease in Longacre Square on the north side of 42nd Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway where the Pabst Hotel was constructed in 1899, designed by Henry F. Kilburn and Otto Strack (who was architect for a number of projects by the Pabst Brewing Company and moved from Milwaukee to New York City at about that time). The hotel was demolished three years later, in 1902, and replaced by the New York Times building (Longacre Square was renamed Times Square in 1904). In December of 1902, Charles Thorley acquired land on West 44th Street (between what was then the Yale Club at 34 W. 44th and the Bar Association building at 42 W. 44th) and announced plans to construct an apartment house designed by Otto Strack.

The Goodwins previously had lived at 172 Bay State Road. At the time of the 1910 US Census, they were living at the Lenox Hotel at 61 Exeter, probably awaiting completion of the remodeling of 130 Commonwealth.

The Goodwins remained at 130 Commonwealth until about 1914.  They divorced at about that time, and by 1915 he had moved to The Puritan at 390 Commonwealth.

In January of 1915, Frances Goodwin transferred the house to her father. He subsequently transferred it back to her in November of 1915.

130 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1915 and 1916 Blue Books.

Frances (Thorley) Goodwin married again in January of 1916 to J. Franklin Kehoe.  They lived in New York City.

In October of 1916, 130 Commonwealth was acquired from Frances Kehoe by Helen Grace (Hackett) Thorndike, the wife of Alden Augustus Thorndike. They previously had lived at 472 Commonwealth. They also maintained two country homes, The Beeches in Braintree and Highwood in East Windsor in Berkshire County.

Alden Thorndike managed the investments held by the estate of his grandfather, James Pettee Thorndike.

Alden Thorndike died in December of 1925.  Grace Thorndike continued to live at 130 Commonwealth.  In April of 1934, she remarried to Walter Atherton, an architect.  His uncle, William Atherton, was the first resident of 144 Commonwealth, two doors to the west (Walter Atherton was a successor trustee for his uncle William Atherton’s estate).

Walter and Grace Atherton continued to live at 130 Commonwealth and to maintain the Thorndike home in East Windsor.

Walter Atherton died in November of 1945.  Grace Atherton continued to live 130 Commonwealth until the late 1940s, when she moved to Berkeley, California, to live with her son-in-law and daughter, Donald Sage Mackay and Helen (Thorndike) Mackay.  He was a professor of philosophy at the University of California.

128-130 Commonwealth (2019)

In July of 1947, 130 Commonwealth was acquired from Grace Atherton by Charles Joseph Duplain. He was treasurer of the W. J. Fallon Welting Company. He and his wife, Mary Alice (Malloy) Duplain, lived in Jamaica Plain.

In December of 1947, 130 Commonwealth was acquired by Matthew Joseph Malloy and his wife, Ione Wilkinson (Lohr) Malloy. They owned and operated the Stratford School at 128 Commonwealth. Matthew Malloy was the brother of Mary (Malloy) Duplain.

At about the same time, Matthew Malloy acquired Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College, which formerly had been located at 112 Beacon and had suspended operations in about 1944. The Malloys operated Chamberlayne Junior College at 130 Commonwealth, offering a two year junior college program, and continued to operate Stratford School at 128 Commonwealth.

After the Malloys owned both buildings, the party wall was once again cut through to join them together, as they had been previously when both were owned by the Bond family.

Matthew and Ione Malloy continued to own 128 and 130 Commonwealth in their own names until December 31, 1951, when they transferred the properties to the Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College corporation. Stratford School and Chamberlayne Junior College continued to operate as separate entities until the mid-1950s, when Stratford School ceased operations.

From the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, the Chamberlayne corporation acquired 34 more buildings in the Back Bay, most of which they operated as dormitories for their own school or others located in the neighborhood. These included 177 Beacon, 211 Beacon, 317 Beacon, 274 and 278 Clarendon, 16 Commonwealth, 21 Commonwealth, 28 Commonwealth, 59 Commonwealth, 63 Commonwealth, 116 Commonwealth, 135 Commonwealth, 148 Commonwealth, 211 Commonwealth, 232 Commonwealth, 260262264266270274276278280282 Commonwealth, 298 Commonwealth, 325 Commonwealth, 373 Commonwealth, 5 Fairfield, 29 Gloucester, 34 Gloucester, 18 Hereford, 199 Marlborough, and 238 Marlborough.

In the mid-1970s, Chamberlayne went bankrupt and most of its properties were transferred to Bernard P. Rome, trustee in bankruptcy.  128 and 130 Commonwealth, however, were retained by the Chamberlayne corporation and the school continued to be located there until December of 1986, when it was consolidated with Mount Ida College at their Newton Campus.  Matthew J. Malloy remained president of the corporation.  He died in December of 1987.

In 1987, the Malloy family established the Stratford Foundation as successor to the Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College corporation, and ownership of 128 and 130 Commonwealth was transferred into its name.

On June 1, 1989, 128 Commonwealth and 130 Commonwealth were purchased from the Stratford Foundation by real estate broker and investor George P. Demeter, as trustee of the 128 and 130 Commonwealth Avenue Trust. He separated the buildings once again with the intention of remodeling both into condominiums.

In March of 1993, before it had been remodeled, 130 Commonwealth was acquired by Deepak S. Kulkarni, a private equity investor who also was chief executive officer of Wolverine (Massachusetts) Corporation of Merrimac, manufacturers of industrial ovens.

After leaving the property vacant for several years, in August of 1998, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property back into a single family dwelling. As part of the remodeling, he purchased the two top condominiums at 132 Commonwealth and extended the roof deck of 130 Commonwealth over the adjoining building. He and his wife, Alison (Dowle) Kulkarni, subsequently made it their home.

In April of 2013, 130 Commonwealth was acquired from Deepak Kulkarni by the 130 Commonwealth Avenue LLC (E-Yan Betty Lau, manager of record), which purchased the house with the intention of operating it as a rental property.

In February of 2015, venture capitalist Kevin Starr purchased 130 Commonwealth from the 130 Commonwealth Avenue LLC. He did not acquire the condominiums at 132 Commonwealth and, accordingly, the roof deck was reconfigured to be entirely within 130 Commonwealth’s property.

130 Commonwealth continued to be assessed as a single-family dwelling in 2020.

Merged drawings of the remodeled front façades of 128 Commonwealth (1909) by James T. Kelley and Harold S. Graves, and 130 Commonwealth (1909) by Otto Strack, courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department, Boston City Archives, and The Gleason Partnership