130 Commonwealth

130 Commonwealth (2016)

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.

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.

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.

130 Commonwealth (109 Newbury) (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

130 Commonwealth (109 Newbury) (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

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.”

Charles Bond purchased the house at a point when his finances already were well over-extended following the financial panic of 1907. 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.

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

It was during this period that the Beaux Arts façades were added at 128 and 130 Commonwealth (including lowering the entrances to street level).

In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting placed the remodeling at about 1905, but notes: “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, 128 Commonwealth however.”

Other writers attribute the remodeling to Arthur Bowditch.

The drawings for 130 Commonwealth have not, as yet, been located.  However, the original drawings for 128 Commonwealth, filed with the Boston Public Library, establish that the plans were drawn in April of 1909 for the C. H. Bond Trust by architects James T. Kelley and Harold S. Graves.  It remains an open question whether the complementary façade at 130 Commonwealth was added at the same time as the work at 128 Commonwealth.

128-130 Commonwealth (2016)

Restoring the walls between 128 and 130 Commonwealth presumably took place first, before the remodeling of 128 Commonwealth’s façade, inasmuch as 130 Commonwealth was purchased from the Charles Bond Trust on January 1, 1909 (several months before the plans for 128 Commonwealth were completed) by Frances (Thorley) Goodwin, the wife of Augustus Franklin Goodwin. He was a candy and grocery merchant and later Chairman of First National Stores. At the time of the 1910 US Census, the Goodwins were living at the Lenox Hotel at 61 Exeter (probably awaiting completion of the remodeling of 130 Commonwealth), having moved about 1909 from their former home at 172 Bay State Road.

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.

In October of 1916, 130 Commonwealth was acquired from Frances Goodwiin by Helen Grace (Hackett) Thorndike, the wife of Alden Augustus Thorndike. They previously had lived at 472 Commonwealth. They also maintained a home at Braintree and at at 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.

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.

The Malloys leased 130 Commonwealth to Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College. In 1944, it had been located at 112 Beacon in 1944, but was not listed in the 1945-1947 City Directories.

Stratford School and Chamberlayne subsequently merged, and on December 31, 1951, the Malloys transferred 128 Commonwealth and 130 Commonwealth to Chamberlayne. Matthew Malloy became president of the merged institution, remaining in that position until at least December of 1986, when Chamberlayne merged with Mount Ida College of Newton. He died in December of 1987.

At some point after Stratford School and Chamberlayne merged, the walls between 128 and 130 Commonwealth were once again cut through to join the two buildings together.

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 Stratford Foundation, Inc., as successor to Chamberlayne, and the school continued to be located there until it was consolidated with Mount Ida College at their Newton campus.

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 remained a single-family dwelling in 2016.