133 Commonwealth

133 Commonwealth (2015)

133 Commonwealth (2013)

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

133 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Clarendon and Dartmouth, with 131 Commonwealth to the east and 135 Commonwealth to the west.

133 Commonwealth was designed by Snell and Gregerson, architects, and built in 1879 by Webster & Dixon, builders, one of two contiguous houses (133-135 Commonwealth).

133 Commonwealth was built as the home of attorney William Fisher Wharton and his wife, Fanny (Pickman) Wharton. They previously had lived at 18 Marlborough.  He is shown as the owner of 133 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated May 2, 1879.

Fanny Wharton died in October of 1880 in Beverly, probably soon after (or possibly even before) they had moved to the new house. The Heirs of Fanny Wharton are shown as the owners on the 1883, 1888, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.

131-135 Commonwealth, detail from a photograph taken December 1883 from the Hotel Vendôme; Manning family album, courtesy of Historic New England

131-135 Commonwealth, detail from a photograph taken December 1883 from the Hotel Vendôme; Manning family album, courtesy of Historic New England

William Wharton continued to live at 133 Commonwealth in 1889. In 1890, he moved to Washington DC, having been appointed as First Assistant Secretary of State in the Benjamin Harrison Administration.

By 1890, it was the home of dry goods commission merchant Joseph Sargent, Jr., and his wife, Nellie Louise (McClure) Sargent.  They previously had lived in Worcester.  By 1892, they had moved to 316 Beacon.

During the 1891-1892 winter season, 133 Commonwealth was the home of Josephine (Moore) Dexter, widow of Chicago attorney Wirt Dexter.

By the 1892-1893 winter season, it was the home of Henry Russell Shaw, a banker and broker, and his wife, Grace (Rathbone) Shaw. They previously had lived at 265 Beacon. Henry Shaw died in September of 1904. Grace Shaw continued to live at 133 Commonwealth until her death in May of 1911.

133 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1912 Blue Book.

By the 1912-1913 winter season, 133 Commonwealth was the home of real estate investor Thomas Emerson Proctor, Jr. He was unmarried.  He also maintained a home in Topsfield where he pursued his avocation as a horticulturalist and built a noted rock garden, the Rockery.  He is shown as the owner of 133 Commonwealth on the 1912 Bromley map.  He continued to live there during the 1913-1914 season, but moved soon thereafter to Topsfield.

In the spring of 1914, George Christopher Dempsey, a distiller and liquor importer, and his wife, Abigail Louise (Hanley) Dempsey, acquired 133 Commonwealth from Thomas Proctor. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on May 29, 1914.  They lived at the Hotel Somerset until February of 1915 while their new home was being remodeled.

Abigail Dempsey is shown as the owner of 133 Commonwealth on the 1917 Bromley map.

The Dempseys continued to live there in 1924, but had moved to Brookline by 1925.

133 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

133 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

By 1925, 133 Commonwealth was the home of Robert Jordan and his wife, Jane Laurel (Malcolm) Jordan.  They previously had lived at 46 Beacon.  He is shown as the owner of 133 Commonwealth on the 1928 Bromley map.

Robert Jordan was a director of his family’s dry goods and department store, Jordan, Marsh & Co.

They continued to live there until his death in November of 1932. They also maintained a home in Palm Beach, Florida.

The house was not listed in the 1932 and 1933 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1932-1934 City Directories.

In the spring of 1934, 133 Commonwealth was purchased from Robert Jordan’s estate by Pierpont Langley Stackpole and his wife, Lora A. (McGinley) Knowles Stackpole.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on April 22, 1934.  They previously had lived at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, at 15 Arlington. They also maintained a summer home in Manchester.

Pierpont Stackpole died in December of 1936. Lora Stackpole continued to live at 133 Commonwealth in 1939.  Soon thereafter, however, she moved back to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

In mid-1941, James A. Canton purchased 133 Commonwealth from Laura Stackpole.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on June 29, 1941.

133-151 Commonwealth (2013)

133-151 Commonwealth (2013)

By 1942, 133 Commonwealth had become the studios of WRUL, a short-wave radio station operated by the World Wide Broadcasting Foundation, with offices at 70 Brookline Avenue and in New York City, and a transmitter in Scituate.  Prior to the war, the station had been affiliated with the Christian Science Church.  In November of 1942, it was leased by the Office of War Information and merged with the government’s Voice of America.

WRUL continued to be located at 133 Commonwealth until about 1950.

In early 1950, 133 Commonwealth was purchased from the World Wide Broadcasting Foundation by real estate dealer Thomas J. Diab.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on February 5, 1950.  In January of 1951, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a radio broadcast studio into ten apartments and one doctor’s office.

In June of 1958, 133 Commonwealth was purchased by Dr. Rose (Wexler) Winston, a physician. She and her husband, Dr. Murray R. Winston, also a physician, lived in one of the apartments.  They previously had lived at 108 Marlborough.

In 1963, Rose Winston acquired 53 Hereford, in 1966, she acquired 51 Hereford, and in 1967 she acquired 47 and 49 Hereford.  She operated them as lodging houses.

Murray and Rose Winston continued to live in an apartment at 133 Commonwealth.  They separated in the mid-1960s and he moved to Jamaica Plain.  Rose Winston continued to live at 133 Commonwealth until the late 1970s, and continued to own the property until her death in March of 1993.

In August of 1994, 133 Commonwealth was purchased from the estate of Rose Winston by Harry Poteat, trustee of the Hanover 133 Realty Trust. In February of 1995, he converted the house into nine apartments, and in August of 1995, he converted the apartments into eight condominiums.

Looking northeast from the corner of Commonwealth and Dartmouth, taken from the Hotel Vendome in December 1883; Manning family album, courtesy of Historic New England

Looking northeast from the corner of Commonwealth and Dartmouth, taken from the Hotel Vendome in December 1883; Manning family album, courtesy of Historic New England