146 Beacon is located on the north side of Beacon, between Berkeley and Clarendon, with 144 Beacon to the east and 148 Beacon to the west
146 Beacon was built ca. 1862, one of two houses (144-146 Beacon) built at different times but designed as a single symmetrical unit with a common cornice and mansard roof, and with matching entrances.
Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay does not attribute 144-146 Beacon to a specific architect. However, a September 24, 1860, Boston Post article indicated that 144 Beacon, then nearing completion, was designed by George Snell. It appears likely, but not definite, that he also designed 146 Beacon.
The land for 146 Beacon was purchased by Susan Jones Welles and her sister, Jane Welles, on November 12, 1860, from John Adams Blanchard. It was the western portion of a parcel he had purchased from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Company in three transactions in June and July of 1859. He had substantially completed his home at 144 Beacon by the time he sold the remaining land to the Misses Welles.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 146 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
When the Welles sisters bought the land, their brother-in-law, Horatio Hollis Hunnewell, husband of Isabella Pratt (Welles) Hunnewell, entered into a letter agreement on their behalf with John Blanchard. The letter to John Blanchard, which was quoted in the 1866 deed by which the Welles sisters sold the house, stated in pertinent part: “Dear Sir: You having this day conveyed to the Misses Susan J. and Jane Welles the lot on Beacon Street adjoining the house recently erected by you for your own residence, I agree for them that within one year from the first day of May next the erection of a dwelling house on said lot shall be commenced and continued until completion, the front façade, the height and depth, steps & fence shall be similar and in conformity to said house erected by you…”.
Susan and Jane Welles lived at 59 Summer and never moved to 146 Beacon. It appears to have been unoccupied for several years.
On April 9, 1866, the Welles sisters offered 146 Beacon for sale at public auction through auctioneers Henshaw & Brother. The house was described in their Boston Daily Advertiser notice of the auction as an “elegant and substantial freestone dwelling house, with a 2 story L” and stable. However, the interior may not have been completed, inasmuch as it was described in the Boston Evening Transcript’s April 11, 1866, report on the auction as “an unfinished free stone front house.”
The successful bidder was George Carter Richardson, who took title to the property on April 23, 1866. He and his wife, Ellen (Gregory) Richardson, made it their home. They previously had lived in Cambridge.
George Richardson was a dry goods merchant and also president of the National Union Bank.
The Richardsons continued to live at 146 Beacon until his death in May of 1886.
On October 14, 1886, the executors of George Richardson’s estate sold 146 Beacon at public auction. The auction notice published in the Boston Daily Advertiser by Samuel Hatch & Co., auctioneers, described the house in some detail: “The house has four stories and a basement, with brick L and stable in the rear. On the main entrance floor are the large drawing rooms with sliding doors, beautiful dining room, china closet and spacious hall. On the second floor is a library fitted with elaborate bookcases, mirror and mantel, with a side room from same, large chamber, bathroom &c. Above are seven chambers and sleeping rooms, bathroom and large closet room. On the basement floor are servants rooms, large kitchen, laundry, pantry, and the usual conveniences all in the best condition.”
The successful bidder probably was John Francis Anderson, a dry goods merchant, who took title to the property on November 1, 1886, from George Richardson’s estate. He and his wife, Ellen Sears (Amory) Anderson, lived at 185 Beacon.
On January 8, 1887, 146 Beacon was purchased from John Anderson by architect Henry Sargent Hunnewell. He had married in May of 1886 to Mary Bowditch Whitney, after which they had traveled in Europe for an extended period. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 130 Beacon with his parents, Horatio Hollis Hunnewell and Isabella Pratt (Welles) Hunnewell (whose sisters had owned 146 Beacon in the 1860s) and she had lived in West Roxbury with her parents, banker and former Calcutta shipping merchant Israel Goodwin Whitney and Christiana (Sargent) Whitney.
The Hunnewells also maintained a home, The Cedars, in Wellesley at the Natick town line.
During the 1890-1891 winter season, Henry and Mary Hunnewell were living elsewhere and 146 Beacon was the home of Susan (Walker) Longworth of Cincinnati, the widow of judge Nicholas Longworth. Her husband had died in January of 1890 and she probably was in Boston in conjunction with the graduation of their son, Nicholas, from Harvard in 1891. He subsequently became a lawyer and Congressman from Ohio, serving as Speaker of the House from 1926 to 1931. In February of 1906, he married Alice Lee Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Hunnewells resumed living at 146 Beacon during the 1891-1892 winter season, but were again elsewhere for the next season and it was the home of paper manufacturer and former Congressman William Augustus Russell and his wife Frances Spofford (Hall) Russell. They also maintained a home, Lakeview Farm, in North Andover. The Russells had spent the previous winter at 151 Commonwealth, the home of Robert Gould Shaw and Isabella Pratt (Hunnewell) Shaw (Isabella Shaw was Henry Hunnewell’s sister and Robert Gould Shaw was the brother of Henry Hunnewell’s partner, George Russell Shaw, in the architectural firm of Shaw and Hunnewell).
By the 1893-1894 winter season, the Russells had moved (and were living at 120 Beacon during the 1894-1895 winter season) and 146 Beacon was once again the home of the Hunnewells.
The Hunnewells raised their three daughters at 146 Beacon and in Wellesley: Christiana Sargent Hunnewell, Gertrude Hunnewell, and Mary Hunnewell. Their only son, Henry Sargent Hunnewell, Jr., died in infancy in March of 1890.
Christiana Hunnewell married in May of 1913 to stockbroker Nelson Slater Bartlett, Jr., of 140 Beacon. After their marriage, they lived at 311 Marlborough.
Gertrude Hunnewell married in June of 1925 to attorney Malcolm Donald. After their marriage, they lived in Milton.
Henry Hunnewell died in January of 1931. Mary Hunnewell and their daughter, Mary, continued to live at 146 Beacon and in Wellesley.
Mary Hunnewell married in July of 1932 to Franklin Hall Palmer of Needham, an importer. After their marriage, they lived in Wellesley.
Mary (Whitney) Hunnewell continued to live at 146 Beacon and in Wellesley until her death in March of 1940.
On February 20, 1941, 146 Beacon was purchased from Henry Hunnewell’s estate by Charles Ripley Lynde, Jr., of Newton, a tire salesman.
The property changed hands and on May 1, 1941, was acquired by Dr. John W. Meachen, a physician specializing in radiology. He and his wife, Stella (Bates) Meachen, lived at 9 Bay State Road.
146 Beacon was shown as vacant in the 1941-1942 City Directories and was not listed in the 1941-1942 Lists of Residents.
On July 10, 1942, 146 Beacon was acquired from John Meachen by Willis Munro.
Willis Munro was an attorney by training and served as a Deputy District Attorney in New York City until mid-1903. He subsequently studied forestry at the Yale Forest School and became a forester, but later resumed legal practice as a trustee. A widower (his wife, Marion Beach (Bogardus) Munro, had died in June of 1935), he lived in Mattapoisett and 146 Beacon was shown as vacant in the 1943-1949 City Directories and was not listed in the 1943-1949 Lists of Residents.
In June of 1947, Willis Munro married Ruth Williams (Bowditch) Teppema, the former wife of Jan Teppema. They continued to live in Mattapoisett and, by 1950, made 146 Beacon their Boston home. He died in February of 1956.
After his death, Ruth Munro was joined at 146 Beacon by her sisters, Caroline P. Bowditch and Marion (Bowditch) Steeves, the former wife of Walter Bingham Steeves. They previously had lived in Newton.
Caroline Bowditch and Marion Steeves operated a multigraphing business in Boston (Perfect Letter Co.). They also operated lodging houses in the Back Bay, including (at various times between the mid-1950s and late 1970s) at 2 Marlborough, 12 Marlborough, 179 Marlborough, 337 Marlborough, and 118 Commonwealth (which Caroline Bowditch inherited from their sister, Annabelle Bowditch, in 1973).
Ruth Munro and her sisters continued to live at 146 Beacon and in Mattapoisett until the late 1970s.
On April 23, 1982, 146 Beacon was purchased from Willis Munro’s estate by Farshid Hodjat and Farhad Hakimzadeh, trustees of the Mayflower Trust. In October of 1982, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the building into four apartments. In April of 1984, they amended the plans to increase the number of units to five.
On November 7, 1984, they converted the property into five condominium units, the 146 Beacon Condominium.
In April of 1984, The Mayflower Trust had filed to extend the fifth floor of the building forward approximately ten feet, to the roofline, to be constructed in conjunction with a rooftop addition to 144 Beacon, creating a double mansard roof faced with slate and with fenestration that matched the lower original windows. The proposal was approved by the Back Bay Architectural Commission in December of 1984, and by the Board of Appeal in October of 1985, and was constructed soon thereafter.
In December of 1984, Farshid Hodjat and Farhad Hakimzadeh transferred the five condominium units to themselves as trustees of five separate trusts. The units subsequently changed hands.
In April of 2012, Units 3 and 4 were acquired by P. S. Beacon LLC (John E. O’Donnell, manager of record). In August of 2019, P. S. Beacon LLC acquired the remaining three units.
On January 15, 2020, all five units were purchased from P. S. Beacon LLC by Jeremy M. Sternberg, trustee of the Good Radius II Nominee Trust. On the same date, Jeremy Sternberg removed the previous conversion of the property into condominiums. In August of 2021, he received approval to remodel the property and convert it into a single-family dwelling.
146 Beacon was assessed as a single-family dwelling in 2023.