15 Gloucester was designed by architect Willard Thomas Sears (of the firm of Cummings and Sears) and built for him in 1872-1873 by Charles J. Fox, mason, one of four contiguous houses (9-11-13-15 Gloucester) designed as two symmetrical pairs united by an uninterrupted mansard roof. At the same time, he also designed and had built 322 Marlborough on the adjoining lot to the east. The building permit for the five houses was issued to Cummings and Sears during the week ending May 3, 1872 (reported in the Boston Journal on May 4, 1872).
Willard Sears acquired the land for 9-11-13-15 Gloucester and 322 Marlborough in April of 1872 through two purchases: the corner lot with a 56 foot frontage on Marlborough from the estate of William P. Mason, and the lot to the east with a 24 foot frontage from Harvey Jewell. He subdivided the two lots into an 18 foot 6 inch lot for 322 Marlborough and four 61 foot 6 inch lots (east-west) for 9-11-13-15 Gloucester. All of the land originally was part of one of several parcels purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on January 29, 1866, by a real estate investment trust formed by John Templeman Coolidge, Franklin Evans, and Charles Henry Parker. The trust subdivided the parcel into lots, which it sold to investors and builders, who then frequently resold the lots to others.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 15 Gloucester, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 427, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
Willard Sears sold he lot at 322 Marlborough to his brother-in-law and sister, Charles W. Seabury and Elizabeth Willard (Sears) Seabury, in July of 1872, before the house was completed, and kept 9-11-13 Gloucester as rental property.
The deeds for the houses at 11-13-15 Gloucester included a 3 foot 6 inch wide easement at the eastern boundary to provide passage to the alley for those houses and drainage to the alley for 9-11-13-15 Gloucester.
Willard Sears and his wife, May (Motte) Sears, made 15 Gloucester their home. They previously had lived at the Hotel Boylston (Boylston at Tremont), and before that at 395 Beacon with May Sears’s parents, Rev. Mellish Irving Motte and Marianne (Alger) Motte.
By 1878, Mellish and Marianne Motte lived at 15 Gloucester with the Searses. They continued to live there at the time of the 1880 US Census, but moved thereafter, probably to Washington, DC, where he died in December of 1881 and she died in April of 1886.
On December 22, 1886, Willard Sears transferred 15 Gloucester to his wife. He retained in his name the 3 foot 6 inch wide lot at the rear of the property reserved for passage and drainage to the alley for the benefit of 9-11-13 Gloucester.
On March 19, 1909, 15 Gloucester was purchased from May Sears by Frances Clifford (Brown) Prescott, the widow of Linzee Prescott. She purchased the 3 foot 6 inch strip at the rear of the property from Willard Sears on the same day. She previously had lived at 413 Beacon.
Her daughter, Edith Prescott, lived with her until November of 1917, when she went to France to work in a YMCA canteen on the front lines (in December of 1918 she married in Paris to Major Theodore Colcord Baker).
During the 1917-1918 winter season, Mrs. Prescott was joined at 15 Gloucester by William Bacon Emmons and his wife, Margaret (Young) Emmons. Earlier in 1917, they had lived at 285 Beacon with Margaret Emmons’s mother, Charlotte Wright (Hubbard) Young, the widow of Benjamin Loring Young. William Emmons owned Cloudland Farms in Pomfret, Vermont, a 2,000 acre farm where he raised Jersey cattle, Southdown sheep, and Berkshire pigs, and produced maple syrup. They moved from 15 Gloucester by the 1918-1919 season, and by the 1919-1920 season were living at 3 Fairfield.
During the 1918-1919 winter season, 15 Gloucester was the home of attorney Frederic Sprague Goodwin and his wife, Juliet Borland (Higginson) Goodwin. They had lived at 135 Beacon during the 1916-1917 winter season. They also maintained a home in Dover, Massachusetts. They also maintained a home, Mill Farm, in Dover, Massachusetts, where they had lived during the 1917-1918 season. They had moved from 15 Gloucester by the 1919-1920 winter season, and made Dover their year-round home for several years. By the 1923-1924 winter season, they were living at 390 Beacon.
On September 13, 1919, 15 Gloucester was purchased from Frances Prescott by Serita (Lincoln) Bartlett, the wife of banker and stockbroker Matthew Bartlett. They previously had lived at 230 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms. As a child, Serita Bartlett had lived next door, at 13 Gloucester, with her parents, Arthur and Serafina (Loring) Lincoln.
On July 10, 1939, 15 Gloucester was acquired from Serita Bartlett by real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson.
On December 13, 1939, 15 Gloucester was acquired from Ray C. Johnson by Harold Dewey Murray, a chauffeur, and his wife, Emma (Fitton) Murray, who operated it as a lodging house. They lived at 69 Weston in Roxbury. They also owned 358 Marlborough, which they had purchased in March of 1939, and also operated as a lodging house. In the 1941 City Directory, Emma Murray was listed at 15 Gloucester and Harold Murray was listed at 358 Marlborough. By 1942, they no longer owned either house and were once again living at 69 Weston in Roxbury,
The property changed hands and on June 29, 1942, was acquired by William Karmazine, trustee of the Esdith Realty Trust.
William Karmazine was president of the Commercial Finance Service Corporation and treasurer of the Home Loan Co., Inc. He and his wife, Edna (Nurenberg) Karmazine, lived in Chestnut Hill. In March of 1940, he had established the Esdith Realty Trust to hold property for the benefit of his two daughters, Esther Reece Karmazine and Judith Shaefer Karmazine. and his niece, Enid Esta Karmazine, daughter of his brother, Nathan Karmazine and his wife, Mae (Lipsher) Karmazine.
The property changed hands, remaining a lodging house, and was acquired on June 24, 1959, by Donald Vincent Carr, a realtor. He lived at 15 Gloucester and operated it as a lodging house. He previously had lived at 213 Beacon, also a lodging house, which he continued to own.
On March 20, 1960, he transferred 15 Gloucester and 213 Beacon to his parents, Earl W. Carr and Emma Augustus Stevens (Brennan) Carr. They lived at 238 Marlborough.
On July 1, 1963, Earl and Emma Carr transferred the property to their other son, John W. Carr, also a realtor. He lived at 15 Gloucester and operated it as a lodging house. He previously had lived with his parents at 238 Marlborough.
The property changed hands and on February 11, 1971, was acquired by Julius R. Cavadi. On the same day, he transferred the property to himself and his wife, Jacquelyn M. Cavadi, as trustees of the Camalyn Realty Trust.
On May 24, 1974, 15 Gloucester was acquired from the Cavadis by Paul Nachtwey, trustee of the 15 Gloucester Street Realty Trust, and on July 29, 1974, ir was acquired from him by Joseph A. Johnson and Walter C. Dunlop.
On July 28, 1975, Julius R. Cavadi foreclosed on a mortgage given to Joseph A. Johnson and Walter C. Dunlop and took possession of 15 Gloucester. In April of 1976, he acquired 13 Gloucester.
On June 15, 1976, 13 Gloucester and 15 Gloucester were purchased from Julius Cavadi by Michael Geller, Keevin Geller, and John B. Wise, co-partners doing business as 13-15 Gloucester Street Associates.
That same month, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel 15 Gloucester from a “home and guest house” into four apartments.
On September 21, 1976, they converted both properties into condominium units, with four units in each house, the 13-15 Gloucester Street Condominium.