16 Marlborough

Marl 016 (2021-11-08)

Lot 18' x 112' (2,016 sf)

Lot 18′ x 112′ (2,016 sf)

16 Marlborough is located on the south side of Marlborough, between Arlington and Berkeley, with 14 Marlborough to the east and 18 Marlborough to the west.

16 Marlborough was built in 1865.  In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting does not attribute the house to a specific architect.  However, an August 19, 1865, article in the Boston Daily Advertiser indicates that it was designed by architect James H. Rand, and he is identified as the architect in subsequent litigation about the house.

The Boston Daily Advertiser article describes the new house: “Its size is sixty by eighteen feet, is octagon front, and five stories high besides the basement.  The basement and principal stories are of brown stone and the upper stories are of brick with brown-stone trimmings.  The cellar is under the area and side walk, extending to the street so that coal can be dumped directly into the bin.  The house is to be finished in the most thorough manner in black walnut and pine, and will be ready for occupancy by March.”

16 Marlborough was built for oil and starch merchant John Mixer and his wife, Marianna Parker (Curtis) Mixer. They previously had lived in Jamaica Plain.

John Mixer purchased the land for 16 Marlborough on January 16, 1865, from Samuel F. Dalton. It was composed of two lots Samuel Dalton had purchased in March of 1863, a 7 foot lot to the east which he purchased from William Thomas, and an 11 foot lot to the west which was part of a larger parcel he purchased from Caleb William Loring and Charles F. Choate, trustees of a real estate investment trust formed by them with Franklin B. Hayes and Franklin Evans.  Both of these lots were part of larger parcels purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on May 2, 1860.

The parcel originally purchased by William Thomas had an 84 foot frontage and included the three lots for 10-12-14 Marlborough. William Thomas kept the 33.5 foot lot at 10 Marlborough for his own house, and sold a 25.5 foot lot in December of 1862 for 12 Marlborough to the trustees for Harriet Jackson (Lee) Morse, the wife of Samuel Torrey Morse. Because both parties were “desirous of securing the rear of their respective lots from obstructions to light and air,” they had entered into an agreement that, for a period of twenty years, neither would build any structure more than eight feet high in the rear of the lots at any point further than 75 feet south from Marlborough (thereby creating a rear yard setback of 37 feet from the alley). The restriction also applied to the remainder of William Thomas’s original parcel, a 25 foot lot to the west. When he sold it on March 31, 1863, to Charles U. Cotting (an 18 foot lot) and Samuel F. Dalton (a 7 foot lot), all four owners of the property entered into a new agreement, retaining the 75 foot limit on the depth of the structures at 10 and 12 Marlborough, but allowing a depth of 82 feet on the lots further west, where 14 and 16 Marlborough would be built. The new agreement also expired after twenty years.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 16 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 422, from Arlington to Berkeley.

The Mixers lived briefly at 16 Marlborough, but moved by 1866. By 1869, they lived 23 Beacon.

On December 6, 1865, 16 Marlborough was purchased from John Mixer by Marianne (Mason) Crafts, the widow of importer and textile manufacturer, Royal Altamont Crafts. He had died in May of 1864 in Switzerland.

As originally built, 16 Marlborough had a bay almost the entire width of the house, with a porch extending to the west on the same plane as the front of the bay, topped with a balustrade.  On the western side, the porch area extended out beyond the stairs of the neighboring house to the west at 18 Marlborough and had a window looking onto the neighbor’s stairs.

14-18 Marlborough (ca. 1885), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

14-18 Marlborough (ca. 1869), showing original façade, courtesy of the Bostonian Society

This design was in violation of the restrictions contained in the deeds originally granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which required a twenty-two foot setback from Marlborough Street, allowed only specified projections into that reserved area, and limited the width of bays that extended into the reserved area.  After unsuccessfully attempting to convince John Mixer not to build 16 Marlborough in this manner, in October of 1866 the owners of 18 Marlborough and 20 Marlborough — Miss Ann Duncan Torrey and her sister, Mrs. Sarah Parker (Torrey) Linzee —  brought suit against him and Mrs. Crafts (whom John Mixer had indemnified) to compel compliance.  In March of 1869, the Supreme Judicial Court sustained the complaint (Linzee v. Mixer; 101 Mass. 512).

In March of 1870, architects Sturgis and Brigham filed with the Board of Aldermen a Notice of Intention to Build at 16 Marlborough. The front of the house subsequently was rebuilt to eliminate the first floor bay and porch. The width of the bay was narrowed and pilasters added on either side of the reduced-width bay.

In his discussion of the evolution of the “Panel Brick idiom,” Bainbridge Bunting comments on 16 Marlborough, noting that “here in the capitals of the pilaster strips the usual classical forms are replaced by a simple pattern of brick set edgewise in the façade.” He erroneously cites this use as dating to 1864, when the house was first built and therefore “an early indication of Panel Brick work.” However, the pilasters were not added until the remodeling ca. 1870.

Marianne Crafts lived at 16 Marlborough while the controversy over its design was being litigated, but by 1870 had moved to a new home she had built at 304 Berkeley.

On February 10, 1871, 16 Marlborough was purchased from Marianne Crafts by George Washington Warren. He and his wife, Georgiana (Thompson) Warren, made it their home. They had lived in Charlestown in 1870.

G. Washington Warren was an attorney and municipal court judge for Charlestown. He previously had served in the State House of Representatives and State Senate, and as mayor of Charlestown.

The Warrens continued to live at 16 Marlborough in 1873, but moved thereafter to the Hotel Vendome. He continued to own 16 Marlborough and lease it to others.

By 1875, it was the home of wool merchant Lemuel Cushing Kimball and his wife, Addie Maria (Hall) Kimball.  They previously had lived at 42 Hancock. They continued to live at 16 Marlborough in 1879, but had moved to 44 Newbury by 1880.

By the 1879-1880 winter season, G. Washington and Georgiana Warren moved back to 16 Marlborough. They continued to live there in 1882, but moved soon thereafter to 12 Beacon.

By the 1882-1883 winter season, 16 Marlborough was leased from G. Washington Warren by Albert Harrison Hoyt and his wife, Sarah Frances (Green) Hoyt.

16 Marlborough (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

16 Marlborough (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

A lawyer by training, Albert Hoyt had been a paymaster in the Civil War, brevetted with the rank of Lt. Colonel, and then served as chief treasurer of the National Railroad Transportation Company from 1867 to 1869.  He was editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register from 1868 to 1875, and then went to Cincinnati as professor of history and English Literature at the Bartholomew English and Classical School.  The Hoyts returned to Boston in 1882, and in 1887 he became a clerk in the US Sub-treasury in Boston.

G. Washington Warren died in May of 1883, and on April 2, 1884, 16 Marlborough was offered for sale at public auction. The notice published in the Boston Daily Advertiser by auctioneer Samuel Hatch & Co. indicated that “the house is four-story and French roof, has large parlors, dining room, library, 7 chambers, kitchen, laundry, 2 bath-rooms and the usual conveniences, all in first-class order.”

The successful bidder was Francis A. Dewson, who probably was acting on behalf of Miss Ida Means Mason, who lived at 1 Walnut.

Ida Means Mason was Marianne (Mason) Crafts’s niece (the daughter of Robert Means Mason). Marianne Crafts had assigned to Ida Mason the mortgage given by G. Washington Warren when he purchased the house from her.

On April 4, 1884, Ida Mason foreclosed on the mortgage and transferred the property to Francis A. Dewson. On the same day, he transferred the property to her, along with his interest acquired at the auction. On May 12, 1884, she acquired the interests of the estate of Isaac Warren, which held a second mortgage on the property.

Albert and Sarah Hoyt continued to lease 16 Marlborough from Ida Mason and on December 4, 1889, Sarah Hoyt purchased the property from her.

Sarah Hoyt died in June of 1893, and Albert Hoyt moved soon thereafter to 5 Walnut. He continued to own 16 Marlborough and lease it to others.

By the 1893-1894 winter season,16 Marlborough was the home of Adelia Elizabeth (Conant) Winslow, the widow of Thomas Savage Winslow, and their daughter, Adelia Isabel Winslow. They previously had lived at 23 West Cedar. Mrs. Winslow rented rooms to school girls, providing them a home while they were studying at one of Boston’s many private schools.

Mrs. Winslow also rented to Miss Edith Hewins, a teacher who offered classes in English, history, mathematics and Latin. She probably lived in West Roxbury with her parents, Charles Amasa Hewins and Caroline Louisa (Chapin) Hewins.

Adelia Winslow and her daughter continued to live at 16 Marlborough during the 1894-1895 season, but moved thereafter to 71 Marlborough.

By the 1895-1896 winter season, 16 Marlborough was the home of Miss Dora Brereton. She had lived at 286 Beacon in 1892. She continued to live at 16 Marlborough during the 1896-1897 season, but moved thereafter.

By the 1897-1898 winter season, 16 Marlborough was the home of Mary Elizabeth (Coy) Weymouth, wife of Charles Henry Weymouth, Jr.  They were living separately and their three children – Margaret, Charles, and Marion – lived with her. She was a dressmaker and operated 16 Marlborough as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 383 Boylston.

On January 19, 1899, 16 Marlborough was purchased from Albert Hoyt by Herbert Austin and Walter Austin, trustees under the will of their father, James Walker Austin. Herbert Austin was an iron and steel merchant. He was a widower and lived at 9 Arlington with his mother, Ariana Elizabeth Smith (Sleeper) Austin. Walter Austin was an attorney and author; he and his wife, Mabel Lindsley (Frazar) Austin, lived in an apartment at 199 Marlborough. It appears that the estate of James W. Austin purchased 16 Marlborough as an investment.

Mary Weymouth continued to live and operate a lodging house at 16 Marlborough until about 1906, when she moved to 739 Boylston and then, by 1909, to 242 Newbury.

On September 27, 1906, 16 Marlborough was acquired from the James W. Austin estate by Dr. John Templeton Bowen, a dermatologist and professor of dermatology at Harvard. He and his brother, James Williams Bowen, a stockbroker, lived at 14 Marlborough.

16 Marlborough was not listed in the 1907 and 1908 Blue Books.

12-22 Marlborough (ca. 1885), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

12-22 Marlborough (ca. 1869), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

By the 1908-1909 winter season, 16 Marlborough was the home of Prescott Bigelow, a stockbroker, and his wife, Bessie Paine (Nazro) Bigelow. They previously had lived at 82 Bay State Road. They also maintained a home, Fox Hill Lodge, in Manchester, Massachusetts, and, by 1912, another home in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire.

They continued to live at 16 Marlborough until his death in January of 1918.  By the 1918-1919 winter season, she had moved to the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon. In early 1919, she sold her home in Manchester to Cora (Hogg) Searle, the widow of Charles Putnam Searle, of 280 Commonwealth.

16 Marlborough was not listed in the 1919 Blue Book.

By the 1919-1920 winter season, it was the home of Joseph Warren Merrill, Jr., a trustee of estates, and his wife, Marion (Marie) Louise (Raymond) Merrill. They had lived at the Copley Plaza Hotel during the previous season, and at 270 Clarendon during the season before that. They also maintained a home, Rockhurst, in Manchester, Massachusetts, and a second home in Hamilton.

On November 8, 1920, Marion Merrill purchased 16 Marlborough from John T. Bowen.

They continued to live there during the 1921-1922 season, after which they moved back to the Copley Plaza Hotel.

On May 1, 1922, 16 Marlborough was purchased from Marion Merrill by Miss Cornelia Frost, who maintained it as a lodging house. She had lived at 140 Beacon the previous year with her mother, Harriet (Bradstreet) Frost Lane, the widow of Joseph Frost and of Charles L. Lane (Harriet Lane died in June of 1922).

She continued to live and operate a lodging house at 16 Marlborough until her death in October of 1940.

Among Miss Frost’s long-term lodgers was Miss Mabel F. Hale, who lived at 16 Marlborough from the mid-1920s until 1940.  She was a minimum wage investigator for the Massachusetts Department of Labor.  After Miss Frost’s death, she moved to 39 South Russell.

14-18 Marlborough (2013)

14-18 Marlborough (2013)

Also among the long-term lodgers was Howard Everett Titcomb, a church organist, composer, and teacher at the New England Conservatory, who lived there from about 1927 until about 1935.  He then moved to 54-1/2 Temple, but moved back to 16 Marlborough by 1938, where he remained until 1940.

After Cornelia Frost’s death, 16 Marlborough was inherited by her first cousins. the children of her mother’s brother, James Edwin Bradstreet and his wife, Caroline (Carrie) L. Calrow: Dudley E. Bradstreet, John Endicott Bradstreet, and Ruth Emerson (Bradstreet) Hoyt, the wife of Howard Henry Hoyt. Ruth Hoyt lived in San Francisco, J. Endicott Bradstreet lived in Chicago, and Dudley Bradstreet lived in Evanston, Illinois.

In November of 1940, the estate of Cornelia Frost filed for a lodging house license (which probably had never before been obtained). The Building Department informed the estate’s representative, Harding Hall, that no license could be issued until the permitted use of the house was changed from a single-family dwelling to a lodging house and necessary egress and fire safety improvements were made.

16 Marlborough was shown as vacant in the 1941-1942 City Directories and was not listed in the Lists of Residents.

On June 11, 1942, 16 Marlborough was purchased from Cornelia Frost’s heirs by Arthur W. Krey, trustee of the Cypress Trust.

On December 1, 1942, 16 Marlborough was acquired from Arthur Krey by Miss Edna M. Gorman (born Mary Edna Gorman). She lived at 843 Boylston.

16 Marlborough continued to be shown as vacant in the 1943-1944 City Directories.

By 1945, Edna Gorman had moved to 16 Marlborough and was operating it as a lodging house. In August of 1944 and again in August of 1946, she applied for permits to change the occupancy from a single-family dwelling to a lodging house. In both cases, she abandoned the permits. In October of 1947, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to make various interior changes, and at that time, her application stated the current and proposed use was as a “rooming house.” She continued to operate it as a lodging house until 1981.

On August 28, 1981, 16 Marlborough was purchased from Edna Gorman by Robert A. Pantano.

On August 30, 1984, 16 Marlborough was purchased from Robert Pantano by Alan Green and his wife, Lois Green. In October of 1984, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into a three-family dwelling. In the application, they noted that the building “has been used as a lodging house and has had other uses since 1946.”

On November 15, 2018, the 16 Marlborough Corporation transferred 16 Marlborough to the Retals 16M Corp. (Samuel H. Slater was the president of both the 16 Marlborough Corp. and the Retals 16M Corp.). On the same day, Retals 16M Corp. transferred the property to the 16 Holdings LLC (managed by the Tremont Asset Management LLC, Samuel H. Slater and Jacqueline Slater Whitten, managers of record).

In September of 2019, 16 Holdings LLC received permission to remodel the interior and convert it from a three family to a single-family dwelling.

On September 21, 2021, 16 Marlborough was purchased from 16 Holdings LLC by SHS Holdings LLC (Samuel H. Slater, manager).

On December 27, 2022, the property was purchased from SHS Holdings by Jabota LLC (Adam M. Zaiger, manager of record).

The property was assessed as a single-family dwelling in 2022.