163 Marlborough is located on the NW corner of Marlborough and Dartmouth, with 137 Marlborough (317 Dartmouth) to the east, across Dartmouth), 167 Marlborough to the west, 326 Dartmouth to the north, and 164 Marlborough to the south, across Marlborough.
163 Marlborough (originally 165 Marlborough) was designed by architects Snell and Gregerson and built in 1871-1872, one of three houses – 163 Marlborough and 326-328 Dartmouth — built at the same time, creating a symmetrical composition on Dartmouth.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting comments that the houses are “three closely related structures” that “fit together to create an impressive whole.” 326 Dartmouth forms the center house of the three, half a story lower than the houses on either side and differentiated by changes in floor level and stone trim.
The three houses were built on a parcel with a 100 foot frontage on Marlborough and a 112 foot frontage on Dartmouth. The parcel was assembled by building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., who purchased the eastern portion at the corner of Dartmouth, with a 30 foot frontage on Marlborough, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on November 29, 1870, and the western portion, with a 70 foot frontage on Marlborough, from Eben D. Jordan on December 3, 1870 (it was part of a 100 foot wide lot that Eben Jordan had purchased from William Thomas on March 9, 1870; William Thomas had purchased it from the Commonwealth on November 2, 1869).
On December 3, 1870, George Wheatland, Jr., sold Thomas Forbes Cushing the southern portion of the parcel, with a 100 foot frontage on Marlborough and a 57 foot frontage on Dartmouth. He retained the northern portion. Thomas Cushing had 163 Marlborough built on his lot, and George Wheatland, Jr., had 326-328 Dartmouth built on his, for speculative sale. 163 Marlborough appears to have been completed before 326-328 Dartmouth.
The houses were built with an irregular east-west line. As a result, the eastern (Dartmouth) façade of 163 Marlborough is 22 feet wide (on a 44 foot lot frontage) and the western wall is 39 feet wide (on a 61 foot lot frontage); the eastern façade of 326 Dartmouth is 46 feet and the western wall is 18 feet, and the eastern façade of 328 Dartmouth is 22 feet and the western wall is 33 feet. The lot bought by Thomas Cushing did not match the footprint of the house he had built at 163 Marlborough, and on December 29, 1871, and January 16, 1872, he and George Wheatland, Jr., exchanged parcels of land to reflect the irregular shape. The deed from George Wheatland, Jr. – and subsequent deeds conveying 326 Dartmouth and 328 Dartmouth — also included a 4 foot wide easement over the rear of 328 Dartmouth to provide access to the alley for 326 Dartmouth.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 163 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 418, from Dartmouth to Exeter.
163 Marlborough was built by James Devine, a mason and builder. On October 18, 1871, the Boston Traveller reported that he had filed a Notice of Intention to build the house, and on July 19, 1872, a Boston Traveller article on “present building operations” in the Back Bay noted that he was “building for Thomas F. Cushing … a spacious and ornate residence. The walls are finished to the third floor. The architects are Snell & Gregerson.”
Thomas Forbes Cushing and his wife, Fanny Leslie (Grinnell) Cushing, made 163 Marlborough their home, They previously had lived at 190 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Newport. He was the youngest son of John Perkins Cushing, who had amassed a large fortune as a China merchant in his uncle’s firm, Perkins & Co.
Fanny Cushing died in May of 1887. Thomas Cushing continued to live at 163 Marlborough during the 1891-1892 winter season, but moved thereafter to New York City and to his home in Newport.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, 163 Marlborough was the home of Charles Franklin Sprague and his wife, Mary Bryant (Pratt) Sprague. They had married in November of 1891, after which they had lived briefly at 127 Commonwealth with her mother, Sarah Minot (Weld) Pratt, the widow of George Langdon Pratt. They also maintained a home, Faulkner Farm, in the Allandale area of Brookline.
Charles Sprague was a lawyer. He served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1891 and 1892, and as a member of the State Senate in 1895 and 1896. He was elected to Congress in 1896 and served until 1901.
The Spragues lived at 163 Marlborough until about 1896, when they moved to Washington after his election to Congress.
By the 1896-1897 winter season, 163 Marlborough was the home of William Crowninshield Endicott and his wife, Ellen (Peabody) Endicott. They previously had lived in Salem. They also maintained a home, Glen Magna Farms, in Danvers.
William C. Endicott was a lawyer, a Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1873 to 1882, and Secretary of War from 1885 to 1889, during President Grover Cleveland’s first administration.
Their son, William Crowninshield Endicott, Jr., and his wife, Marie Louise (called Louise) (Thoron) Endicott, lived with them. He was a lawyer.
On September 12, 1898, William Endicott, Jr., purchased 163 Marlborough from Thomas Cushing.
William Endicott, Sr., died in May of 1900. Ellen Endicott and William and Louise Endicott continued to live at 163 Marlborough and in Danvers.
On May 4, 1903, Ellen Endicott acquired 163 Marlborough from her son.
William Endicott, Jr., died in November of 1936, and Louise Endicott continued to live at 163 Marlborough until her death in March of 1958.
On November 18, 1958, 163 Marlborough was acquired from Louise Endicott’s estate by the Mystic Lakes Realty Corporation, of which attorney Paul Mark Ryan was vice president. On November 24, 1958, it transferred the property to the R. S. R. Realty Company, of which Paul Mark Ryan also was vice-president.
On April 21, 1959, 163 Marlborough was acquired from R. S. R. Realty by Toba Esther Finn (Tresa E. (Finkelstein) Friedman), the former wife of Julian Friedman. In the mid- and late 1950s, she had lived at 317 Beacon, where she operated a restaurant.
In July of 1959, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
In September of 1960, she acquired 164 Marlborough, across the street.
On December 20. 1960, 163 Marlborough was acquired from Toba Finn by Harry Freedman and his wife, Lillian R. (Zacks/Sacks) Freedman. They acquired 164 Marlborough at the same time. They lived in Newton.
Harry Freedman was a real estate dealer specializing in dormitories and multiple dwellings.
That same month, he transferred both properties to Garden Halls, Inc., of which he was president and treasurer.
In July of 1962, the Cambridge School of Business, located on Boylston, announced that both 163 Marlborough and 164 Marlborough would become women’s dormitories for their school.
In November of 1964, Garden Halls, Inc. filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 163 Marlborough from a lodging house into a dormitory, called Endicott Hall.
On November 18, 1968, 163 Marlborough and 164 Marlborough were purchased from Garden Halls, Inc., by George J. Brennan, Jr., Louis Francis Musco, and Mary B. Musco, trustees of the Commonwealth Realty Trust. George Brennan and Louis F. Musco had co-founded Bay State Academy (later Bay State College), located at 122 Commonwealth. Mary Bernadette (McCabe) Musco was Louis Musco’s wife. Louis Musco also served as Suffolk County Register of Probate.
They continued to operate both properties as dormitories.
On October 28, 1975, 163 Marlborough was purchased from the Commonwealth Realty Trust by David and Marcia Myers. They continued to operate it as a dormitory.
On October 9, 1984, the Cushing-Endicott House Limited Partnership purchased 163 Marlborough from David and Marcia Myers. Prior to selling the house, the Myerses worked with the Boston Landmarks Commission to establish a trust and perpetual easement intended to ensure preservation of “the basic layout, finishes and detail of the principal public spaces of the Cushing-Endicott House,” with the intention of preserving the “features of the house as built in 1871-73 or added during the Endicott years (prior to 1958).” The easement includes “the entrance foyer and reception hall, two small octagonal rooms on the east end of the first floor, the three major rooms on the second floor, the stairways connecting the first, second, and third floors, and the original hot air heating furnace.”
In December of 1984, Cushing-Endicott House LP applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house into five apartments, and on November 21, 1985. they converted the property into condominium units, the The Cushing-Endicott Condominium. In April of 1986, the number of units was increased to six. In March of 1997. two units on the third floor were combined and the number of units was reduced to five.