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 built ca. 1871, one of three houses designed by Snell and Gregerson, architects, and built at about the same time: 163 Marlborough and 326-328 Dartmouth.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting comments that the three 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 houses are built on three lots on Dartmouth between Marlborough and Alley 418. The lots are 100 feet deep (east to west) but are uneven in shape, with the eastern line of the lot for 163 Marlborough shorter than the western line.
163 Marlborough was built as the home of Thomas Forbes Cushing and his wife, Fanny Leslie (Grinnell) Cushing, They previously had lived at 190 Beacon. They also maintained a summer home in Newport.
Fanny Cushing died in May of 1887. Thomas Cushing continued to live at 163 Marlborough until about 1892.
By 1893, it was the home of Charles Franklin Sprague and his wife, Mary Bryant (Pratt) Sprague. They had been 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 1897, 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 summer residence, 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 (Thoron) Endicott, lived with them. He was a lawyer.
William Endicott, Sr., died in May of 1900. Ellen Endicott and William and Marie Endicott continued to live at 163 Marlborough.
William Endicott, Jr., died in November of 1936, and Marie Endicott continued to live at 163 Marlborough until her death in March of 1958.
By 1959, 163 Marlborough was owned 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.
In December of 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.
The property subsequently changed hands, and in October of 1975 was purchased by David and Marcia Myers. They continued to operate it as a dormitory.
In October of 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 in November of 1985 they converted the five apartments into condominiums. 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.