164 Beacon was designed by Fehmer and Page, architects, and built in 1889 by James Smith, builder, as the home of Dr. John Homans, a physician and surgeon, and his wife, Helen Amory (Perkins) Homans. They previously had lived at 161 Beacon.
John Homans purchased the land for 164 Beacon on May 29, 1889, from George Peabody of Salem. It originally was purchased from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation on March 6, 1860, by architect Charles K. Kirby, who sold it to George Peabody on March 15, 1861. It remained vacant for the next 28 years.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 164 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
John Homans is shown as the owner of 164 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated July 22, 1889, and on the final building inspection report, dated September 10, 1890.
John and Helen Homans raised their six children at 164 Beacon: Robert Homans, Katharine (Katherine) Amory Homans, John Alden Homans, Marian Jackson Homans, Helen Homans, and William Perkins Homans,
John Homans died in February of 1903. Helen Homans continued to live at 164 Beacon with their children. She also maintained a home in Ponkapoag.
Robert Homans, an attorney, married in June of 1907 to Abigail Adams; after their marriage, they lived at 158 Mt. Vernon (and later at 289 Marlborough). Dr. John A. Homans, a physician, married in June of 1913 to Alice F. Knapp; after their marriage, they lived at 39 Pilgrim Road. Helen Homans traveled to France in March of 1915 to become a nurse with the French Red Cross; she died there in November of 1918 of influenza. Robert Homans, a representative for textile machinery companies, married in May of 1920 to Edith Wolcott Parkman; after their marriage, they lived at 83 Myrtle.
Katharine and Marian Homans continued to live at 164 Beacon with their mother.
In his Memoirs, Coming to My Senses, sociologist George Caspar Homans, the son of Robert Homans, describes visiting his grandmother “in her second floor parlor at 164 Beacon, looking out over the Charles River, trimmed in golden oak and dominated by a steel engraving of Rosa Bonheur’s ‘The Horse Fair.'”
Helen Homans died in April of 1925 and soon thereafter, Katharine and Marian Homans moved to 11 Lime.
On July 1, 1925, 164 Beacon was purchased from Helen Homans’s estate by Robert Frederick Herrick, Jr. He and his wife, Thelma (Hall) Herrick, made it their home. They previously had lived at 105 Beacon.
Robert Herrick, Jr., was an investment broker and served as an officer or director of a number of business firms, including serving as treasurer of the Saco-Lowell Shops (in the 1920s. and possibly later), and later as vice president of the Essex Wire Corporation of Detroit, the Reed-Prentice Corporation of Worcester, and Scott & Williams, Inc., of Laconia, New Hampshire.
On June 15, 1927, he transferred the property to his father, Robert Frederick Herrick, Sr. He and his wife, Margaret Forbes (Perkins) Rice Herrick, lived at 25 Commonwealth.
Robert and Thelma Herrick were divorced by late 1927, and he continued to live at 164 Beacon alone.
On January 12, 1928, his Robert Herrick, Sr., transferred 164 Beacon to a trust administered by Edward A. Taft, the brother of his deceased first wife (and Robert Herrick, Jr.’s, mother), Alice (Taft) Herrick.
Robert Herrick, Jr., remarried in September of 1928 to Margaret Knickerbocker (Clark) Pierce, the widow of Vinton Ulric Dahlgren Pierce. After their marriage, they lived at 164 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Prides Crossing and a farm in Kensington, New Hampshire.
On March 28, 1932, Edward Taft transferred 164 Beacon back to Robert Herrick, Jr. On Jun 1, 1934, he transferred it to his wife.
Margaret (Peggy) Lander Pierce and Romaine (Tudie) Dahlgren Pierce, Margaret Herrick’s daughters by her first marriage, lived with them. Margaret Pierce was killed in an automobile accident in May of 1937.
Robert Herrick died in May of 1941. Margaret Herrick and Tudie Pierce moved soon thereafter.
On October 16, 1942, 164 Beacon was purchased from Margaret Herrick by Hazel Blanche (Rodgers) Ingram Hamilton, the wife of Landis Lewis Hamilton. They previously had lived in an apartment at 161 Beacon, and before that in Melrose. He was an electrical engineer with General Electric.
In November of 1942, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house. She continued to operate 164 Beacon as a lodging house until about 1957.
In April of 1957, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 164 Beacon from a lodging house into a commercial school and girl’s dormitory, to be leased by Burdett College, located at 160 Beacon, next door. It remained a Burdett School Dormitory (called Hamilton Hall) until about 1972.
On October 3, 1972, 164 Beacon was purchased from Hazel Hamilton by Burton Victor Scudney and his wife, Toby A. (Krasnoo) Scudney, of Marblehead. At the time of the sale, Landis and Hazel Hamilton lived in Kennebuckport, Maine. The Scudneys converted the building into twelve apartments.
Burton Scudney died in April of 1978.
On August 29, 1980, 164 Beacon was acquired from Toby Scudney by the KLS Management Company and the Roiff Corporation. On January 28, 1981, they converted the property into twelve condominium units, the 164 Beacon Street Condominium.