165 Beacon was built in 1868-1869 for John Haldane Flagler and his wife, Anna Harper (Converse) Flagler. He was a manufacturer of boiler iron and tubing, and founder of the National Tube Company.
Anna Flagler purchased the land for 165 Beacon on May 9, 1868, from real estate dealer Henry Whitwell. The land was part parcel with a 78 foot frontage that Henry Whitwell had purchased on October 21, 1861, from shipping merchant and US Congressman Samuel Hooper. The parcel had been acquired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on September 10, 1859, by George Goss and Norman Carmine Munson, the contractors responsible for filling the Commonwealth’s Back Bay lands. On the same day, they had sold it to banker Franklin Haven (one of the three Commissioners on the Back Bay responsible for the sale of the Commonwealth’s land), who then sold it on December 17, 1859, to Samuel Hooper.
Henry Whitwell built his own home at 161 Beacon in 1863-1864, and retained the lot at 163 Beacon next to his house. He sold the lot at 167 Beacon in February of 1865 and the lot at 165 Beacon to Anna Flagler in May of 1868. In June of 1870, after the Flaglers had built 165 Beacon, he bought back the lot at167 Beacon. He subsequently built houses at 163 Beacon (which had remained vacant) and at 167 Beacon. When the houses were completed, he moved from 161 Beacon to 167 Beacon and sold 163 Beacon.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 165 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 420, from Berkeley to Clarendon.
On June 9, 1868, the Boston Herald reported that John Flagler had filed a Notice of Intention to Build at 165 Beacon. Construction started soon thereafter. Neither the Herald article nor Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay attribute the house to a specific architect. However, a January 2, 1869, Boston Post article on new buildings in Boston during the previous year describes it as “a four-story brick dwelling, with freestone trimmings, 20×60, by John H. Flagler, costing about $30,000” and indicates that it was designed by architects Cummings and Sears.
John and Anna Flagler lived at 85 Marlborough. After 165 Beacon was built. It was purchased from Anna Flagler on September 23, 1869, by her father, dry goods commission merchant James Cogswell Converse. He was a widower and lived in Southborough.
On December 1, 1869, 165 Beacon was purchased from James Converse by dry goods merchant Southworth Shaw, Jr. He and his wife, Abby Atwood (Shurtleff) Shaw, made it their home. They previously had lived at 13 Bowdoin.
Southworth Shaw died in January of 1875. Abby Shaw continued to live at 165 Beacon with their unmarried children: Henry Southworth Shaw, who was treasurer of the Pemberton Company and Stevens Linen Works, Abby Shaw, Franklin Allerton Shaw, and Adela Shaw.
Henry Shaw married in June of 1880 to Louisa Stuart Towne and moved to 339 Commonwealth. Abby Shaw married in June of 1883 to Thomas Parker Proctor, and moved to Jamaica Plain. Franklin and Adela Shaw continued to live at 165 Beacon with their mother until her death in September of 1886.
By 1888, Franklin Shaw had moved to 203 St. Botolph Street. Adela Shaw moved soon thereafter to 396 Marlborough to live with her sister, Sarah (Shaw) Davis, the widow of Samuel Crafts Davis, Jr.
On April 1, 1889, Southworth and Abby Shaw’s eldest son, Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff Shaw, a physician, purchased his siblings’ interests in 165 Beacon. He and his wife, Amelia Copeland (Tribou) Shaw, lived at 28 Marlborough.
165 Beacon became the home of Benjamin and Amelia Shaw’s son-in-law and daughter, banker William Endicott, III, and Helen Southworth (Shaw) Endicott, who married in June of 1889. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms.
Benjamin Shurtleff Shaw died in May of 1893, and Amelia Shaw lived with the Endicotts during the 1893-1894 winter season. She then moved to 80 Beacon. By the 1896-1897 season, she had resumed living at 28 Marlborough.
The Endicotts continued to live at 165 Beacon in 1908, but had moved to 180 Beacon by 1909.
On May 1, 1908, 165 Beacon was purchased from Helen Endicott (who had inherited it from her father) by Mary Agnes Kenney. In June of 1908, she married Dr. John Taylor Bottomley, and they made it their home. Prior to their marriage, he had been a lodger at 139 Beacon and she had lived in Roxbury with her parents, James W. Kenney, a brewer and real estate dealer, and Ellen F. (O’Rourke) Kenney.
John Bottomley was a physician and surgeon. He was surgeon-in-chief at Carney Hospital from 1910, succeeding Dr. John Cumming Munro, who lived at 173 Beacon and died in December of 1910.
The Bottomleys raised their five children at 165 Beacon: John Kenney Bottomley, James William Bottomley, George Taylor Bottomley, Ellen Mary Bottomley, and May Kenney Bottomley.
John Bottomley died in December of 1925 and Mary Bottomley lived elsewhere during the next two winter seasons.
During the 1926-1927 winter season, 165 Beacon was the home of Alfred Curtis and his wife, Helen G. (McCarthy) Curtis. They previously had lived at 30 Chestnut. They also owned a home in Concord. They had moved from 165 Beacon by the next season and were living at their home in Concord at the time of the 1930 US Census.
During the 1927-1928 winter season, 165 Beacon was the home of Mary Bottomley’s widowed mother, Ellen F. (O’Rourke) Kenney. James Kenney had died in June of 1925.
By the 1928-1929 winter season, Mary Bottomley and her five children were living at 165 Beacon once again.
Ellen Bottomley married in January of 1942 to Arthur Fiedler, the noted conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Prior to their marriage, he had lived in an apartment at 235 Commonwealth. After their marriage, they lived in Brookline.
George Bottomley, a physician, married in October of 1944 to Lydia Fuller of 150 Beacon. After their marriage, they lived in Rye Beach, New Hampshire (he was stationed at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital).
James Bottomley, an accountant and later bursar of Boston University, married in November of 1948 to Mrs. Mary (Harrington) Rolf. After their marriage, they lived in Jamaica Plain.
Mary Bottomley continued to live at 165 Beacon until her death in May of 1963. Her unmarried daughter, May, lived with her until the early1960s.
On March 16, 1964, 165 Beacon was acquired by Rose Rochelle, trustee of the Rochelle Realty Trust.
Rose Rochelle (Goldberg) Levin Glazer Bornstein was the former wife of Reuben Levin and Max L. Glazer. She was a retired pianist and entertainer who performed as (and legally changed her name to) Rose Rochelle. She had married in the early 1960s to Morris Bornstein, after which she was known as Rose Bornstein. He died or they separated by 1965. She owned and lived in an apartment house at 273 Beacon, and also owned several other apartment buildings and lodging houses in the Back Bay and South End. In 1965, she would briefly own 163 Beacon.
In June of 1964, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 165 Beacon from a single-family dwelling into ten apartments.
On July 8, 1964, 164 Beacon was acquired from Rose Rochelle by John N. Anderson and Leo H. Berube, Jr., doing business as Berson Associates.
The property changed hands and on September 22, 1978, was acquired by Joseph J. Hoffman.
On July 21, 1980, Joseph Hoffman sold 165 Beacon to Beacon Development Associates, Inc., of which he was the president and treasurer. On the same day, it converted the property into ten condominium units, the 165 Beacon Street Condominium.
On June 6, 2011, the condominium owners amended the master deed to reduce the number of units from ten to eight.