169 Marlborough was originally one of a pair of symmetrical houses (167-169 Marlborough) built in 1878, each three stories high (plus the basement level), with mansard roofs at the third floor, one story shorter than 171 Marlborough to the west. The two houses were designed by different architects and built by different builders, and over the years have been significantly altered. 169 Marlborough was remodeled first, in 1916, to remove the mansard roof on the third story, add a full fourth story, and add a partial fifth story at the rear. 167 Marlborough was remodeled in 1929 to expand the third story by eliminating the mansard roof and expanding an existing partial fourth story at the rear. It was further remodeled in 1980 to add a fourth story in the front and center of the house (connecting with the existing partial fourth story in the rear), with a new mansard roof in the front.
169 Marlborough was designed by architects Robert Gould Shaw and George Russell Shaw (of the firm of Shaw and Shaw) for their mother, Hannah (Buck) Shaw, the widow of attorney Samuel Parkman Shaw, and was in built in 1878-1879 by Standish & Woodbury, masons. Hannah Shaw is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated July 9, 1878.
Hannah Shaw purchased the 27 foot wide lot for 169 Marlborough on June 15, 1878, from Henry Lee. It was composed of a 24 foot parcel to the west, part of a 50 foot wide lot he had purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on April 25, 1871, and a 3 foot wide parcel at the east, part of a 30 foot wide lot he had purchased from Eben D. Jordan on May 1, 1871. The lot purchased from Eben D. Jordan was the western portion of a 100 foot wide lot he had acquired from William Thomas on March 9, 1870. William Thomas had acquired the lot on November 2, 1869, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 169 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 418, from Dartmouth to Exeter.
By the 1879-1880 winter season, Hannah (Buck) Shaw had made 169 Marlborough her home. She previously had lived at 15 Louisburg Square. She also maintained a residence, The Homestead, in Lenox.
On January 5, 1899, 169 Marlborough was purchased from Hannah Shaw’s estate by Miss Eliza Tileston Hemenway. She lived at 242 Beacon with her mother, Ellen (Tileston) Hemenway, the widow of Charles Porter Hemenway.
Eliza Hemenway married in April of 1899 to George Edward Cabot and they made 169 Marlborough their home. He previously had lived at 24 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in Manchester, Massachusetts.
An electrical engineer by training, George Cabot became a real estate dealer, joining with his half-brother, Norman Winslow Cabot, and Francis Murray Forbes to form the real estate brokerage firm of Cabot, Cabot, and Forbes.
The Cabots raised their two children – George Hemenway Cabot and Edward Clarke Cabot – at 169 Marlborough.
In the early 1900s, the Cabots added a brick rear ell designed by Peabody and Stearns. One sheet of plans for the addition is included in the Peabody and Stearns Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference PS/MA.039). The plans are undated, but the addition was built between 1902 and 1908 (it does not appear on the 1902 Bromley map but does appear on the 1908 map).
In March of 1916, Eliza Cabot applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remove the mansard roof on the third story, add a fourth story over the entire area of the house, and add a fifth story over the rear of the house. The remodeling was designed by architects Bigelow and Wadsworth. Plans for the remodeling — including elevations and floor plans — are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston City Archives (reference BIN C-30).
George Hemenway Cabot died in February of 1919.
By the 1920s, the Cabots also maintained a home in Montecito, California, where they frequently spent the winter season.
In June of 1928, Eliza Cabot acquired 167 Marlborough. The Cabots remodeled the house and leased it to others.
In June of 1929, George Cabot applied for (and subsequently received) permission to widen and to cut two new windows into an existing ell at the rear of the property. The remodeling was designed by architects Bigelow, Wadsworth, Hubbard, and Smith.
Edward C. Cabot continued to live with his parents at 169 Marlborough until his marriage in June of 1933 to Harriet Ropes. After their marriage, they lived at 5 Chestnut. He was a geologist and served as curator of the Harvard Geological Museum; he later moved to Taos, New Mexico, where he published a newspaper.
Eliza Cabot died in November of 1944. George Cabot continued to live at 169 Marlborough until his death in April of 1946.
In 1947, 169 Marlborough was the Spanish Consulate.
On September 5, 1947, 167 Marlborough and 169 Marlborough were acquired from Eliza Cabot’s estate by Glenwood J. Sherrard and Margaret S. Henderson, trustees of the 236 Beacon Street Trust. Glenwood Sherrard was the proprietor of the Parker House hotel, and Margaret Henderson was the wife of real estate dealer Elliott Henderson.
On December 3, 1947, 169 Marlborough was acquired from Glenwood Sherrard and Margaret Henderson by Denholm Muir Jacobs and his wife, Margaret (Bottomly) Jacobs.
In December of 1947, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into five apartments. The Jacobses lived in one of the apartments. They previously had lived briefly at 31 Commonwealth, as lodgers, and before that in Pennsylvania.
On April 12, 1949, 169 Marlborough was acquired from the Jacobses by Margaret Jacobs’s mother, Margaret H. (Dunn) Spencer Bottomly, the widow of Arthur C. Spencer, a lawyer, who had died in January of 1909, and of Robert J. Bottomly, also a lawyer, who had died in November of 1948. Prior to his death, the Bottomlys had lived in an apartment at 370 Beacon. The Jacobses moved from 169 Marlborough and by the early 1950s were living in Waban.
Margaret Bottomly continued to live at 169 Marlborough until her death in August of 1971.
The property changed hands, remaining an apartment building, and on February 18, 2011, was acquired by the 169 LLC (Matthew W. Piccione, manager).
On July 24, 2012, the 169 LLC converted the property into three condominium units, the 169 Marlborough Street Condominium.