180 Commonwealth

180 Commonwealth (2018)

Lot 52' x 124.5' (6,474 sf)

Lot 52′ x 124.5′ (6,474 sf)

180 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Dartmouth and Exeter, with 178 Commonwealth to the east and 184-188 Commonwealth to the west.

180 Commonwealth was designed by George Nelson Jacobs, architect, and built in 1925 as an eight-story, 32-unit apartment house.

180 Commonwealth replaced two townhouses at 180 and 182 Commonwealth that were purchased in 1925 by Jacob Marks, president of the M & S Petticoat Company. He and his wife, Eva (Finer) Marks, lived at 106 Queensberry.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 180 Commonwealth, including its predecessor buildings, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Commonwealth and Alley 434, from Dartmouth to Exeter.

Jacob Marks appears to have developed 180 Commonwealth in association with real estate dealer Louis Samuel Koufman, who is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for the new building, dated January 15, 1925. In 1927, Jacob Marks and Louis Koufman similarly collaborated on an apartment building at 12 Commonwealth, also designed by George Nelson Jacobs.

180 Commonwealth was completed by the 1925-1926 winter season. Among the first residents were:

  • Hattie Mabel (Dodge) Ayer, the widow of Marcellus Seth Ayer, who previously had lived in an apartment at 8 Gloucester and before that at 190 Commonwealth. By 1927, she had moved to an apartment at 90 Commonwealth. She remarried in that year to Salvatore Paparone, a dancing teacher.  They continued to live at 90 Commonwealth, where she died in 1930.
  • Lemuel Cushing Kimball, a retired wool merchant, and his wife, May Bliss (Dickinson) Kimball, a nurse, author, and leader among efforts to promote better health among girls. They had married in March of 1924, after which they had lived at the Lenox Hotel.  Before their marriage, he had lived at 271 Beacon.  Lemuel Kimball died in January of 1933, and May Kimball moved soon thereafter back to the Lenox Hotel.
  • Gordon Alfred Petremont, a commercial traveler and later sales manager of a chocolate company, and his wife, Dorothy (Parker) Petremont, a music teacher. They previously were lodgers at 127 Commonwealth.  They continued to live at 180 Commonwealth during the 1928-1929 winter season, after which they moved to an apartment at 90 Commonwealth, where the lived until the 1933-1934 season, when they moved to 66 Marlborough.

In February of 1931, Jacob Marks declared bankruptcy, and on January 4, 1932, the New York Life Insurance Company foreclosed on its mortgage and took possession of the property.

On September 1, 1937, 180 Commonwealth was acquired from New York Life by the General Commonwealth Corporation, and on June 29, 1944, the property was acquired from it by The Croyden, Inc. (Bernard W. Marcus, treasurer).

By 1955, the number of units had been increased from 32 to 35.

On June 29, 1974, 180 Commonwealth was purchased from The Croyden, Inc., by Harvey Brockway Moore, a real estate broker, and his wife, Elizabeth Jackson (Blakney) Moore. They lived in an apartment at 280 Beacon.

On the same day, the Moores converted the property into 34 condominium units and one superintendent’s apartment, the 180 Commonwealth Avenue Condominium.

180 Commonwealth (Demolished)

180 Commonwealth was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1883 by William Seavey Rand for speculative sale.  He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated April 30, 1883.

William Rand acquired the land for 180 Commonwealth on April 19, 1883, from Edmund Hatch Bennett, who had purchased it on June 29, 1882, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Edmund Bennett was a lawyer and judge, the first Mayor of Taunton, and dean of the Boston University Law School. On the same day as he sold William Rand the land for 180 Commonwealth, he purchased the house at 130 Commonwealth which William Rand had recently completed. Edmund Bennett and his wife, Sally (Crocker) Bennett, made 130 Commonwealth their Boston home.

On May 28, 1884, 180 Commonwealth was purchased from William Rand by Elizabeth Potter (Jack) Latta, the wife of James Melyne Latta.

180-182 Commonwealth (ca. 1885); detail from photograph by John P. Soule; courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

James Latta was a real estate and railroad investor. Born in Indiana, he and his wife had lived in Washington DC in the 1860s and 1870s, and were living on a farm in Elkhart, Indiana, at the time of the 1880 US Census. At the time they purchased 180 Commonwealth, they were living in Goshen, Indiana, which remained their primary residence. It appears that they purchased a Boston home when their son, William Jack Latta, attended Harvard (he graduated with the Class of 1889).

They continued to live at 180 Commonwealth during the 1888-1889 winter season.

On September 26, 1889, 180 Commonwealth was purchased from Elizabeth Latta by Lydia Frances (Waterman) Evans, the wife of Irving Alonzo Evans. They previously had lived at the Hotel Vendome.

Irving Evans was a stock and bond broker.  He committed suicide on October 16, 1891, despondent over his unsuccessful speculations.   Lydia Evans continued to live at 180 Commonwealth during the 1891-1892 winter season, but moved thereafter.

On December 18, 1891, 180 Commonwealth was acquired by real estate dealer Charles R. Evans. He was Irving Evans’s first cousin (Irving Evans’s father, Alonzo Hathaway Evans, was the brother of Charles Evans’s father, Brice Shepherd Evans).

On October 15, 1892, 180 Commonwealth was acquired from Charles Evans by Sarah Elizabeth (Wendell) Marcy, the wife of Dr. Henry Orlando Marcy. They previously had lived at 336 Boylston. He was a physician and also maintained his medical offices at 180 Commonwealth.

Their younger son, Henry Marcy, Jr., also a physician and surgeon, lived with them.  He maintained his medical office both at 180 Commonwealth and at 665 Boylston.  He married in May of 1909 to Eleanor Hunnewell Nichols.  After their marriage, they lived in Newton; he continued to maintain his office at 180 Commonwealth until about 1912.

Sarah Marcy died in June of 1910. Henry Marcy continued to live at 180 Commonwealth and in August of 1912, he remarried to Mary E. Smead. They lived at 180 Commonwealth until about 1920, when they moved to Cambridge.

The house was not listed in the 1922-1924 Blue Books.

Henry Marcy died in January of 1924.

On September 22, 1924, 180 Commonwealth was purchased from Henry Marcy’s estate by Jacob Marks. It was razed soon thereafter.

182 Commonwealth (Demolished)

Portion of 182 Commonwealth, shown to the east of 184 Commonwealth (ca. 1889); courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

Portion of 182 Commonwealth, shown to the east of 184 Commonwealth (ca. 1889); courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

182 Commonwealth was designed by architect William Pitt Wentworth and built in 1879-1880 by Standish & Woodbury, masons, and Creesy & Noyes, carpenters, as the home of marble and granite manufacturer Oliver M. Wentworth and his wife, Melvina (Gill) Wentworth.  They previously had lived at 24 Hancock.  He is shown as the owner of 182 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated October 6, 1879, and on the final building inspection report, dated November 5, 1880.  William Pitt Wentworth and Oliver M. Wentworth do not appear to have been closely related.

Oliver Wentworth purchased the land for 182 Commonwealth on October 1, 1879, from wholesale dry goods merchant and banker James Brown Case. He and his wife. Laura Lucretia (Williams) Case, lived at 120 Commonwealth. James Case had acquired the land on April 7, 1875, from Elizabeth Waterman (Hicks) Harding, the wife of wool and cotton merchant William H. Harding. She had purchased the land from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on June 11, 1874. At about the same time he purchased the land at 180 Commonwealth from Elizabeth Harding, James B. Case sold her the newly completed house at 118 Commonwealth and it became the Hardings’ home.

Melvina Wentworth died in June of 1919.  Oliver Wentworth continued to live at 182 Commonwealth.  By 1920, he had been joined by Robert Hiram Grace, his private secretary.  Robert Grace had been married to Melvina Emogene Gill, the niece of Oliver Wentworth’s wife, Melvina (Melvina (Gill) Grace was the daughter of Mortimer D. Gill; she died in September of 1913).  Also living with them was Ada R. (Dunn) Lowe, the widow of Charles Edwin Lowe.

Oliver Wentworth died in March of 1922. In his will, he left bequests to various educational institutions, but specified that, if any of them supported or maintained a football team, the legacy was revoked.

After Oliver Wentworth’s death, 182 Commonwealth became a multiple dwelling, either apartments or a lodging house.

By the 1922-1923 winter season, it was the home of the home of Virginia (Dailey) Harrison, the widow of Dr. Henry H. Harrison. Henry Harrison had been a retired dentist engaged in the cranberry packing business. He had died in August of 1922, a suicide. She continued to live at 182 Commonwealth through the 1924-1925 season, but moved thereafter to 270 Bay State Road.

In 1923, 182 Commonwealth also was the home of Rev. William Russell Scarritt, his wife, Elizabeth (Mariner) Scarritt, and their unmarried son, William Russell Scarritt, Jr., a lawyer, and daughter, Gwendolen Scarritt. They previously had lived at 319 Commonwealth. William Scarritt was an Episcopal clergyman, having served as co-rector of the Church of the Advent until his retirement in 1919. The Scarritts had moved by 1924 and by 1925, they were living at 17 Pinckney.

On June 11, 1923, 182 Commonwealth was purchased from Oliver Wentworth’s estate by real estate dealer Najeeb N. Meshaka. He lived at 182 Commonwealth in 1923 and 1924, but moved thereafter to Brookline.

On September 18, 1924, 182 Commonwealth was acquired from Najeeb Meshaka by Abraham Shuman (Awrum Shusterman), and on September 23, 1924, it was acquired from him by Jacob Marks. Abraham Shuman was Jacob Marks’s partner in the M & S Petticoat Company.  They were brothers-in-law (Jacob Marks’s wife, Eva (Finer) Marks, was the sister of Esther (Finer) Shuman).

182 Commonwealth was razed soon thereafter.