182 Marlborough was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1880-1881, one of two contiguous houses (180-182 Marlborough) built by Samuel Stillings, carpenter, for speculative sale.
182 Marlborough was built on land owned by Samuel Stillings, and 180 Marlborough was built on land owned by his son, Oscar L. Stillings, and his partner, N. Henry Chadwick. Their firm – Chadwick & Stillings – was originally a hat block and flange company and became a significant house contractor and builder in the 1880s and 1890s.
On June 15, 1880, the Boston Post reported that Samuel Stillings had been granted permits for both houses. The permit application for 180 Marlborough has not, as yet, been located. However, the permit application for 182 Marlborough, dated June 7, 1880, indicates Samuel Stillings as the owner and builder. The architect is identified only as “Kelley.” Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay attributes both 180 Marlborough and 182 Marlborough to architect Samuel D. Kelley.
The land for 180-182 Marlborough was purchased on September 27, 1880, from Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, after construction of the houses was underway: the lot for 180 Marlborough by Chadwick & Stillings and the lot for 182 Marlborough by Samuel Stillings. Both lots were part of a larger parcel that T. Jefferson Coolidge and James Lawrence had purchased on May 15, 1872, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (T. Jefferson Coolidge had purchased James Lawrence’s interest on December 30, 1872).
Click here for an index to the deeds for 182 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 425, from Dartmouth to Exeter.
The original houses probably were a matched pair, with 180 Marlborough having been altered significantly over the years and 182 Marlborough remaining as it was originally built. The 1887 Sanborn map indicates that both houses were four stories (plus basements), each with a mansard roof and an octagonal bay on the western side. The 1902 Bromley map confirms that the houses remained the same, but the 1908 map shows that an additional story had been added to 180 Marlborough. In 1925, it was further remodeled to eliminate the bay, lower the front entrance, and “modernize” the front façade.
On July 1, 1881, 182 Marlborough was purchased from Samuel Stillings by Miss Cora B. Knowlton. It became her home and the home of her mother, Mrs. Cordelia A. (Backus) Knowlton, the former wife of house carpenter Edmund A. Knowlton, and of Cora Knowlton’s sister and brother, Hattie M. Knowlton and Harry May Knowlton. They previously had lived at 116 Boylston, where Mrs. Knowlton had operated a lodging house. She also operated a lodging house at 182 Marlborough.
In 1883-1884, Mrs. Knowlton rented rooms to Mlle. Gabrielle de la Motte, a music teacher who gave lessons in piano and voice to girls. She lived at 9 Malden. She also was director of the Sanctuary Choir at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Washington Street. By November of 1884, she had moved her classes to the Emerson Piano Warerooms at 159 Tremont. During the 1885-1886 winter season, she lived and operated her school at 36 Commonwealth.
By the 1885-1886 winter season, the Knowltons had been joined at 182 Marlborough by Cordelia Knowlton’s sister, Keziah Price (Backus) Lister Fletcher, the former wife of Dr. George Lister and the widow of Calvin Fletcher. On September 4, 1886, Keziah Fletcher acquired 182 Marlborough from Cora Knowlton, and on May 23, 1887. Cora Knowlton acquired it back from her aunt.
Cordelia Knowlton, Cora Knowlton, and Harry Knowlton continued to live at 182 Marlborough during the 1886-1887 winter season, but moved thereafter to 25 Montrose. Keziah Fletcher may also have moved to 25 Montrose.
On June 1, 1887, 182 Marlborough was purchased from Cora Knowlton by Dr. John Orne Green and Dr. Hasket Derby.
John Orne Green was a physician specializing in diseases of the ear and a professor at Harvard Medical School. He was unmarried and made 182 Marlborough his home and his office. Hasket Derby was an oculist and ophthalmologist, also maintained his office there. He and his wife, Sarah (Mason) Derby, lived at 352 Beacon).
Dr. Green and Dr. Derby continued to maintain their offices at 182 Marlborough until 1909. Dr. Orne also continued to live there during the 1908-1909 winter season, but moved thereafter to 267 Newbury.
On June 30, 1909, 182 Marlborough was acquired from Dr. Green and Dr Derby by Dr. Samuel Jason Mixter. He and his wife, Wilhelmina (Galloupe) Mixter, lived at 180 Marlborough where he also maintained his medical office.
By the 1909-1910 winter season, 182 Marlborough had been leased from Dr. Mixter by Charles Theodore Russell and his wife, Louise (Rust) Russell. The previously had lived at 16 Exeter. They also maintained a home in Falmouth.
On June 5, 1920, Louise Russell purchased 182 Marlborough from Samuel Mixter.
Charles Russell was assistant treasurer of the Boston Wharf Company until 1914. Thereafter he was a trustee and real estate dealer.
Louise Russell died in October of 1938. Charles Russell continued to live at 182 Marlborough until his death in July of 1961.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1962 and 1963 City Directories.
On January 31, 1962, 182 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Russell’s estate and heirs by John H. Ayvazian, Jr.; Nubar J. Dinjian; and George Najarian, trustees of the Penwood Realty Trust.
That same month, Penwood Realty applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into nine apartments.
On April 7, 1969, 182 Marlborough was acquired from the Penwood Realty Trust by Sona Vera (Norian) Najarian, the wife of George Najarian.
On June 26, 1975, 182 Marlborough was purchased from Sona Najarian by Betty Bishop. On August 4, 1975, she converted the property into nine condominium units, the 182 Marlborough Street Condominium.