190 Commonwealth

190 Commonwealth (2017)

Lot 26' x 124.5' (3,237 sf)

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

190 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Dartmouth and Exeter, with 184-188 Commonwealth to the east and 192 Commonwealth to the west.

190 Commonwealth was built in 1881 by Keening & Fellows, builders, for real estate dealer Henry Whitwell, for speculative sale.  He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated April 16, 1881, and Samuel H. Whitwell (his brother and business partner, Samuel Horatio Whitwell) is shown as the owner on the 1883, 1888, and 1890 Bromley maps.

By the 1883-1884 winter season, it was the home of paper manufacturer Mortimer Blake Mason and his wife Mary (Phillips) Mason.  The previous season they had lived at 39 Marlborough.

They continued to live at 190 Commonwealth until about 1889, when they moved to the house they had built at 347 Commonwealth.

190 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1890 and 1891 Blue Books.

By 1892, it was the home of coal dealer George Marcus Winslow and his wife, Sylvia Church (Sampson) Winslow.  They previously had lived at 68 Rutland.  Sylvia Winslow is shown as the owner of 190 Commonwealth on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps.

George Winslow died in October of 1896.  Sylvia Winslow continued to live at 190 Commonwealth in 1898.

190-192 Commonwealth (ca. 1885); detail from photograph by John P. Soule; courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

During the 1898-1899 winter season, 190 Commonwealth was the home of Adams Sherman Hill and his wife, Caroline Inches (Dehon) Hill.  They previously had lived at 302 Marlborough with their son and daughter-in-law, Arthur Dehon Hill and Henriette Post (McLean) Hill.

Adams Sherman Hill was a professor of rhetoric at Harvard.  He formerly had been a journalist, and was one of the founders of the Independent News Room, a competitor of the Associated Press during the Civil War.

By the 1899-1900 winter season, 190 Commonwealth was the home of William A. Rust and his wife, Dora (Drummond) Rust.

William Rust formerly had been Secretary of the Eau Claire Lumber Company in Wisconsin, where he had served as a State Senator in the late 1880s.

They continued to live at 190 Commonwealth during the 1901-1902 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 349 Commonwealth.

190 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1902 Blue Book.

During the 1902-1903 winter season, it was the home of Dr. Charles Goddard Weld and his wife, Hannah Putnam (Train) Weld. They had lived at 303 Commonwealth during the 1901-1902 winter season.

Charles Weld was a physician and surgeon.  He was a noted art collector specializing in Japanese art.

By 1904, they had moved to a new home they had built at 149 Bay State Road.

190 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1904 Blue Book.

In the summer of 1904, 190 Commonwealth was purchased from Sylvia Winslow by George Flagg and his wife, Euretta (Lent) Reed Flagg.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on August 19, 1904.

George Flagg died in June of 1907.  Euretta Flagg continued to live at 190 Commonwealth until her death in January of 1917.

190 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

190 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

Their son, Dr. Elisha Flagg, a physician, also lived at 190 Commonwealth (and maintained his offices there) until his marriage in November of 1909 to Eleanor Amelia Marguerite Cecilia (Shattuck) Whitney, the widow of Hugh Whitney.  Before their marriage, she had lived at 14 Gloucester.  After their marriage, Elisha and Eleanor Flagg moved to 164 Marlborough.

Euretta Flagg is shown as the owner on the 1908 Bromley map, and Elisha Flagg is shown as the owner on the 1917 map.

In mid-1919, 190 Commonwealth was purchased from Elisha Flagg by Marcellus Seth Ayer and his wife, Hattie Mabel (Dodge) Ayer.  The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on June 18, 1919.

Marcellus Ayer was a former wholesale grocer.  In 1883, he founded the Working Union of Progressive Spiritualists (renamed in 1885 as The Spiritual Fraternity), and which built the First Spiritual Temple at 26 Exeter in 1885.  In 1914, it was converted into the Exeter Street Theatre, which he operated and his wife managed.

In June of 1919, Hattie Ayer applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct a two-car garage at the rear of 190 Commonwealth (which abuts the First Spiritual Temple, across the public alley).

Marcellus Ayer died in January of 1921.  Hattie Ayer moved soon thereafter and by 1924 was living in an apartment at 8 Gloucester.  In 1927, she married again, to Salvatore Paparone, a dancing teacher, and moved to an apartment at 90 Commonwealth, where she died in 1930.

By 1923, 190 Commonwealth was the home of Charles Barnard Prince and his wife, Halldis (Möller) Prince.  In 1922, they had lived at 256 Beacon.

He was assistant treasurer of the American Tube Works, manufacturers of brass tubing.

In October of 1925, the Estate of Joseph S. Fay, Jr., acquired 190 Commonwealth from Hattie M. Ayer, et al, trustees.  The Fay Estate already owned The Abbotsford apartments at 184-186-188 Commonwealth.

Charles and Halldis Prince continued to live at 190 Commonwealth 1926, but had moved to 16 Charles River Square by 1927.

On the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps, Joseph S. Fay et al, trustees, are shown as the owners of 190 Commonwealth, and the New England Trust Company (trustee under Joseph S. Fay, Jr.’s will), is shown as the owner of 184-186-188 Commonwealth.

In December of 1929, the New England Trust Company applied for (and subsequently received) permission to cut connecting doors between 188 and 190 Commonwealth.

By 1929, 190 Commonwealth was the home of Harry A. S. Read, a carpet salesman, and his wife, Elizabeth M. (Dean) Read, who operated it as a lodging house.  They previously had lived in Andover.  They continued to live at 190 Commonwealth until about 1931.

By 1932, 190 Commonwealth also was the headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  By 1933, they were the only tenant listed there in the City Directories. They continued to be located there in 1938.

By 1939, 190 Commonwealth no longer was listed in the City Directories, and it appears that it had been consolidated with The Abbotsford at 184-186-188 Commonwealth.

By 1940, 184-186-188-190 Commonwealth were owned by A. M. Sonnabend Properties.  In March of 1940, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to change the zoning status of the property from an apartment hotel to an apartment house, and also to increase the number of units in 184-186-188 Commonwealth from 35 to 44.

The property subsequently changed hands and in April of 1952 was purchased by Murray R. Fine, trustee of the Abbotsford Realty Trust.  In March of 1954, he filed an affidavit with the Building Department verifying that the occupancy of 190 Commonwealth was ten units when he purchased the property, and had been leased as such ever since.

The property changed hands and in May of 1979 was purchased by Kevin O’Reilly and Stephen V. Miller, trustees of the 174-178 Commonwealth Renewal Trust, who transferred the property to themselves as trustees of 184-190 Commonwealth Renewal Trust.

In October of 1979, they converted the property into fifty condominium units: 41 in 184-186-188 Commonwealth and nine in 190 Commonwealth.