20 Hereford is located on the NE corner of Marlborough and Hereford, with 18 Hereford to the north, 362 Marlborough to the south, across Marlborough, 357 Marlborough to the east, and 363 Marlborough to the west, across Hereford.
20 Hereford was built ca. 1871 for builder and contractor George Martin Gibson, one of four contiguous houses (14-16-18-20 Hereford) built for speculative sale, designed as two matching symmetrical pairs.
The land for 14-20 Hereford was purchased in two transactions by George Gibson’s wife, Frances Rebecca (Esten) Gibson: on April 14, 1871, she purchased the lot at the corner of Marlborough and Hereford with a 50 foot frontage on Marlborough, and on September 10, 1871, after the houses were substantially complete, she purchased a five foot wide lot to the east, She purchased both lots from George Williams Pratt, an investment banker and stockbroker and one of the founders of the Boston Stock Exchange. He and his wife, Mary Barrow (White) Pratt, lived at 13 Louisburg Square. They also maintained a home, Oakley, on Belmont Avenue in Watertown (it became the Oakley Country Club in 1898). The land originally was part of a larger parcel purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on February 20, 1863, by George Pratt’s son, Robert Marion Pratt, also a banker and broker.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 20 Hereford.
Also on September 10, 1871, George Pratt sold George Gibson the land to the east, with a 250 foot frontage, where George Gibson subsequently built eleven houses at 337-357 Marlborough.
When the Gibsons sold the completed houses at 14-20 Hereford, they included in the deeds a three foot six inch easement across the rear of 14-16-18 Hereford to provide for a passageway and drainage to the alley for 14-16-18-20 Hereford.
On January 18, 1872, 20 Hereford was purchased from Frances Gibson by Elizabeth Putnam (Proctor) Wetherill, the wife of William Henry Wetherill, a dealer in hides and sheep skins in partnership with Charles H. Morey. They lived in Peabody and may have resided briefly at 20 Hereford. He was a native of Philadelphia and, by 1873, they had moved there, where he became a manufacturer of white lead.
On June 4, 1872, 20 Hereford was purchased from Elizabeth Wetherill by Emma F. (Adams) West, the wife of William West. They had married in October of 1871.
The Wests continued to live at 20 Hereford in 1876, but had moved to 11 Beacon by 1877.
On September 13, 1876, 20 Hereford was purchased from Emma West by William Minot and William Minot, Jr., as trustees of a trust established for the benefit of Frances Elizabeth Appleton in June of 1876, at the time of her marriage to Charles Cabot Jackson. 20 Hereford became Charles and Frances (Appleton) Cabot’s home. He was a stockbroker. Prior to their marriage, Charles Cabot had lived at 88 Marlborough with his mother, Susan Cabot (Jackson) Jackson, the widow of Charles Jackson, Jr., and Frances Elizabeth Appleton had lived in Brookline with her step-father and step-mother, George Upham and Mary Louisa (McCulloh) Mayer Upham (Frances Appleton’s father, Robert Appleton, had died in April of 1851 and her mother, Rebecca Wentworth (Means) Appleton, had married again in November of 1854 to George Upham; Rebecca (Means) Appleton Upham died in June of 1859 and George Upham remarried to Mary (McCulloh) Mayer, the widow of Henry Christian Mayer).
The Cabots continued to live at 20 Hereford during the 1883-1884 winter season, but moved thereafter to 181 Commonwealth.
On July 29, 1884, 20 Hereford was purchased from Frances Cabot’s trust by Susan Mason (Lawrence) Loring, the wife of William Caleb Loring. They previously had lived at 267 Clarendon.
William Caleb Loring was an attorney and in 1899 would become a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
They continued to live at 20 Hereford during the 1893-1894 winter season, after which they moved to a new home they had built at 404 Beacon (2 Gloucester).
On August 21, 1894, 20 Hereford was purchased from Susan Loring by Helen Fisher (Bradford) Howe of Philadelphia, the widow of James Henry Howe. She was living in Europe and leased the house to others.
By the 1894-1895 winter season, it was the home of commission merchant Edward Jackson, his sister, Ellen Jackson, and their niece, Miss Lucy Ellery Russel, daughter of William C. Russel and Sarah Cabot (Jackson) Russel. They previously had lived in an apartment at the Hotel Agassiz at 191 Commonwealth.
They continued to live at 20 Hereford during the 1896-1897 winter season, but moved back to the Hotel Agassiz soon thereafter.
During the 1897-1898 winter season, 20 Hereford was the home of Joseph Lee and his wife, Margaret Copley (Cabot) Lee. They had married in June of 1897, and 20 Hereford probably was their first home together.
Joseph Lee was an attorney and would later become a leader of the Metropolitan Civic League, advocates for social and municipal reform.
By 1899, they had moved to 48 Chestnut.
On November 8, 1899, Helen Howe transferred the property to herself as guardian for her minor son, George Howe.
By the 1899-1900 winter season, 20 Hereford was the home of Dr. Langdon Frothingham, a veterinarian, his brother, Louis Adams Frothingham, an attorney and future Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, and their sister, Anne Gorham Frothingham. They previously had lived at 29 Gloucester.
Langdon Frothingham in December of 1901 to Olga Frothingham, his first cousin, and they moved to The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon. Louis and Anne Frothingham continued to live at 20 Hereford in 1904, but had moved to 92 Bay State Road by 1905. Anne Frothingham married in June of 1905 to Charles Eliot Guild and Louis Frothingham moved to 24 Marlborough.
By the 1904-1905 winter season, Helen Howe and her son, George, had made 20 Hereford their home. He was a student at Harvard. In 1903, they had lived at The Imperial at 308-310 Commonwealth.
Helen Howe and George Howe continued to live at 20 Hereford during the 1906-1907 winter season.
On April 5, 1907, 20 Hereford was purchased from Helen Howe, as George Howe’s guardian, by cotton merchant Francis Williams Sargent. He and his wife, Jane Welles (Hunnewell) Sargent, lived at 40 Hereford.
Helen Howe moved back to The Imperial at 308-310 Commonwealth. George Howe graduated from Harvard in June of 1907, the same month he turned 21, and in July of 1907 he married Marie Jesup Patterson. They subsequently lived in Europe where he studied architecture.
20 Hereford became the home of Francis and Jane Sargent’s son-in-law and daughter, Dr. David Cheever and Jane Welles (Sargent) Cheever, after their marriage in June of 1907.
David Cheever was a surgeon.
On March 6, 1908, Francis Sargent transferred 20 Hereford to Jane Cheever.
The Cheevers continued to live at 20 Hereford during the 1918-1919 winter season, but moved thereafter to 193 Marlborough.
In January of 1920, at the time of the 1920 US Census enumeration, 20 Hereford was the home of Ralph Blake Williams, a real estate trustee, and his wife, Susan (Jackson) Williams. They had lived at 356 Beacon in 1917. They also maintained a home in Dover. They moved from 20 Hereford later in 1920 and by the early 1920s were living at 424 Beacon with his mother, Alice (Weld) Williams, the widow of Thomas Blake Williams.
On July 15, 1920, 20 Hereford was purchased from Jane Cheever by Caleb Loring and his wife, Susanne Grantland (Bailey) Loring. They had married in April of 1920. He was the nephew of William Caleb Loring, who had lived at 20 Hereford in the mid-1880s and early 1890s.
Caleb Loring was treasurer of the Greenough Coal Company and the Huron Metals Company.
During the 1923-1924 winter season, 20 Hereford was the home of banker Arnold Welles Hunnewell and his wife Mary Copley (Amory) Hunnewell. They previously had lived at 179 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Wellesley. By the next season, they were living at 7 Fairfield.
During the 1924-1925 winter season, 20 Hereford was the home of John Babson Thomas and his wife, Marietta (Shea) Reece Thomas. Living with them were John Reece and Robert Reece, Marietta Thomas’s sons by her previous marriage to John Reece (inventor of the buttonhole sewing machine). In 1923, they had lived at 34 Gloucester.
On June 29, 1925, 20 Hereford was purchased from the Lorings by Dr. John Hammond Blodgett, a recently-retired an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He was unmarried. He previously had lived in an apartment at 7 Exeter and, before, that at 51 Massachusetts Avenue.
Also living at 20 Hereford was Miss Anna C. Hanson, John Blodgett’s housekeeper. She also previously had lived at 7 Exeter and at 51 Massachusetts Avenue.
John Blodgett died in February of 1926. In his will, he left 20 Hereford to Anna Hanson.
Anna Hanson continued to live at 20 Hereford until her death in September of 1935.
On November 30, 1936, 20 Hereford was purchased from Anna Hanson’s estate by James Joseph Kelly, a fuel oil company executive. He and his wife, Mary C. (Doyle) Kelley, lived in Medford.
By 1937, 20 Hereford was the home and office of Andreas (Andrew) Forest Christian, a physician and physiotherapist. He had lived (and maintained his office) at 401 Marlborough in 1936. He was a widower.
By 1938, he had moved to 469 Beacon, where he lived and operated the Boston School of Physio-Therapy and the Massachusetts Studio for Health. He continued to live there in 1939.
By 1940, Andreas Christian had resumed living at 20 Hereford, joined by Bertram S. Petersen, also a physiotherapist. On February 26, 1941, Bertram Peterson acquired the property from James J. Kelley.
Also living at 20 Hereford was Miss Matilda Peterson, who had been Dr. Christian’s nurse for many years and had previously lived at 469 Beacon and, before that, at 401 Marlborough. The 1940 US Census indicates that she was Bertram’s Petersen’s wife, which, while possible, is more likely to be an erroneous entry based on the similarity of their names. In all deed records related to 20 Hereford, both Bertram Peterson and Matilda Peterson are shown as unmarried.
Andreas Christian married again In 1941 to Frances Willard Hammond. After their marriage, they lived at 20 Hereford.
On November 3, 1943, Bertram Peterson transferred 20 Hereford to Mathilda Peterson, and on June 14, 1945, she transferred it back to him and he transferred it to Andreas Christian.
Andreas Christian died in September of 1945. Frances Christian and Matilda Peterson continued to live at 20 Hereford in 1946.
In February of 1946, Frances Christian filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into five apartments. On March 26, 1946, she transferred the property to herself as trustee of the Twenty Hereford Street Trust. By 1947, she had moved to 328 Commonwealth.
On June 13, 1946, 20 Hereford was purchased from Frances Christian by George McEwan, a photo-engraver, and his wife, Ethel Grace (Hartling) McEwan. They lived in Winthrop.
George McEwan died in December of 1948. Ethel McEwan continued to own 20 Hereford and to live in Winthrop.
On July 31, 1959, 20 Hereford was purchased from Ethel McEwan by Donald French Merrill and his wife, Marguerite (Decker) Merrill. They lived in Hanover, Massachusetts.
On April 20, 1967, they transferred the property to Donald F. Merrill as trustee of the Merrill Investment Trust.
On April 30, 1973, 20 Hereford was acquired from Donald Merrill by Betty Bishop.
On November 30, 1973, she converted the property into four condominium units, the 20 Hereford Street Condominium.