200 Commonwealth

200 Commonwealth (2013)

200 Commonwealth (2013)

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

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

200 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Exeter and Fairfield, with 198 Commonwealth to the east and 202 Commonwealth to the west.

200 Commonwealth was designed by Allen and Kenway, architects, and built in 1882 by Leander Greeley and James Smith, builders, one of two contiguous houses (200-202 Commonwealth) with unusual rectangular bays with curved sides topped with conical roofs (the conical roof at 202 Commonwealth has been removed).

200 Commonwealth was built as the home of druggist John James French and his wife, Frances (Stratton) French.  They previously had lived at 171 West Brookline.

John French is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 200 Commonwealth; his mother-in-law, Sarah (Piper) Stratton, the widow of Charles Edwin Stratton, is shown as the owner on the original application for 202 Commonwealth.  Both permit applications were dated June 23, 1882.

John French died in January of 1885.  Frances French continued to live at 200 Commonwealth.  Charles E. Stratton (her brother) et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1888, 1898, 1908, and 1912 Bromley maps.

200-202 Commonwealth (ca. 1885); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

200-202 Commonwealth (ca. 1885); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

The Frenches’ five children lived with her: Hollis French, Allen French, Charles Stratton French, Philip French, and Helen French.

Hollis French, a consulting engineer, married in June of 1896 to Helen Goodwin and they moved to 159 Newbury.  Allen French, an author, teacher, and historian, married in April of 1898 to Ellen Richmond Dorrance and they moved to Concord, Massachusetts.  Charles French, a lawyer, married in March of 1905 to Isabel Rockwood Mauro and they moved to Brookline.  Helen French married in April of 1907 to John Edward Brooks, a note broker, and they moved to Milton.

Philip French continued to live with his mother at 200 Commonwealth.  He was vice president of the Wire-Bound Packing Case Company and later a real estate and insurance broker.

Frances French died in September of 1911.  Philip French continued to live there during the 1911-1912 winter season, but moved thereafter to 845 Boylston.

200 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1913-1915 Blue Books.

By 1915, 200 Commonwealth was owned by the Foster Family.  In September of 1915, the Foster Wharf Company filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into a school.

By 1916, 200 Commonwealth became the Guild & Evans School for Girls, operated by Miss Fannie Carleton Guild and Miss Jeannie (Jennie) Carter Evans.  It previously had been located briefly at 255 Newbury and before that at 29 Fairfield.  Miss Guild and Miss Evans continued to live at 29 Fairfield.

Caroline B. Foster is shown as the owner of 200 Commonwealth on the 1917 Bromley map.

200 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

200 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

By 1920, the school had been acquired by Miss Augusta Hortense Minerva Choate, who had been the assistant principal at Guild & Evans.  At the time of the 1920 US Census, taken in January of 1920, she was living at 200 Commonwealth, and the school’s non-teaching staff (enumerated as servants) are shown as living both there and at 198 Commonwealth.  Later that year, she moved the school to the Eben Jordan estate at 1600 Beacon Street, renaming it the Choate School for Girls.  It remained there until 1950.

In June of 1920, 200 Commonwealth was leased by the Boston Masonic Club as its headquarters.  In July of 1921, it purchased and subsequently moved to 448 Commonwealth.

By 1922, 200 Commonwealth was the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Wakefield (Cleaves) Storrs, the widow of attorney Leslie K. Storrs, and their daughter, Helen.  In 1921, they had lived in Jamaica Plain.  The continued to live at 200 Commonwealth during the 1927-1928 winter season, but moved thereafter to Brookline.

Charles F. Adams et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1928 Bromley map

By 1929, 200 Commonwealth was the home of Mrs. Eva Elizabeth (Locke) Stanton, the former wife of Lyle F. Stanton, who operated it as a lodging house for college and working girls.  She previously had lived at 88 Gainsborough.  She continued to live and operate a lodging house at 200 Commonwealth until about 1933, when she moved to 117 Marlborough.

200 Commonwealth was shown as vacant in the 1934 City Directory, and was not listed in the 1935 directory.

By 1936, 336 Commonwealth was the home of William J. Lowery and his wife, Agnes J. (Johnston) Lowery, who operated it as a lodging house.  They previously had lived at 336 Commonwealth.  They continued to live at 200 Commonwealth in 1937, but had moved to an apartment at 362 Commonwealth by 1938.

The Home Savings Bank is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

The house was shown as vacant in the 1941-1943 City Directories.

By 1944, 200 Commonwealth was the home of Irving John Kennedy and his wife, Mary Beryl (Smith) Kennedy, who continued to operate it as a lodging house.  They previously had lived in Revere.

In April of 1947, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into a lodging house and two apartments.  In March of 1949, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to add more kitchens and bathrooms, and convert the property into a lodging house with four apartments.  And in November of  1954, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert it into eleven apartments.

In about 1959, the Kennedys separated.  Beryl Kennedy continued to live in an apartment at 200 Commonwealth until about 1962.

By 1965, 200 Commonwealth was owned by Arnold Samuel Schutzberg, a defense industry engineer, and his wife, Frances Poger (Leve) Schutzberg.  In June of 1965, the applied for permission to convert the property from eleven apartments into a lodging house for 48 people (probably a dormitory).

In August of 1965, before completing the conversion, the Schutzbergs sold the property to Back Bay Dormitories, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newbury College, which converted the house into a dormitory for 38 students and an apartment for the house director.

By 1968, Back Bay Dormitories owned 198, 200, 202, 204, and 206 Commonwealth and 138 Marlborough. In December of 1986, Back Bay Dormitories transferred all of these properties to Newbury College and liquidated its operations effective the end of the year.  Newbury College continued to operate the properties as dormitories.

In the 1990s, Newbury College moved its operations from the Back Bay to Fisher Avenue in Brookline.

In June of 1996, Newbury College sold 198-200-202-204 Commonwealth to 202 Commonwealth, Inc.

202 Commonwealth, Inc., sold 198 Commonwealth in December of 1996, and retained 200-202-204 Commonwealth, which it combined into one property and converted into eight condominiums in January of 1998.

198-204 Commonwealth (2013)

198-204 Commonwealth (2013)