204 Commonwealth

204 Commonwealth (2017)

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

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

204 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Exeter and Fairfield, with 202 Commonwealth to the east and 206 Commonwealth to the west.

204 Commonwealth was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1888 by building contractor William Seavey Rand, for speculative sale.  William Rand is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated January 16, 1888, and on the 1890 Bromley map.

By the 1890-1891 winter season, it was the home of tea merchant Alfred Skinner Woodworth and his wife, Sara Elizabeth (Campbell) Tucker Woodworth.  They previously had lived at the Hotel Vendôme.

Sara Woodworth is shown as the owner of 204 Commonwealth on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1912 Bromley maps.

Alfred Woodworth died in September of 1911.  Sara Woodworth and their son, Stewart Campbell Woodworth, an attorney, continued to live at 204 Commonwealth until her death in 1914. Stewart Woodworth moved to 161 Bay State Road soon thereafter.

204 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1915-1917 Blue Books.  It is shown as owned by Sara Woodworth’s heirs on the 1917 Bromley map.

By the 1917-1918 winter season, it was the home of stockbroker Archibald Blanchard and his wife, Elinor (Whitney) Blanchard.  They previously had lived at 10 Fairfield.  They also maintained a summer home in Nahant.

Elinor Blanchard is shown as the owner of 204 Commonwealth on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

During the 1927-1928 winter season, the Blanchards were living at 311 Marlborough and 204 Commonwealth was the home of Francis Douglas Cochrane and his wife Ramelle (Frost) Cochrane.  F. Douglas Cochrane was a banker and was a founder of the New England Oil Refining Company.  By the 1928-1929 season, they had moved to 294 Beacon.   204 Commonwealth and 294 Beacon were temporary residences for the Cochranes; they owned 257 Commonwealth, where they had lived in 1927 and once again lived in 1931.

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

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

By the 1928-1929 winter season, the Blanchards had resumed living at 204 Commonwealth, and continued to live there until about 1941, when they moved to an apartment at 276 Marlborough.

In the summer of 1941, John E. Beginsky purchased 204 Commonwealth from the Blanchards.  The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on August 1, 1941.

By 1942, it was owned by Francis A. Lawless and his wife, Marion (Gilmore) Lawless.  They lived at 270 Clarendon.  In January of 1943, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 204 Commonwealth from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.  Francis Lawless was a clothing cutter and later would become president of the Lincoln Clothing Company (manufacturers of mens’ clothing).  He and his wife also later became restaurateurs, operating the English Room restaurant at 29 Newbury in the early 1950s.

204 Commonwealth subsequently changed hands and by 1959 was the home of Dr. Michael E. Ferrant, a physician, and his wife, Dr. Lillian (Chapman) Ferrant, a psychiatrist.  They previously had lived at 50 Chambers.  They continued to operate 204 Commonwealth as a lodging house.

Michael Ferrant died in July of 1963.  Lillian Ferrant continued to live and operate a lodging house at 204 Commonwealth, and also to operate a lodging house at 36 Temple, where Michael Ferrant previously had maintained his office.  She moved to 36 Temple in about 1965.

In September of 1965, 204 Commonwealth was purchased from Lillian Ferrant by Back Bay Dormitories, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newbury College, which converted it from a lodging house into a dormitory.

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)