207 Commonwealth

207 Commonwealth (2015)

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

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

207 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Exeter and Fairfield, with 205 Commonwealth to the east and 211 Commonwealth to the west.

207 Commonwealth was designed by Rotch and Tilden, architects, and built in 1883-1884 by David Connery & Co., masons and builders, and John Morrison, carpenter, as the home of attorney Winthrop Henry Sargent and his wife, Aimée (Rotch) Sargent, the sister of Arthur Rotch, the architect. They previously had lived at 174 Marlborough. They also maintained a home, Wodenethe, in Fishkill-on-Hudson in New York, noted for the gardens developed by his father, Henry Winthrop Sargent.

Winthrop Sargent is shown as the owner of 207 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated August 15, 1883.

The land for 207 Commonwealth was purchased on March 17, 1883, from Samuel Endicott Peabody by a trust established for the benefit of Aimée (Rotch) Sargent under the will of her father, Benjamin Smith Rotch.  S. Endicott Peabody had purchased the land from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 13, 1883.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 207 Commonwealth.

Winthrop Sargent died in September of 1916.  Aimée Sargent continued to live at 207 Commonwealth until her death in April of 1918.

207 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1919-1921 Blue Books.

On March 29, 1921, 207 Commonwealth was purchased from Aimée Rotch’s trustees by Laura (Amory) Dugan Lawrence, the former wife of Thomas Dugan and the widow of Amory Appleton Lawrence.  She previously had lived at 61 Commonwealth, which had been her home with Amory Lawrence, who died in July of 1912.

207-211 Commonwealth (ca. 1890); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

207-211 Commonwealth (ca. 1890); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

In May of 1921, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the interior of 207 Commonwealth.  The remodeling was designed by Little and Browne, architects.

Living with her were her nieces and nephew, children of her brother, Edward Jonathan Amory of Wilmington, Delaware: Elizabeth Josephine Amory, Laura Caroline Amory, and George Sullivan Amory.  George Amory married in January of 1924 to Marion Renee Carhart; after their marriage, they lived in Europe and Tuxedo Junction, New York.  Laura Amory married in September of 1927 to architect Edward A. Hubbard of Bigelow, Wadsworth, Hubbard, and Smith; after their marriage, they lived at 116 Charles.

Laura Lawrence and Elizabeth Amory continued to live at 207 Commonwealth during the 1927-1928 winter season.  By the 1930 US Census, Laura Lawrence was living on Park Avenue in New York City and Elizabeth Amory was living with her father in Wilmington.

207 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1929-1937 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1930-1937 City Directories.

On February 26, 1937, 207 Commonwealrh was acquired from Laura Lawrence by attorney and real estate investor Maurice Eli Goldberg. That same month, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into ten apartments. On June 20, 1937, the Boston Globe reported that 207 Commonwealth was among the buildings exemplifying the “new home trend of electrification” with the installation of electrical appliances in the new apartments.

On June 2, 1937, Maurice Goldberg transferred 207 Commonwealth to his son, Richard H. Goldberg.

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

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

In about 1941, Maurice Goldberg and his wife, Kate D. (Byer) Goldberg, moved to one of the apartments at 207 Commonwealth. They previously had lived at 334 Commonwealth. They also maintained a home in Rockport.

On May 16, 1942, Richard H. Goldberg transferred 207 Commonwealth to William A. Sargent, and on March 12, 1948, William Sargent transferred 207 Commonwealth to Walter S. Gainey. In both cases, the property was held on behalf of the Goldberg family.

Maurice and Kate Goldberg continued to live at 207 Commonwealth and in Rockport. They separated in 1958, and Kate Goldberg made Rockport her home.  She died in September of 1967.

On March 9, 1959, Walter Gainey transferred 207 Commonwealth to Maurice Goldberg as trustee of the Maurice E. Goldberg Charitable and Educational Trust.

In 1962, Maurice Goldberg purchased the Doll & Richards Art Gallery at 172 Newbury (in 1930, he had written 100,000 Years of Art under the pseudonym E. G. Morris).

Maurice Goldberg continued to live in the penthouse apartment at 207 Commonwealth until his death in July of 1972.  207 Commonwealth and a number of other buildings in the Back Bay remained the property of the Maurice E. Goldberg Charitable and Educational Trust at the time of his death.

In January of 1975, the trust filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as eleven units, which it indicated had been the actual number since 1954 or earlier.

On July 22, 1976, the trust sold 207 Commonwealth to Richard H. Goldberg (a resident of Tuckahoe, New York). At the same time, it also sold him 113 Commonwealth and 246 Commonwealth, and sold his sister, Barbara (Goldberg) Weingarden (a resident of St. Louis, Minnesota), 234 Beacon and 29 Fairfield.

On August 31, 1979, 207 Commonwealth was purchased from Richard Goldberg by Washington Investment Services, Inc. (John F. Tosi, president and treasurer). At the same time, it also purchased 113 Commonwealth and 246 Commonwealth.

On February 29, 1980, Washington Financial Services converted converted 207 Commonwealth into eleven condominium units, the 207 Commonwealth Avenue Condominium.