209 Beacon was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built in 1874-1875 by I. & H. M. Harmon, masons and builders, for merchant, cotton manufacturer, and real estate developer Charles William Freeland, probably for speculative sale, one of two contiguous houses (205-209 Beacon) designed as a symmetrical pair. Charles Freeland is shown as the owner on the original permit for 205-209 Beacon (identified as 205-207 Beacon), dated October 14, 1874, and on an amendment dated July 13, 1875, adding a one-story, 30-foot wide wooden shed at the rear of both properties.
Charles Freeland previously had built five contiguous houses to the west at 211-213-215-217-219 Beacon ca. 1866; those houses were designed by architects Ware and Van Brunt.
All of the land on the south side of Beacon between Clarendon and Dartmouth was sold by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at its public auction on January 3, 1863. The successful bidder for the land where 205-209 Beacon would be built (Lots 2-3) was William Brown, a retail druggist. Charles Freeland subsequently acquired his right to purchase the land from the Commonwealth. He took title to the land for 209 Beacon on April 28, 1874, and to the land for 205 Beacon on December 7, 1875, after the house had been completed.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 209 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 419, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.
On March 22, 1876, 209 Beacon was purchased from Charles Freeland by Mary Chester (Hasbrouck) Denny, the wife of John Ware Denny, a wool commission merchant. They previously had lived at 99 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Milton.
They continued to live at 209 Beacon during the 1880-1881 winter season, but moved to Milton soon thereafter. Mary Denny continued to own 209 Beacon and lease it to others.
By the 1881-1882 winter season, 209 Beacon was the home of Henry R. Reed and his wife, Sarah A. (Brewster) Reed. They previously had lived in the Harrison Square district of Boston.
Henry Reed was a partner in the firm of Nash, Spaulding & Co., wholesale grocers and owners of the Revere Sugar Refinery.
In December of 1885, 209 Beacon became the home of dry goods merchant Benjamin Williams Crowninshield and his wife Katherine May (Bradlee) Crowninshield, who had leased their home at 164 Marlborough to the newly-formed Algonquin Club. By late 1888, the Club had moved to its new permanent location at 217 Commonwealth and the Crowninshields had moved back to 164 Marlborough.
On September 1, 1888, 209 Beacon was purchased from Mary Denny by Lily (Lillie) (Clapp) Amory, the wife of cotton broker and manufacturer Charles Bean Amory. They previously had lived at 77 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in Milton.
They continued to live at 209 Beacon during the 1889-1890 winter season, but thereafter made Milton their year-round residence. Lily Amory continued to own 209 Beacon and lease it to others.
By the 1890-1891 winter season, 209 Beacon was the home of Rev. Frank Louis Norton and his wife, Jane Huntington (Watkinson) Norton.
Frank Norton died in July of 1891. Jane Norton continued to live at 209 Beacon during the 1892-1893 winter season, but moved thereafter. By the 1895-1896 season, she was living at 186 Beacon.
By the 1893-1894 winter season, 209 Beacon was the home of Lucy Catherine (Daniell) Crehore, the widow of George Clarendon Crehore, and their two youngest children: Charles Lemuel Crehore and Lucy Clarendon Crehore. They previously had lived at 31 Newbury.
She continued to live at 209 Beacon until 1899, when she purchased and moved to 155 Beacon.
By the 1899-1900 winter season, 209 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Anna Dwight (Whiting) Howard, the wife of William Henry Howard. Two of their children, Frances Sargent Howard and John Kenneth Howard, and her mother, Rebecca (Bullard) Whiting, the widow of Nathaniel Whiting, lived with her.
William Henry Howard lived in San Mateo, California, where he was a major landowner and cattle rancher. His father, William Davis Merry Howard, had gone to San Francisco from Boston in 1839 as a cabin boy and then served for several years a supercargo on Boston ships trading on the Pacific Coast. In the 1840s, he became a merchant in San Francisco, where Howard Street was named in his honor.
William and Anna Howard had five children: William Davis Merry Howard, Gertrude Howard, Edward Whiting Howard, Frances Sargent Howard, and John Kenneth Howard.
William D. M. Howard lived in Treadwell on Douglas Island in Alaska, where he was listed in the 1900 US Census as a gold miner. He later became a mechanical and mining engineer in California and Oregon, and later in Massachusetts.
Gertrude Howard married in November of 1893 to Frederick Silsbee Whitwell, an attorney and real estate investor; they lived at 166 Marlborough.
Edward Howard was a student at Harvard (Class of 1900). Anna (Whiting) Howard may have moved to Boston with her two youngest children, Frances and John, to be closer to her mother, her son, Edward, at Harvard, and her married daughter, Gertrude.
William Henry Howard died in October of 1901 in San Mateo. Edward Howard returned to California and assumed management of his father’s properties as co-executor of his estate. Anna Howard, her mother, and Frances and John Howard continued to live at 209 Beacon during the 1902-1903 winter season, but moved thereafter, probably to The Holland at 50 Commonwealth, where Rebecca Whiting and Frederick and Gertrude (Howard) Whitwell were living in 1904. In February of 1905, Anna Howard purchased 353 Commonwealth and she, her mother, and Frances and John Howard made it their home.
On March 1, 1904, 209 Beacon was acquired from Lily Amory by The First Church in Boston, located at the southwest corner of Marlborough and Berkeley.
During the 1904-1905 winter season, 209 Beacon was the home of Rev. James Eells and his wife, Kate (Merwin) Eells. They previously had lived at 41 Marlborough.
Rev. Eells was pastor of First Church in Boston until September of 1905, when he resigned and moved to Tarrytown, New York, where he became headmaster of the Huckley School.
209 Beacon was not listed in the 1906 Boston Blue Book.
During the 1906-1907 winter season, it was the home of George Gilbert Quincy, a dealer in celluloid goods, and his wife Maria Elizabeth (Salisbury) Quincy. By 1908, they had moved to The Buckminster in Kenmore Square.
On December 4, 1908, 209 Beacon was acquired from The First Church in Boston by Abigail Taylor (Seelye) Scudder, wife of Dr. Charles Locke Scudder. He was a surgeon and also maintained his medical office there. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at 189 Beacon.
They continued to live there during the 1919-1920 winter season. They subsequently moved to The Kenmore at 496 Commonwealth and also maintained a home in Sherborn.
On October 20, 1920, 209 Beacon was acquired from Abigail Scudder by Ruth (Porter) Johnson, the wife of Murdoch M. Johnson, a laundry company executive. They previously had lived in an apartment at 270 Commonwealth.
Before moving in, the Johnsons remodeled portions of the interior and it may have been at this time that the front entrance was lowered to street level (the permit for the remodeling does not include this change, but the change was made sometime before the early 1940s). The remodeling was designed by architects Kilham and Hopkins.
On December 6, 1944, 209 Beacon was acquired by Dr. George Anteblian and his wife, Margaret Sandeson (Nall) Anteblian. He was a physician and also maintained his medical offices at 209 Beacon.
In June of 1945, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into a three-family dwelling and doctor’s office.
George Anteblian died in March of 1983. After his death, the property was assessed as a four-to-six family dwelling.
Margaret Anteblian continued to live at 209 Beacon until her death in June of 2000, and 209 Beacon was inherited by her daughter, Margaret S. Anteblian.
209 Beacon remained a four-to-six family dwelling in 2016.