213 Beacon was built ca. 1866 for merchant, cotton manufacturer, and real estate developer Charles William Freeland, for speculative sale, one of five contiguous houses (211-213-215-217-219 Beacon) designed as a symmetrical composition, with 211-213 Beacon and 217-219 Beacon having shared porticos and full bays, and 215 Beacon, in the center, having no bay. Originally numbered 199-207 Beacon, they were renumbered 211-219 Beacon by 1868.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting does not attribute 211-219 Beacon to a specific architect. However, an August 19, 1865, Boston Daily Advertiser article identifies the architects as Ware and Van Brunt:
“A block of five brown-stone fronts is to be started immediately upon the land…which has been purchased by C. W. Freeland, esq. These houses are to be built from plans drawn by Messrs. Ware and Van Brunt and are to be constructed of first-class materials. Mr. Hammond, who has been superintending the building of Mr. Beebe’s elegant house on the old Hancock estate, is to be the builder of this block.” James Beebe’s house was located at 30 Beacon; the builder probably was John Hammond, a carpenter and housewright.
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 bidders for the land where 211-219 Beacon would be built were Franklin Evans (Lots 4 and 5) and Sidney Homer (Lots 6 and 7), four 25 foot wide lots. Charles Freeland subsequently acquired their rights to purchase the land and subdivided it into five 20 foot wide lots for 211-219 Beacon. He took title to the land from the Commonwealth on April 17, 1866, probably after the houses were completed.
In 1874-1874, Charles Freeland built two additional contiguous houses, 205-209 Beacon, to the east, designed by by Peabody and Stearns.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 213 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 11, 1869, 213 Beacon was purchased from Charles Freeland by Francis Boardman Crowninshield. He and his wife, Sarah Gooll (Putnam) Crowninshield, made it their home. They previously lived at 11 Pemberton Square.
Francis Crowninshield was treasurer of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company, textile manufacturers in Lowell.
He died in May of 1877. 213 Beacon was vacant during the 1877-1878 winter season, but Sarah Crowninshield resumed living there by the 1878-1879 winter season. She continued to live there until her death in December of 1880.
The house was not listed in the 1882 and 1883 Blue Books.
On September 11, 1883, the trustees of Francis Crowninshield’s estate sold 213 Beacon at public auction. The notice of the auction published by Samuel Hatch & Co., auctioneers, in the Boston Daily Advertiser described the house as “finished in hard wood” and having “two parlors, dining room, reception room, eight chambers, kitchen, laundry, and all the modern conveniences.”
On September 12, 1883, the Boston Journal reported that real estate dealer John Jeffries had been the successful bidder, purchasing the house for $20,000. He probably was acting for Helen P. (Langmaid) Kenny, the wife of Charles Kenny, who purchased the house from the Crowninshield estate on October 8, 1883. She and her husband made it their home. They previously had lived at 381 Beacon with her parents, Chase and Dorcas (Cutler) Langmaid. When the Kennys moved to 213 Beacon, the Langmaids moved with them.
Charles Kenny was owner of a hack and livery stable at 22 Charles and later also the Charlesgate Stables at 100 Massachusetts Avenue, at the corner of Newbury. In the 1890s, he served as assistant quartermaster-general, with the rank of Colonel, on the staff of Governor Frederic Greenhalge.
The Kennys also maintained a home, The Towers, in Clifton/Devereux.
Chase Langmaid died in October of 1886; Dorcas Langmaid continued to live with the Kennys until her death in December of 1906.
By the 1909-1910 winter season, 213 Beacon was the home and medical office of Dr. Harry Winfred Goodall, a physician. He had lived at 71 Marlborough in 1909. Dr. Cleaveland Floyd also maintained an office at the house. He lived in Brookline.
Also listed there in the 1910 Blue Book were Ezra Munroe Rideout and his wife, Georgena (MacAuley) Rideout. At the time, he was a clerk, possibly in a hospital. He subsequently became a real estate broker and property manager.
By 1911, the Rideouts had moved to 13 Burroughs Place. Dr. Goodall continued to live and maintain his office at 213 Beacon. Dr. Floyd also continued to maintain his office there along with Dr. F. C. Kidner and Dr. Harry A. Barnes.
Cleaveland Floyd married in September of 1910 to Harriet Louise Goodwin. After their marriage, they lived at (and he moved his medical office to) 246 Marlborough.
Dr. Goodall continued to live and maintain his office at 213 Beacon in 1912, but by 1913 had moved to 205 Beacon (which was owned by Ezra M. Rideout).
On June 25, 1913, the Conveyancers Title Insurance Company foreclosed on a mortgage given by Charles and Helen Kenny and sold 213 Beacon to Dr. Franklin Greene Balch, a physician and surgeon who maintained his office at 279 Clarendon. He and his wife, Lucy Rockwell (Bowditch) Balch, lived in Jamaica Plain.
By the 1914-1915 winter season, 213 Beacon was the home of Dr. George Washington Wales Brewster, a physician and surgeon, and his wife, Ellen (Hodge) Brewster. They previously had lived at 277 Clarendon.
The Brewsters continued to live there until his death in September of 1939. Ellen Brewster moved soon thereafter to the Hotel Hamilton at 260 Clarendon.
On January 15, 1940, 213 Beacon was acquired by Sophia Annie (MacDonald) Brennan, the widow of Donald C. Brennan. She previously had lived at 377 Marlborough.
In September of 1940, Sophia Brennan applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house. She lived there and operated it as a lodging house until the early 1950s. She continued own the property until her death in 1956.
On November 15, 1956, 213 Beacon was acquired from Sophia Brennan’s estate by her daughter, Emma Augustus Stevens (Brennan) Carr, the wife of Earl W. Carr. They lived at 238 Marlborough.
After they acquired 213 Beacon, their son, John W. Carr, a realtor, lived there and operated it as a lodging house. He moved in 1957 to live with his parents at 238 Marlborough, and on March 20, 1957, Emma Carr transferred the property to their other son, Donald Vincent Carr, also a realtor. He lived there and operated it as a lodging house until mid-1959, when he purchased and subsequently moved to 15 Gloucester.
On March 20, 1960, Donald Carr transferred 213 Beacon and 15 Gloucester to his parents, Earl and Emma Carr.
Barbara Pease married in the early 1960s to Abbot M. Peterson, III. After their marriage, they lived at 213 Beacon. In December of 1965, they acquired 464 Beacon and moved to an apartment there. Barbara (Pease) Peterson continued to own 213 Beacon and operate it as a lodging house.
On September 5, 1974, 213 Beacon was acquired from Barbara (Pease) Peterson by real estate broker and investor Patrick J. Glynn. He continued to operate it as a lodging house. He also owned 217 Beacon. In May of 1975, he acquired 211 Beacon and in January of 1978, he acquired 215 Beacon.
On January 22, 1991, Patrick Glynn transferred 213 Beacon to himself and his wife, Anne T. (Kelly) Glynn, as trustees of the 213 Beacon Street Trust.
In October of 1991, he applied for permission to convert the property into seventeen apartments. He subsequently abandoned the application, but in November of 1994, he applied once again. His permit was denied and his appeal of the denial was dismissed by the Board of Appeal.
On December 31, 1996, the Glynns transferred the property to the Glynn Realty Associates II LLC.
The property remained a lodging house in 2016.