214 Commonwealth was built in 1879 by Goldthwait & Chapin, builders, one of four contiguous houses (214-216-218-220 Commonwealth). 214 and 220 Commonwealth probably originally were matching houses before the upper story addition at 220 Commonwealth, and 216 and 218 Commonwealth probably also were matching houses before the one-story addition at 216 Commonwealth.
The original permit applications for 214 and 220 Commonwealth are dated May 28, 1879, and do not indicate the architect; the permit application for 216-218 Commonwealth (one application for both houses), dated March 28, 1879, indicates “A. S. Bither” (Alfred S. Bither) was the architect.
Building contractor Samuel T. Ames is shown as the owner of 214 Commonwealth on the original permit application.
By 1880, it was the home of George Henry Quincy, a manufacturer of woolen machinery, and his wife, Mary Caroline (Sweetser) Quincy. They previously had lived at the St. Cloud Hotel (Tremont opposite Union Park). He is shown as the owner of 214 Commonwealth on the 1883, 1888, and 1895 Bromley maps.
Living with them at the time of the 1880 Census were their two sons and daughters-in-law: George Gilbert Quincy, a dealer in celluloid goods, and Maria Elizabeth (Salisbury) Quincy (who had married in October of 1878), and Charles Frederick Quincy, an agent for a dye manufacturer, and Ann (Etta) Molineux (Ives) Quincy (who had married in October of 1879). Soon thereafter, both couples moved to the Longwood district of Brookline.
In 1892, Mary Quincy’s mother, Caroline Elizabeth (Cox) Sweetser was living with them. She continued to live with them until her death in May of 1895.
George Quincy also died in May of 1895, ten days after his mother-in-law.
Mary Quincy continued to live at 214 Commonwealth. In 1895, she was joined by her sister, Dr. Ella Gertrude (Sweetser) Pease, the former wife of Dr. Giles Moseley Pease, and their son, Roger Quincy Pease.
Giles Pease had been a surgeon during the Civil War and later practiced medicine in San Francisco. They were divorced in 1888 after he deserted her because of her refusal to refrain from wearing cosmetics. She subsequently attended the Hahnemann Hospital College in San Francisco, graduating as a homeopathic physician in December of 1891 (her former husband died the same month). She returned to Boston in about 1894 and first lived at 1 Worcester, where she also maintained her medical office. In 1895, she moved to live with Mary Quincy at 214 Commonwealth and opened an office at 601 Boylston. The next year, she moved her office to 214 Commonwealth. She continued to practice until about 1903.
Roger Pease continued to live with his mother and aunt until shortly before his marriage in November of 1905 to Annie Louise Hopkins. After their marriage, they lived in Brookline.
Mary Quincy is shown as the owner of 214 Commonwealth on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.
Mary Quincy and Ella Pease continued to live at 214 Commonwealth until Mary Quincy’s death in October of 1936.
In early of 1937, Helen E. Shea purchased 214 Commonwealth from the Quincy estate. The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on February 21, 1937. She is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.
By 1939, 214 Commonwealth was the home and medical offices of Dr. Anthony Barone and his wife, Mildred (Knowles) Barone. They previously had lived at 282 Hanover. Anthony Barone was a physician, dentist, and registered pharmacist. He and his brother, Joseph, had maintained their medical offices both 342 Commonwealth and at 282 Hanover; after he acquired 214 Commonwealth, Anthony Barone moved his office there but continued to also maintain an office at 282 Hanover with his brother.
In December of 1939, he applied for permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house. Later that month, he withdrew the application, indicating that he “wished the status of it to remain as a one family house.” Based on the Boston City Directories and Lists of Residents, it appears that he nevertheless accepted lodgers.
In May of 1943, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into a lodging house.
Anthony Barone died in December of 1944. Mildred Barone continued to live (and operate a lodging house) at 214 Commonwealth.
In October of 1946, the Building Department contacted Mildred Barone, who was a registered nurse, noting that the Health Department had advised them of her application to operate a “day nursery” at 214 Commonwealth, and indicating the need to obtain approval for this use and also to meet various safety requirements before the property could be used for a nursery. She appears to have abandoned her plans.
In April of 1952, Mildred Barone applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into four apartments.
Mildred Barone died in December of 1984 and left 214 Commonwealth to her daughter, Carole Barone. In October of 1987, Carole Barone and her sisters — Marjorie Laudano, Marilyn Marks, and Jacqueline Staffier — applied for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as five apartments.
Carol Barone subsequently died and in February of 1989, her estate transferred the property to her sisters: Marjorie Laudano, Marilyn Marks, and Jacqueline Staffier.
In April of 1993, Magdalene Ippen purchased 214 Commonwealth from the Barone family. In June of 1993, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from five units to three units. And in December of 1993, she converted the three units into condominiums, known as the Brownstone Condominium.