223 Commonwealth was designed by Cabot and Chandler and built in 1883 by Weston & Shepard and B. D. Whitcomb, builders. It was built for George Higginson, who is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated May 9, 1883.
George Higginson was a retired investment banker, having been a partner in the firm of Lee, Higginson & Co., which he founded with Henry Lee (his brother-in-law) and John C. Lee. He lived at 39 Brimmer Street and appears never to have lived at 223 Commonwealth.
The house was not listed in the 1884 Blue Book.
By 1885, it was the home Charles Elliott Perkins and his wife, Edith (Forbes) Perkins. He is shown as the owner on the 1888, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps. They also maintained a summer home in Westwood and a residence in Burlington, Iowa.
Charles Perkins was president of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad until he retired in 1901.
He died in November of 1907. Edith Perkins continued to live at 223 Commonwealth until her death in June of 1925, killed in an earthquake in Santa Barbara, California. She is shown as the owner on the 1912 and 1917 Bromley maps.
In March of 1926, the Algonquin Club acquired 223 Commonwealth from the Perkins estate. In April of 1926, the Club applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into an annex to the main clubhouse next door, at 217 Commonwealth, including cutting connecting doors in the party wall between the two buildings.
It remained an annex to the club until the mid-1970s.
In March of 1978, Thomas P. McCann and his wife, Joan, purchased 223 Commonwealth from the Algonquin Club. In July of 1978, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the property into five apartments, and in April of 1979, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to change the legal occupancy from a Club to a five unit apartment building.
It remained an apartment building in 2014.