224 Commonwealth was designed by architect William Whitney Lewis and built in 1879-1880 by Standish & Woodbury, masons, and MacKenzie & Campbell, carpenters. It was one of two contiguous houses (222-224 Commonwealth) designed by William Whitney Lewis but built by different builders.
224 Commonwealth was built as the home of Freeman J. Doe and his wife, Mary Jane (Cutler) Doe. They previously had lived at 371 Columbus. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated October 31, 1879, and on the final building inspection report, dated November 2, 1880.
Freeman Doe was a wholesale produce merchant dealing in butter, cheese, and eggs. He was the first president of the Boston Produce Exchange.
Freeman Doe purchased the land for 224 Commonwealth on October 11, 1879, from the National Bank of Commerce of Boston. It was part of a parcel the bank had acquired on May 18, 1876, from Nathan Matthews, which, in turn, was part of a larger tract originally purchased by Nathan Matthews on January 2, 1871, from David Sears, Jr., Frederick R. Sears, and Knyvet Sears.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 224 Commonwealth, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Commonwealth and Alley 433, from Exeter to Fairfield.
224 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1904 Blue Book.
On February 26, 1904, 224 Commonwealth was purchased from Freeman Doe by Cora (Crowninshield) Boyden, the widow of Charles Boyden. She previously had lived at 267 Commonwealth.
By the 1919-1920 winter season, 224 Commonwealth was the home of Charles Henry Taylor, a widower. His wife, Georgianna (Davis) Taylor, had died in July of 1919. They had lived at the Hotel Vendôme during the 1918-1919 season, and before that at 332 Beacon. Their daughter, Elizabeth (Taylor) Pillsbury, the wife of Horace Davis Pillsbury, lived with him during part of the season; her usual home was in San Francisco, where her husband was an attorney.
Charles Taylor was publisher of the Boston Globe. Between 1891 and 1893, he also served on the staff of Governor William E. Russell, with the rank of Brigadier General.
On June 28, 1920, Charles Taylor purchased 224 Commonwealth from Cora Boyden’s son, Charles Boyden, Jr.
Charles Taylor continued to live at 224 Commonwealth until his death in June of 1921.
On July 24, 1924, 224 Commonwealth was purchased from Charles Taylor’s estate by real estate dealer Charles W. Rowell, and on November 1, 1922, it was acquired from him by real estate dealer Stanley W. Lovejoy.
In November of 1922, Stanley Lovejoy filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into medical offices.
The property subsequently changed hands, remaining medical offices until the mid-1940s.
In March of 1945, Isabelle Rainville applied for a lodging house license at 224 Commonwealth. After being advised by the Building Department that the legal use of the property must first be changed and the necessary egress and safety requirements met, she withdrew her application.
The property was shown as vacant in the 1945 and 1946 City Directories.
On April 24, 1946, 224 Commonwealth was acquired by Mary C. (Falco) Calicchio, the wife of Dr. David Julius Calicchio, a physician. They lived at 9 Keswick, where he also maintained his medical office.
In May of 1946, Mary Calicchio applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from doctors’ offices into a hospital. David Calicchio subsequently operated Bay State Hospital at 224 Commonwealth until his death in March of 1953.
On October 15, 1954, 224 Commonwealth was purchased from Mary Calicchio by Copley Hospital, Inc. (Frank C. Romano, president). In November of 1955, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel portions of the interior of 224 Commonwealth.
In April of 1962, Barney Goldstein, trustee, foreclosed on two mortgages given by the Copley Hospital and took possession of the property. On April 30, 1962, it was acquired from him by Geriatric Services, Inc., operators of a nursing home on Blue Hills Avenue in Mattapan.
Copley Hospital continued to be located at 224 Commonwealth until about 1963.
On July 26, 1963, it was acquired from Geriatric Services by the Clove Lakes Realty Corporation.
By 1964, 224 Commonwealth was the Commonwealth Avenue Chronic Hospital and Nursing Home.
On September 19, 1966, the Industrial Finance Corporation foreclosed on its mortgage to Clove Lakes Realty and sold 224 Commonwealth to David Cacciola. In December of 1966, he applied for permission to convert the property from a hospital into a lodging house. His application was denied, and his appeal was dismissed by the Board of Appeal in January of 1967.
The property was shown as vacant in the 1966 and 1967 City Directories.
On April 25, 1967, 224 Commonwealth was acquired from David Cacciola by Bernard Smullin, Samuel Smullin, and Frederick Gefen, trustees of the 224 Commonwealth Avenue Trust. In April of 1967, Bernard Smullin applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a hospital into ten apartments.
On December 6, 1967, 224 Commonwealth was acquired from the 224 Commonwealth Avenue Trust by Herbert S. Cohen and Frederick Gefen, trustees of the 224 Newbrook Realty Trust.
On November 16, 2005, the 224 Newbrook Realty Trust entered into a a “Preservation Restriction Agreement” with the National Architectural Trust, restricting changes that could be made to the exterior of the building.
224 Commonwealth remained an apartment house in 2017.