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 of 224 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated October 31, 1879, on the final building inspection report, dated November 2, 1880, and on the 1883, 1888, and 1898 Bromley maps.
Freeman Doe was a wholesale produce merchant dealing in butter, cheese, and eggs. He was the first president of the Boston Produce Exchange.
224 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1904 Blue Book.
By the 1904-1905 winter season, it was the home of Mrs. Cora (Crowninshield) Boyden, the widow of Charles Boyden. She previously had lived at 267 Commonwealth. She is shown as the owner of 224 Commonwealth on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.
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.
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.
Charles Taylor died in June of 1921.
By 1922, 224 Commonwealth was owned by May M. Thompson. In November of 1922, her agent, Stanley Lovejoy, filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into medical offices.
224 Commonwealth Avenue, Inc., is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map, and Esther H. Kennedy, Mortgagee, is shown as the owner on the 1938 map.
The property remained medical offices in 1944.
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.
By 1946, 224 Commonwealth was owned (or leased) by Dr. David J. Calicchio, a physician, and his wife, Mary C. Calicchio. In May of 1946, Mary Calicchio applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from doctors’ offices into a hospital.
They subsequently operated Bay State Hospital at 224 Commonwealth until about 1955.
In November of 1955, Copley Hospital, Inc., applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel portions of the interior of 224 Commonwealth. In the application, it indicated that “the building was formerly known as The Bay State Hospital and is now known as The Copley Hospital, Inc.”
Copley Hospital continued to be located at 224 Commonwealth in 1963. At that time, the owner of the building was Blue Hill Management in Dorchester.
By 1965, it was the Commonwealth Avenue Chronic Hospital and Nursing Home.
By 1966, 224 Commonwealth was owned by Dave 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 on January 4, 1967.
The property was shown as vacant in the 1966 and 1967 City Directories.
By the mid-1967, 224 Commonwealth was owned by Bernard Smullin. In April of 1967, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a hospital into ten apartments.
By 1968, Herbert S. Cohen, trustee of the 224 Newbrook Realty Trust, had acquired 224 Commonwealth.
In November of 2005, the 224 Newbrook Realty Trust entered into a “Preservation Restriction Agreement” with the National Architectural Trust for the purpose of ensuring the preservation of 224 Commonwealth’s exterior.
224 Commonwealth remained an apartment house in 2014.