228 Commonwealth

228 Commonwealth (2014)

Lot 24' x 124.5' (2,988 sf)

Lot 24′ x 124.5′ (2,988 sf)

228 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Exeter and Fairfield, with 226 Commonwealth to the east and 230 Commonwealth to the west.

228 Commonwealth was built ca. 1881.  The original building permit application has not been located; however, in his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting attributes it to architect George A. Avery, who designed the two contiguous houses, at 230-232 Commonwealth at about the same time.

228 and 230 Commonwealth were built for Charles Wallingford Parker.  He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 230 Commonwealth, dated October 11, 1881, and as the owner of both 228 and 230 Commonwealth on the 1883 Bromley map.

Charles Parker and his wife, Mary Jane (Schoff) Parker, made 228 Commonwealth their home.  They previously had lived at 33 Worcester Square.  He is shown as the owner of 228 Commonwealth on the 1888, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.

Charles Parker was president of Macullar, Parker & Co., a retail clothing store.

228-236 Commonwealth (ca. 1890-1910); photograph by Baldwin Coolidge, courtesy of Historic New England

The Parkers’ four surviving children lived with them: Mary Parker, Charles Schoff Parker, Herman Parker, and Ross Parker.

In November of 1885, their cook, whom they had discharged, was arrested for attempting to poison the entire family by mixing arsenic in the flour barrel.

Herman Parker, an architect and later a clothier in his father’s firm, married in April of 1891 to Lillian H. Percival.  After their marriage, they moved to Kilsyth Road.  Mary Parker married in October of 1897 to Henry Taggard, who lived next door at 230 Commonwealth with his mother, Susan Esther (Piper) Taggard, the widow of Bartholomew W. Taggard.  After their marriage, they moved to 1085 Boylston.

Mary Jane Parker died in April of 1899.  Charles Parker continued to live at 228 Commonwealth.  Their sons, Charles S. Parker, an artist, and Ross Parker, who worked in his father’s clothing store, lived with him.

228 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

228 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

In October of 1900, Charles Parker married again, to his deceased wife’s sister, Morgiana H. Schoff.  They lived at 228 Commonwealth after their marriage; Charles S. and Ross Parker continued to live there as well.

Ross Parker married in April of 1910 to Ruth Eldridge Baker, and they moved to the Hotel Kempton at 237 Berkeley.

Charles W. Parker died in January of 1915.  By 1916, Morgiana Parker had moved to the Hotel Kempton and by 1917 to Brookline.  Charles S. Parker moved to 24 Queensberry.

In the fall of 1917, 228 Commonwealth was purchased from the Parker family by Payson Dana.  The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on September 8, 1917.  He was an attorney and lived in Brookline.

The house was not listed in the 1917-1921 Blue Books and was not enumerated in the 1920 US Census.

By the 1921-1922 winter season, 228 Commonwealth was the home of James W. Keif (born James Keefe), an engineer, and his wife, Hannah (Forrest) Keif.  They previously had lived at 383 Marlborough.  They continued to live at 228 Commonwealth in 1923, but had moved to Dorchester by 1924.

198-232 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

198-232 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

By the 1923-1924 winter season, 228 Commonwealth was the home of John L. Dion and his wife, Emma (Chevalier) Dion, who operated it as a lodging house.  They previously had lived at 482 Beacon.  The Dions leased 225 Commonwealth from James Mason Rothwell who is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley map.

Emma Dion died in 1932.  John Dion continued live and operate a lodging house at 228 Commonwealth until about 1938.

By 1939, 228 Commonwealth was the home of Mrs. Rosella May Little, the former wife of Albert McCredy (whose name she did not use), who rented it from James Rothwell and operated it as a lodging house.  She previously had lived at 296 Newbury.

Architectural rendering of proposed front elevation of 228 Commonwealth (1946), by architect Saul Moffie; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Architectural rendering of proposed front elevation of 228 Commonwealth (1946), by architect Saul Moffie; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

On February 17, 1943, the house was seriously damaged by fire, injuring Mrs. Little.  The third and fourth floors were destroyed and the first and second floors were about 75 percent damaged. The property was subsequently abandoned and on October 17, 1945, it suffered a second fire.

In a December 5, 1945, letter to the City of Boston’s Legal Department, the Park Commission indicated that “James M. Rothwell was the former owner of the building and from the information I have received is that it was mortgaged at a very high figure.  The insurance was collected and turned over to the mortgagee.  I am informed that Mr. Rothwell has abandoned the property.”

By 1946, 228 Commonwealth was owned by Louis Theran of the Theran Realty Company.  In January of 1946, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to repair the fire damage and convert the property into ten apartments.  As part of the remodeling, designed by Saul Moffie, the top story was rebuilt, a new brick façade was added. and the entrance was “modernized.”  Plans for the remodeling — including floor plans and elevations — are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference BIN R-64).

The property changed hands and in January of 1973 was acquired by William J. Sen.  In January of 1981, he converted the property into ten condominiums.

228-232 Commonwealth (2014)

226-232 Commonwealth (2014)