231 Beacon was built as the home of Dr. William Wallace Morland, a physician, and his wife, Frances Sophia (Lyman) Morland. They previously had lived at 90 Charles and, before that, at 13 Arlington. 233 Beacon was built for Frances (Lyman) Morland’s niece, Anna Huntington (Lyman) Mason, the widow of Rev. Charles Mason. She lived at 71 Beacon and then at 78 Beacon, and leased 233 Beacon to others.
William Morland purchased the land for 231 Beacon on March 18, 1868, from attorney Edwin H. Abbot. It was the western 18 feet of a 20 foot wide lot Edwin Abbot had purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on January 3, 1867.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 231 Beacon.
Frances Morland died in July of 1874. William Morland continued to live at 231 Beacon until his death in November of 1876.
In October of 1876 Anna Huntington Mason sold 233 Beacon (which she had been leasing to attorney Causten Browne) and at about the same time – either shortly before or after William Morland’s death – she moved from 78 Beacon to 231 Beacon. She continued to live there until about 1878; by 1880, she was living at 159 Beacon.
On May 21, 1878, 231 Beacon was purchased from William Morland’s estate by Thomas Jefferson Coolidge. He and his wife, Mehitable (Hetty) Sullivan (Appleton) Coolidge, lived at 93 Beacon. He was an investor in textile mills, banks, and railroads, and later would serve as Ambassador to France. In 1901, soon after his wife’s death, he purchased 315 Dartmouth and made it his home.
By the 1878-1879 winter season, 231 Beacon was the home of the T. Jefferson Coolidge’s son-in-law and daughter, Lucius Manlius Sargent and Marian Appleton (Coolidge) Sargent. They previously had lived at 90 Charles. He was an attorney. They continued to live at 231 Beacon during the 1881-1882 season, but had moved thereafter to 184 Beacon.
On July 10, 1882, 231 Beacon was acquired from T. Jefferson Coolidge by Charles Head. He and his wife, Clementine Hortense (Lovering) Head, made it their home. They previously had lived at 9 Charles.
Charles Head was a banker and stockbroker, and served as President of the Boston Stock Exchange.
They continued to live there until about 1888, when they moved to a new home they had built at 412 Beacon.
On May 23, 1888, 231 Beacon was purchased from Charles Head by Hugh Andrew Allan. He and his wife, Margaret (Rae) Allan, made it their Boston home. They previously had lived in Montreal, and in 1885, at 4 Arlington with his brother, John Smith Allan, and his wife, Adelaide (Gault) Allan.
Hugh Allan was head of the Boston office of the Allan Steamship Line, a Canadian and Scottish firm founded by his father, Andrew Allan, and uncle, Sir Hugh Allan.
On July 5, 1892, 231 Beacon was acquired from Hugh Allan by his first cousin, Bryce J. Allan, his successor as the head of the Boston office of the Allan Steamship Line.
On June 1, 1896, Bryce Allan transferred 231 Beacon to Anna Palfrey, who became his wife the next day. They lived at 231 Beacon during the 1896-1897 winter season, after which they moved to her family home at 255 Beacon following her mother’s death in January of 1897.
On March 31, 1897, 231 Beacon was acquired from Bryce and Anna Allan by Mary (Moseley) Taylor, the wife of William Osgood Taylor. They previously had lived at The Grosvenor at 259 Beacon.
William O. Taylor was the son of Charles Henry Taylor, publisher of the Boston Globe. William Taylor joined the Globe staff after graduating from Harvard in 1893 and served in various positions. After his father’s death in 1921, he became publisher of the newspaper, and remained in that position until his death in July of 1955.
The Taylors continued to live at 231 Beacon in 1903, but had moved to 276 Beacon by 1904.
On September 11, 1903, 231 Beacon was purchased from William Taylor by General Samuel Mather Mansfield. He and his wife, Anna (Baldwin) Wright Mansfield, made it their home.
Living with them was Dr. Erwin Wright, Anna Mansfield’s son by her marriage to Calvin Marsh Wright (who had been killed in the sinking of the steamer Pewabic on August 9, 1865, on Lake Huron). Erwin Wright was a physician and maintained his medical offices at the house.
Samuel Mansfield served in the Civil War and thereafter was in the Corps of Engineers overseeing the construction of fortifications and light houses. He was stationed in the West from the 1880s through 1901. Among his assignments he served as president of the Yosemite National Park Commission in 1898-1899. He was re-posted to the East in 1901 and retired in February of 1903, at the rank of Brigadier General. After his retirement, he served as Massachusetts Harbor and Land Commissioner.
During the 1912-1913 winter season. the Mansfields were living elsewhere and 231 Beacon was the home of William Henry Bowker, president of the Bowker Fertilizer Company, and his wife, Charlotte Jeanette (Ryder) Bowker. The Bowkers had lived at 229 Beacon during the 1911-1912 winter season. They also maintained a home in Concord.
By 1914, the Bowkers had moved to an apartment in the Hotel Royal at 295 Beacon, and the Mansfields and Dr. Wright were once living at 231 Beacon.
Anna Mansfield died in 1924. General Mansfield and Dr. Wright continued to live at 231 Beacon until General Mansfield’s death in February of 1928.
Erwin Wright moved soon thereafter and by 1930 was living with his brother and sister-in-law, Rev. Harrison Baldwin Wright and Sibyl (Baldwin) Wright, at Green Hill Farms in Overbrook, Pennsylvania.
On October 28, 1929, 231 Beacon was acquired from Erwin Wright and Harris Wright (who had inherited it from Samuel Mansfield) by Charles H. Hemenway. Three days later, he transferred it to Ethel G. (Carmichael) Ball, the wife of real estate dealer Edward J. Ball. In November of 1929, Edward Ball filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family dwelling into five apartments.
On April 22, 1930, Charles Hemenway acquired 231 Beacon back from Ethel Ball.
On February 3, 1932, William H. Brown foreclosed on a mortgage given by Charles Hemenway and took possession of the property. On July 5, 1932, it was acquired from William Brown by Harry Skinner.
The property changed hands, remaining an apartment house, and on October 2, 1956, it was acquired by Elmer Clark Ingraham and his wife, Harriette Waldo (Park) Ingraham. They also owned 233 Beacon. He was an architect with MIT’s architectural research department; they lived in Cambridge.
On June 4, 1963, 231 Beacon and 233 Beacon were acquired from the Ingrahams by Peter N. Petritis, trustee of the Paul-Pet Realty Trust. The two properties subsequently changed hands, continuing to be held by the same owners, and on December 31, 1965, were acquired by Robert Waldman and David E. Dick, trustees of the Vayismeer Realty Trust. On January 29, 1968, they transferred 231 Beacon and 233 Beacon (and several other parcels) to themselves as general partners in the Colonial Realty Investment Company.
In February of 1968, Colonial Realty filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as seven units, which was the existing condition.
On August 4, 1969, 231 Beacon was acquired from Robert Waldman and David Dick by David C. Keating.
The property changed hands and remained an apartment house in 2016.