235 Commonwealth was designed by architect Obed F. Smith and built in 1882-1883 by Vinal & Dodge, builders, as the home of George Wheatland, Jr. and his wife, Florence (Dumaresq) Wheatland. They previously had lived at 265 Beacon. He is shown as the owner of 235 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated December 1, 1882, and on the 1883, 1888, and 1895 Bromley maps.
George Wheatland was a building contractor and real estate developer. Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay credits him with building more than 140 houses in the Back Bay and Bay State Road neighborhoods between 1867 and 1907.
The Wheatlands’ three children — Philip D. Wheatland, Florence Dumaresq Wheatland, and George Wheatland, III — lived with them. Philip Wheatland, a stockbroker, married in June of 1887 to Alice Ellerton Pratt; after their marriage, they lived at 8 West Cedar. Florence Wheatland married in November of 1889 to Jacob Crowninshield Rogers Peabody; after their marriage, they lived in Danvers. George Wheatland, III, married in October of 1896 to Rebecca Rogers; after their marriage, they lived in Salem.
The Wheatlands continued to live at 235 Commonwealth in 1895, but by 1896 had moved to a new house they had built at 329 Commonwealth.
During the 1893-1894 and 1894-1895 winter seasons, 235 Commonwealth also was the home of dry goods commission merchant Joseph Sargent, Jr., and his wife, Nellie Louise (McClure) Sargent. They had lived at 316 Beacon in 1892. They had moved to 441 Beacon by the 1895-1896 season.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, 235 Commonwealth was the home of Abbott Lawrence Rotch and his wife Margaret Randolph (Anderson) Rotch. They previously had lived at 265 Commonwealth. Margaret R. Rotch is shown as the owner of 235 Commonwealth on the 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
Abbott Lawrence Rotch was a professor of meteorology at Harvard and founder of the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory.
Abbott Lawrence Rotch died in April of 1912. Margaret Rotch continued to live at 235 Commonwealth during the 1912-1913 winter season, but moved thereafter to 182 Beacon, which he had purchased in September of 1911. She continued to own 235 Commonwealth for several more years, however, and is shown as the owner on the 1917 Bromley map.
By the 1922-1923 winter season, it was the home of Gerald Arthur Bramwell and his wife, Emily Faithful (Ames) Bramwell. They previously had lived at 15 Hereford. He is shown as the owner of 235 Commonwealth on the 1928 Bromley map. They also maintained a summer home York Harbor, Maine.
They continued to live at 235 Commonwealth in 1930, but had moved to New York City by 1931.
The house was not listed in the 1931-1937 Blue Books and is shown as vacant in the 1931-1935 City Directories.
By 1935, 235 Commonwealth was owned by John A. McNamara. In April of 1935, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into eleven apartments. In May of 1935, he amended the plans to reduce the number of units to ten.
The Suffolk Savings Bank is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.
235 Commonwealth subsequently changed hands. It remained an apartment house in 2014.