236 Marlborough was built in 1881 by merchant and building contractor Samuel T. Ames, for speculative sale. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 236 Marlborough, dated April 1, 1881. No architect is listed on the application.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates 236 Marlborough was one of nine contiguous houses (230-232-234-236-238-240-242-244-246 Marlborough) designed by Samuel D. Kelley, architect, and built for building contractor Samuel T. Ames in 1880-1882. It is possible that he originally owned the land and planned to develop all of these houses, but by the time the building permit applications were filed, he was shown as the owner for only three: 232-234-236 Marlborough. Members of the Whitwell family were listed as the owners of the rest: 230 Marlborough was owned by Frederick Augustus Whitwell (where he and his wife, Mary, lived), 238-240-242 were owned by his brother, Henry Whitwell, and 246 Marlborough was owned by their brother, S. Horatio Whitwell. The building permit application for 244 Marlborough has not, as yet, been located, but S. Horatio Whitwell is shown as the owner on the 1883 Bromley map. Samuel Kelley is shown as the architect on the applications for 230-232 and 246 Marlborough; no architect is listed on the applications for 234-236-238-240-242 Marlborough.
By 1882, 236 Marlborough was the home of Francis Augustus Osborn and his wife, Emily (Bouvé) Osborn. They previously had lived at 54 Pinckney. Emily Osborn is shown as the owner of 236 Marlborough on the 1883, 1888, and 1898 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home in Hingham.
Francis Osborn served in the Civil War, rising to the rank of brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers. He was a banker, serving as treasurer of the Corbin Banking Company until 1883, when he organized and became president of the Eastern Banking Company.
The Osborns continued to live at 236 Marlborough in 1899, after which they made their home in Hingham.
In the spring of 1900, 236 Marlborough was purchased from the Osborns by real estate broker William Augustus Jeffries and his wife, Clémence (Eustis) Jeffries. The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on April 4, 1900. They previously had lived at 126 Beacon with his mother, Anna Lloyd (Greene) Jeffries, the widow of John Jeffries, Jr. Clémence Jeffries is shown as the owner of 236 Marlborough on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home, Cedar Cliffs, in Swampscott.
The Jeffries continued to live there during the 1923-1924 winter season. For the next few years, they lived elsewhere, first at the Hotel Ludlow (southwest corner of Clarendon and St. James) and then in an apartment at 199 Marlborough.
During the 1924-1925 winter season, 236 Marlborough was the home of Robert Hallowell Gardiner, Jr., and his wife, Elizabeth (Denny) Gardiner. They previously had lived in Needham. He was a lawyer. In 1928, he organized the Fiduciary Trust Company and served as its president until his death in September of 1944. By the 1925-1926 season, they had moved to Jamaica Plain.
By the 1925-1926 winter season, 236 Marlborough was the home of Ellen Louisa (Frost) Meacham, the widow of architect George Frederick Meacham. Living with Mrs. Meacham were Willard Gilman Brackett, a retired shoe manufacturer, and his wife, Fanny Elizabeth (Breck) Brackett. They previously had lived at 4 Gloucester.
Willard Brackett died in February of 1927. Ellen Meacham and Fanny Brackett continued to live at 236 Marlborough during the 1929-1930 winter season. They had moved by the 1930-1931 season and Ellen Meacham was living at the Hotel Vendome. She died in January of 1931.
During the 1930-1931 winter season, the Jeffries were living at 236 Marlborough once again. Soon thereafter, they made Swampscott their primary residence.
In March of 1936, 236 Marlborough was acquired David Stulin, trustee of the Marlborough Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust formed by David Stulin, Hyman Sirota, and George Bernard Rittenberg. David Stulin was a carpenter; he and his wife, Annie (Rosen) Stulin, lived in Dorchester. Hyman Sirota (Chaim Sirotkin) also was a carpenter; he and his wife, Rebecca (Rivka) (Epstein) Sirota, lived in Mattapan. George Rittenhouse was a lawyer; he was unmarried and lived in Roxbury with his mother, Lena (Solomon) Rottenberg, the widow of Joseph Rittenberg.
Upon acquiring 236 Marlborough, the Marlborough Realty Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into five apartments.
236 Marlborough subsequently changed hands, and by 1974 was owned by Betty Bishop. In September of 1974, she converted the property into five condominiums.