239 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield)

239 Commonwealth (2013)

239 Commonwealth (2013)

Lot 47.2' x 124.5' (5,876 sf)

Lot 47.2′ x 124.5′ (5,876 sf)

339 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield) is located on the NE corner of Commonwealth and Fairfield, with 235 Commonwealth to the east, 21 Fairfield to the west, across Fairfield, 20 Fairfield to the north, across Alley 426, and 30 Fairfield to the south, across Commonwealth..

239 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield) was designed by Sturgis and Brigham, architects, and built in 1882 by D. Connery & Co., masons, and B. D. Whitcomb, carpenters.  As originally built, the entrance was on Fairfield and the address was 22 Fairfield.

22 Fairfield was built as the home of Nathaniel Thayer, Jr., and his wife Cornelia Street (Barroll) Thayer.  In 1880, they had lived at 70 Mt. Vernon.  He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 22 Fairfield, dated May 9, 1882, and on the 1883, 1888, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.  They also maintained a summer home in Lancaster.

239 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

Nathaniel Thayer, Jr., was an investor in railroad, textile, and land companies.

In her book, Ogden Codman and the Decoration of Houses, Pauline C. Metcalf indicates that the Thayers retained Ogden Codman, Jr., to provide interior decoration of their Boston home.

Cornelia Thayer died in February of 1885, and in June of 1887, Nathaniel Thayer married again, to Pauline Revere.  After their marriage, they lived at 22 Fairfield and in Lancaster.  Pauline Thayer was one of the founders of the Chilton Club (152 Commonwealth) in 1910, and served as its president from its founding until her death.

22 Fairfield, Commonwealth façade (ca. 1890), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

239 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield), Commonwealth façade (ca. 1890), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

Nathaniel Thayer died in March of 1911.  Pauline Thayer continued to live at 22 Fairfield until her death in September of 1934.  She also maintained homes in Lancaster and Newport.  Nathaniel Thayer’s Heirs are shown as the owners of 22 Fairfield on the 1912, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.

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

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

In late 1936, Louis Marden purchased 239 Commonwealth from the Nathaniel Thayer estate.  The sale was reported in the Boston Globe on January 2, 1937.  In December of 1936, the 239 Commonwealth Corporation (Louis Marden, treasurer) filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the property and convert it from a single-family dwelling into twenty-one apartments.  As part of the remodeling, the entrance was moved to Commonwealth Avenue and the address changed to 239 Commonwealth.  The upper floors were remodeled, increasing the height by three feet and converting the fifth floor into two stories, making the building a six story building.  The remodeling was designed by architect Herman L. Feer.

239 Commonwealth (2013)

By 1939, 239 Commonwealth was owned by Falmouth Acres, Inc. (W. T. Rich, president).  In December of 1939, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to add a bay at the sixth floor.

The property subsequently changed hands and in July of 1985 was purchased by John R. Giles, trustee of the 239 Capitol Realty Trust.  The same month, he converted the property into twenty-one condominiums.

In June of 1997, a unit owner filed for (and subsequently received) permission to combine units 42 and 43, reducing the number of units from twenty-one to twenty.  And in February of 2000, another unit owner filed for (and subsequently received) permission to combine units 61 and 62, reducing the number of units from twenty to nineteen.

239 Commonwealth, sketch of entrance; "The American Architect and Building News," 11Jul1885

239 Commonwealth, sketch of entrance; The American Architect and Building News, 11Jul1885