24 Charlesgate East (419) Commonwealth is located on the NE corner of Commonwealth and Charlesgate East (and the SE corner of Marlborough and Charlesgate East), with 415 Commonwealth to the east, 10 Charlesgate East to the north, across Marlborough, and 400-416 Commonwealth to the south, across Commonwealth.
24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth) was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built by Woodbury & Leighton, builders, in 1891-1892, for attorney William Minot, III (called William Minot, Jr.) and his wife, Elizabeth Vredenburgh (Van Pelt) Minot. During the 1891-1892 winter season, they had lived at The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon, and prior to that at 321 Marlborough. He is shown as the owner of 24 Charlesgate East on the final building inspection report, dated October 10, 1892, and on the 1895 Bromley map.
The original house was built at the corner of Commonwealth and Charlesgate East with an open side yard about 55 feet on Charlesgate East running to Marlborough.
The Minots continued to live at 24 Charlesgate East during the 1894-1895 winter season, but moved thereafter. By the 1896-1897 season, they were living at 297 Marlborough. at 297 Marlborough.
In September of 1895, 24 Charlesgate East was purchased from William Minot, Jr., by James Longley. He and his wife, Julia (Robinson) Longley, made it their home. They previously had lived at 552 Massachusetts Avenue. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on October 2, 1895, which referred to the property as the “magnificent William Minot estate.”
James Longley had been a boot, shoe, and leather merchant in partnership with his father-in-law, John P. Robinson. He later became president of several textile mills and manufacturing companies.
After acquiring 24 Charlesgate East, the Longleys had a two story (plus basement) addition built in the open area to the north, designed by Peabody and Stearns. The kitchen, dining room, and servants’ quarters were moved to the addition, and the basement, first, and second stories of the original house were remodeled. Plans for the addition are included in the Peabody and Stearns Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference PS/MA.097).
Click here to view the architectural plans for the addition to 24 Charlesgate East, including floor plans of the basement, first, and second floors for the entire house.
The Longleys lived elsewhere during the 1895-1896 winter season, but had moved to 24 Charlesgate East by the next season. Julia Longley’s widowed mother, Eliza A. (Rice) Robinson, lived with them until her death in September of 1906.
James Longley is shown as the owner of 24 Charlesgate East on the 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
He died in May of 1916. Julia Longley continued to live at 24 Charlesgate East until her death in February of 1920.
By the 1920-1921 winter season, 24 Charlesgate East was the home of wire and cable manufacturer Henry Adams Morss and his wife, Edith (Sherman) Morss. They previously had lived at 463 Commonwealth. Edith Morss is shown as the owner of 24 Charlesgate East on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home on Marblehead Neck.
Henry Morss died in May of 1936, Edith Morss continued to live at 24 Charlesgate East until about 1945, when she moved to an apartment at 6 Arlington.
By 1946, 24 Charlesgate East had been acquired by Fred L. Arata, a retail liquor dealer and real estate investor. He and his wife, Annette Flossie (Crovo) Boggiano Arata, lived in Brighton. His mother, Julia (Leverone) Arata, widow of Paul Arata, lived with them.
Julia Arata et al were the assessed owners of 24 Charlesgate East from 1946. She died in April of 1952 and Fred L. Arata et al are shown as the assessed owners from 1955.
Fred Arata died in December of 1959.
In April of 1960, Garland Junior College acquired 24 Charlesgate East from Annette Arata.
Garland College already owned 407-415 Commonwealth as well as a number of other properties in the Back Bay.
In August of 1960, Garland Junior College filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 24 Charlesgate East from a single-family dwelling and offices into a dormitory, reading room, and classrooms.
In April of 1968, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct a one-story, 21 foot x 32 foot addition at the rear of the building for use as a work shop.
By the late 1960s, Garland Junior College had assembled a portfolio of 22 properties in the western portion of the Back Bay: 315, 319, 321, 329, 337, 339, 341, 343, 349, 377, 407, 409, 411, 413–415 Commonwealth, 24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth), and 447, 449, and 451 Marlborough (composed of 451-457 Marlborough).
In April of 1976, Garland Junior College announced that, because of financial difficulties, it was merging with Simmons College. It subsequently sold twelve of its properties and in October of 1977, it transferred the remainder — those located furthest west (407-415 Commonwealth, 24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth), and 451 Marlborough) — to Simmons College.
Simmons College utilized the former Garland Junior College buildings for its Graduate School of Management.
In the early 2000s, Simmons College embarked on a longterm plan to expand its Fenway campus and sell its properties in the Back Bay. In 2002, it moved its School of Social Service from 49-51 Commonwealth, which it sold, and in 2005 it began designing a new School of Management building at the Fenway campus to centralize the programs housed in its buildings in the western portion of the Back Bay.
In June of 2005, Simmons College sold those buildings — 451 Marlborough, 407-415 Commonwealth, and 24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth) — to Terra Green II LLC (formed by Terra Mark Development of New York and local partners). The proceeds from the sale were used to finance construction of a new school of management building. Simmons College continued to occupy several of the Back Bay buildings until the new building was completed.
In September of 2005, Terra Green II LLC filed for permission to combine 413-415 Commonwealth and 419 Commonwealth into one building and convert it into fourteen apartments with an interiod garage. It subsequently abandoned the permit.
In November of 2005, Terra Green II LLC filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 413-415 Commonwealth into nine apartments and an interior garage. At the same time, it also filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth) into four apartments and an interior garage. The two buildings — 413-415 Commonwealth and 24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth) — remained separate buildings, with the latter having the street address of 419 Commonwealth.
In April of 2007, Terra Green II LLC converted 413-415 Commonwealth and 419 Commonwealth into thirteen condominium units — nine at 413-415 Commonwealth and four at 419 Commonwealth — The Meads of Commonwealth Condominium.
In the condominium master deed, it specified that the conversion was Phase I of The Meads, and that Phase II would be to convert 407-409-411 Commonwealth. Instead, on November 10, 2010, it sold those properties, along with 451 Marlborough, to HD 407-411 LLC, formed by the Holland Development Company, which remodeled and converted them into condominium units.