244 Marlborough was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built by Joseph M. Keening, mason, in 1882-1883 for real estate dealer Samuel Horatio Whitwell.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 244 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 426, from Exeter to Fairfield.
244 Marlborough was one of nine contiguous houses (230-232-234-236-238-240-242-244-246 Marlborough) built in the same design and with similar architectural details, the only significant difference being the use of bows (rather than octagonal bays) at 244-246 Marlborough, the last two houses built. The original permit applications for all but 244 Marlborough are included in the Building Department’s files. Three of the applications – for 230, 232, and 246 Marlborough – indicate the architect as being Samuel D. Kelley. The other five applications do not indicate the name of the architect, but the houses are attributed to Samuel D. Kelley by Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, which, given the close similarity in design, appears to be correct.
Bunting also indicates that all nine houses were built for building contractor Samuel Tarbell Ames. This does not appear to be entirely correct. Based on the permit applications and final building inspection reports (to the extent that they are available), six of the nine houses were built for real estate dealers (and brothers) Frederick Augustus Whitwell (shown as owner of 230 Marlborough), Henry Whitwell (shown as owner of 238-240-242 Marlborough), and Samuel Horatio Whitwell (shown as the owner of 244-246 Marlborough), and three (232-234-236 Marlborough) were built for Samuel T. Ames.
The land for all nine houses was sold by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through privately-negotiated agreements (rather than at public auctions) in November of 1879 and in early1880. Based on subsequent deeds and permits, it appears likely that the contracts for the four lots at 230-236 Marlborough, entered into on November 3, 1879, and for the four lots at 238-244 Marlborough, entered into on November 5, 1880, were with the Whitwells. The 25.3 foot lot at 246 Marlborough was composed of a 24.3 foot lot purchased from the Commonwealth on February 16, 1880, by George E. Niles, who sold it to Samuel H. Whitwell on March 23, 1883, and a one foot lot to the west that Samuel H. Whitwell purchased from the Commonwealth on January 15, 1884. The Whitwells probably retained Samuel D. Kelley to prepare a common design for the houses and retained Samuel T. Ames to oversee their construction, transferring to him their right to purchase the lots at 232-234-236 Marlborough as compensation. He then acted as the builder for those three lots and oversaw the construction of the other six. Alternatively, Samuel Ames may have held the original contracts for the three lots and used the same plans prepared by Samuel D. Kelley for his three houses.
In most cases, when the houses were nearing completion, they were sold to individual buyers who purchased the land directly from the Commonwealth and paid the Whitwells or Samuel T. Ames for the cost of the dwelling house. Frederick Whitwell kept 230 Marlborough, the first house built, as his home. Samuel H. Whitwell kept 244-246 Marlborough, buying the land and then reselling the land and houses to individual buyers.
Samuel H. Whitwell purchased the land for 244 Marlborough from the Commonwealth on November 13, 1882.
On October 23, 1883, 244 Marlborough was purchased from Samuel H. Whitwell by Mary Hamilton (Parker) Simmons, the wife of retail clothing merchant George Washington Simmons, Jr. They previously had lived at the Hotel Vendome, and before that at 5 Fairfield. They frequently summered in Stockbridge, where Mary Simmons had been born, and also maintained a home in Nahant.
George and Mary Simmons continued to live at 244 Marlborough during the 1894-1895, but moved thereafter. They were traveling abroad during the 1896-1897 winter season, after which they made their Boston home at 328 Commonwealth.
During the 1895-1896 winter season, 244 Marlborough was the home of Clara (Morgan) Rotch, the widow of William James Rotch. She previously had lived at the Stratford at 31 Massachusetts. Living with her were her daughter, Mary Russell Rotch, her step-daughter and niece, Isabella Morgan (Rotch) Severance, the widow of Pierre Clarke Severance, and Isabella Severance’s daughter, Emily Morgan Severance. Isabella Severance was the daughter of William James Rotch and his first wife, Emily Morgan, Clara (Morgan) Rotch’s sister.
Clara Rotch and Mary Russell Rotch subsequently traveled abroad. Isabella and Emily Severance moved elsewhere and by 1900 were living in an apartment at 421 Marlborough.
On February 14, 1896, 244 Marlborough was purchased from Mary Simmons by Dr. Paul Thorndike. He and his wife, Rachel Ewing (Sherman) Thorndike, made it their home. He was a physician and also maintained his medical office at 244 Marlborough. Rachel Thorndike was the daughter of General William Tecumseh Sherman. They previously had lived at 80 Marlborough.
They continued to live at 244 Marlborough during the 1905-1906 winter season, but moved thereafter to 22 Marlborough. He continued to own 244 Marlborough and lease it to others.
By the 1907-1908 winter season, 244 Marlborough was the home of Thomas Poultney Lindsay and his wife, Florence (Field) (Page) Lindsay. He was a teacher and later would become a lawyer. They continued to live at 244 Marlborough during the 1908-1909 season, but moved thereafter and by 1910 were living in Southborough.
By the 1909-1910 winter season, 244 Marlborough was the home of Dr. William Phillips Graves and his wife, Alice Myrick (Chase) Graves. He was a physician and professor of gynecology at Harvard Medical School, and maintained his office at 244 Marlborough. They previously had lived at 395 Beacon. They also maintained a home on Nantucket and later in Pepperell.
By mid-1910, they had been joined at 244 Marlborough by Alice Graves’s widowed father, Sidney Chase. He previously had lived at 346 Beacon, where his wife, Ella (Merrihew) Chase, had died in April of 1909. He was a stockbroker and investment banker, and later would become treasurer of the Boston Stock Exchange. He continued to live at 244 Marlborough until about 1920, after which he made his home on Nantucket.
On February 1, 1912, Alice Graves purchased 244 Marlborough from Paul Thorndike.
Dr. Graves continued to maintain his medical office at 244 Marlborough until about 1921, when he moved it to 198 Commonwealth.
William Graves died in January of 1933. Alice Graves continued to live at 244 Marlborough with their children: Sidney Chase Graves, William Phillips Graves, Jr., and Alice M. Graves.
Sidney Graves married in April of 1933 to Alice Driver Brown. He was a physician and gynecologist. He had been in practice with his father at 198 Commonwealth and continued to maintain his office there. After their marriage, Sidney and Alice Graves moved to Brookline.
William Phillips Graves, Jr., an architect, married in the 1940s to Mrs. Lydia Ballou (Allyn) Field, the former wife of Harrison Field. After their marriage, they lived in Pepperell. He appears also to have continued to maintain a Boston residence with his mother at 244 Marlborough.
Alice Graves continued to live with her mother and served as administrative manager of her brother’s architectural firm, Ames, Child & Graves. She married in March of 1956 to Louis DeJonge, a paper manufacturer in Fitchburg, where they lived after their marriage.
Alice (Chase) Graves continued to live at 244 Marlborough until her death in June of 1970.
On July 12, 1971, 244 Marlborough was purchased from Alice Graves’s estate by Rose Marie Tetreault, the wife of Joseph Thomas Murphy, Jr.
She died in January of 2013 and on March 7, 2014, Joseph Murphy, Jr., as personal representative of his wife’s estate, transferred the property into his name. He died in April of 2014.
On January 12, 2015, 244 Marlborough was purchased from Joseph Murphy, Jr.’s, estate by the 431 Marlborough Street LLC (Peter J. McLoughlin, manager of record). It filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into a two-family dwelling.
On May 24, 2016, the 431 Marlborough Street LLC converted the property into two condominium units, the 244 Marlborough Street Condominium.