247 Commonwealth

247 Commonwealth (2015)

Lot 28' x 124.5' (3,486 sf)

Lot 28′ x 124.5′ (3,486 sf)

247 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Fairfield and Gloucester, with 245 Commonwealth to the east and 249 Commonwealth to the west.

247 Commonwealth was designed by Bradlee and Winslow, architects, and built in 1878 by Thomas J. Whidden, builder, for Uriel Haskell Crocker and his wife, Clara Garland (Ballard) Crocker.  They previously had lived at 25 West Cedar.  He is shown as the owner of 247 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated April 12, 1878, and on the final inspection report, dated December 31, 1878.  He also is shown as the owner on the 1883, 1888, and 1898 Bromley maps.

Uriel H. Crocker was an attorney and author of books on law and jurisprudence.

Clara Crocker died in May of 1891.  Uriel Crocker remarried in April of 1891 to Annie J. Fitz.  After their marriage, they lived at 247 Commonwealth.

245-247 Commonwealth (ca. 1883), photograph by Albert Levy; Ryerson and Burnham Libraries Book Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago (Digital file #000000_100709-13).

245-247 Commonwealth (ca. 1883), photograph by Albert Levy; Ryerson and Burnham Libraries Book Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago (Digital file #000000_100709-13).

Uriel Crocker died in March of 1902. Annie Crocker continued to live at 247 Commonwealth during the 1904-1905 winter season, but moved thereafter to 338 Bay State Road.

In about 1905, 247 Commonwealth was purchased by George Snell Mandell and his wife, Emily W. (Proctor) Mandell.  They previously had lived at 256 Commonwealth.  They also maintained a home in Hamilton.

The Mandells had 247 Commonwealth significantly rebuilt, including a granite façade with a bow across the entire front, designed by architect William Rantoul.  Architectural plans for the rebuilding — including front and rear elevations, floor plans, framing plans. and piling plans — are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference BIN A-68).

Emily Mandell is shown as the owner pf 247 Commonwealth on the building permit application, dated December 5, 1905, and on the 1908, 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps.

247 Commonwealth (ca. 1908), from the 1908 Yearbook of the Boston Architectural Club

George Mandell’s father, Samuel Pierce Mandell, was publisher of The Boston Transcript.  George Mandell worked for the Transcript in various positions, including serving as treasurer and editor, and after his father’s death in 1920, he became the publisher.

George Mandell died in August of 1934.  Emily Mandell continued to live at 247 Commonwealth until about 1937, after which she lived in Hamilton.

The house was shown as vacant in the 1938-1941 City Directories, but Emily Mandell was living there again by 1941 and continued to live there until her death in April of 1944.

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

By 1945, 247 Commonwealth had been acquired by Dr. Francis Lee Weille, a physician, who converted it into medical offices.  He maintained his offices there until the early 1970s along with several other physicians to whom he leased office space.  He and his wife, Eleanor, lived in Brookline.

In April of 1973, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as four medical offices and two dwelling units, which he indicated was the existing condition (the residential units being located on one and one-half floors of the building).

In May of 1973, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from four offices and two residential units into offices for the American Cancer Society.

In November of 1973, the Massachusetts Division of the American Cancer Society acquired 247 Commonwealth from Francis Lee Weille.  It continued to occupy the building until the mid-1990s.

In May of 1996, it filed for permission to convert the property from offices into a professional language school, the English Language Center.  The application was denied and the Society’s appeal was dismissed.

In October of 1996, Two Forty Seven Inc. purchased 247 Commonwealth from the American Cancer Society.  In March of 1997, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from offices into five residential units.  And in March of 1998, it converted the property into five condominium units, the 247 Commonwealth Avenue Condominium.