25 Marlborough was built ca. 1866 for Charles William Freeland, for speculative sale, one of four contiguous houses (21-23-25-27 Marlborough). The four houses form two pairs of mirror opposite buildings (21-23 Marlborough and 25-27 Marlborough); each pair has a single entrance porch which creates a symmetrical entryway. Ivory Harmon, mason, was the builder of 23 and 25 Marlborough and probably of all four houses.
Charles Freeland was a merchant, cotton manufacturer, and real estate developer. He and his wife, Sarah Ward (Harrington) Freeland, lived at 117 Beacon.
The land on which 25 Marlborough was built was part of a larger parcel of land originally purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on November 6, 1858, by George Goss. He and his partner, Norman Carmine Munson, were the contractors responsible for filling the Commonwealth’s Back Bay lands. The original parcel ran from where 9 Marlborough would be built west to Berkeley Street, comprising 17 lots with either 24 foot or 25 foot frontages. On the same day he purchased the land, George Goss sold the lots to nine different buyers, who then resold them to others.
Between July and October of 1865, Charles Freeland made a series of purchases from those who had bought land originally part of George Goss’s tract. He assembled a parcel with a frontage of 248 feet where 21-39 Marlborough would be built. He built the houses at 21-23-25-27 Marlborough for sale to others, and sold the land where 29-31-33-35 Marlborough would be built. In the case of 37-39 Marlborough, he sold the land for 39 Marlborough, but retained the land for 37 Marlborough until after the house had been built.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 25 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land on the north side of Marlborough from Arlington to Berkeley, south of Alley 421.
On December 5, 1866, real estate dealer Robert E. Apthorp advertised in the Boston Daily Advertiser the sale of two of the four houses at 21-27 Marlborough (the advertisement does not specify which two): “Elegant houses on Marlboro’ St. Two freestone front houses on the north side of the street, very near and in full view of the Public Garden. They are 28 feet front and built in all respects with the same thoroughness, solidity and elegance of finish as the best houses on the new land. They have dining room on same floor as parlors, and 4 chambers on 2d floor.”
On November 4, 1867, 25 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Freeland by Louisa (Fowler) Hubbell Bartlett, the wife of Homer Bartlett. They previously had lived at 17 Pemberton Square. Living next door, at 27 Marlborough were Homer Bartlett’s son-in-law and daughter (by his first marriage), Frederic Lord Richardson and Mary (Bartlett) Richardson.
Homer Bartlett was treasurer of the Massachusetts Cotton Mills in Lowell and president of the Hill Manufacturing Company, operators of a textile mill in Lewiston, Maine. Frederic Richardson was treasurer of the Hill Manufacturing Company.
Louisa Bartlett died in May of 1873. After her death, Homer Bartlett moved next door and lived with the Richardsons until his death in March of 1874.
On October 6, 1873, 25 Marlborough was purchased from Louisa Bartlett’s heirs by John Foster. He and his wife, Harriet (Sanford) Foster, made it their home. They previously had lived at 94 Boylston. They also maintained a home in Newport.
John Foster was a real estate investor and retired wholesale merchant dealing in groceries and general merchandise.
Harriet Foster died in February of 1885, and John Foster continued to live at 25 Marlborough until his death in April of 1897. In his will, among many other bequests, he left funds to the City of Boston for the statue of William Ellery Channing which subsequently was erected in the Public Garden.
After his death, his unmarried daughter, Fanny Foster, continued to live at 25 Marlborough (and in Newport) until about 1903, when she moved to 26 Fenway.
On October 31, 1903, 25 Marlborough was purchased from John Foster’s estate by Leontine (Deletang) Ebann, the wife of Dr. Charles Robespiere Deletang Ebann. He was a physician and also maintained his medical office there. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) on Guild Street.
Leontine Ebann died in January of 1917. Charles Ebann and their daughter, Caroline Marie Ebann, continued to live at 25 Marlborough during the 1918-1919 winter season, but moved thereafter to 360 Massachusetts Avenue.
On March 12, 1919, 25 Marlborough was acquired from Charles Ebann and Caroline Ebann by Susan Sherry.
25 Marlborough was not listed in the 1920 Blue Book.
On April 24, 1920, 25 Marlborough was acquired from Susan Sherry by Miss Hannah Parker Kimball. She also maintained a home in West Newton.
Hannah Parker Kimball was a poet and active supporter of the Women’s Trade Union League and various other progressive causes in Boston. Her sister, Mary Morton (Kimball) Kehew, the wife of William Browne Kehew, was the first president of the Women’s Trade Union League, formed in 1903. Hannah Kimball had lived with the Kehews at 317 Beacon and then at 29 Chestnut. Hannah Kimball also headed the Psychic Research Library, which she located at 25 Marlborough after she acquired it.
Hannah Kimball died in August of 1921. 29 Marlborough was inherited by her brother and sister, Marcus Morton Kimball and Susan Day (Kimball) Clark, the widow of Robert F. Clark.
On May 15, 1923, 25 Marlborough was purchased from Marcus Kimball and Susan Day Clark by Mrs. Mary (May) Adeline (Bradbury) Estes, the former wife of Prince Joseph Estes. She previously had lived at 281 Dartmouth, where she operated a lodging house.
Among the longer term lodgers with Mrs. Estes were Richard Rogers Peabody and his wife, Ethel Jane (born Ethel May and called Jane) (McKean) Peabody. They lived there from about 1927 until about 1933, when they moved to New York City. They previously had lived in an apartment at 406 Marlborough.
Robert Peabody was a therapist specializing in the treatment of alcoholism. An alcoholic himself, in 1931 he wrote The Common Sense of Drinking, said to have been a major influence on Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson. His first wife, from whom he divorced in February of 1922, was Mary (Polly) Phelps Jacob. Prior to their marriage, she had invented the first brassiere, for which she held a patent. She remarried in September of 1922 to Harry Crosby of 304 Berkeley. They moved to Paris, where they founded the Black Sun Press, an English language press that published the works of many of the modernist authors of the day, including James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and others.
Mary Estes continued to live at 25 Marlborough until her death in 1935. 25 Marlborough was inherited by her daughter, Hortense (Estes) Sullivan, the wife of John B. Sullivan, Jr. They lived in Brookline.
The property continued to be a multiple dwelling. The legal occupancy remained three apartments but, based on the number of residents listed in the City Directories and Lists of Residents in the 1930s, the number of units appears to have been greater.
On March 28, 1946, 25 Marlborough was acquired from Hortense Sullivan by the M. &. R. Realty Corp.
The property changed hands and on September 19, 1950, was acquired by Ellen T. (Hughes) Shuryla, wife of real estate dealer Anthony Shuryla (Czuryla).
On May 28, 1951, 25 Marlborough was acquired from Ellen Shuryla by the Primus Realty Company, one of several real estate firms owned by Julius Kalman (Kalmanovitz).
In May of 1951, the Primus Realty Company filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a three-family dwelling into nine apartments. In July of 1951, the Brimmer Realty Company (also owned by Julius Kalman) filed to amend the application to increase the number of apartments to ten.
In March of 1954, Julius Kalman’s real estate firms were identified as among the victims of George L. Maitland, who had been indicted for obtaining loans based on fraudulent representations. On February 6, 1956, Julius Kalman committed suicide at his home in Allston. The Boston Globe reported that the suicide was “on the eve of one of the trials growing out of the so-called Maitland loan fraud case” in which he “was to have been a star witness” for the prosecution.
On March 28, 1957, Primus Realty Company transferred 25 Marlborough to Jennie Loitman Barron, Mark R. Werman, and Jacob Grossman, executors under the will of Julius Kalman.
On October 2, 1958, 25 Marlborough was acquired from the estate of Julius Kalman by Walter H. Fehrmann and his wife, Virginia (Riselli) Fehrmann. They lived in Watertown and later in Belmont.
On February of 1966, the Fehrmanns purchased 27 Marlborough, next door.
On September 14, 1995, the Fehrmanns transferred 25-27 Marlborough to Virginia Fehrman, as trustee of The Marlborough Street Real Estate Trust.
Both 25 Marlborough and 27 Marlborough remained apartment houses in 2015.