250 Commonwealth was designed by architect George Nelson Jacobs and built in 1925 for the 248-250 Commonwealth Avenue Trust. It replaced two townhouses built in 1878.
The original building permit application, dated August 13, 1925, indicated that the building would contain twenty apartments plus a janitor’s suite in the basement. By 1927 — and probably as built — it was a twenty-two unit building.
Sherman F. Mittell, trustee, is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map, and the New York Life Insurance Company is shown as the owner on the 1938 map.
The legal occupancy remained 22 units in 1972.
250 Commonwealth replaced two townhouses at 248-250 Commonwealth built in 1878 by John W. Shapleigh, builder, probably built for speculative sale. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for both houses, dated June 7, 1878. The architect is not identified on the permit application, but in his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that the houses were designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley, who designed 252 Commonwealth the next year for John Shapleigh’s brother, Samuel Shapleigh, also a building contractor.
248 Commonwealth (Demolished)
By the 1879-1880 winter season, 248 Commonwealth was the home of locomotive manufacturer William Gordon Means and his wife Martha (Allen) Means. They previously had lived at 16 Hancock. He is shown as the owner of 248 Commonwealth on the 1883, 1888, and 1890 Bromley maps.
Martha Means died in April of 1892. William Means continued to live at 248 Commonwealth until his death in January of 1894.
Their unmarried daughter, Anne Middleton Means, continued to live at 248 Commonwealth. W. G. Means Heirs are shown as the owners on the 1895 Bromley map, Charles T. Means (Anne Means’s brother) et al are shown as the owners on the 1898 map, and Anne M. Means et al are shown as the owners on the 1908, 1912, and 1917 maps.
From about 1913 to 1916, she Anne Means was traveling and living at 35 Commonwealth with Arthur Little and his wife, Jessie (Whitman) Means Little. Jessie Means was the widow of Anne Means’s brother, Robert Lawrence Means.
By the 1912-1913 winter season, 248 Commonwealth was the home of Anne Means’s brother and sister-in-law, James H. Means and Agnes (Bankson) Means. They previously had lived in an apartment at 261 Beacon. They continued to live at 248 Commonwealth during the 1915-1916 season, after which they moved to Beverly Farms.
They continued to live at 248 Commonwealth until Anne Means’s death in December of 1923. The house was razed soon thereafter.
250 Commonwealth (Demolished)
By the 1879-1880 winter season, 250 Commonwealth was the home of Thomas O. Rogers and his wife, Ruth Wetheral (Mudge) Rogers, and Ruth Rogers’s brother-in-law and sister, George Herbert Sprague and Mary E. (Mudge) Sprague. The Rogerses previously had lived at the Hotel Vendome, and the Spragues previously had lived at 79 Waltham. Both couples had married in 1877, the Spragues in February and the Rogerses in June.
Thomas Rogers was a commission merchant and, in the mid-1880s, was associated with the Essence Manufacturing Company. George Sprague was a boot and shoe dealer.
During the 1885-1886 winter season, the Rogerses and the Spragues were living elsewhere and 250 Commonwealth was the home of brick manufacturer John Henry Hubbell and his wife, Sarah Marietta (Dana) Hubbell. They previously had lived in Lincoln. By the 1886-1887 season, they had moved to 283 Commonwealth.
During the 1893-1894 winter season, they were again living elsewhere and 250 Commonwealth was the home of Samuel Hoar and his wife, Helen Putnam (Wadleigh) Hoar. He was an attorney and general counsel of the Boston & Albany Railroad. In 1893, they had lived at 265 Beacon. Their primary residence was in Concord and by 1895 they were living there once again.
By the 1894-1895 winter season, the Rogers and Spragues had resumed living at 250 Commonwealth.
The Rogerses continued to live there until about 1909, when they moved to the Hotel Lenox at 61 Exeter and then to Brookline. The Spragues moved with them to the Hotel Lenox, after which they separated; he moved to Chicago and she moved to Brookline with the Rogeres.
In 1909, 250 Commonwealth was the home of Thomas Rogers’s brother-in-law and sister, Francis Manning Stanwood and Louisa Blair (Rogers) Stanwood. They previously had lived at 527 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Manchester. He was president of the Hotel and Railroad News Company, and formerly had been manager and editor of the Boston Journal. By the 1909-1910 winter season, they had moved to 393 Marlborough.
In the fall of 1909, 250 Commonwealth was acquired by real estate dealers James Sumner Draper and Mark Temple Dowling. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on November 3, 1909.
In 1910, 250 Commonwealth became the home of Francis Bacon Sears and his wife Mary Elizabeth (Sparhawk) Sears. They previously had lived at 284 Marlborough. He was a banker and also served as treasurer of several cotton mills in Georgia and South Carolina.
The Searses’ son-in-law and daughter, attorney Henry Endicott, Jr. and Katharine (Sears) Endicott, lived with them (they also had lived with them at 284 Marlborough) and also maintained a home in Weston. Francis Sears is shown as the owner of 250 Commonwealth on the 1912 Bromley map.
In October of 1910, Francis Sears filed for (and subsequently received) permission to build a storage building at the rear of the property.
During the 1913-1914 winter season, Henry and Katharine Endicott moved to 131 Marlborough to live with his mother, Mary Hubbard (Howe) Endicott, the widow of Henry Endicott. Mary Endicott moved soon thereafter and 131 Marlborough became Henry and Katharine Endicott’s home.
Francis Sears died in August of 1914. Henry and Katharine Endicott moved back to live with Mary Elizabeth Sears at 250 Commonwealth during the 1914-1915 and 1915-1916 winter seasons. They then made 131 Marlborough their home.
The Heirs of Francis B. Sears are shown as the owners of 250 Commonwealth on the 1917 Bromley map.
By 1924, 250 Commonwealth was the home of Matthew Luce and his wife, Mary Cobb (Hovey) Luce. He was a wool merchant. They had lived at 267 Beacon in 1923. By 1925, they had moved to 367 Beacon and 250 Commonwealth.
During the 1924-1925 winter season, 250 Commonwealth was the home of Kenneth Seyton Billings and his wife, Marjory Church (Fish) Billings. They previously had lived at 378 Marlborough. He was associated with the iron and steel manufacturing business founded by his father, George Herric Billings.
By 1926, they had moved to Weston and 250 Commonwealth had been razed.