251 Beacon was built ca. 1869 for real estate dealer Henry Whitwell, for speculative sale, one of six contiguous houses (241-243-245-247-249-251 Beacon), designed as three matching and symmetrical pairs of houses.
By 1872, 251 Beacon was the home of retired merchant Shirley Erving and his wife, Abby Sophia (Briggs) Erving. In 1870, they had lived on Hawthorne at the corner of Highland. They probably leased 251 Beacon from Edward Augustus Holyoke Hemenway (known as Augustus Hemenway), who is shown as the owner on the 1874 Hopkins map. Augustus Hemenway was a shipping merchant in the South American trade and owned mines in Valparaiso.
Shirley Erving died in February of 1873. Abby Erving continued to live at 251 Beacon in 1874.
Although she continued to be listed in the City Directories through 1880, Mrs. Erving was no longer listed at 251 Beacon in the 1879 and 1880 Blue Books. Instead, Mr. E. H. Allen was listed there in 1879 and Mr. J. S. Fay in 1880.
The 1880 entry for J. S. Fay probably was for Joseph Story Fay, Jr., an iron merchant, and his wife, Rebecca Rodman (Motley) Fay. In 1880, they were in the process of building a new home at 169 Commonwealth, to which they moved in 1881 (they were living at 88 Mt. Vernon with his parents, Joseph and Sarah (Bryant) Fay, in October of 1880, when their son, Alan Motley Fay was born, but were not enumerated there in June of 1880 at the time of the 1880 US Census).
251 Beacon was not listed in the 1881 Blue Book, and by 1882 Abby Erving had made Newport her home.
By mid-1881, 251 Beacon was the home of attorney Francis Peabody and his wife, Rosamond (Lawrence) Peabody. They had been married in January of 1881 and 251 Beacon probably was their first home together. In 1880, prior to their marriage, he had lived in Salem. Francis Peabody is called “Francis Peabody, Jr.” in the 1883-1885 and 1889 Blue Books, but was the son of Samuel Endicott Peabody and the grandson of Francis Peabody.
The Peabodys continued to live at 251 Beacon during the 1882-1883 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 230 Beacon.
During the 1883-1884 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of Dr. Thomas Dwight and his wife, Sarah C. (Iasigi) Dwight. They had been married in September of 1883, and 251 Beacon probably was their first home together. Dr. Dwight was a physician and was Parkman professor of Anatomy at Harvard Medical School. By the 1884-1885 season, they had purchased and moved to 235 Beacon.
By the 1884-1885 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of Pierre Clarke Severance and his wife, Isabella Morgan (Rotch) Severance. He was an importer of and dealer in window glass. They continued to live there during the 1887-1888 season, but moved soon thereafter.
By the 1887-1888 winter season, it was the home of Henry Bainbridge Chapin and his wife, Susan Torrey (Revere) Chapin. They had been married in October of 1887 and 251 Beacon probably was their first home together. He was Freight Manager for the Boston & Albany Railroad and later would become an investment banker and broker. They continued to live at 251 Beacon during the 1890-1891 season, but moved soon thereafter to Jamaica Plain.
By the 1891-1892 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of Harcourt Amory and his wife, Gertrude Lowndes (Chase) Amory. They had been married in April of 1891 and 251 Beacon probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage he had lived at 1 Commonwealth with his mother, Mary Copley (Greene) Amory, the widow of James Sullivan Amory. Harcourt Amory was a textile manufacturer, treasurer of the Indian Head Mills in Alabama and the Lancaster Mills.
They continued to live there during the 1893-1894 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 293 Beacon.
During the 1894-1895 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of Theophilus Parsons and his wife, Mary Mason (Oliver) Parsons. They had been married in August of 1894, and 251 Beacon probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 398 Beacon. Theophilus Parsons was treasurer of Lyman Mills in Holyoke, manufacturers of cotton fabric. In early 1895, they purchased and moved to 223 Beacon.
During the 1895-1896 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of Edward Williams Atkinson and his wife, Ellen Forbes (Russell) Atkinson. They had married in November of 1894 and spent the 1894-1895 winter season in Europe. He was an importer of machinery and raw materials for textile mills. By 1897, they were living in Brookline.
By the 1896-1897 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of Miss Charlotte Henderson Guild. She had lived at 77 Marlborough in 1895. She is shown as the owner of 251 Beacon on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps. She continued to live there until her death in May of 1920. After her death, the house remained in the Guild family: her sister-in-law, Jessie (Motley) Guild, widow of Charlotte Guild’s brother, Samuel Eliot Guild, Jr., is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.
By 1921, it was the home of William Watson Caswell and his wife, Pauline (Starr) Caswell. They had lived at 192 Beacon in 1920. William Caswell had been a manufacturer of ramie thread (used extensively in gas lighting mantles) and later served as treasurer of Arthur D. Little, Inc. They continued to live there in 1924.
During the 1924-1925 winter season, 251 Beacon was the home of attorney Frederick William Eaton and his wife, Jennie S. (Smith) Newman Eaton. Their primary residence was in Concord. By the 1925-1926 season, they had moved to 166 Marlborough.
In 1926, 251 Beacon was a dormitory for Katharine Gibbs School.
During the 1927-1928, winter season it was the home of Arthur Cecil Butler and his wife, Cicely (Hyland) Butler. They had lived at 302 Berkeley during the 1925-1926 season. He was an importer of textile machinery. They had moved to 311 Marlborough by 1929.
By the 1936-1937 winter season, it became the home of Mrs. Margaret Cochrane (Dewar) Porter, the widow of Dr. Charles Allen Porter, and their children: Isabel, Margaret, and Charles Burnham Porter. They had lived at 116 Beacon during the previous season. Margaret Porter is shown as the owner of 251 Beacon on the 1938 Bromley map. She continued to live there until 1945, but moved soon thereafter to Beverly Farms.
By 1946, 251 Beacon was the home of Julius A. Wentzel and his wife, Hazel Olive (Townsend) Wentzel. They previously had lived in Waban. He was an architect and construction manager for Woolworth’s.
In mid-1946, 251 Beacon was purchased from Julius Wentzel by Robert Arthur Muller and his wife, Dorothy Bruce (Fetherolf) Muller. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on June 2, 1946. They previously had lived in Wellesley Hills. He was vice president of the Atlas Plywood Corporation.
By 1949, 251 Beacon was the home of Francis Lyster Jandron and his wife, Ada Woldin (Reynolds) Jandron. They previously had lived in an apartment at 180 Commonwealth. Francis Jandron was a director of the Christian Science Church. Ada Reynolds Jandron was a Christian Science practitioner and served as president of the church. They continued to live at 251 Beacon until 1961, when they moved to 1 Emerson.
By 1963, 251 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Octavia Morley (Sawyer) Walsh, widow of Edward M. Walsh. She previously had lived at 191 Beacon. She owned the Walsh Sprinkler Company, dealers in automatic sprinkler systems. She continued to live there in 1964, but had moved to 52 Bay State Road by 1965 and to 218 Commonwealth by 1966.
In August of 1964, 251 Beacon was acquired from Octavia Walsh by Rev. Joe Brown Love and his wife, Ruth Preston (Winfield) Love. Joe Brown Love was chaplain at Boston University; Ruth Love was a speech therapist. At the time they purchased the house, it was a two-family dwelling and lodging house. In March of 1965, they filed for (and subsequently received) confirmation of the legal occupancy.
In June of 1970, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a two-family dwelling and lodging house into to a three-family dwelling and lodging house. In the application, Mr. Love explained that he had just retired and the additional unit was for occupancy by himself and his wife, the second unit was for occupancy by his son and family, and the third was a studio apartment.
In October of 1978, the 251 Beacon Realty Corp. purchased 251 Beacon from Joe Brown Love and Ruth Love. In December of 1978, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into six apartments. And in February of 1979, it converted the apartments into six condominiums.
In November of 1989, the condominium association filed for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units from six to four, reflecting remodeling and consolidation of the previous units.