255 Beacon

255 Beacon (2015)

Lot 53' x 112' (5,936 sf)

Lot 53′ x 112′ (5,936 sf)

255 Beacon is located on the SE corner of Beacon and Dartmouth, with 251 Beacon to the east, 330 Dartmouth to the west, across Dartmouth, 234 Beacon to the north, across Beacon, and 321 Dartmouth to the south, across Alley 419.

255 Beacon was designed by Saul Moffie, architect, and built in 1939 as a five story (plus basement), 24-unit apartment building, for the Druss Construction and Supply Company. It replaced two townhouses at 253 and 255 Beacon which the company purchased on August 26, 1939, from Anna (Palfrey) Allan, the widow of Bryce J. Allan. Druss Construction is shown as the owner on the original permit application for the new building, dated August 31, 1939.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 255 Beacon and its predecessor buildings, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 419, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.

In 1941, Druss Construction declared bankruptcy and on October 31, 1942, 255 Beacon was acquired from David S. Kunian, the trustee in bankruptcy, by Marian H. McDermott.

The property changed hands and on December 19, 1943, was acquired by the Stephen Realty Co., Inc. (William W. Cherney, treasurer), later the Stephen Realty Corporation.

On April 30, 1971, 255 Beacon was acquired from the Stephen Realty Corporation (Alton G. Cherney, treasurer) by real estate dealer Edward L. Britt, trustee of the 255 Beacon Trust.

On the same day, he converted the property into 24 condominium units, the 255 Beacon Condominium.

255 Beacon (2013)

255 Beacon (2013)

253 Beacon (Demolished)

253 Beacon was built ca. 1868 for real estate dealer Henry Whitwell, for speculative sale. It was one of eight contiguous houses (239-241-243-245-247-249-251-253 Beacon) built at the same time on land purchased by Henry Whitwell. 241-251 Beacon are designed as three matching and symmetrical pairs. 239 Beacon was built in the same style, and 253 Beacon (since destroyed) probably also was in the same style.

On July 25, 1867, Henry Whitwell purchased a 97 foot wide lot from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He sold the eastern 19 feet to his brother and business partner, Frederick A. Whitwell (who built 239 Beacon as his home) and retained the remaining 78 feet, which he subdivided into four 19.5 foot lots for 241-247 Beacon. On March 19, 1868, he bought a 60 foot wide lot to the west from Edward S. Rand (who had purchased it on April 27, 1867, from the Commonwealth) and subdivided it into three 20 foot lots for 249-253 Beacon.

On January 11, 1869, 253 Beacon was purchased from Henry Whitwell by attorney Charles Bishop Goodrich. He and his wife, Harriet Newell (Shattuck) Goodrich, made it their home. They previously had lived at 9 Beacon.

Charles Goodrich died in June of 1878, and Harriet Goodrich moved soon thereafter.

On October 8, 1878, Harriet Goodrich, as executor of her husband’s estate, offered 253 Beacon for sale at public auction by Leonard & Co., auctioneers.  On October 10, 1878, the Boston Post reported that “no suitable offer was made for it,” and it was withdrawn from sale.

On October 22, 1878, the Boylston Mutual Insurance Company foreclosed on its mortgage to Charles Goodrich and took possession of 253 Beacon.

253 Beacon was not listed in the 1879 Blue Book.

By the 1879-1880 winter season, it was the home of Sidney Williams Burgess and his wife, Alice Brastow (Thayer) Burgess. They had married in January of 1879 and 255 Beacon probably was their first home together. He was a shipping and insurance broker. They continued to live at 253 Beacon during the 1881-1882 season, but moved thereafter to 189 Beacon.

253 Beacon was not listed in the 1883 Blue Book.

By the 1883-1884 winter season, 253 Beacon was the home of insurance executive George Lewis DeBlois, Jr. and his wife Amanda Malvina (Fuller) DeBlois. They previously had lived at 292 Marlborough. They first leased 253 Beacon from the Boylston Mutual Insurance Company, but on June 29, 1887, Amanda DeBlois purchased it from them.

George DeBlois, Jr., died in January of 1890.  Amanda DeBlois continued to live at 253 Beacon.  Living with her were their son, real estate broker George DeBlois III, their son-in-law and daughter, real estate dealer Samuel S. C. Williams and Jeannie (DeBlois) Page Williams, and DeBlois Page, Jeannie Williams’s son by her first marriage, to James R. Page.

Jeannie (DeBlois) Williams died in July of 1894, and Amanda DeBlois died in August of 1897.  George DeBlois III, Samuel S. C. Williams, and DeBlois Page continued to live at 253 Beacon in 1898.  By 1899, they had moved to the Hotel Hamilton at 260 Clarendon.

On January 28, 1899, 253 Beacon was acquired from Amanda DeBlois’s heirs by Anna (Palfrey) Allan, the wife of Bryce J. Allan, who combined it with their home at 255 Beacon.

255 Beacon (Demolished)

255 Beacon was designed by architects Emerson and Fehmer and built in 1871-1872 by I. & H. M. Harmon, masons, for Charles William Galloupe and his wife, Sarah Augusta (Kittredge) Galloupe.  In 1870, they had lived at 23 Beacon.  They also maintained a home, Strodehurst, on Galloupe’s Point, in Swampscott.

255 Beacon (1904), Boston Globe, 28Feb1904

Charles Galloupe acquired the land for 255 Beacon from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in two transactions: on February 2, 1866, he acquired the lot at the corner of Dartmouth with a 30 foot frontage on Beacon, and on April 27, 1867, he acquired a three foot wide lot to the east.

Charles Galloupe was a retired wholesale clothing merchant and banker.  During the 1870s, he was one of three members of the executive building committee that oversaw construction of Trinity Church in Copley Square.

By 1872, the Galloupes had been joined at 255 Beacon by their son-in-law and daughter, Ellis and Sarah Morton.  In 1871, they had lived at 17 Beacon.  Ellis Wesley Morton was an attorney.  He was former US Attorney for Massachusetts and had served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate.

Ellis Morton died in September of 1874.  The Galloupes and their widowed daughter, Sarah, continued to live at 255 Beacon until about 1878.

By the 1878-1879 winter season, 255 Beacon was the home of E. F. Bowditch, probably Ebenezer Francis Bowditch and his wife, Elizabeth Fessenden (Perry) Bowditch.  Their primary residence was at Millwood Farm in Framingham.  They continued to live at 255 Beacon during the 1879-1880 season.

On February 10, 1880, 255 Beacon was acquired from Charles Galloupe by Louisa C. (Bartlett) Palfrey, the wife of Francis Winthrop Palfrey. They previously had lived at 202 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Beverly.

Francis Palfrey was an attorney and registrar in bankruptcy.  He had served in the Civil War and was injured at Antietam, and was brevetted a Brigadier General in 1865.  He founded the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts and wrote a book on the Antietam and Fredericksburg campaigns.

The Palfreys’ three daughters – Marian, Anna, and Louisa – lived with them.

Marian Palfrey married in November of 1887 to Edward Preble Motley, a banker, or 22 Commonwealth. After their marriage, they lived briefly with her parents at 255 Beacon and then purchased and moved to 202 Beacon, where Francis and Lousia Palfrey had lived before purchasing 255 Beacon.

Francis Palfrey died in December of 1889 in Cannes, France, where the Palfreys had traveled for the winter season. Louisa (Bartlett) Palfrey continued to live at 255 Beacon with their daughters, Anna and Louisa.

Louisa Palfrey married in September of 1893 to Guy Norman, a stockbroker. After their marriage, they lived at 254 Beacon. Anna Palfrey married in June of 1896 to Bryce James Allan, head of the Boston offices of the Allan Steamship Line, a Canadian and Scottish firm founded by his father, Andrew Allan, and his uncle, Sir Hugh Allan. After their marriage, they lived at 231 Beacon.

Louisa (Bartlett),Palfrey died in January of 1897.

On February 6, 1897, 255 Beacon was acquired from Louise Palfey’s estate by Anna (Palfrey) Allan, and she and Bryce Allan moved there from 231 Beacon.

In January of 1899, Anna Allan acquired 253 Beacon. The Allans combined the two houses as their residence, retaining the firm of Little and Browne for the remodeling.   Architectural historian Stuart A. Drake, in his article on Little and Browne, “Settings for Plutocrats” (Historic New England, Spring 2014) indicates that they “created at No. 253 a two-story, white-and-gold-paneled, mirrored ballroom with a trellised conservatory and musician’s gallery at one end.” The ballroom was completed in February of 1900.

A possibly apocryphal account of Anna Allan’s decision to purchase 253 Beacon was included in a March 26, 1899, Boston Journal article on Boston’s hostesses, “Famous Entertainers of Boston Society:”

“A Woman of Resources.  One of our most liberal entertainers is Mrs. Bryce Allan.  Quite recently, she planned to entertain on such a large scale that her own house on Beacon Street was found to be too small. Thereupon, she hit upon the novel scheme of building a covered bridge to her uncle’s house across the way and so utilize his spacious mansion for the occasion.  Unfortunately for her plans the municipal government would not allow of the bridge being erected.  Mrs. Allan, however, is not a woman to long let an obstacle remain in the way of her social arrangements.  She has bought the house adjoining hers, and knocking out some of the partitions has now a ball room and dining room of sufficiently imposing proportions. …”

Anna Allan’s uncle, Francis Bartlett, lived at 236 Beacon, on the northwest corner of Beacon and Dartmouth. Therefore, if this account is true, the proposed bridge from 255 Beacon would have run diagonally across the intersection of Dartmouth and Beacon.

In 1903-1904, the Allans built a home, Allanbank, at Beverly Cove.

Bryce Allan died in August of 1924.  Anna Allan continued to live at 255 Beacon until about 1933.  She maintained her home in Beverly Cove, and in the 1930s spent winters in Washington DC.

On August 26, 1939, 253-255 Beacon were acquired from Anna Allan by the Druss Construction and Supply Company. It razed both houses soon thereafter.