258 Beacon and 260 Beacon were built in 1870 for real estate developer Henry Bigelow Williams, two of five contiguous houses (252-254-256-258-260 Beacon) built for speculative sale.
Bainbridge Bunting, in the Appendix to his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, does not indicate an architect for 252-260 Beacon. However, in the introduction to the Appendix, he notes that “subsequent to the second printing of this book in 1968 the attributions to important architects of several early Back Bay houses have been brought to my attention by friends.” Among these, Bunting indicates that, “from a sifting of mountainous drawings and office correspondence now in the possession of the Boston Public Library, Wheaton Holden has been able to identify that 254-260 Beacon were designed by Peabody and Stearns.
The land on which 252-260 Beacon were built was owned by Samuel Frothingham, part of a larger parcel originally purchased on December 15, 1863, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation by attorney John Duncan Bryant. On December 29, 1870, after the houses were completed, Samuel Frothingham sold Henry Williams the land (“that lot of land on which said Williams has erected at his expense five dwelling houses”).
Samuel Frothingham was Henry Williams’s father-in-law. He and his wife, Maria Louisa (Whitredge) Frothingham, lived at 317 Dartmouth until his death in December of 1872. Henry Williams and his wife, Sarah Louisa (Frothingham) Williams, lived with them; Sarah Williams died in July of 1871 in a carriage accident.
By 1876, 258 Beacon was the home of Richard Warren and his wife, Susan Billings (Gore) Warren. He had been an attorney in New York City, where they had lived on West 21st Street at the time of the 1870 US Census. They continued to live at 258 Beacon until his death in April of 1877, after which his widow moved to 74 Marlborough.
By 1878, 258 Beacon was the home of Samuel Frothingham’s widow, Maria Louisa (Whitredge) Frothingham. She continued to live there in 1880, joined by her unmarried children, Frederick (a dry goods merchant), Julia, and Eliza (Lillie) Frothingham.
Maria Louisa Frothingham was living elsewhere in the early 1880s.
During the 1880-1881 winter season, 258 Beacon was the home of Arnold William Conant. He continued to live there during the 1881-1882 season, but moved thereafter and was in Paris at the time of his death in June of 1884.
The house was not listed in the 1883 Blue Book.
By the 1883-1884 winter season, 258 Beacon was the home of real estate broker James Freeman Curtis and his wife Helen (Gardner) Curtis. They previously had lived at 99 Mt. Vernon. They moved soon thereafter to a new home they had built at 253 Marlborough.
Maria Frothingham resumed living at 258 Beacon during the 1884-1885 winter season, and continued to live there until her death in August of 1889. She is shown as the owner on the 1883 and 1888 Bromley Maps.
After her death, her three unmarried children — Frederick, Julia, and Lillie — lived at 258 Beacon through the 1891-1892 winter season. Lille Frothingham married in July of 1892 to Rev. Alfred W. Martin, a Unitarian Clergyman. At about the same time, Frederick and Julia Frothington moved to the Hotel Kempton at 237 Berkeley.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, 258 Beacon was the home of Dr. Charles Pratt Strong, a physician and surgeon, and his wife, Mary Washburn (Baker) Strong. They previously had lived at 1 Exeter. Mary Strong is shown as the owner of 258 Beacon on the 1895 Bromley map.
Charles Strong died in March of 1893. Mary Strong continued to live at 258 Beacon, joined by her brother-in-law and sister, William H. Burlen and Caroline (Baker) Burlen, and her mother, Mary B. (Dennie) Baker (the widow of William Wilson Baker). They previously had lived in an apartment at 308-310 Commonwealth. William Burlen was a hide and leather merchant.
By the 1897-1898 winter season, 258 Beacon was the home of Dr. John Woodford Farlow and his wife, Annie Hardon (Burr) Farlow. They previously had lived at 234 Clarendon. Annie Farlow is shown as the owner of 258 Beacon on the 1898 Bromley map.
John Farlow was an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and served as an instructor in laryngology at Harvard Medical School. He continued to own and maintain his medical offices at 234 Clarendon after he and his wife moved to 258 Beacon.
By 1907, 258 Beacon was the home of Dr. Joseph Lincoln Goodale and his wife, Adelaide May (Evans) Goodale. In 1906, they had lived at 397 Beacon. Joseph Goodale is shown as the owner of 258 Beacon on the 1908 Bromley map, and Adelaide M. Goodale is shown as the owner on the 1912 and 1917 maps.
Joseph Goodale was a physician specializing in diseases of the throat and an instructor in laryngology at Harvard Medical School.
Adelaide Goodale died in February of 1927. However, she continued to be shown as the owner of 258 Beacon on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.
Dr. Goodale continued to live and maintain his medical office at 258 Beacon until 1939. He also maintained a summer home in Ipswich. His son, Robert Lincoln Goodale, also a physician, maintained his office with his father. He and his wife, Susan Bainbridge (Sturgis) Goodale, lived in Cambridge.
By 1873, 260 Beacon was the home of Dr. Charles Mifflin, a physician, and his wife, Mary (Crowninshield) Mifflin. They had lived at 80 Beacon in 1872. She is shown as the owner of 260 Beacon on the 1874 Hopkins map and the 1883 and 1888 Bromley maps. They also maintained a summer home in Nahant.
Their unmarried son, George Harrison Mifflin, lived with them. George Mifflin was a partner in the publishing firm of Houghton, Osgood & Co. In the 1870s, the firm (previously Hurd and Houghton) had acquired the Atlantic Monthly magazine and the Ticknor & Fields publishing company. In 1895, the founder, Henry Oscar Houghton, died, and control of the firm passed to George Mifflin. In 1908, it was incorporated as Houghton Mifflin Company.
In about 1874, Charles and Mary Mifflin were joined at 260 Beacon by their son and daughter-in-law, Benjamin Crowninshield Mifflin and Sarah Elizabeth (Learned) Mifflin. He was a banker and broker. They previously had lived at 277 Clarendon.
Charles Mifflin died in December of 1875.
George Mifflin married in October of 1877 to Jane Appleton Phillips. After their marriage, they lived at 85 Marlborough.
Benjamin and Sarah Mifflin continued to live at 260 Beacon in 1877, but had moved to Pittsfield by 1878.
During the first quarter of 1894, 260 Beacon was purchased by Horatio Appleton Lamb and his wife, Annie Lawrence (Rotch) Lamb. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on March 11, 1894. They previously had lived at 86 Marlborough. He is shown as the owner of 260 Beacon on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps.
Horatio Lamb was treasurer of Simmons College.
They continued to live at 260 Beacon during the 1900-1901 winter season, but had moved back to 86 Marlborough for the 1901-1902 season.
By June of 1905, 260 Beacon was owned by Miss Evelyn Orville Ames (she entered into a party wall agreement with William and Ellen Humphrey, owners of 262 Beacon, on June 30, 1905). She lived at 260 Beacon from the 1906-1907 winter season and is shown as the owner on the 1908 Bromley map.
In June of 1909, she married Frederick Garrison Hall, a noted artist. They continued to live at 260 Beacon and also maintained a summer home in East Gloucester.
Evelyn Hall is shown as the owner of 260 Beacon on the 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps.
In about 1913, they were joined at 260 Beacon by Evelyn Hall’s brother and sister-in-law, Oakes Ames and Blanche (Ames) Ames. Their primary residence was in North Easton. He was a botanist and professor at Harvard. They continued to live at 260 Beacon in 1914.
During the 1913-1914 winter season, they Halls spent a portion of the season at 355 Commonwealth with her mother, Anna Coffin (Ray) Ames, the widow of Oliver Ames (the Halls were listed in the 1914 Blue Book at both 260 Beacon and 355 Commonwealth). By the 1914-1915 season, the Halls had resumed living at 260 Beacon and Oakes and Blanche Ames had moved to 355 Commonwealth to live with Mrs. Ames.
Evelyn Hall died in December of 1940. Frederick Hall continued to live at 260 Beacon until about 1942. By 1943, he had remarried. to harpist Ariel Perry, and they were living at 360 Beacon.
By 1942, 258 Beacon had become a multiple dwelling, and it probably had been consolidated with 260 Beacon by the mid-1940s, inasmuch as, from 1943, 260 Beacon no longer was listed in the City Directories. Multiple residents are listed at both addresses in the Boston Lists of Residents.
By 1964, 258-260 Beacon were owned by the Norstan Realty Trust. It filed to remodel the combined property and convert it into twelve apartments. A copy of the filing is not included in the Boston Building Department on-line records, but it probably was at this point that front façades of both buildings were significantly “modernized,” including removal of the original bays on both buildings and lowering the entrance to street level. In December of 1964, Norstan filed for (and subsequently received) permission to amend the plans and add a penthouse floor, increasing the number of units from twelve to thirteen.
In August of 1970, 258-260 Beacon was converted into thirteen condominiums.