262 Commonwealth was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1880 for brothers John W. Shapleigh and Samuel M. Shapleigh, carpenters and building contractors, for speculative sale. In 1879-1880, Samuel Kelly had designed two houses for the Shapleighs at 258-260 Commonwealth, and in 1882-1883 he designed two more houses for John Shapleigh – in a style closely similar to 262 Commonwealth – at 264-266 Commonwealth.
John Shapleigh and Samuel Shapleigh are shown as the owners of 262 Commonwealth on the original building permit application dated March 27, 1880, and on the final building inspection report, dated August 5, 1880. Samuel M. Shapleigh is shown as the carpenter and Phineas L. Pearson as the mason.
Samuel Shapleigh acquired the land for 262 Commonwealth on October 4, 1879, through two purchases, a 19 foot wide lot to the west he purchased from Charles H. Mann and a 29 foot lot to the east he purchased from George H. Braman. He used the eastern 24 feet for 260 Commonwealth and sold a one-half interest in the western 24 feet to his brother, John Shapleigh. They then built 262 Commonwealth together on that lot. Both lots had changed hands several times and were part of a parcel previously owned by Nathan Matthews, part of an even larger tract he had purchased on January 2, 1871, from David Sears, Jr., Frederick R. Sears, and Knyvet Sears.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 262 Commonwealth, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Commonwealth and Alley 432, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
On October 9, 1880, 262 Commonwealth was purchased from John and Samuel Shapleigh by retired boot and shoe manufacturer Charles Henry Dill, II. He and his wife, Ann E. (Torrey) Dill, made it their home. They previously had lived at the Hotel Commonwealth on Washington Street.
Their son, George A. Dill, a real estate dealer, married in April of 1894 to Laura S. Clark. After their marriage, they lived at 262 Commonwealth with Charles and Ann Dill until about 1898, when they moved to Brookline.
Charles Dill, II, died in January of 1908. Ann Dill continued to live at 262 Commonwealth until her death in August of 1910.
On November 30, 1910, 262 Commonwealth was purchased from George Dill by the Boston Academy of the Sacred Heart, which already owned 264–266 Commonwealth, where it maintained a school and convent. In December of 1920, it acquired 260 Commonwealth.
On December 3, 1925, the Academy of the Sacred Heart sold 260-262-264-266 Commonwealth to Helen M. (Leland) Towle, the widow of real estate dealer Loren Delbert Towle, who had died in September of 1923. In exchange, the Academy acquired the recently completed Towle estate in Newton, where it moved, becoming the Newton Country Day School.
On March 14, 1927, 260-262-264-266 Commonwealth were purchased from Helen Towle by David Shikes and Philip Boris Long, real estate dealers, who converted the buildings into a lodging house. In February of 1927, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to make interior improvements. The current and proposed use was stated as “lodging house and dormitories.”
By 1928, the lodging house at 260-262-264-266 Commonwealth was operated by Miss Helen M. Catlin and Miss Edith Ray Clapp. They previously had lived at 122 Newbury. The four buildings were operated as one property, with the address of 262 Commonwealth.
David Shikes died in August of 1937. His estate and Philip B. Long continued to own the buildings until 1942.
On June 2, 1942, Helen Towle foreclosed on the mortgage given by David Shikes and Philip Long when they purchased the property and took possession of 260-262-264-266 Commonwealth.
Helen Catlin and Edith Ray Clapp continued to operate the lodging house at 260-262-264-266 Commonwealth until about 1946, and probably until Helen Catlin’s death in February of 1947. Edith Ray Clapp moved thereafter to an apartment at 31 Fairfield.
In May of 1947, Morton Archer applied for (and subsequently received) permission to cut openings in the party wall with 260 Commonwealth to provide additional egress. In June of 1949, he applied for permission to install a fire balcony connecting with 258 Commonwealth. In that filing, the name “Goldberg” was crossed-off and replaced by Morton Archer’s name, as treasurer of M & N Hotels, Inc. (at 57 Bernard in Dorchester, Jacob Goldberg’s address).
On July 29, 1949, 260-262-264-266 Commonwealth were acquired from Morton Archer by Miss Josephine Mary Ward. She lived there and continued to operate the four buildings as a lodging house with the address of 262 Commonwealth. She previously had lived in Saugus with her parents, Philip Walter Ward and Ellen M. (Brennan) Ward.
Also living at 262 Commonwealth was Miss Helen Bridget Walsh, a former nurse, who may have assisted Josephine Ward in managing the lodging house.
In January of 1954, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 260 Commonwealth from a lodging house into a lodging house and one apartment, and to convert 266 Commonwealth from a lodging house into a lodging house and two apartments. 262-264 Commonwealth remained lodging houses.
Josephine Ward’s father died in 1954 and in about 1958 her mother, Ellen (Brennan) Ward, joined her at 262 Commonwealth. She previously had lived in an apartment at 470 Beacon and, before that, in Saugus.
Josephine Ward and her mother continued to live at 262 Commonwealth until about 1960, when they moved to 29 Hereford. Helen Walsh moved with them.
In October of 1960, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 262 Commonwealth from a lodging house into a dormitory.
In May of 1962, Chamberlayne purchased the former Professional Building at 270 Commonwealth and converted it into a dormitory. It purchased 274–276 Commonwealth at the same time, and in June of 1966 it acquired 278–280–282 Commonwealth.
Chamberlayne went bankrupt in the mid-1970s and sold many of its properties.
On February 1, 1977, 260-262 Commonwealth were purchased from Chamberlayne by George J. Brennan, Jr., Rocco Losano, Louis Francis Musco, Jr., and Frank Carroll (doing business as Commonwealth Management Associates, also known as Garden Halls Dormitories). The Stratford Foundation (successors to Chamberlayne) retained 264-266-270 Commonwealth.
On October 22, 1979, Commonwealth Management Associates transferred both properties to George Brennan, Jr., and Louis Musco, Jr. George Brennan and Louis Musco’s father, Louis, Sr., were co-founders of Bay State College, located at 122 Commonwealth, and the buildings were operated as Bay State College dormitories.
Louis Musco, Jr., died in May of 1987. 260-262 Commonwealth continued to be owned by George Brennan and Louis Musco’s estate. In December of 2002, George Brennan transferred his interest in the property to the Brennan Family Realty LLC. He died in March of 2014.
260-262 Commonwealth remained a Bay State College dormitory in 2016.
On March 7, 2017, 260-262 Commonwealth were acquired from Musco Properties LLC and the Brennan Family Realty Realty LLC by the Commonwealth Avenue Partners LLC (Marcel Safar and Xavier Giraud, managers of record).