269 Commonwealth

269 Commonwealth (2015)

Lot 26' x 124.5' (3,237 sf)

Lot 26′ x 124.5′ (3,237 sf)

269 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Fairfield and Gloucester, with 267 Commonwealth to the east and 273 Commonwealth to the west.

269 Commonwealth was designed by Allen and Kenway, architects, and built in 1881 by Standish & Woodbury and B. D. Whitcomb, builders.

It was built as the home of Charles Archbald Kidder and his wife, Harriet Lois (Rice) Kidder.  They had married in February of 1880 and had lived at 22 Marlborough during the 1880-1881 winter season.  He is shown as the owner of 269 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated April 2, 1881, and on the 1883 Bromley map.

Charles Kidder was an investment banker in the firm of Kidder, Peabody & Company, co-founded by his father, Henry Purkitt Kidder.

Harriet Kidder died in childbirth in July of 1881, soon after 269 Commonwealth was begun.  It appears likely that he sold the house after it was completed, and never lived there himself.  He was living at 2 Newbury in 1882.

By the 1883-1884 winter season, it was the home of wholesale dry goods merchant Thomas Mack and his wife, Eleanor S. (Pearson) Claflin Mack.   They previously had lived at 13 Arlington.  E. S. Mack is shown as the owner of 269 Commonwealth on the 1888, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.

269 Commonwealth (ca. 1885); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

269 Commonwealth (ca. 1885); Soule Photograph Company, courtesy of Historic New England

Thomas Mack died in May of 1897.  Eleanor Mack continued to live at 269 Commonwealth.

In the spring of 1915, Eleanor Mack transferred 269 Commonwealth to son by her first marriage, William Henry Claflin, and his wife, Carrie Stetson (Avery) Claflin, and it became their home.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on March 12, 1915.  They previously had lived at the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth.

Eleanor Mack continued to live with them at 269 Commonwealth until her death in August of 1916.  William Claflin is shown as the owner on the 1917 and 1928 Bromley maps.  The Claflins also maintained a summer home in Swampscott.

William Claflin was a paper, twine, and bag merchant.

Carrie Claflin died in April of 1929.  William Claflin continued to live at 269 Commonwealth until his death in February of 1935.

The house was not listed in the 1936 and 1937 Blue Books, and was shown as vacant in the 1935-1937 City Directories.

By 1936, 269 Commonwealth was owned by Bessie Everett (Griffin) Norris, the wife of real estate and insurance broker Forris Wood Norris.  In August of 1936, the Norris’s son, Jackson M. Norris, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into five apartments.

The property changed hands and by 1961 was owned by Morris H. Kalman, trustee of the Adrian Realty Trust.  In December of 1961, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from five apartments into six apartments.

269 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

269 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

By 1962, 269 Commonwealth was owned by Daniel G. Alex.  He also owned 267 Commonwealth.  In December of 1962, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 269 Commonwealth from six apartments into a lodging house.

267-269 Commonwealth subsequently were leased to the Chamberlain School of Retailing at 90 Marlborough for use as a dormitory, Windsor House.

By 1965, 267-269 Commonwealth also were the offices of Datalex Inc., a scientific instruments firm.  Daniel Alex’s brother, Charles George Alex, was president and treasurer of the firm, and Daniel Alex was the corporation clerk.  It continued to be located there until the early 1970s.

By 1969, 269 Commonwealth no longer was listed separately in the City Directories.

The Chamberlain School of Retailing continued to operate its Windsor House dormitory at 267-269 Commonwealth until the early 1980s.

In June of 1980, Daniel Alex transferred the property to his brother, Charles.  In June of 1983, Charles Alex sold 267 Commonwealth to Barrett Enterprises, Inc., and retained ownership of 269 Commonwealth.  It remained a lodging house.

In June of 1985, Charles Alex and his wife, Helen (Fourtouni) Alex, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 269 Commonwealth from a lodging house into seven apartments.

269 Commonwealth remained an apartment house in 2014.