27½-29 Massachusetts

29 Massachusetts (2014)

29 Massachusetts (2014)

Lot 20.77' x 119′ (2,472 sf)

Lot 20.77′ x 119′ (2,472 sf)

27½-29 Massachusetts is located on the west side of Massachusetts Avenue, between Beacon and Marlborough, with 25-27 Massachusetts to the north and 31 Massachusetts to the south, across Alley 908.

29 Massachusetts Avenue was designed by Snell and Gregerson, architects, and built in 1889 by Webster, Dixon, and Company, builders, for Brooks Adams, a lawyer, and his wife, Evelyn (Davis) Adams. They were married in September of 1889 and 29 Massachusetts was their first home together. They also maintained a home in Quincy.

Brooks Adams is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated January 14, 1889, and on the final building inspection report, dated September 18, 1889. The original address of the house was 464 West Chester Park; it changed to 29 Massachusetts Avenue when West Chester Park was renamed on March 1, 1894. Evelyn Adams is shown as the owner on the 1895 Bromley map.

During the 1890-1891 winter season, they were joined by Miss Mary Quincy. Her brother, Henry Parker Quincy, was the husband of Brooks Adams’s sister, Mary Gardner Adams.  Mary Quincy had lived at 229 Beacon during the previous season. By the next season, she had moved to 589 Beacon.

Second floor plan of 29 Massachusetts, water-damaged, bound with the final building inspection report, 18Sep1889 (v. 31, p. 9); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Second floor plan of 29 Massachusetts, water-damaged, bound with the final building inspection report, 18Sep1889 (v. 31, p. 9); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

The Adamses continued to live at 29 Massachusetts Avenue during the 1894-1895 winter season, after which they made Quincy their home.

During the 1895-1896 winter season, 29 Massachusetts Avenue was the home of Mrs. William M. Read.

By the 1896-1897 winter season, 29 Massachusetts Avenue was the home of attorney Philip Dexter and his wife, Edith (Wood) Dexter. They had married in April of 1895. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 18 Exeter with his father, attorney William Sohier Dexter, a widower. Wllliam Dexter is shown as the owner of 29 Massachusetts Avenue on the 1898 and 1908 Bromley maps.

The Dexters continued to live at 29 Marlborough during the 1909-1910 winter season, but moved thereafter to 65 Marlborough.

29 Massachusetts Avenue was not listed in the Blue Books after 1910.

29 Massachusetts (2014)

29 Massachusetts (2014)

By 1911, 29 Massachusetts Avenue had been acquired by real estate dealers James Sumner Draper and Mark Temple Dowling.

In the spring of 1911, 29 Massachusetts Avenue was purchased from J. Sumner Draper and Mark Temple Dowling by Dr. Walter Channing of Brookline. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on March 31, 1911, which noted that he “will improve the property for business purcposes.” His son, real estate dealer Walter Channing, Jr., represented him in the transaction.

Walter Channing is shown as the owner of 29 Massachusetts Avenue on the 1912 Bromley map.

It was probably during this period that 29 Massachusetts Avenue was converted from a single-family dwelling into apartments, with an address of 27½ Massachusetts, and a storefront, with the address of 29 Massachusetts Avenue.

In mid-1913, 29 Massachusetts Avenue was purchased from Walter Channing’s son, attorney Henry Morse Channing, as trustee, by Chester A. Baker. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on July 4, 1913. Chester A. Baker is shown as the owner of 29 Massachusetts Avenue on the 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps.

Chester Baker was a retail druggist and maintained his store at 29 Massachusetts Avenue. He and his wife, Florence M. (Pickering) Baker, lived at 13 Haviland and later in Brookline.

29 Massachusetts (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

29 Massachusetts (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

Chester A. Baker, Inc., continued to operate a drug store at 29 Massachusetts Avenue (and at several other locations in the Back Bay) until the mid-1970s. Charles Baker retired in 1943 and by 1947 the building was owned by the Mesher Corporation.

In 1947, 27½-29 Massachusetts Avenue was purchased from the Mesher Corporation by Joseph V. Argus, Julius Melnick, and David Melnick, all officers of Charles A. Baker, Inc.

In July of 1951, Joseph Argus filed for (and subsequently received) permission to repair damage to the first floor from a fire on June 15, 1951. In conjunction with that filing, he submitted an affidavit that the “building has six apartments and a store and is now occupied with six apartments and a store. So far as I know, this building always did contain six apartments and a store.”

By 1974, 27½-29 Massachusetts Avenue was owned by David Melnick, president and treasurer of Charles A. Baker, Inc.

In April of 1978, Aaron Rybak and his wife, Joanne R, Ryback, purchased 27½-29 Massachusetts Avenue from David Melnick. They operated the M. J. Reinhardt locksmith company at 29 Massachusetts Avenue.

The property changed hands and in January of 1986 was purchased by Donn O’Connell. In July of 1989, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the store space into a dry cleaners and laundry. The building continued to have six apartments.

27½-29 Massachusetts Avenue remained a residential and commercial building in 2014.

21-29 Massachusetts (2014)

21-29 Massachusetts (2014)