277 Beacon was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built in 1876 by J. and H. M. Harmon, builders, for merchant, cotton manufacturer, and real estate developer Charles William Freeland, probably for speculative sale, one of six contiguous houses built in the same style: 271-273-275-277 Beacon built ca. 1876 and 279-281 Beacon built in 1881. 271-277 Beacon, which were built first, form a symmetrical group, with the bays of 271-273 Beacon on the west side of each house, and the bays of 275-277 Beacon on the east side of each house. Both 279-281 Beacon have bays on the east side of the house.
Charles W. Freeland is shown as the owner on the original permit application for 275-277 Beacon, dated November 1, 1876.
The original building permit for 275-277 Beacon does not indicate the name of the architect, nor does the permit for 273 Beacon, built for Charles Freeland at about the same time. However, the permits for 279-281 Beacon, built for Charles W. Freeland in 1881, state that Peabody and Stearns was the architect of these houses, and it is reasonable to assume the earlier four – which are of the same design — also may have been designed by them (in his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that all six houses were designed by Peabody and Stearns; he also states that they were built for G. W. Freeland, but the permits for 273, 275, 277, 279, and 281 Beacon confirm that the developer was Charles W. Freeland).
277 Beacon was not listed in the 1876-1878 Blue Books, and was shown as “vacant” in the 1879-1881 Blue Books.
By the 1881-1882 winter season, it was the home of John Goldthwait, a retired carpet merchant. He previously had lived at 6 Chester Square, where his wife, Helen (Brown) Goldthwait, died in May of 1880. John Goldthwait is shown as the owner of 277 Beacon on the 1883, 1888, and 1895 Bromley maps.
Living with him were his daughters, Elizabeth Brown Goldthwait and Helen Maria Goldthwait, and his son, Charles Brown Goldthwait. Charles Goldthwait was a salesman with Joel Goldthwait & Company, carpet merchants, which had succeeded John Goldthwait’s firm when he retired (Joel Goldthwait was John Goldthwait’s brother; he died in 1901).
Helen Goldthwait married in November of 1884 to attorney Simon Davis; after their marriage, they lived with John Goldthwait at 277 Beacon. Charles Goldthwait married in December of 1893 to Caroline Alexander and moved to Maplewood. Elizabeth B. Goldthwait et al are shown as the owners of 277 Beacon on the 1898 Bromley map.
John Goldthwait died in January of 1899.
Simon and Helen Davis continued to live at 277 Beacon. Elizabeth Brown Goldthwait lived with them until April of 1902, when she married Isaac Newton Peirce, a widower, and moved to Melrose. Isaac Peirce was an accountant with Joel Goldthwait & Company.
Simon and Helen Davis continued to live at 277 Beacon until about 1906, when they moved to Brookline. His unmarried sister, Mercy E. Davis, lived with them. Helen G. Davis is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.
By the 1906-1907 winter season, 277 Beacon was the home of banker William Pratt Lyman and his wife, Helen (Beeckman) Lyman. They previously had lived at 331 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Nahant. They continued to live at 277 Beacon during the 1911-1912 season, after which they made Nahant their year-round home.
By the 1913-1914 winter season, it was the home of Mrs. Beatrice (Hardcastle) Lowell, the widow of banker Charles Lowell, and their adult children, Mary Beatrice Lowell and Alfred Putnam Lowell, a lawyer. They previously had lived at 3 Fairfield.
It appears that Beatrice Lowell first leased 277 Beacon from Simon and Helen Davis, inasmuch as Helen Davis continued to be shown as the owner on the 1917 Bromley map. Mrs. Lowell subsequently acquired the house and is shown as the owner on the 1928 map.
Mary Lowell married in June of 1915 to Frederick Southgate Bigelow and moved to Haverford, Pennsylvania. Alfred Lowell married in October of 1915 to Catherine Hay Bowles and moved to 56 Brimmer.
Soon after her death, 277 Beacon was acquired by Edward J. Ball, a real estate dealer, who also owned 271 Beacon and 275 Beacon. In May of 1930, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 277 Beacon from a single-family dwelling into six apartments. The previous year, he had converted 275 Beacon to the same number of apartments.
The property changed hands and in the fall of 1947 was acquired by the Primus Realty Company. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on October 19, 1947. In July of 1950, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy of 277 Beacon as ten units.
The property changed hands and by 1959 was owned by Max Ross, He had purchased 275 Beacon in August of 1958 and may have acquired 277 Beacon at about the same time.
275 and 277 Beacon changed hands again and in December of 1980 were purchased by Robert S. Epstein, David R. Epstein, and John R. Svenson, trustees of the 277 Beacon Trust. In August of 1981, David Epstein filed for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units at 275 Beacon from ten to eight, and reduce the number of units at 277 Beacon from ten to nine. In November of 1981, he filed to amend the plans and increase the number of units at 275 Beacon to nine.
In June of 1982, the 277 Beacon Trust transferred 275 Beacon to 275 Beacon Associates, Inc., and 277 Beacon to 277 Beacon Associates.
On the same day, 275 Beacon Associates, Inc., converted 275 Beacon into nine condominiums, and 277 Beacon Associates converted 277 Beacon into nine condominiums.