280 Beacon was designed by Herman L. Feer, architect, and built in 1938-1939 as a seven story apartment building, built on the vacant lots at 276-278-280 Beacon.
The lots had been vacant since August of 1930, when the three original houses had been demolished by real estate dealer Charles W. Rowell, who had purchased them in July and August of that year.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 280 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
On September 29, 1936, the Esplanade Realty Corporation acquired the vacant lots from Charles Rowell, and on November 30, 1937, 278 Beacon Street, Inc. (Arthur Schatman, president), presumably an affiliate of Esplanade Realty, filed for (and subsequently received) permission to construct the new building.
As originally proposed, 280 Beacon was designed for 48 apartments. The plan was subsequently revised and the number of units reduced to 33. Plans for the building – including elevations, floor plans, framing plans, a foundation plan, and column schedule – are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston City Archives (shown as 278 Beacon, reference BIN B-13).
On January 3, 1938, while the new building was under construction, it was acquired by 280 Beacon St., Inc. (Bernard Elliott, president, and Israel Cherry, treasurer). On March 17, 1938, 280 Beacon St., Inc., changed its name to 278 Beacon St., Inc., thereby conforming its name to the name under which the original permit application was filed. When it was completed, however, the new building was known as 280 Beacon.
In Appendix A to his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that there were two buildings, both designed by Herman L. Feer, that were built consecutively: a 48-unit building at 278 Beacon built in 1938 and a 33-unit building built in 1946 at 280 Beacon. This is not correct.
On November 27, 1941, William Waldstein, who held a mortgage given by 278 Beacon St., Inc., to Stephen Realty, Inc., foreclosed on the mortgage and took possession of 280 Beacon. On December 9, 1941, he transferred the property to John Hunkins. He was an elevator operator at the Niles Building (where 280 Beacon St., Inc., was located) who frequently held property for various other owners.
In November of 1946, acting on behalf of the T. Dennie Boardman real estate firm, John Hunkins filed for (and subsequently received) approval to consolidate three former maids’ rooms into a new apartment and increase the number of units from 33 to 34.
On December 22, 1948, 280 Beacon was acquired from John Hunkins by real estate and insurance dealer Israel Cherry, who had been treasurer of 280 Beacon, Inc. He and his wife, Sarah (Pearlswig) Cherry, lived in Brookline.
Israel Cherry died in April of 1949, and on December 27, 1951, the Norfolk Probate Commissioner transferred 280 Beacon to Sarah Cherry.
On April 10, 1964, 280 Beacon was acquired from Sarah Cherry by Joseph Glasser and Harry Siegel, trustees of the Atlas Realty Trust.
The property changed hands and on February 1, 1973, was acquired by Ralph H. Doering, Jr., Roy P. Littlehale, and Harvey B. Moore.
276 Beacon (Demolished)
276 Beacon was designed and built in 1874 by architect and builder Frederick B. Pope as the home of broker and commission merchant Francis Edward Bacon and his wife, Louisa (Crowninshield) Bacon.
Francis Bacon is shown as the owner on original building permit application, dated March 10, 1874. He purchased the land for the house on May 9, 1874, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 276 Beacon (Demolished), and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
The Bacons continued to live at 276 Beacon during the 1884-1885 winter season. They moved soon thereafter to Mattapoisett, and by the 1887-1888 season, they were living at 398 Beacon.
In her Reminiscences, published in 1922, Louisa Bacon commented that 276 Beacon was “a house we built and soon left, as it was overpowered by the two enormous houses next door whose high, steep roofs made all our chimneys smoke.”
On May 19, 1885, 276 Beacon was purchased from Francis Bacon by investment banker Francis Lee Higginson. He and his wife, Julia (Borland) Higginson, lived at 274 Beacon and owned the lot at 278 Beacon, and he appears to have acquired 276 Beacon in order to protect his interests as an abuttor.
One month later, on June 13, 1885, 276 Beacon was purchased from Francis Lee Higginson by John Smith Allan. As part of the transaction, the parties agreed that, for thirty years, any stable built at the rear of 276 Beacon would be no higher than the stable at 274 Beacon.
John Allan and his wife, Adelaide Stuart (Gault) Allan, made 276 Beacon their home. They previously had lived at 4 Arlington.
The Allans continued to live at 276 Beacon during the 1887-1888 winter season, but moved thereafter to Montreal.
On June 27, 1888, John Allan and Francis Higginson entered into an agreement formalizing a verbal understanding made when John Allan purchased 276 Beacon, clarifying that the height limitation on any building built at the rear of 274 Beacon and 276 Beacon also applied to the any building built at the rear of 278 Beacon, and that no building of more than one story could be built behind any of the three houses for a period of thirty years.
On the same day, John Allan sold 276 Beacon to Adeline D. Hooper, William S. Dexter, and Robert C. Hooper, trustees under the will of Robert Chamblet Hooper, a ship builder and merchant.
276 Beacon became the home of Robert Chamblet Hooper’s widow, Adeline Denny (Ripley) Hooper, She previously had lived at 59 Marlborough. Her son, William Hooper, treasurer of the Atlantic Cotton Mills, lived with her. He was a widower and previously had lived at 122 Marlborough. He re-married in April of 1895 to Alice Forbes Perkins. After their marriage, they lived in an apartment at 330 Dartmouth.
Adeline Hooper continued to live at 276 Beacon until her death in April of 1902.
On May 7, 1903, 276 Beacon was acquired from the Hooper trust by Mary (Moseley) Taylor, the wife of William Osgood Taylor. They previously had lived at 231 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Buzzard’s Bay.
William O. Taylor was the son of Charles Henry Taylor, publisher of the Boston Globe. William Taylor joined the Globe staff after graduating from Harvard in 1893 and served in various positions. After his father’s death in 1921, he became publisher of the newspaper, and remained in that position until his death in July of 1955.
The Taylors continued to live at 276 Beacon until about 1930, when they moved to 187 Beacon.
On August 11, 1930, 276 Beacon was purchased from Mary Taylor by real estate dealer Charles W. Rowell. He had acquired 278 Beacon and 280 Beacon the previous month.
278 Beacon (Demolished)
278 Beacon was designed by architect James T. Kelley and built in 1890-1891 by Connery & Wentworth, builders, for textile manufacturer Charles Walter Amory and his wife, Elizabeth (Gardner) Amory. They previously had lived in Brookline. Charles Amory was granted a permit to build the house in June of 1890 (as reported by the Boston Journal on June 25, 1890) and is shown as the owner on the final building inspection report, dated October 20, 1891 (a floor plan for the second floor is bound with the report, located in the Boston Civic Archives).
Elizabeth Amory purchased the land for 278 Beacon on March 25, 1890, from Francie Lee Higginson. He and his wife, Julia (Borland) Higginson, lived at 274 Beacon. He had purchased the land at 278 Beacon on March 12, 1883, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 278 Beacon (Demolished), and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
Living with Charles and Elizabeth Amory were their unmarried children: William Amory, George Gardner Amory, and Dorothy Gardner Amory. In September of 1891, shortly before they moved to 278 Beacon, their daughter, Clara Gardner Amory, had married Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Jr.. After their marriage, they lived at 408 Beacon. He was president of the Old Colony Trust Company, which he had founded with his father in 1890.
Dorothy Amory married in January of 1903 to Frederic Bayard Winthrop, a banker and broker in New York City (she died in July of 1907 and Frederic Winthrop and their young children moved to 280 Beacon to be near Charles and Elizabeth Amory). William Amory, a textile manufacturer, married in October of 1903 to Mary Remington Stockton. After their marriage, they lived in an apartment at the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon and then moved to 341 Beacon.
In mid-1917, Elizabeth Amory purchased 295 Marlborough. She and her son moved there for the next two seasons and leased 278 Beacon to others.
During the 1917-1918 winter season, 278 Beacon was the home of paper manufacturer George Thomas Keyes and his wife, Emily Brown (Eaton) Keyes. They previously had lived at 164 Riverway. By the 1918-1919 season, they had moved to 390 Beacon.
During the 1918-1919 winter season, 278 Beacon was the home of Philip Stockton, president of the Old Colony Trust Company, and his wife, Margaret (Head) Stockton. They also maintained a home in Manchester. They had lived at 9 Gloucester during the previous season. Philip Stockton was the brother of William Amory’s wife, Mary. During the next three seasons, the Stocktons lived at 21 Beaver Place, and then moved to 280 Beacon.
By the 1919-1920 season, Elizabeth Amory and George Amory were living at 278 Beacon once again.
Elizabeth Amory died in January of 1930 and George Amory moved to the Amory home in Magnolia where he died in July of 1933.
On July 19, 1930, 278 Beacon was purchased from Elizabeth Amory’s estate by real estate dealer Charles W. Rowell. He had acquired 280 Beacon earlier that month, and in August he acquired 276 Beacon.
280 Beacon (Demolished)
280 Beacon was built in 1877-1878 as the home of dry goods merchant John Shepard and his wife, Susan (Bagley) Shepard. They previously had lived at 3 Columbus Square. From 1887, they also maintained a home, Edgewater, in Swampscott.
John Shepard purchased the land for 280 Beacon on October 29, 1877, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 280 Beacon (Demolished), and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
The Shepards’ two children – John Shepard, Jr., and Jessie Watson Shepard – lived with them.
John Shepard, Jr., moved to Providence in about 1880, where he became a dry goods merchant. He married in October of 1884 to Flora E. Martin, the daughter of Boston Mayor Augustus P. Martin of 324 Commonwealth. After their marriage, they lived in Providence.
Jessie Shepard married in February of 1889 to William Graves Titcomb, treasurer of the New England Steam Brick Company. After their marriage they lived with the Shepards at 280 Beacon.
Susan Shepard died in August of 1889. John Shepard continued to live at 280 Beacon. The Titcombs lived with him until about 1890, when they moved to 834 Beacon.
John Shepard married again, in September of 1890, to Mary J. Ingraham. They lived at 280 Beacon and in Swampscott, joined by Mary (Ingraham) Shepard’s step-mother, Hannah (Clement) Ladd Ingraham, the widow of Herbert Alonzo Ingraham.
On January 1, 1908, 280 Beacon was purchased from John Shepard by Kate Wilson (Taylor) Winthrop, the widow of New York banker Robert Winthrop. She continued to live in New York City.
Kate Winthop purchased 280 Beacon to be the home of her son, retired banker and broker Frederic Bayard Winthrop, and his small children. His wife, Dorothy (Amory) Winthrop, had died in July of 1907, while they were living at Groton House, their country home in Hamilton. He moved to 280 Beacon soon after her death so that his children could be close to her parents, Charles and Elizabeth (Gardner) Amory, who lived at 278 Beacon.
Frederic Winthrop continued to live at 280 Beacon until his remarriage, in July of 1911, to Sarah Barroll Thayer. After their marriage, they moved to 299 Berkeley.
On May 23, 1912, 280 Beacon was purchased from Kate Winthrop by Dr. Edward Clark Streeter. He and his wife, Alice Martha (Chase) Streeter, lived at 413 Beacon (where he also maintained his medical office) and also had a home in Stonington, Connecticut.
A physician by training, he was an expert on medical humanists and artist/anatomists of the Renaissance. In the 1930s, he taught courses in the history of medicine at Yale Medical School.
280 Beacon was not listed in the 1912-1915 Blue Books.
During the winter of 1922-1923, the Streeters were in Europe and 280 Beacon was the home of Philip Stockton, president of the Old Colony Trust Company, and his wife, Margaret (Head) Stockton. They previously had lived at 21 Beaver Place, and before that at 278 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Manchester. By the 1923-1924 winter season, they had moved to the Hotel Agassiz at 191 Commonwealth, and by 1925 were living at 342 Beacon.
On July 11, 1930, 280 Beacon was acquired from Edward Clark Streeter by real estate dealer Charles W. Rowell. Later that month, he acquired 278 Beacon, and in August of 1930 he acquired 276 Beacon.
All three houses were demolished in August of 1930.