280 Commonwealth was designed by Walker and Kimball, architects, and built in 1894 by F. F. Morton, builder.
280 Commonwealth was built as the home of wholesale dry goods merchant John Hogg and his wife, Emma (Whiting) Hogg. They previously had lived at 74 Commonwealth. John Hogg is shown as the owner of 280 Commonwealth on the original building permit application dated February 24, 1894, on the final building inspection report dated March 29, 1895, and on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home in Framingham.
Emma Hogg died in June of 1895 in Framingham, possibly before 180 Commonwealth was completed. After her death, John Hogg lived at 280 Commonwealth with their son-in-law and daughter, attorney Charles Putnam Searle and Cora (Hogg) Searle. They previously had lived at 176 Newbury. Cora Searle is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.
The Searles’ four children — John Endicott Searle, Charles Putnam Searle, Jr., Richard Whiting Searle, and Corinna Searle — lived with them.
Charles Searle, Jr., died in December of 1913. At the time of his death, he was manager of the Globe Thread Mill in Fall River.
Corinna Searle married in September of 1916 to Harold Damrell Walker, an architect in practice with his father, Charles Howard Walker (whose former firm, Walker and Kimball, designed 280 Commonwealth). After their marriage, they lived at 18 Fairfield.
John Hogg and Charles Searle, Sr., both died in January of 1917.
Cora Searle and her sons, John and Richard Searle, continued to live at 280 Commonwealth, and she continued to be shown as the owner on the 1917 and 1928 Bromley maps. She also maintained a home in Manchester.
John Searle, a lawyer, married in June of 1923 to Jeanne Hortense Schroers. After their marriage, he continued to practice in Boston but they lived in Cedarhurst on Long Island.
Richard Searle, who had been an aviator during World War I and then became a wool merchant and (by 1929) investment broker, married in March of 1926 to Miss Allan Joy Ayers. After their marriage, they lived briefly at 35 Bay State Road and 316 Newbury, and by 1929 were living in an apartment at 31 Fairfield. They also maintained a home in Marblehead.
Cora Searle continued to live at 280 Commonwealth until her death in April of 1937.
280 Commonwealth was shown as vacant in the 1938 City Directory.
By 1938, 280 Commonwealth was owned by Samuel Handler, who is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map and was the assessed owner through 1940. In August of 1939, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to install a boiler at 280 Commonwealth; in the application, he indicated that the property was a lodging house.
In about 1940, 280 Commonwealth was acquired by William Karmazine, a loan company executive. He acquired 278 Commonwealth at about the same time. William Karmazine, trustee, was the assessed owner of both properties from 1941 through 1946. In August of 1939, probably in anticipation of acquiring the property, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct fire balconies connecting with 278 Commonwealth.
In January of 1960, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy of 278-280 Commonwealth as a lodging house. In June of 1961, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to install a dining hall in the basement (the dining room had been operating without a permit earlier that year and possibly before). And in April of 1962, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into a dormitory, which he called Osborne Hall, to be used by the Cambridge School of Business, located on Boylston.
By 1963, 278-280 Commonwealth were owned by the Mifro Realty Trust. The buildings continued to be occupied as a dormitory for the Cambridge School of Business.
In February of 1963, Mifro Realty Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to re-install necessary kitchen equipment in the basement of 280 Commonwealth. The application indicated that the kitchen had been moved to another location in August of 1961. “Food will be prepared and served to students that dine in basement of 278 Commonwealth. The necessary door in the party wall was installed five years ago. The present occupant is Cambridge School of Business.”
In July of 1963, the Mifro Realty Trust and the Osborne Association of Boston, an association of Cambridge School of Business students, each filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the basement and first floor into a club for use by the students, with the remainder of the building continuing to be used as a dormitory.
In 1966, Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College acquired 278-280-282 Commonwealth, 29 Gloucester, and 34 Gloucester from First Community Investment. Chamberlayne already owned 260–262–264–266–270–274–276 Commonwealth, which it had acquired earlier in the 1960s.
It continued to use the buildings as dormitories.
In December of 1976, Back Bay Restorations Company purchased 278-280-282 Commonwealth (and four other properties: 199 Marlborough, 238 Marlborough, 148 Commonwealth. and 298 Commonwealth) from Bernard P. Rome. One month earlier, it had purchased 274 and 276 Commonwealth from Alfonso Vitagliano.
In October of 1976, prior to finalizing either purchase, Back Bay Restorations filed for (and subsequently received) permission to combine 280 and 282 Commonwealth into one property, with the address of 280 Commonwealth, and convert the combined property into 18 apartments.
At the same time, it also applied to combine 274-276 Commonwealth and 278 Commonwealth into one property, with the address at 274 Commonwealth, and convert the combined property into 23 apartments. In February of 1984, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to increase the number of apartments at 274-276-278 Commonwealth from 23 to 25.
In February of 1984, Back Bay Restorations converted 274-282 Commonwealth into forty-three condominium units (ten units in 274 Commonwealth, five units in 276 Commonwealth, ten units in 278 Commonwealth, eleven units in 280 Commonwealth, and seven units in 282 Commonwealth): the 280 Commonwealth Condominium.