282 Beacon was designed by Blackall and Elwell, architects, and built in 1927 by Boyle-Robertson Company, builders, as an eleven story, ten unit apartment house. The original owner was the 282 Beacon Street Trust, Elliott Henderson, trustee.
In a September 20, 1926, Boston Globe article describing plans for the building, it was described as a “cooperative apartment house, to contain every modern improvement…one modern apartment to a floor…”.
Plans for the building — including elevations, floor plans, framing plans, piling and foundation plans, and other construction details — are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference BIN N-19).
Click here to view the Beacon, Exeter, and River elevations of 282 Beacon.
In about 1934, 282 Beacon was acquired by 282 Beacon St. Inc., which was the assessed owner from 1935. It remained a cooperative apartment building.
In January of 1940, real estate dealer and manager Gerald Boardman, on behalf of 282 Beacon St. Inc., applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the front entrance of the building. At that time, it was composed of eleven apartments.
In May of 1947, 282 Beacon was acquired by Beacon Exeter Apartments, Inc., which was the assessed owner from 1948. In May of 1973, R. M. Bradley & Co., on behalf of Beacon Exeter Apartments, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to combine two first floor apartments into one, and to legalize the occupancy as eight units. The filing indicates that there was no prior record of the legal occupancy.
282 Beacon (Demolished)
282 Beacon was built ca. 1872 as the home of retired shipping merchant Caleb Agry Curtis and his wife, Emily M. (Adams) Curtis. In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that it was designed by Theophilus P. Briggs. Theophilus Briggs was a housewright and carpenter, rather than an architect, and probably also built the house. On a permit application dated June 28, 1872, for a stable to be built behind the house, Theophilus Briggs is shown as both the architect and builder.
Caleb Curtis is shown as the owner on the June 28, 1872, permit application, and on the 1874 Hopkins map. Emily M. Curtis is shown as the owner on the 1883 Bromley map.
In the early 1880s, the Curtises were living elsewhere.
During the 1879-1880 winter season, 282 Beacon was the home of retired flour merchant Edwin Augustus Robinson and his wife, Ellen Caroline (Coburn) Robinson. They previously had lived at the Hotel Cluny at 543 Boylston. Their son, Edward, lived with him; he would later become director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and then of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Edwin Robinson died in June of 1880. Ellen Robinson and her son moved soon thereafter.
282 Beacon was not listed in the 1881 Blue Book.
During the 1881-1882 winter season, it was the home of George Nathaniel Dana and his wife, Caroline Melissa (Dodge) Dana. They previously had lived at 486 Columbus. He was a commission merchant and agent for the Eagle Sugar Refinery. By mid-1882, they had moved to the new home they had built at 318 Beacon.
By the 1882-1883 winter season, Caleb and Emily Curtis were living at 282 Beacon once again.
Emily Curtis died in July of 1883. Caleb Curtis continued to live at 282 Beacon with their two daughters, Amy and Clara, until about 1896. Caleb A. Curtis et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1888 and 1895 Bromley maps.
In early 1897, 282 Beacon was purchased from the estate of Emily Curtis by Katharine (Lowell) Roosevelt, the widow of Alfred Roosevelt. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on February 17, 1897. She is shown as the owner on the 1898 Bromley map. Alfred Roosevelt had been a banker in New York City and was killed in a railroad accident in July of 1891. She had lived at 234 Beacon during the 1896-1897 winter season.
Katharine Roosevelt married again, November of 1902, to Thomas James Bowlker, a professor of mathematics and a scientist. After their marriage, they lived at 282 Beacon. She is listed as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.
T. James Bowlker died in February of 1917. Katharine (Lowell) Bowlker continued to live at 282 Beacon until about 1923, when the Blue Book indicated she was “abroad for the winter.” She had returned by 1925 and was living at the Hotel Vendôme in February when she fell to her death from her fifth floor apartment. At the time of her death, she was president of the Women’s Municipal League.
In September of 1926, 282 Beacon was purchased from the estate of Katherine Bowlker by Elliott Henderson, trustee of the 282 Beacon Street Trust. At the same time, he also purchased 284 Beacon.
284 Beacon (Demolished)
284 Beacon was built ca. 1870 as the home of William Frederic Matchett, treasurer of the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation, and his wife, Sarah Amanda (Livermore) Matchett. They previously had lived in Brighton. He is shown as the owner of 284 Beacon on the 1874 Hopkins map and the 1883 Bromley map, and Sarah Matchett is shown as owner on the 1888 and 1898 maps.
William Matchett died in January of 1901. Sarah Matchett continued to live at 284 Beacon until about 1905, when she moved to Brookline.
In the spring of 1905, wool merchant Lorenzo N. Kettle and his wife, Ernestine (May) Kettle, purchased 284 Beacon from Sarah Matchett. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on May 3, 1905. He is shown as the owner on the 1908 Bromley map.
The Kettles also maintained a home in Weston and a summer home in Bar Harbor.
By the 1916-1917 winter season, 284 Beacon was the home of Laura (Colman) Hill, the widow of former Maine Governor John Fremont Hill, and their daughter, Katherine L. Hill. They previously had lived at 18 Exeter. Laura Hill is shown as the owner of 284 Beacon on the 1917 Bromley map. They continued to live there until about 1923.
In the spring of 1923, 284 Beacon was purchased from Laura Hill by Bertha (Glover) Rueter, the widow of Henry Arnold Rueter, as her home and the home of her son and daughter-in-law, William Glover Rueter and Margaret (Margot) Putnam (Cushing) Rueter. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on April 8, 1923. Bertha Rueter previously had lived at 119 Perkins in Jamaica Plain with her husband, who died in November of 1922. William and Margaret Rueter had lived at 160 Riverway.
William Rueter was a brewer in his family’s business.
They continued to live at 284 Beacon in 1926, when they moved to 10 Fairfield.
In September of 1926, 284 Beacon was purchased from Bertha Rueter by Elliott Henderson, trustee of the 282 Beacon Street Trust. At the same time, he also purchased 282 Beacon.