283 Dartmouth was built ca. 1871 as the home of building contractor James M. Standish and his wife, Sarah (Grant) Standish. It was one of three contiguous houses (279-281-283 Dartmouth) he built at the same time. In 1872, they had lived at 135 Dartmouth.
He is shown as the owner of 279 and 283 Dartmouth on the 1874 Hopkins map (281 Dartmouth had been sold to Dolly Beals).
By 1877, 283 Dartmouth was the home of Mary Abby (Mayer) Greene, the widow of Dr. John Singleton Copley Greene, a physician. She continued to live there in 1880, but by the 1880-1881 winter season had moved to 354 Marlborough.
By 1882, 283 Dartmouth was the home of Dr. Eugene Hanes Smith and his wife, Carrie Maria (Shaw) Smith. Living with them were Carrie Smith’s parents, Dr. Samuel J. Shaw and Frances B. (Hunter) Shaw. S. and E. Smith are shown as the owners of 283 Dartmouth on the 1883 Bromley map, Shaw and Smith are shown as the owners on the 1888 map, and Eugene Smith is shown as the owner on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1917 maps.
Eugene Smith was a dentist and, from 1895 to 1924, served as Dean of the Harvard Dental School. Samuel Shaw also was a dentist and previously had practiced in Marlborough. Both maintained their offices at 283 Dartmouth and also rented office space to other dentists.
Frances Shaw died in March of 1901. Dr. Shaw continued to live at 283 Dartmouth with the Smiths until he remarried, in January of 1903, to Melinda A. Westcott, a teacher in Marlborough. They moved to Marlborough, where he died in July of 1911.
Eugene and Carrie Smith continued to live at 283 Dartmouth until about 1920. By the 1921-1922 winter season, they had moved to The Puritan at 390 Commonwealth. He continued to maintain his offices at 283 Dartmouth until his death in May of 1925.
By 1922, 283 Dartmouth had been converted entirely to offices.
In the fall of 1925, 283 Dartmouth was purchased from estate of Eugene Smith by real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on October 1, 1925.
In 1926, it was converted from offices to a store on the first floor, offices on the upper floors, and a residential unit on the top floor. As part of the remodeling, the front façade was redesigned, new oriel windows were added on the alley side, and an “extension” was added at the rear at the basement and first story levels to expand the store area. Plans for the remodeling, designed by architect Henry Bailey Alden, are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference BIN P-6).
283 Dartmouth continued to be listed as offices in the 1929 Blue Book.
Norman B. Smith et al, Trustees, shown as the owners on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps. Norman Smith was a real estate agent and maintained an office at 283 Dartmouth.
In April of 1929, the storefront was leased by the Atlantic National Bank of Boston. The bank remained there in 1932, but had closed by 1933 and the storefront was vacant.
The building remained a storefront with offices and an apartment above in 1952.
By 1969, the residential unit had been replaced by office space and the building was owned by the Estate of Elizabeth C. Murphy. It subsequently changed hands and in 1977 was converted to a storefront with offices and a private health club on the third and fourth floors.
By 1987, it was once again entirely offices.