286 Beacon and 288 Beacon were built ca. 1869, a symmetrical pair of houses five stories (four stories and a mansarded fifth floor) and basement in height on 20 foot wide lots. 290 Beacon was built at the same time, three stories (two stories and mansarded third floor) and basement in height on a 38 foot wide lot. As originally built, 286-288 Beacon and 290 Beacon shared the same design for their entrance porticos, fenestration, and cornices. Howard Snelling and his wife, Anna (Rodman) Snelling, built 290 Beacon as their home and 288 Beacon as an investment. Howard Snelling’s first cousin, once removed, George Barnard and his wife, Ellen (Russell) Barnard, built 286 Beacon.
Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay does not attribute 286-288 Beacon and 290 Beacon to specific architects. However, a January 2, 1869, Boston Post article on current building projects in the city includes “a 2½ story dwelling 38×60 on Beacon street west of Berkeley street, by Faulkner and Clark [sic], costing about $20,000.” 290 Beacon is the only house on either side of Beacon in the Back Bay built on a 38 foot lot and, therefore, appears to be the house referenced in the Post article. The article also mentions “two four-story dwellings, 20×60, erected by Messrs. Faulkner & Clarke, at a cost of about $56,000.” Given the dimensions of 286-288 Beacon, the similarities in design, and the common ownership of 288 and 290 Beacon, it appears likely that 286-288 Beacon were the houses referenced by the Post and, therefore, that all three were designed by Faulkner and Clarke.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 286-288 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
286-286 Beacon were combined into one building and, in 1945, were significantly remodeled. The remodeling was designed by architect Meyer Louis.
286 Beacon was built as the home of George Middleton Barnard, Jr., and his wife, Ellen Hooper (Russell) Barnard. They had lived at 83 Marlborough in 1868. They also maintained a home in Mattapoisett.
Ellen Barnard purchased the land for 286 Beacon on April 30, 1869, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
George M. Barnard had served in the Civil War, brevetted a Colonel for his service at the battles of Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. After returning the Boston, he had joined his father’s shipping merchant firm. He retired from the firm in 1870.
The Barnards lived at 286 Beacon until about 1876. In 1877 and 1878, George Barnard traveled for two years to Japan and China, returning via Egypt, Paris, and London. It appears that Ellen Barnard and the children did not travel with him.
After he returned, they made Mattapoisett their primary home and leased 286 Beacon to others. He maintained his Boston residence at the Somerset Club at 42 Beacon. By 1882, he was a bookkeeper and records clerk with the Boston office of building inspection.
In 1877, 286 Beacon was the home of Emmeline (Dabney) Paterson Stackpole, the widow of Adam Paterson and of John Ward Gurley Stackpole, and her three adult children: Frederick Dabney Stackpole, Emmeline Dabney Stackpole, and Roxana Stackpole. John W. G. Stackpole had been an iron merchant in Cincinatti, where the family had lived at the time of the 1870 US Census. In 1874, the family traveled to Europe and, in June of 1875, he died in Paris. The family subsequently lived in Boston and Frederick Stackpole entered Harvard Medical School. They had moved from 286 Beacon by 1878, and by the 1879-1880 winter season were living at 299 Marlborough.
During the 1879-1880 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of retired druggist William Gardiner Prescott and his wife, Josephine Augusta (Peabody) Prescott. They had lived at 174 Beacon in 1878. They also maintained a home in Pepperell, Massachusetts. By the 1880-1881 season, they had moved to 84 Beacon.
By the 1880-1881 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of Sophia (Sloan) Brastow, the widow of George Oliver Brastow. She previously had lived in Somerville, where her husband, a real estate investor and agent for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. had served as the first Mayor. He had died in November of 1878.
Living with Mrs. Brastow during the 1880-1881 season were Benjamin Shreve Calef and his wife, Annie (MacDonald) Calef. Benjamin Calef was manager of the New England branch of New York Life Insurance. By the 1881-1882 season, they had moved to 95 Mt. Vernon, and by the next season they were living at 381 Marlborough.
During the 1881-1882 winter season, Sophia Brastow was joined at 286 Beacon by William Whitwell Greenough, treasurer of the Boston Gas Light Company, and his wife, Catherine Scollay (Curtis) Greenough. They previously had lived at 249 Berkeley. By the 1882-1883 season, they had moved to the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Clarendon and Boylston).
In late 1883, Mrs. Brastow was joined at 286 Beacon by Frank Judd Post and his wife, Elizabeth Ridgway (Mott) Post. They had married in September of 1883. He was advertising manager for The Congregationalist. They moved the next year to the Hotel Guilford (Guildford) at 220 Clarendon.
Sophia Brastow continued to live at 286 Beacon during the 1883-1884 winter season, but moved thereafter to 31 Chestnut.
286 Beacon was not listed in the 1885 Blue Book.
By the 1885-1886 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of Silas French Robinson, a salesman, and his wife, Anne Elizabeth (Dakin) Robinson, who appear to have operated it as a lodging house. They continued to live at 286 Beacon during the 1890-1891 season, but moved thereafter.
During the 1891-1892 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of Mary E. (Tarbell) Blake Whitmore, the widow of George Blake, Jr., and of Charles Octavius Whitmore, and Miss Dora Brereton. Mrs. Whitmore previously had lived at 377 Beacon.
By the 1894-1895 winter season, George and Ellen Barnard were living at 286 Beacon once again. They continued to live there during the 1896-1897 season, but probably moved soon thereafter to their Mattapoisett home, where he died in December of 1898.
On August 31, 1897, 286 Beacon was purchased from Ellen Barnard by Arioch Wentworth Erickson. He married in October of 1897 to Cecile Rush Macy and they made it their Boston home. They also lived in Swampscott with his grandfather, Arioch Wentworth, and his step-father and mother, Willoughby Herbert Stuart and Susan Maria (Wentworth) Erickson Stuart. Prior to his marriage, Arioch Erickson had lived with the Stuarts and Arioch Wentworth at 332 Beacon, which continued to be their Boston home.
Arioch Wentworth was a marble dealer and real estate investor. An October 24, 1897, “Social Life” entry in the Boston Herald indicated that he gave 286 Beacon to his grandson “for his wedding present.” When Arioch Wentwworth died in March of 1903, he left the bulk of his estate to found the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.
The Ericksons continued to live at 286 Beacon during the 1903-1904 winter season, after which they made Swampscott their year-round home.
286 Beacon was not listed in the 1905 Blue Books.
On May 8, 1905, 286 Beacon was purchased from Arioch Wentworth Erickson by wool merchant Thomas Chandler Thacher. He and his wife, Maria Louise (Leavitt) Thacher, lived at 288 Beacon. 286 and 288 Beacon remained under common ownership from this time. Until the late 1920s, the Thachers appear to have leased 286 Beacon to others.
By the 1905-1906 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of real estate developer John Humphreys Storer and his wife, Edith (Paine) Storer. They previously had lived in Waltham, where they continued to maintain a home. They continued to live at 286 Beacon during the 1913-1914 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 222 Beacon.
By the 1917-1918 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of Dr. André William Bradford Simone Reggio (known as William Reggio) and his wife, Marian Shaw (Lovering) Reggio. They previously had lived at 40 Fairfield. They continued to live at 286 Beacon in 1919, but had moved to 356 Beacon by 1920.
During the 1920-1921 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of Thomas Dawes Blake 2nd. He previously had lived at 140 Beacon with his mother, Maria Teresa (Hartnell) Blake, the wife of William Horton Blake. Thomas Blake entered Harvard in 1921 and probably moved to Cambridge.
By the 1921-1922 winter season, 286 Beacon was the home of Constance Lily (Rothschild) Morris, the wife of Ira Nelson Morris. Her husband was a former executive in his father’s Chicago meat packing firm and served as US Minister to Sweden from 1914 to 1923. Mrs. Morris and their children, Constance and Ira Victor Morris, probably had moved to Boston in anticipation of his return to the United States.
286 Beacon was not listed in the 1923 and 1924 Blue Books.
By the 1924-1925 winter season, it was the home of attorney Henry Dubois Tudor and his wife Eleanor (Gray) Tudor. They previously had lived in Cambridge. They also maintained a home, Six Tree House, in Hancock, New Hampshire. They continued to live at 286 Beacon during the 1926-1927 winter season, but thereafter moved back to Cambridge.
The house was not listed in the 1927-1937 Blue Books, and is shown as vacant in the 1930-1945 Boston City Directories. It appears likely that Thomas Thacher consolidated it with his home at 288 Beacon.
288 Beacon was built ca. 1869 for coal dealer Howard Snelling and his wife, Anna Lothrop (Rodman) Snelling, on land which Anna Snelling purchased on January 18, 1869, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation. On the same day, she purchased the lot to the west, where she and her husband built their home at 290 Beacon. Howard Snelling and George Middleton Barnard, who built and lived at 288 Beacon, were first cousins, once removed (Howard Snelling’s mother, Caroline (Tilden) Snellling, was the sister of George Barnard’s maternal grandfather, William Tilden).
The Snellings built 288 Beacon as an investment and, possibly, also to ensure that the house built at 288 Beacon would not encroach on their home at 290 Beacon. In August of 1870, Howard Snelling advertised it in the Boston Evening Transcript: “”For Sale or To Let – furnished or unfurnished, new House No. 288 Beacon st., water side, very thoroughly built, four stories high, and fitted with every convenience.”
On December 3, 1870, 288 Beacon was purchased from Anna Snelling by Lucy Jane (Blake) Holder, the wife of metals and hardware dealer Daniel Curtis Holder. They previously had lived on Dorchester Avenue.
They continued to live at 288 Beacon during the 1890-1891 winter season, but had moved thereafter and by the 1892-1893 season were living at the Abbotsford at 184 Commonwealth by 1893.
On January 30, 1891, 288 Beacon was purchased from Lucy Jane Holder by wool merchant Thomas Chandler Thacher. He and his wife, Maria Louise (Leavitt) Thacher, made it their home. They previously lived at 74 Chestnut. They also maintained a home in Yarmouth Port.
In May of 1905, Thomas Thacher acquired 286 Beacon. 286 and 288 Beacon remained under common ownership from this time.
During the 1911-1912 winter season, the Thachers moved to the Hotel Somerset and then spent several months in Europe. While they were gone, 288 Beacon was the home of Dr. John Thornton Bullard and his wife, Emily Morgan (Rotch) Bullard. They also maintained a home in New Bedford, where he had been a physician from the time of their marriage in 1889 until his retirement in 1910. They had lived at 200 Beacon during the 1910-1911 season.
The Thachers resumed living at 288 Beacon during the 1912-1913 winter season, and the Bullards spent the season at the Hotel Somerset.
In November of 1912, Thomas Thacher was elected to the US Congress, representing the district which included Yarmouth Port and New Bedford. They lived in Washington DC during the next two winter seasons, and 288 Beacon was once again the home of John and Emily (Rotch) Bullard. By the 1915-1916 season, they had moved to 47 Commonwealth.
Thomas Thacher was defeated for re-election in 1914 and he and his wife resumed living at 288 Beacon in 1915.
Louise Hope Thacher married in February of 1915 to Bernard Shirley Carfter, a student at Harvard. After their marriage, they lived in Cambridge. He graduated in 1915 and entered Harvard Law School but withdrew in 1917 to enlist in the US Army. While he served in France, they also maintained an apartment at 421 Marlborough. After the war, he was a banker in New York and then in London and Paris.
Dorothy Thacher married in June of 1917 to William Armour of Princeton, New Jersey. He was serving in the Naval Coast Reserve in Newport, where they lived after their marriage. After the war, they lived in New York City, where he was an investment banker.
Thomas and Maria Thacher moved to the Hotel Lenox at 61 Exeter for the 1917-1918, 1918-1919. and 1919-1920 winter seasons. They continued to maintain their home in Yarmouth Port.
During the 1917-1918 winter season, 288 Beacon was the home of Marie Alexis (Hayes) Sturges, the widow of Walter Knight Sturges, and their three sons: Thomas Rush Sturges, Hayes Sturges, and Walter Knight Sturges, Jr. They previously had lived at 3 Louisburg Square. Walter Sturges had been a banker and then, from 1901 until his death in May of 1913, had been agent for the estate of his grandfather, Benjamin Brayton Knight, in Providence. By the 1918-1919 season, Mrs. Sturges and her sons had moved to 138 Beacon.
288 Beacon was not listed in the 1919 Blue Book.
During the 1919-1920 winter season, it was the home of stockbroker Nelson Slater Bartlett, Jr., and his wife, Christiana Sargent (Hunnewell) Bartlett. They also maintained a home in Dover. By the next season, they had moved to 22 Marlborough.
Thomas Thacher, Jr., was discharged from the Army and became a wool merchant in Boston. He lived with his parents at 288 Beacon until his marriage in July of 1920 to Vera Morgan. After their marriage, they lived in an apartment at 261 Beacon.
The Thachers were living elsewhere during the 1923-1924 winter season and 288 Beacon was the home of Miss Katherine Lyman Thomas and probably also her sisters: Alice Lee Whitridge Thomas, Rosamond Whitridge Thomas, and Elizabeth C. Thomas. They were the daughters of architect Douglas Hamilton Thomas and his wife, Bessie Lyman (Chadwick) Thomas. In 1922, they had lived at 31 Hereford, and then had traveled in Europe.
By the 1924-1925 winter season, Katherine Thomas and her sisters had moved to 104 Marlborough and the Thachers were living at 288 Beacon once again.
During the late 1920s and 1930s, the Thachers probably also occupied 286 Beacon, which was not listed in the 1927-1937 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1930-1945 Boston City Directories.
Maria Thacher died in October of 1933. Thomas Thacher continued to own and live at 286-288 Beacon until his death in April of 1945.
On July 5, 1945, Ray C. Johnson conveyed 286-288 Beacon to Maurice Zerner, an insurance manager. In June of 1945, prior to taking title to the properties, he had applied for (and subsequently received) permission to consolidate 286 and 288 Beacon and remodel them into twelve apartments, with the entrance at 286 Beacon. The remodeling included modernizing the front façade and was designed by architect Meyer Louis.
On March 19, 1948, 286-288 Beacon were acquired from Maurice Zerner by Harry Nathanson and his wife, Pearl (Glazer) Nathanson. They lived in Dorchester, but moved to an apartment at 286 Beacon by 1951. He was president of the Hub Cloak and Suit Company.
On June 1, 1950, the Nathansons transferred the property to Harry Nathanson and Walter Benjamin Cavagnaro as trustees of the Two Hundred Eighty-Six Beacon Street Trust. Walter Cavagnaro and his wife, Estelle (Stella) E. (Gottlieb) Cavagnaro lived in an apartment at 286 Beacon. He was president and treasurer of Dorchester Garage Auto Sales, Inc.
On November 1, 1954, Harry Nathanson and Walter Cavagnaro transferred the property to themselves and their wives, and then to Harry Nathanson and Emil Michael Bonyhady as trustees of the Nabo Realty Trust. Emil Bonyhady and his wife, Gertrude (Rothschild) Bonyhady, lived in an apartment at 286 Beacon. He was president and treasurer of the Embo Casual Footwear Corp.
Emil Bonyhady died in December of 1966, and Gertrude Bonyhady married again in April of 1968 to Harry B. Hershon. Harry Nathanson resigned as trustee in December of 1969 and was succeeded by his wife.
On May 2, 1974, 286-288 Beacon were acquired from Pearl Nathanson and Gertrude Hershon, trustees of the Nabo Realty Trust, by the Second Forest Realty Associates Limited Partnership (Kurt D. Bleicken and Janet H. Bleicken, general partners).
On the same day, the Bleickens converted the property into twleve condominium units, the 286 Beacon Street Condominium.