287 Marlborough was designed and built ca. 1871 by Frederick B. Pope for speculative sale, one of eight contiguous houses (285-287-289-291-293-295-297-299 Marlborough) built at about the same time. 287-289 Marlborough are designed as a symmetrical pair.
By 1872, 287 Marlborough was the home of paper manufacturer John Dixwell Thompson and his wife, Sally Phillips (Blagden) Thompson. They had been married in November of 1871, and 287 Marlborough probably was their first home together. Sally Thompson is shown as the owner on the 1874 Hopkins map and the 1883 Bromley map.
From about 1875, Sally Thompson’s father, Rev. George Washington Blagden, lived with them. He was the retired pastor of Old South Church. His wife, Miriam (Phillips) Blagden had died in April of 1874; prior to their death, they had lived at 40 Bowdoin.
J. Dixwell Thompson disappeared while on a trip to New York City in June of 1875 and was presumed dead.
Sally Thompson continued to live at 287 Marlborough with her father during the 1882-1883 winter season. In April of 1883, she married again, to Edward Cobb Sampson, an oil cloth manufacturer in New York City, where they lived after their marriage. George Blagden lived with them (he died at their home in December of 1884).
By the 1883-1884 winter season, 287 Marlborough was the home of James Means and his wife, Helen Goodell (Farnsworth) Means. They had married in March of 1883 and 287 Marlborough probably was their first home together. Helen G. Means is shown as the owner on the 1888 Bromley map.
James Means was a shoe manufacturer. He was a pioneer in promoting aviation and published The Aeronautical Annual in 1895, 1896, and 1897. His December 4, 1920, obituary in the Boston Globe said that his writings inspired the Wright Brothers “to study aviation in a practical way.”
They continued to live at 287 Marlborough during the 1889-1890 winter season, but purchased and moved soon thereafter to 196 Beacon.
By the 1890-1891 winter season, 287 Marlborough was the home of Henry Marion Howe and his wife, Fannie (Gay) Howe. He is shown as the owner on the 1895 Bromley map.
A former manufacturer of iron and steel, he was a consulting engineer and a lecturer on metallurgy at MIT. He was the son of Dr. Samuel Howe, founding administrator of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, and Julia Ward Howe, the noted author, poet, and leader of the abolitionist and woman’s suffrage movements. Earlier in 1890, Henry and Fannie Howe had lived at 241 Beacon, with his mother.
In the fall of 1897, 287 Marlborough was purchased from Henry Howe by investment banker Albert Thorndike and his wife Mary Quincy (Gould) Thorndike. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on November 6, 1897. They previously had lived at The Austerfield at 7-9 Massachusetts Avenue. Mary Thorndike is shown as the owner of 287 Marlborough on the 1898 Bromley map. They also maintained a home in Weston.
During the 1900-1901 winter season, they were living elsewhere, and 287 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. Anne (Meacham) Dibblee, the widow of California merchant and ranch owner Albert Dibblee, and their son, Benjamin Harrison Dibblee. He had graduated from Harvard in 1899 and then spent a year in the gold mines of Grass Valley, California. He had returned to Boston to work for the engineering firm of Stone and Webster.
By the 1901-1902 season, Anne and Benjamin Dibblee had moved to an apartment at The Commonwealth at 366 Commonwealth and the Thorndikes were once again living at 287 Marlborough. They continued to live there during the 1902-1903 season, but moved thereafter to 337 Beacon.
287 Marlborough was not listed in the 1904 Blue Book.
By the 1904-1905 winter season, 287 Marlborough was the home of attorney Joseph Lewis Stackpole, II, and his wife, Katharine Whiteside (Brown) Stackpole. They previously had lived at 636 Beacon. Katharine W. Stackpole is shown as the owner of 287 Marlborough on the 1908, 1912, and 1917 Bromley maps.
They continued to live there until 1922, when they moved to 292 Beacon, which had been the home of his parents, John Lewis Stackpole and Martha Watson (Parsons) Stackpole.
By the 1922-1923 winter season, 287 Marlborough was the home of John Burrow Muir Mactaggart, a retired merchant, and his wife, Elsie Baker (Folsom) Mactaggart. They previously had lived at The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon. Elsie B. F. Mactaggart is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home in Pomfret, Connecticut.
By 1940, they had been joined at 287 Marlborough by Elsie Mactaggart’s niece, Dorothy ManInnis (daughter of Edward C. MacInnis and Mabel H. (Folsom) MacInnis).
They continued to live at 287 Marlborough until about 1943. From about 1944, the Mactaggarts were living elsewhere, probably in Pomfret. Dorothy MacInnis continued to live at 287 Marlborough until the early 1950s, when she probably moved to Pomfret.
John Mactaggart died in May of 1954 in Pomfret. By 1956, Elsie Mactaggart and Dorothy MacInnis were living at 287 Marlborough again. They also continued to maintain a home in Pomfret. Elsie Mactaggart died in January of 1959 and Dorothy MacInnis moved soon thereafter.
In 1959, 287 Marlborough was acquired by Nubar Dinjian. In May of 1959, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into eight apartments.
The property changed hands and in October of 1979, it was purchased by Collmer Associates LP. In October of 1979, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from eight apartments into four units. And in August of 1980, it converted the property into four condominium units, the 287 Marlborough Street Condominium