29 Gloucester was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1882-1883 by Samuel Tarbell Ames, builder, for Charles Anthony Morss, a wire and cable manufacturer who lived at 323 Marlborough. It was one of four contiguous houses (29-31-33 Gloucester and 35 Gloucester, also numbered 279 Newbury).
Charles Morss is shown as the owner on the original building permit applications for all four houses, dated April 18, 1882. It appears that 29 Gloucester may have been the last house built, inasmuch as 31-35 Gloucester are shown as structures on the 1883 Bromley map, but 29 Gloucester is shown only as a lot, owned by Charles A. Morss.
By 1883-1884 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home of Mrs. Anna (Berwick) Manning, widow of Rev. Jacob Merrill Manning. Jacob Manning had been pastor of Old South Church until 1881 and had died in November of 1882. Prior to his death, they had lived at the Old South Church parsonage on Boylston. She is shown as the owner of 29 Gloucester on the 1888 Bromley map.
She continued to live there during the 1889-1890 season, but moved thereafter. She continued to be shown as the owner on the 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
By the 1890-1891 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home of Mrs. Mary (Eldridge) Bangs, the widow of William A. Bangs. She previously had lived at The Copley at 18 Huntington. She continued to live at 29 Gloucester until her death in June of 1894.
29 Gloucester was not listed in the 1895 Blue Book.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home of Anne Pearson (Lunt) Frothingham, the widow of Thomas Bumstead Frothingham, and their children: Dr. Langdon Frothingham (a veterinarian), Louis Adams Frothingham (an attorney and future Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Lt. Governor, and US Congressman), and Anne Gorham Frothingham.
Langdon Frothingham previously had lived in New Haven, where he had been an instructor and researcher at Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School. Louis and Anne Frothingham had lived with their mother at 16 Exeter (196 Marlborough).
Anne (Lunt) Frothingham died in May of 1896. Langdon, Louis, and Anne Frothingham continued to live at 29 Gloucester during the 1898-1899 season, but moved thereafter to 20 Hereford.
By the 1899-1900 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home of John Chase Howe and his wife, Mabel Allison (Yates) Howe. They previously had lived at 31 Gloucester.
John Howe was a dealer in dye stuffs, paint, and isinglass in the firm of Howe & French.
Living with them were Walter Yates, a ship chandler, and his wife, Marie (Howe) Yates. Walter Yates was Mabel (Yates) Howe’s brother and Marie (Howe) Yates was John Howe’s daughter by his first marriage, to Mary Gore (Ripley) Howe. They had lived with John and Mabel Howe at 31 Gloucester.
John Howe died in September of 1901. Mabel Howe and Walter and Marie Yates continued to live at 29 Gloucester during the 1901-1902 season, but moved thereafter to 34 Gloucester (which Walter and Mabel Yates had owned and leased to others since about 1898).
29 Gloucester was not listed in the 1903 Blue Book.
By the 1903-1904 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home of Dr. Franz Pfaff and his wife, Hermine. They previously had lived at 871 Boylston. He was a physician and a professor of pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. They continued to live there during the 1912-1913 season, after which they made the Hotel Lenox at 61 Exeter their home.
By the 1913-1914 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home and medical office of Dr. John Bromham Hawes, II, and his wife, Cornelia Laurence (Hyatt) Hawes. They previously had lived at the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon.
John Hawes was a physician specializing in tuberculosis and other diseases of the lungs.
Dr. George Plummer Howe maintained his medical office at 29 Gloucester with Dr. Hawes. He and his wife, Marion Dudley (Endicott) Howe, lived at 154 Beacon with his parents, Dr. Octavius Thorndike Howe and Elizabeth (Plummer) Howe. Interested in anthropology and archaeology, in 1906-1907, George Howe had served as surgeon with Ernest Leffingwell’s expedition to northern Alaska. In the spring of 1917, he volunteered for the Medical Officers Reserve Corps; he was killed in action in September of 1917.
John and Cornelia Hawes continued to live at 29 Gloucester during the 1920-1921 winter season. By 1922, they had moved to 36 West Cedar, and his office was located at 11 Marlborough.
By the 1921-1922 winter season, 29 Gloucester was the home of Robert Bitzer and his wife, Elizabeth Bertha May (Tucker) Bitzer. They previously had lived in West Somerville. Elizabeth T. Bitzer is shown as the owner of 29 Gloucester on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps. They also maintained a summer home in Wollaston.
Robert Bitzer was a public school teacher and later would become a professor at Teachers College.
The Bitzers regularly accepted several lodgers but, it appears, never changed the legal occupancy from a single-family dwelling.
Among the Bitzers’ longer-term lodgers was Dr. Edward Stanley Abbot, who lived there from the 1922-1923 winter season. He previously had lived in Philadelphia, where his wife, Marion (Wetherill) Abbot, died in February of 1922, a suicide. E. Stanley Abbot was a physician and psychiatrist, having spent much of his earlier career on the medical staff of McLean Hospital. He continued to live at 29 Gloucester until 1941.
The Bitzers continued to live at 29 Gloucester until about 1946, when they moved to 1069 Boylston.
In the fall of 1946, 29 Gloucester was purchased from Robert Bitzer by Elmer P. Crooker, Jr., trustee of the Bailey Trust. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on October 27, 1946. That same month, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into three apartments.
In mid-1948, 29 Gloucester was purchased from Elmer Crooker by Herbert Tiffany.
In July of 1951, it was purchased by Bertha A. Goodhue. In July of 1953, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as five apartments, indicating that it had been occupied as such when she purchased the property.
In June of 1961, in response to a neighbor’s complaint, a Building Department inspection found that 29 and 33 Gloucester had been occupied illegally as school dormitories by students who “took 2 meals a day at 278 Commonwealth.” That same month, Robert Illinghast filed for (and subsequently received) permission to install a dining hall in the basement of 278 Commonwealth.
In July of 1961, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 29 Gloucester from five apartments into a lodging house. In April of 1962, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into a dormitory. At the same time, he filed a similar application to convert 278-280 Commonwealth into a dormitory.
In 1966, Chamberlayne School and Chamberlayne Junior College acquired 29 Gloucester, 34 Gloucester, and 278–280–282 Commonwealth from the First Community Investment Company. Chamberlayne already owned 260–262–264–266–270–274–276 Commonwealth, which it had acquired earlier in the 1960s.
In May of 1968, Chamberlayne applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel 29 Gloucester and install a student lounge, reading room, and television room for use by their students.
In April of 1976, James C. Lawless and his wife, Christina H. Lawless, trustees of Downey Realty Trust, purchased 29 Gloucester from Bernard P. Rome. In 1978, they also acquired 31 Gloucester.
In March of 2005, James Lawless filed for (and subsequently received) permission to change the legal occupancy from a dormitory to eight apartments. This was an existing condition and may have been for many years.
29 Gloucester remained an apartment house in 2014.