291 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.
285-287-289 Marlborough appear to have been built first, in early 1871, with 287-289 Marlborough designed as a symmetrical pair. 291-293-295-297-299 Marlborough were begun later in 1871, designed as a symmetrical composition, with 291 and 299 Marlborough on wider lots with bays, and 293-295-297 Marlborough on less wide lots with oriel windows. 295 Marlborough, on the smallest lot (17 feet wide) forms the center of that composition, with a defined mansard roof, large dormer, and centered entrance.
291-293-295-297-299 Marlborough were built on a 102 foot wide parcel that Frederick Pope assembled from three lots. The eastern 34 feet was the remainder of a 100 foot lot he had purchased on November 19, 1870, and on which he had built 285-287-289 Marlborough to the east. He purchased the center 24 foot lot and the western 44 foot lot on October 17, 1871, from the estate of Sidney Homer.
The western 44 foot lot was half of an 88 foot wide parcel that Frederick Pope and paper manufacturer John Dixwell Thompson had agreed to purchase jointly, 64 feet from Sidney Homer’s estate and 24 feet from Franklin Evans. On June 9, 1871, they agreed to divide the parcel, with Frederick Pope subsequently purchasing the eastern half from the Homer estate and J. Dixwell Thompson purchasing the western half from the Homer estate and Franklin Evans (301-303 Marlborough subsequently would be built on this land). J. Dixwell Thompson and his wife, Sally Phillips (Blagden) Thompson, lived at 287 Marlborough.
All of the land was part of one of several parcels originally purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on January 29, 1866, by a real estate investment trust formed by John Templeman Coolidge, Franklin Evans, and Charles Henry Parker. The trust had subdivided the property into lots, which it sold to investors and builders, who then frequently resold the lots to others.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 291 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 416, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
By 1873, 291 Marlborough was the home of ship builder and merchant William Warren Goddard and his wife, Harriot Miller (Erving) Goddard. They had lived at 99 Beacon in 1872. They leased 291 Marlborough from Frederick Pope.
William Goddard died in August of 1874. Harriot Goddard continued to live at 291 Marlborough with their unmarried son, William.
On May 8, 1875, Joseph McIntire foreclosed on a mortgage given to him by Frederick Pope and took possession of the property. On December 20, 1875, he transferred it to real estate dealer George Butterfield. On April 18, 1879, George Butterfield transferred the property to the Lowell Five Cents Savings Bank, which held a mortgage on the property originally given by Frederick Pope and assumed by subsequent owners. On March 25. 1880, Frederick Pope released his remaining equity interest in the property to the bank.
William Goddard died in December of 1907 and Harriot Goddard died in June of 1910. Her estate continued to own 291 Marlborough and lease it to others.
The house was not listed in the 1911 Blue Book.
During the 1911-1912 winter season, 291 Marlborough was the home of Charles Frederic Lyman and his wife, Isabella Ogden Reed (Macomber) Lyman. They previously had lived at 409 Beacon.
Charles Lyman was a stockbroker. He previously had been in partnership with John Appleton Burnham, III, in the firm of Lyman & Burnham, which manufactured automobiles ca. 1904-1905 and later dealt in automobile accessories.
In March of 1912, the Lymans purchased and subsequently moved to 315-317 Beacon.
By the 1912-1913 winter season, 291 Marlborough was the home of lawyer William Endicott Dexter and his wife, Mary Fitzhugh (Lindsay) Dexter. They previously had lived at 231 Marlborough. They continued to live at 291 Marlborough during the 1915-1916 winter season, but moved thereafter to 409 Beacon.
On October 7, 1916, 291 Marlborough was purchased from Harriot Goddard’s estate by Charles Philip Beebe. That same month, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the interior and also to replace the fourth floor bay with a “flat mansard roof.”
While the remodeling was being completed, he lived in an apartment at Brimmer Chambers at 12 Pinckney. He had owned a farm at Hood River in Oregon for several years; he had returned to Boston following the death in November of 1914 of his father, James Arthur Beebe of 199 Commonwealth.
On September 1, 1920, 291 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Beebe’s guardian by Frank Rollins Maxwell and his wife, Ella (Wickes) Maxwell. They previously had lived in Brookline. He was sales manager of Thomas G. Plant Corporation, shoe manufacturers, and later would become president of the firm. They continued to live at 291 Marlborough during the 1922-1923 winter season, but moved thereafter to an apartment at 256 Beacon.
On October 19, 1923, 291 Marlborough was purchased from the Maxwells by Charles Pelham Curtis, Jr. He and his wife, Edith Goddard (Roelker) Curtis, made it their home. They previously had lived at 6 West Hill Place. They also maintained a home, Cressbrook Farm, in Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Charles Pelham Curtis was an attorney. In the 1930s, Edith Roelker Curtis began a career as an author of biographies and fiction.
The Curtises were abroad during the 1931-1932 winter season and 291 Marlborough was the home of Robert Shuman Steinert and his wife, Lucy Pettingill (Currier) Steinert. They had lived at 128 Commonwealth during the previous season. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms. Robert Steinert was president of his family’s firm, M. Steinert & Sons, piano and music dealers on Boylston.
By the 1932-1933 season, the Steinerts were living in Beverly Farms and 291 Marlborough was once again the Curtises’ home. They continued to live there during the 1934-1935 season, but moved thereafter to their home in Norfolk. They divorced in 1936.
On February 14, 1935, 291 Marlborough was acquired from Charles Curtis by real estate dealer Joseph P. Brennan. On December 2, 1935, the Supreme Lodge of the New England Order of Protection foreclosed on a mortgage given by Joseph Brennan and took possession of the property.
The house was not listed in the 1936 and 1937 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1935 and 1936 City Directories.
On October 20, 1936, 291 Marlborough was acquired from the New England Order of Protection by Fannie (Itzkowitz/Asquith) Lang, the wife of Clarence Edward Lang. They lived in Winthrop. Clarence Lang was a real estate dealer and Fannie Lang operated the Fannette Gown Shop at 85 Newbury.
On October 28, 1936, 291 Marlborough was acquired from Fannie Lang by Forrester Andrew Clark and his wife, Katharine Lee (Burrage) Clark. They also maintained a home in Ipswich, which previously had been their primary residence.
Forrester Clark was an investment banker, managing partner with H. C. Wainwright & Company.
The Clarks continued to live at 291 Marlborough until about 1941, after which they made their home in Hamilton. He enlisted in the US Army during World War II and was discharged with the rank of Brigadier General.
In January of 1942, Forrester Clark applied for (and subsequently received) permission to repair fire damage to the third floor of 291 Marlborough.
By 1942, 291 Marlborough was the home of Arthur Lambert Hobson, a paper manufacturer, and his wife, Alice Carey (Gale) Hobson. They also maintained a home at Little Boar’s Head in New Hampshire, which previously had been their primary residence. Their son and daughter-in-law, Philip Noyes Hobson and Katherine (Dines) Hobson, lived with them in 1942.
Arthur and Alice Hobson continued to live at 291 Marlborough until about 1945, but had moved to the Hotel Puritan at 390 Commonwealth by the time of his death in November of 1946.
On September 28, 1945, 291 Marlborough was purchased from Forrester and Katharine Clark by Charles H. Colby. He and his wife, Helen (Porter) Colby, made it their home. They previously had lived in an apartment at 140 Beacon. He was president of an upholstery goods firm.
In October of 1945, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the interior. The current and proposed use was as a single-family dwelling. The Colbys continued to live at 291 Marlborough until about 1954, when they moved to Brookline.
On August 20, 1954, 291 Marlborough was acquired by Sydney Reuben Barrow, a former shoe dealer, and his wife, Josephine (Hanratty) Barrow. They previously had lived at 363 Beacon. They had owned 289 Marlborough, which they had converted to apartments and sold in May of 1954.
In June of 1955, Sydney Barrow filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy of 291 Marlborough as eight apartments, which he indicated was the use when he bought the property (there is no indication in the City Directories or Lists of Residents that this was the case).
In January of 1958, the Barrows acquired 293 Marlborough, which also had been converted into apartments.
The Barrows continued to live in one of the apartments at 291 Marlborough until the early 1960s, when they moved to Monterey Park, California.
On November 1, 1961, 291 Marlborough was purchased from the Barrows by Myron W. Shapiro and Saul Gershkowitz, trustees of the 291 Realty Trust.
On March 1, 1968, 291 Marlborough was acquired from Myron Shapiro and Saul Gershkowitz by real estate dealer George P. Demeter, trustee of the Demeter Realty Trust.
On May 10, 1984, he converted the property into eight condominium units, the 291 Marlborough Condominium.
All eight condominiums subsequently were acquired by Gerald J. Kiley and in May of 1985, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the property and convert it from eight units to four units. On September 12, 1985, he filed an amended master deed reducing the number of units from eight to four.