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.
291-299 are designed as a symmetrical composition centered on 295 Marlborough, which has a more prominent mansard and dormer window and a centered entrance. It is flanked by 293 and 297 Beacon, with slightly set back façades and one-story oriel windows which match the window at 295 Marlborough. 291 and 299 Marlborough at either end of the five house composition have full bays.
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. Frederick Pope is shown as the owner on the 1874 Hopkins map, and Harriot Goddard is shown as the owner of 291 Marlborough on the 1883, 1888, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.
William Goddard died in August of 1874. Harriot Goddard continued to live at 291 Marlborough with their unmarried son, William.
William Goddard died in December of 1907 and Harriot Goddard died in June of 1910.
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 the spring of 1912, the Lymans purchased and 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.
By late 1916, 291 Marlborough was owned by Charles Philip Beebe. In October of 1916, 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 previously 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.
Arthur L. Howard et al, trustees are shown as the owners of 291 Marlborough on the 1917 Bromley map.
By the 1920-1921 winter season, 291 Marlborough was the home of 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 in 1923, but had moved to an apartment at 256 Beacon by 1924.
By the 1923-1924 winter season, 291 Marlborough was the home of Charles Pelham Curtis and his wife, Edith Goddard (Roelker) Curtis. They previously had lived at 6 West Hill Place. He is shown as the owner of 291 Marlborough on the 1928 Bromley map. They also maintained a home, Cressbrook Farm, in Norfolk.
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.
By early 1935, 291 Marlborough was owned by Joseph P. Brennan, who reconveyed the property to real estate dealer H. Leon Sharmat. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on February 24, 1935.
By 1936, it was owned by Fannie I. (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.
The house was not listed in the 1936 and 1937 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1935 and 1936 City Directories.
In the fall of 1936, 291 Marlborough was purchased from Fannie Lang by Forrester Andrew Clark and his wife, Katharine Lee (Burrage) Clark. They transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on November 3, 1936. F. A. and K. B. Clark are shown as the owners of 291 Marlborough on the 1938 Bromley map. 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.
They 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 until about 1942.
They 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.
By 1945, 291 Marlborough was the home of Charles H. Colby and his wife, Helen (Porter) Colby. 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.
In January of 1955, 291 Marlborough was acquired by Sydney Reuben Barrow, a former shoe dealer, and his wife, Josephine (Hanratty) Barrow. They also owned 289 Marlborough and in 1956 acquired 288 Marlborough. In 1954, they had lived at 363 Beacon.
In June of 1955, Sydney Barrow filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy 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).
The Barrows continued to live in one of the apartments at 291 Marlborough until the early 1960s, when they moved to Monterey Park, California.
The property changed hands and by 1984 was owned by real estate broker and investor George P. Demeter. In May of 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. In September of 1985, he filed an amended master deed reducing the number of units from eight to four.