295-297 Beacon

295-297 Beacon (2013)

295-297 Beacon (2013)

Lot 54' x 112' (6,048 sf)

Lot 54′ x 112′ (6,048 sf)

295-297 Beacon is located on the SE corner of Beacon and Exeter, with 293 Beacon to the east, 299 Beacon to the west, across Exeter, 280 Beacon to the north, across Beacon and 199 Marlborough to the south, across Alley 418.

295-297 Beacon, the Hotel Royal apartments, was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1885-1886 by L. P. Soule, builder, for George H. Brooks.  He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated October 3, 1885, and on the final building inspection report, dated December 2, 1886.

295-297 Beacon was built on two parcels of land. George Brooks acquired the parcel to the west, a 30 foot wide lot at the corner of Beacon and Exeter, on July 3, 1885, from real estate dealer Samuel Horatio Whitwell, who had acquired the land from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on June 30, 1885. George Brooks acquired the 24 foot wide lot to the east on August 13, 1885, from dry goods merchant Eben Dyer Jordan, co-founder of the firm of Jordan, Marsh & Company, who had acquired the land from the Commonwealth on June 30, 1885. In both cases, the land originally had been sold by the Commonwealth at its public sale on November 26, 1866. Samuel Whitwell and Eben Jordan either were the successful bidders at that time or acquired the right to purchase the land from the successful bidders, but in either case did not complete the transaction until they had a buyer to whom they could sell it.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 295-297 Beacon.

George H. Brooks was a real estate investor, having formerly been a retail clothing merchant in Boston and then a wholesale liquor dealer in Cincinnati.

Second floor plan of 295 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report , 2Dec1886 (v. 16, p. 110); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Second floor plan of 295 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report , 2Dec1886 (v. 16, p. 110); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

He and his wife, Sarah T. (Smith) Brooks, lived at 295 Beacon. Their son and daughter-in-law, banker and stockbroker George Chelson Brooks and Carrie L. (Story) Brooks, lived with them. They all previously had lived at 317 Beacon.  They also maintained a home in Swampscott.

In January of 1891, they all moved to 130 Commonwealth.

George and Sarah Brooks were legally separated by December of 1895 and he died in May of 1896. In his will, he left his entire estate to his son, George (whom he also named as executor), and left his wife “the sum of $1.00 and such interest in property of which I shall die seized, both real and personal, as she is entitled to by operation of law, and no more.”

On July 9, 1896, George C. Brooks transferred a one-half undivided interest in 295-297 Beacon and in 130 Commonwealth to his mother, and she named him her “attorney irrevocable” for all matters associated with the Hotel Royal.

George and Carrie Brooks lived at the Hotel Royal during the 1896-1897 and 1897-1898 winter seasons, after which they moved to 7 Bay State Road. They also continued to maintain a home in Swampscott.

Sarah (Story) Brooks died in September of 1904. In her will, she left her one-half interest in 295-297 Beacon to George C. Brooks. He died in September of 1923 and Carrie Brooks died in 1927. 295 Beacon continued to be owned by his estate.

295-297 Beacon (2013)

295-297 Beacon (2013)

In November of 1932 the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, trustee under George C. Brooks’s will, filed for (and subsequently received) permission to increase the number of units from eighteen to nineteen.

On November 13, 1940, 295 Beacon was purchased from George C. Brooks’s estate by attorney William I. Schell, and on November 26, 1940, it was acquired from him by Harold Scott Cosby.

The property changed hands and on January 5, 1953, was acquired by Nathan Koffman and his brother, Benjamin Koffman. Nathan Koffman was a real estate dealer; he and his wife, Helen Elsie (Lewis) Koffman, lived in Brookline. Benjamin Koffman was a pharmacist; he and his wife, Arelene (Gordon) Koffman, lived in Newton.

On September 22, 1955, Nathan Koffman acquired Benjamin Koffman’s interest in the property.

In October of 1955, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as 21 units, the existing condition at that time.

The property again changed hands and on March 22, 1971, was acquired by Anthony C. Primo, James Primo, and John Primo, trustees of the Primo Realty Trust.

In January of 1973, the Primo Realty Trust filed for permission to legalize the occupancy as 30 units. The permit was denied, but the denial was annulled by the Board of Appeal, which noted that the building had been occupied as such for “at least fifteen years.”

On August 24, 1974, 295-297 Beacon was acquired from the Primo Realty Trust by Peter Spiro Davis and his brother, Lee S. Davis.

On September 30, 1974, they converted the property into thirty condominium units, the 295 Beacon Condominium.

295-297 Beacon (ca. 1890); courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

295-297 Beacon (ca. 1890); courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library