3 Fairfield was built ca. 1870, one of three contiguous houses (1-3-5 Fairfield) built for investment banker Henry Chapman Wainwright for speculative sale. As originally built, both 1 Fairfield and 5 Fairfield had pitched roofs with dormers, and, although 5 Fairfield did not have a front bay, the three houses formed a balanced composition on Fairfield.
1-3-5 Fairfield were built on two lots with a combined depth (frontage on Marlborough) of 66 feet: a 30 foot lot at the northwest corner of Fairfield and Marlborough that Henry Wainwright purchased on October 7, 1870, from the estate of Sidney Homer, and a 36 foot lot to the west he purchased on November 19, 1870, from a real estate investment trust formed by John Templeman Coolidge, Franklin Evans, and Charles Henry Parker. Both lots were part of one of several parcels originally purchased by the trust on January 29, 1866, from the Boston Water Power Company. The trust subsequently subdivided the property into lots, which it sold to investors and builders, who then frequently resold the lots to others.
When he sold the completed houses, Henry Wainwright included in the deeds a four foot wide easement at the western boundary of 1 Fairfield to provide access to the alley from 3 Fairfield. The deeds also specified the right of 3 and 5 Fairfield to construct a drain from their property to the sewer in the alley.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 3 Fairfield, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 416, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
On November 23, 1870, 3 Fairfield was purchased from Henry Wainwright by Katharine Virginia (Foote) Rockwell, the wife of Alfred Perkins Rockwell. They previously had lived at the La Grange House hotel at 218 Tremont.
Alfred Rockwell was a professor of mining at MIT in the early 1870s, having held a similar position at Sheffield Scientific School in New Haven in the late 1860s. Following the Boston Fire in November of 1872, he was appointed Chairman of the Boston Fire Commission. From 1876 to 1879, he was president of the Eastern Railroad, and from 1879 until his retirement in 1886, he was treasurer of the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, a textile firm.
The Rockwells continued to live at 3 Fairfield during the 1885-1886 winter season, and then traveled to Europe, returning to live at 267 Beacon.
On March 23, 1886, Katharine Rockwell transferred 3 Fairfield to Alfred Rockwell’s brother, John Arnold Rockwell. He and his wife, Martha Denny (Ayers) Rockwell, lived in Norwich, Connecticut.
On March 5, 1887, 3 Fairfield was purchased from John A. Rockwell by Cordelia (Skinner) Thayer, the wife of George Henry Thayer, a dealer in dye-stuffs. They previously had lived at 395 Beacon.
The Thayers did not immediately take up residence at 3 Fairfield and during the 1887-1888 winter season, it was the home of Maria Catharine (Barnes) Blake, the widow of furniture dealer Charles Blake, and their unmarried son, William Osborne Blake, a real estate investor. They previously had lived at 119 Beacon. They subsequently moved to a new home they had built at 414 Beacon.
During the 1888-1889 winter season, the Thayers made 3 Fairfield their home. Their son, Lucian Skinner Thayer, an employee of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, lived with them. They had moved by the 1889-1890 winter season, and by the 1892-1893 season were living at 125 Marlborough. They continued to own 3 Fairfield and lease it to others.
During the 1889-1890 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of Margaret (Sigourney) Otis, the widow of wine and liquor dealer William Church Otis, who had died in March of 1889. Her primary residence was in Nahant. She continued to live at 3 Fairfield during the 1890-1891 season, but moved thereafter to the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Clarendon and Boylston).
By the 1891-1892 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of merchant Benjamin Loring Young and his wife, Charlotte Wright (Hubbard) Young. They had lived at 166 Marlborough during the previous season. They also maintained a home in Weston. By the 1892-1893 winter season, they had moved to 227 Beacon.
3 Fairfield was not listed in the 1893 Blue Book.
By the 1893-1894 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of China shipping merchant John Graeme Purdon and his wife Clara Pomeroy (Rogers) Purdon. They previously had lived at 384 Marlborough. They continued to live at 3 Fairfield during the 1894-1895 winter season, but moved thereafter to 356 Marlborough.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of Dr. Joseph Lincoln Goodale, a physician specializing in diseases of the throat, and his wife, Adelaide May (Evans) Goodale. Living with them was Dr. Henry Fox Hewes, also a physician. Dr. Goodale and Dr. Hewes also maintained their medical offices at 3 Fairfield.
By the 1901-1902 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of Walter H. Seavey and his wife, Mabel M. (Foster) Seavey. They previously had lived at The Westminster (southeast corner of St. James and Trinity Place). He was secretary, and later would become president, of E. H. Rollins & Co., investment bankers. They continued to live at 3 Fairfield during the 1902-1903 season, but moved thereafter to Hamilton.
By the 1903-1904 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of stockbroker Alfred Codman and his wife, Lydia Emmet (Eliot) Codman. They had married in September of 1901 and had lived in an apartment at the Grosvenor at 259 Beacon in 1902. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 8 Fairfield and she at 185 Beacon. They continued to live at 3 Fairfield during the 1905-1906 winter season, but moved thereafter to West Roxbury. By 1908, they were living at 459 Beacon.
By the 1906-1907 winter season, 3 Fairfield was the home of Beatrice (Hardcastle) Lowell, the widow of banker Charles Lowell, who had died in May of 1906. Prior to his death, they had lived at 149 Beacon. Beatrice Lowell lived at 3 Fairfield with their adult children, Mary Beatrice Lowell and Alfred Putnam Lowell.
They continued to live there during the 1912-1913 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 277 Beacon.
3 Fairfield was not listed in the 1914 and 1915 Blue Books.
On June 29, 1915, 3 Fairfield was purchased from Cordelia Thayer (George Thayer had died in November of 1910) by Leslie Clark Wead and his wife, Kate Haswell (Whitcomb) Wead. He was a lawyer and a real estate trustee. In July of 1915, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into eight apartments, including enlarging one of the dormers. The architect was their son, Frederick Whitcomb Wead, who lived with his parents at 3 Fairfield.
In May 17, 1918, 3 Fairfield was purchased from Kate Wead by Margaret (Young) Emmons, the wife of William Bacon Emmons. They previously had lived at 15 Gloucester. Margaret Emmons was the daughter of Benjamin and Charlotte (Hubbard) Young, who had lived at 3 Fairfield in the early 1890s.
Although the house had been converted into eight apartments (and the permit records show that the work was done), it appears that the Emmonses occupied 3 Fairfield as a single-family dwelling.
William Emmons owned Cloudland Farms in Pomfret, Vermont, a 2,000 acre farm where he raised Jersey cattle, Southdown sheep, and Berkshire pigs, and produced maple syrup.
By 1930, 3 Fairfield was the home of Mary Louise (Daisy) Charleville (Taylor) Chase, the widow of Stephen Chase. She previously had lived in Connecticut. By 1931, she had moved to 290 Marlborough.
On June 2, 1930, 3 Fairfield was purchased from Margaret Emmons’s estate by John Eliot Yerxa. He and his wife, Constance (Gilpin) Yerxa, made it their home. They previously had lived at 60 Pinckney.
A banker and broker, John Yerxa served as president of the Boston Stock Exchange in the 1940s and later became regional manager for Pan-American World Airways. He served as a member of the Boston City Council, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and the Massachusetts Senate.
On April 20, 1934, he transferred 3 Fairfield into his wife’s name, and on February 11, 1949, she transferred the property to their daughter, Constance E. Yerxa. Constance E. Yerxa married in November of 1949 to James Bernard Mullen, Jr.
Constance (Gilpin) Yerxa died in February of 1950, and John Yerxa moved soon thereafter to 81 Beacon.
On August 17, 1950, 3 Fairfield was acquired from Constance (Yerxa) Mullen by Mrs. Helen A. (Lawrence/Laurence) Durkin, the former wife of Oswald Joseph Durkin, as a trustee on her own behalf. She operated it as a multiple dwelling, either a lodging house or apartments. She continued to live there in 1959.
On August 13, 1959, 3 Fairfield was acquired from Helen Durkin by Samuel Shactman, trustee of The Davru Trust, and on October 1, 1959, it was acquired from him by Paul King Pratt. He was superintendent of the Sherman Building at 93 Massachusetts Avenue (northwest corner of Newbury and Massachusetts Avenue), where he also lived.
From about 1960, among the residents at 3 Fairfield were Marshall Rand Newcomb, an engineer with MIT, and his wife, Margaret (Love) Newcomb. They previously had lived briefly at 267 Commonwealth.
At the same time, Paul W. Cadorette, an artist and packaging designer, also moved from 267 Commonwealth to one of the units at 3 Fairfield. He was unmarried.
Marshall Newcomb died in 1963. Margaret Newcomb continued to live at 3 Fairfield and on December 14, 1964, she acquired the property from Paul Pratt as trustee of the C. and M. Realty Trust, and on the next day she transferred the property to herself as trustee of the Newcadet Realty Trust, the beneficiary of which was Paul Cadorette.
On December 5, 1966, she transferred the property to Betty A. Campbell as trustee of the C. and M. Realty Trust.
The property continued to be a multiple dwelling in the 1960s and 1970s.
On November 10, 1967, 3 Fairfield was acquired from Betty Campbell by Ralph E. Torchio, trustee of the Underwood Realty Trust.
On April 29, 1968, 3 Fairfield was acquired from Ralph Torchio by Luca J. P. Fioravanti and Aldo G. Fioravanti, brothers and trustees of Grilli Investment Trust.
On November 1, 1979, they converted the property into eight condominium units, the 3 Fairfield Street Condominium.