30 Fairfield is located on the SE corner of Commonwealth and Fairfield, with 239 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield) to the north, across Commonwealth, 32 Fairfield to the south, across Alley 433, 240 Commonwealth to the east, and 29 Fairfield to the west, across Fairfield.
30 Fairfield was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built in 1883-1884 by Woodbury & Leighton, masons, and Morton & Chesley, carpenters, for William Gurdon Saltonstall and his wife, Josephine Rose (Lee) Saltonstall. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated May 24, 1883.
William Saltonstall purchased the land for 30 Fairfield from the National Bank of Commerce of Boston on May 14, 1879. It was part of a parcel that National Bank of Commerce had acquired on May 18, 1876, from Nathan Matthews, which, in turn, was part of a larger tract originally purchased by Nathan Matthews on January 2, 1871, from David Sears, Jr., Frederick R. Sears, and Knyvet Sears.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 30 Fairfield, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Commonwealth and Alley 433, from Exeter to Fairfield.
By the 1884-1885 winter season, William and Josephine (Lee) Saltonstall had made 30 Fairfield their home. They previously had lived at 60 Commonwealth. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms.
A former shipping merchant in the East India trade, William Saltonstall was treasurer of several cotton mills.
Josephine Saltonstall died in January of 1889, and William Saltonstall died in July of the same year. In his will, he left all of his property in trust for the benefit of their four children – Robert Saltonstall, Lucy Sanders Saltonstall, John Lee Saltonstall, and Rosamond Saltonstall – all of whom continued to live at 30 Fairfield.
Lucy Saltonstall married in June of 1893 to Neal Rantoul, an investment banker, and they made 30 Fairfield their home. Robert Saltonstall, a trustee, married in April of 1904 to Caroline James Stevenson and they moved to Readville in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston. Rosamond Saltonstall married in June of 1906 to Charles Crooke Auchincloss and they moved to New York. John Saltonstall, a stock and bond broker, married in December of 1910 to Gladys Durant Rice. They spent the latter part of the 1910-1911 winter season at 181 Commonwealth and made their primary residence in Beverly.
The Rantouls continued to live at 30 Fairfield and to maintain a home in Beverly Farms.
On February 23, 1911, Lucy Rantoul acquired 30 Fairfield from the trust established under her father’s will.
As originally built, the house had a balustrade on the roof with urns at each corner. In September of 1933, Neal Rantoul filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remove the balustrade, which had become unsafe.
Lucy Rantoul died in November of 1947. Neal Rantoul continued to live at 30 Fairfield and in Beverly Farms until his death in August of 1956.
On February 14, 1957, 30 Fairfield was acquired from Neal Rantoul’s estate by 30 Fairfield Street, Inc. In March of 1957, Louis Macey, an attorney and president of 30 Fairfield Street, Inc., filed for permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into ten apartments. The permit was denied, but the denial was reversed by the Board of Appeal. However, the project did not go forward.
On January 10, 1958, 30 Fairfield was acquired from 30 Fairfield Street, Inc., by the Newman Preparatory School, located at 245 Marlborough. In December of 1957, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a school. It subsequently operated its high school for boys at 30 Fairfield.
Newman Preparatory School also owned 236 Commonwealth and on December of 1972, it filed for permission to change the legal occupancy from a secondary school to a degree-granting college. The application was denied and the school’s appeal was dismissed by the Board of Appeal in April of 1973.
On February 14, 1974, 30 Fairfield and 236 Commonwealth were purchased from Newman Preparatory School by real estate developer Raymond A. Carye.
On June 18, 1974, 30 Fairfield was purchased from Raymond Carye by the Kingsley School. It previously had been located at 397 Marlborough.
Kingsley School reorganized in 1986 as Kingsley Montessori School and, in 2005, it rented several floors at 26 Exeter for its elementary school. The Kingsley preschool continued to be located at 30 Fairfield in 2022.