301 Marlborough was designed by L. Newcomb and Son (Edgar A. P. Newcomb), architects, and built in 1877-1878 by Abel C. Small, carpenter, one of two contiguous houses (301-303 Marlborough). The houses are designed as a complementary pair, achieving a sense of symmetry while each is distinctive in design. 301 Marlborough, on a 23.5 foot wide lot, has a square-sided bay that extends the entire height of the house and ends with peaked roof. 303 Marlborough, on a 21 foot wide lot, has an angled bay that ends below the mansard and is topped with a square-sided dormer with a peaked roof similar to that at 301 Commonwealth.
301-303 Marlborough were built for Harvard law professor James Barr Ames for speculative sale. He is shown as the owner on the original permit application, dated November 19, 1877, and on the final inspection report, dated November 18, 1878. His father, Samuel Tarbell Ames, was a building contractor credited with having built over thirty residences in the Back Bay between 1879 and 1885. At about the same time as he designed 301-303 Marlborough, Edgar A. P. Newcomb also designed two houses for James B. Ames across the street,at 294–296 Marlborough, with peaked roofs on square-sided dormers above angled bays, similar to 303 Marlborough.
James B. Ames assembled the land for 301-303 Marlborough by combining a 20 foot lot and a 24 foot lot, both of which he purchased in November of 1877. The two lots had been owned by paper manufacturer John Dixwell Thompson. He and his wife, Sally Phillips (Blagden) Thompson, lived at 287 Marlborough. He disappeared while on a trip to New York City in June of 1875 and was presumed dead, and the two lots were taken in foreclosure the next year. The 24 foot lot was acquired by J. Dixwell Thompson’s brother-in-law, Samuel Phillips Blagden, and the 20 foot lot was acquired by the estate of Sidney Homer (from whom J. Dixwell Thompson had purchased the lot); they then sold the lots to James B. Ames.
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 301 Marlborough.
On November 23, 1878, 301 Marlborough was purchased from James B. Ames by Alice Haskell (Watts) Lee, the wife of banker and broker Thomas Joseph Lee. They previously had lived in the Longwood district of Brookline.
Thomas Lee died in May of 1879, and Alice Lee continued to live at 301 Marlborough.
During the late 1880s, Alice Lee was living elsewhere.
During the 1887-1888 and 1888-1889 winter seasons, 301 Marlborough was the home of Charles Henry Rogers and his wife, Sarah Elizabeth (Eastman) Rogers. They had lived at the Hotel Vendôme in 1885. They had moved from 301 Marlborough by the 1889-1890 season; he died in November of 1889 in Winthrop and she was living in an apartment at 405 Marlborough by the 1889-1890 winter season.
During the 1889-1890 winter season, 301 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. H. Farraday, probably Harriet (Castle) Farraday, widow of Isaac Robinson Farraday.
By the 1890-1891 winter season, Alice Lee was living at 301 Marlborough again. She continued to live there during the 1894-1895 season. She moved thereafter and by the 1896-1897 season was living in an apartment at 416 Marlborough. She continued to own 301 Marlborough and lease it to others.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, 301 Marlborough was the home of stockbroker Charles Cabot Jackson and his wife, Frances Elizabeth (Appleton) Jackson. They previously had lived at 181 Commonwealth.
They continued to live at 301 Marlborough during the 1904-1905 winter season, but moved thereafter to 462 Beacon.
301 Marlborough was not listed in the 1906 Blue Book.
On February 8, 1906, 301 Marlborough was purchased from Alice Lee by attorney Francis Richard Jones. He and his wife, Helen (Steel) Jones, made it their home. They previously had lived at 312 Marlborough.
Francis Jones died in July of 1935. Helen Jones continued to live at 301 Marlborough until her death in May of 1964.
On January 20, 1965, 301 Marlborough was purchased from Helen Jones’s estate by Margaret A. Monahan.
On August 9, 1965, 301 Marlborough was acquired from Margaret Monahan by real estate dealers Charles Talanian and Nubar J. Dinjian.
In December of 1964, Charles Talanian entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Margaret Stuart and she filed for permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a dormitory. The sale was never completed and in May he entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Albert Miller.
In May of 1965, Charles Talanian filed a new application seeking permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a dormitory, to be owned and operated by Albert Miller. The application was granted, but in June of 1965, the permit was revoked by the Building Commissioner because the application had incorrectly indicated that the prior use had been as a dormitory and also because sufficient plans had not been submitted.
On July 29, 1965, Nubar Dinjian filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into nine apartments.
On March 1, 1966, 301 Marlborough was acquired from Charles Talanian and Nubar Dinjian by Gerald Barg of Stoughton.
The property changed hands and on May 31, 1983, it was acquired by Joseph Arangio and his wife, Mary Arangio. on February 9, 1995, they transferred the property to themselves as trustees of The Marlborough Street Trust.
301 Marlborough remained an apartment house in 2017.