303 Beacon was designed and built ca. 1871 by Frederick B. Pope for speculative sale, one of four houses built as two symmetrical pairs (303-305 Beacon and 307-309 Beacon), and one of fourteen contiguous houses (303-305-307-309-311-313-315-317-319-321-323-325-327-329 Beacon) Frederick Pope designed and built in the early 1870s.
Frederick Pope purchased the land for 303-305-307-309 Beacon on May 31, 1871, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The original parcel was 75 feet wide, and the total frontage of the four houses was 74 feet. Frederick Pope sold the remaining one foot strip, on the east end of the parcel, in May of 1871 and it subsequently was combined with the lot further east on which 301 Beacon was built.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 303 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 417, from Exeter to Fairfield.
An additional story was added to 303 Beacon by 1887 (it appears as 4 stories plus a French roof on the 1887 Sanborn map, whereas 305-307-309 Beacon are all shown as 3 stories plus French roof). It is possible that 303 Beacon was built with an additional story. However, a December 19, 1871, advertisement in the Boston Transcript by Frederick Pope offers both 303 Beacon and 307 Beacon for sale, noting that one is 18 feet wide and the other 19 feet wide, but not indicating any difference in the number of stories.
On November 1, 1872, 303 Beacon was purchased from Frederick Pope by John Hicks Rogers. He and his wife, Lucy Catherine (Smith) Rogers, made it their home. They previously had lived at 15 Kingston.
John Rogers was a shoe and leather dealer and also president of the Freeman’s National Bank.
Lucy Rogers died in September of 1874. John Rogers continued to live at 303 Beacon with their unmarried children: Catharine Langdon Rogers; Henry Munroe Rogers, an attorney; Langdon S. Rogers, a salesman; Clara Bates Rogers; and Lucy Sumner Rogers.
Henry Rogers married in April of 1878 to Clara Kathleen Barnett and they moved to 309 Beacon. Langdon Rogers continued to live at 303 Beacon until shortly before his death (in Philadelphia) in February of 1884.
On June 19, 1888, 303 Beacon was purchased from John Rogers’s estate by James Ripley Hooper, a dry goods commission merchant. He and his wife, Gertrude Fellowes (Williams) Hooper, made it their home. They previously had lived in the Longwood district of Brookline. They also maintained a home in Hull.
The Hoopers continued to live at 303 Beacon during the 1906-1907 winter season, but moved thereafter to 478 Beacon.
On April 10, 1907, 303 Beacon was purchased from James Hooper by Amelia Maria (Ely) Howe, the wife of Dr. Walter Clarke Howe, a surgeon who also maintained his medical offices there. They previously had lived at the Hotel Westminster (southeast corner of St. James and Trinity Place) and he had maintained his offices at 101 Newbury.
Walter Howe died in August of 1931, and Amelia Howe died in November of 1932.
By the 1932-1933 winter season, 303 Beacon was leased from Amelia Howe’s estate by Miss Elizabeth Preitenwieser, who operated it as a lodging house. She continued to live there during the 1934-1935 season, but moved thereafter to 223 Beacon.
The bank took possession of the property and in May of 1935, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into six apartments.
On May 29, 1940, 303 Beacon was acquired from the Suffolk Savings Bank by Miss Beatrice Antonetta Bortone, one of eight Back Bay properties she acquired from the bank at the same time. She was a bookkeeper with Leopold Morse & Co., wholesale and retail clothiers. She lived in Wayland with her parents, Anthony C. Bortone and Maria (Larocca) Bortone. In 1946, she married Albert DeStefano. After their marriage, they lived in Newton.
On August 28, 1957, 303 Beacon was acquired from Beatrice (Bortone) DeStefano by real estate dealer Overton W. Oglivie, who also acquired most of her other Back Bay properties on the same day.
On March 6, 1958, 303 Beacon and several other properties were acquired from Overton Ogilvie by Charles M. Rhodes. Five days later, the properties were acquired from him by real estate dealer and future hotel owner Isaac M. Saunders and his sons, Roger A. Saunders and Donald L. Saunders.
The property changed hands and on October 29, 1975, was acquired by G & M Associates, Inc., which also owned 305 Beacon. Maureen C. (Buchanan) Mitchell, the widow of Christopher Mitchell, was president and treasurer of G & M Associates and lived in one of the apartments at 305 Beacon.
Maureen Mitchell subsequently remarried to Derek H. Irwin. On December 18, 1986, G & M Associates transferred 303 Beacon and 305 Beacon to her, and on the same day she transferred both properties to herself as trustee of the 664 Massachusetts Avenue Trust. On August 13, 2002, her son, Christopher C. Mitchell, trustee of the Mitchell Realty Trust (successor to the 664 Massachusetts Realty Trust), transferred 303 Beacon to the Mitchell 303 Beacon Street LLC and 305 Beacon to the Mitchell 305 Beacon Street LLC.
303 Beacon continued to be assessed as a four- to six-family dwelling in 2021.