304 Beacon was designed by and built for architect and building contractor Charles K. Kirby in 1871-1872, one of two contiguous houses (304-306 Beacon) designed as a symmetrical pair.
A November 15, 1870, Boston Traveller article indicated that the houses would be built on lots owned by Charles Kirby and by Caroline Matilda (Williams) Twombly, the widow of shipping merchant Alexander Hamilton Twombly. However, the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation retained ownership until after the houses were built, with Caroline Twombly taking title to the land at 304 Beacon on June 21, 1871, and Charles Kirby taking title to the land at 306 Beacon on November 21, 1871. Each deed specified that the houses had been constructed in conformity with the setback restrictions and other requirements contained in the deed.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 304 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
Caroline Twombly made 304 Beacon her home. She previously had lived at 198 Beacon, where Alexander Twombly had died in May of 1870.
She continued to live at 304 Beacon during the 1876-1877 winter season, but moved to New York City thereafter. She retained 304 Beacon and leased it to others.
During the 1877-1878 winter season, it was the home of Benjamin Robbins Curtis, Jr., and his wife, Mary Gardiner (Horsford) Curtis. They had married in October of 1877, and 304 Beacon probably was their first home together.
Benjamin Robbins Curtis, Jr., was a lawyer and would later become a Municipal Court Judge.
By the 1878-1879 winter season, 304 Beacon was the home of banker Charles Emerson Fuller and his wife, Josephine (Wheildon) Fuller. They previously had lived at 385 Beacon.
Caroline Twombly died in May of 1881 in New York City, and on December 14, 1881, 304 Beacon was acquired from her estate by Josephine Fuller.
The Fullers’ only surviving child, Maud Appleton Fuller, lived with them. According to her January 16, 1953, obituary in the NY Times, she was “the original of ‘Goldilocks’ (Amy’s daughter) in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men.”
Maud Fuller married in June of 1892 to Henry Burden McDowell. After their marriage, they lived in New York City. He was a lawyer, engineer, and author. In the early 1900s, he was president of the United States Trust Company of Philadelphia and in June of 1902 he was accused of embezzlement in a highly publicized case. He subsequently was exonerated. In about 1907, they moved from Westchester, New York, to Cambridge.
Charles Fuller died in October of 1907. Josephine Fuller continued to live at 304 Beacon until her death in November of 1913. The property was inherited by Maud (Fuller) McDowell.
304 Beacon was not listed in the 1914 and 1915 Blue Books.
On June 15, 1915, 304 Beacon was acquired from Maud McDowell by Adelaide Jones (Moors) Brown, the wife of William Henry Brown, a lawyer. They previously had lived 171 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Cohasset.
In July of 1915, William Brown applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remove the stone bay at basement and first floor, in the front, and rebuild the front façade. The permit notes that “the entire house to be refurbished and put in complete repair.” The remodeling was designed by architect Andrew H. Hepburn, assisted by Guy Lowell. Plans for the remodeling, including floor plans but no elevations, are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston City Archives (reference BIN H-13). The changes to the front bay appear not to have been made.
William Brown died in May of 1947. Adelaide Brown continued to live at 304 Beacon until her death in January of 1953.
On May 21, 1953, 304 Beacon was purchased from Adelaide Brown’s estate by Edward M. Walsh and his wife, Octavia Morley (Sawyer) Walsh. They previously had lived at 74 Fenway, and before that at 130 Marlborough (which they converted into a lodging house). In December of 1954 they purchased and subsequently moved to 73 Marlborough.
On July 20, 1954, 304 Beacon was purchased from the Walshes by Walter Johnson Coleman and his wife, Eleanor N. (Whitcher) Coleman, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 244 Massachusetts Avenue. They continued to live at 304 Beacon until about 1957.
On December 26, 1956, 304 Beacon was acquired from the Colemans by Lewis Nelson Churchill and and his wife, Ruth M. (McFee) Churchill. They lived in Brookline.
On July 3, 1957, 304 Beacon was acquired from the Churchills by Adam Foti, a real estate agent, who continued to operate it as a lodging house. He previously had lived in Rhode Island. On September 24, 1957, he transferred the property to the Builders of America Corporation, of which he was the president and treasurer.
The property changed hands and on October 28, 1960, was acquired by John Breining and his wife, Ruth Y. (Allen) Breining, to be the location of their Miss Allen’s Back Bay School of Modeling. The Breinings also lived at 304 Beacon. The school previously had been located at 135 Commonwealth and the Breinings had lived in Cohasset.
The school appears to have closed in 1962, and in October of 1962 the Breinings purchased and subsequently moved to 3 Marlborough.
On October 1, 1962, 304 Beacon was purchased from the Breinings by Maurice McAllister Henkels and his wife, Helen Mitchell (Anderson) Henkels. They previously had lived in Wellesley Hills. Helen Henkels was president and Maurice Henkels was treasurer of Maurice M. Henkels & Co., wool dealers.
In December of 1962, Maurice Henkels filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a two-family dwelling into four apartments. The Henkels lived in one of the apartments.
On March 19, 1968, 304 Beacon was acquired from the Henkelses by Charles F. Dudley. On July 31, 1979, he converted the property into four condominium units, the 304 Beacon Street Condominium.
In December of 1992, Weston Dickerman, a unit owner, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct a one-car garage at the rear of the building.
In September of 2008, Robert Verville, a unit owner, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remove the existing garage and replace it with a four car garage, with a deck on top and a connector to the main building.