308 Marlborough was designed by architect Frederic H. Moore and built in 1878 by Daniel Weeks Beckler, builder, and Michael Nolan, mason, one of five contiguous houses (302-304-306-308-310 Marlborough) built for speculative sale.
Daniel Beckler is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for all five houses, dated January 2, 1878. It appears that he built the houses under an agreement with the Metropolitan Railroad Company, operators of a horse car system in Boston, which owned the land at the time he filed the permit application. The Company had purchased the land in 1871: two 24 foot wide lots on February 16, 1871, from Franklin Evans, and two 24 foot wide lots on April 5, 1871, from Solomon H. Howe. Daniel Beckler built five houses on the land, each on a 19.2 foot lot. The land originally was part of one of several parcels 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.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 308 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 427, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
After acquiring the land in 1871, the Metropolitan Railroad constructed a stable and horse car building on it, in apparent violation of the deed restrictions which provided that only private stables could be built on the land. In 1874, Charles W. Seabury, owner of the nearest house to the west, at 322 Marlborough, brought suit to require removal of the stables (Seabury v. Metropolitan Railroad Company; 115 Mass. 53). The case was dismissed on demurrer (the court concluded that Charles Seabury had not shown a basis entitling him to enforce the deed restrictions). By the time of the decision, however, the company had already made plans to relocate the stables. At its January 14, 1874, annual meeting, the management reported that “arrangements have been made for the lease for a short term of a tract of land at the junction of Marlborough and Parker streets, to which the car-house and stable on Marlborough will be removed as soon as the spring opens, and the land owned there by the corporation can then be sold” (as reported in the Boston Daily Advertiser on January 15, 1874). By mid-1874, the company had moved the stables and car-house to the leased land (located about where 390–396 Marlborough later would be built). According to an October 31, 1900, Boston Globe article about Timothy C. Taylor, a car starter who had worked with the street railway from 1871, the buildings were “carried bodily on rollers to the corner of Parker and Marlboro sts.”
In 1878, while 302-310 Marlborough were being built, the Metropolitan Railroad Company apparently entered into an agreement to sell the land to Harvey Jewell, one of the company’s directors, and he is shown as the owner (and Daniel Beckler as the former owner) on the final building inspection report dated December 23, 1878. The Metropolitan Railroad Company conveyed the land to Harvey Jewell on April 9, 1879.
Daniel Beckler had built six contiguous houses across the street (309-311-313-315-317-319 Marlborough) between 1874 and 1877, also on land owned by Harvey Jewell.
Daniel Beckler was a builder and lumber dealer. In about 1874, he became the proprietor of Beacon Park, a trotting park and race track in Allston, and by 1875 he also owned a stable in Hancock Square in Charlestown. He and his wife, Julia A. (Judkins) Beckler, lived in South Boston in 1874 but moved soon thereafter to Winter Hill in Somerville. They also owned a home in Northfield, New Hampshire, where he raised thoroughbred horses.
Harvey Jewell held the five houses at 302-310 Marlborough as rental property. He was a lawyer and former state legislator, who had served as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1868 through 1872. He and his wife, Susan A. (Bradley) Jewell, lived at 204 Beacon.
By the 1879-1880 winter season, 308 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Horace Dupee, a physician, and his wife, Octavia Watts (Gardner) Dupee. He also maintained his medical office there. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at 84 Dover. They continued to live at 308 Marlborough during the 1881-1882 winter season, but moved thereafter to 304 Marlborough.
Harvey Jewell died in December of 1881, and between 1882 and 1884, his estate sold the five houses at 302-310 Marlborough to individual buyers.
On October 2, 1882, 308 Marlborough was purchased from Harvey Jewell’s estate by Rachel A. (Dunlop) Thayer, the widow of lithographer and real estate investor Benjamin W. Thayer. Their unmarried adult children lived with her: Henry B. Thayer, a broker, Ida Tucker Thayer, Mary J. Thayer, and Grace Thayer. They previously had lived at 1 Pelham. They continued to live there during the 1892-1893 winter season, but moved thereafter to 97 Crawford.
On November 2, 1893, 308 Marlborough was purchased from Rachel Thayer by Miss Alice Parker of Hanover, New Hampshire, the daughter of Rev. Henry Elijah Parker, a professor of Latin at Dartmouth College, and Mary Elizabeth (Brackett) Parker.
Alice Tenney’s father, a widower, lived them until his death in November of 1896.
During the 1903-1904 winter season, the Tenneys were joined at 308 Marlborough by Dr. Henry Melville Chase, Jr., a physician, and his wife, Blanche (Knox) Chase. They had married in May of 1903, and 308 Marlborough probably was their first home together. Dr. Chase also maintained his medical office at 308 Marlborough with Dr. Tenney. By the 1904-1905 winter season. the Chases had moved to 237 Marlborough. Dr. Chase continued to maintain his office at 308 Marlborough until about 1908, when he moved to 409 Marlborough (which the Chases also made their home).
In 1910, and possibly earlier and later, Benjamin Tenney’s unmarried sister, Alice Tenney, also lived at 308 Marlborough.
The Tenneys raised their two children, Dorothy Parker Tenney and Benjamin Tenney, Jr., at 308 Marlborough. Dorothy Tenney married in October of 1920 to Alden Simonds Foss. After their marriage, they lived in Andover and then New York.
Benjamin and Alice Tenney continued to live at 308 Marlborough. Benjamin Tenney, Jr., lived with them. During the 1927-1928 winter season, they were joined by Alden and Dorothy Foss.
Benjamin Tenney died in January of 1928.
By the 1928-1929 winter season, Alice Tenney was living at 67a Chestnut and Benjamin Tenney, Jr., had become a resident obstetrician at Boston Lying-In Hospital at 221 Longwood, where he also lived (he married in June of 1929 to Constance Richmond Vaillant, after which they lived at 108 Charles and then at 309 Marlborough). Alden and Dorothy Foss moved to Cambridge; he was assistant treasurer of a rubber company at the time of the 1930 US Census.
On October 25, 1928, 308 Marlborough was purchased from Alice Tenney by Helen May (Harding) Bigelow, the wife of William DeFord Bigelow. They previously had lived at 30 Gloucester with his father, Albert Smith Bigelow. They also maintained a home in Cohasset.
William DeFord Bigelow was a building contractor. He had served in World War I from 1916 to 1919, first as a member of the American Field Service, organized in 1915 by Harvard Professor A. Piatt Andrew to provide ambulance drivers to aid the French, and then with the US Army Ambulance Service until 1919. After the war, he became president of the New England Oil Refining Company and then a real estate dealer.
During the 1933-1934 winter season, the Bigelows were living elsewhere and 308 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Hanns Sachs. He was a psychoanalyst and professor of psychoanalysis at Harvard Medical School. An early student of Sigmund Freud’s, he had emigrated from Germany in 1932. By the 1934-1935 winter season, he had moved to 168 Marlborough.
The Bigelows were again living at 308 Marlborough during the 1934-1935 winter season. Helen Bigelow died in March of 1935, and William Bigelow moved soon thereafter.
On May 23, 1935, 308 Marlborough was purchased from Helen Bigelow’s estate by Emma Almeida (Ruth) Hawkins, the wife of Vernon Mills Hawkins, a lumber dealer. They also maintained a home at Plymouth.
Vernon Hawkins died in June of 1952. Emma Hawkins continued to live at 308 Marlborough until about 1970.
On July 27, 1970, 308 Marlborough was purchased from Emma Hawkins by Stephen Toby Kunian, an attorney, and his wife, Lois Gersten (Rome) Kunian, a real estate broker. On March 30, 1993, Stephen Kunian transferred his interest in the property to his wife.
On December 22, 2003, Lois Kunian entered into a “Preservation Restriction Agreement” with the National Architectural Trust for the purpose of ensuring preservation of 308 Marlborough’s exterior.
308 Marlborough continued to be assessed as a single-family dwelling in 2020.