31 Massachusetts is located on the west side of Massachusetts Avenue, between Beacon and Marlborough, with 27½-29 Massachusetts to the north, across Alley 908, and 421-423 Marlborough (33-35 Massachusetts) to the south.
31 Massachusetts Avenue was designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1891 by D. L. Rand as a twelve-unit apartment house, The Stratford, for Edwin B. Horn, Jr., a jeweler and real estate developer who lived at 11 Greenwich Park. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated April 21, 1891. The original address of the building was 460 West Chester Park; it became 31 Massachusetts Avenue when West Chester Park was renamed Massachusetts Avenue on March 1, 1894.
By 1895, 31 Massachusetts Avenue was owned by merchant Charles Henry Hayden. He is shown as the owner on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps. He died in August of 1901.
In late 1904, Anna (Annie) Louise Richards purchased 31 Massachusetts Avenue from the estate of Charles Hayden. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on December 22, 1904. She is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps. Annie L. Richards lived at 394 Beacon with her mother, Ann R. (Babcock) Richards, the widow of Calvin A. Richards. He had been a wine and tea merchant and a real estate investor, and had also served as president of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company.
A Building Department inspection conducted on May 22, 1916, indicated that there were twelve apartments in the building, two each on floors one through six, plus an apartment in the basement (probably a janitor’s unit).
Annie Richards died in 1921.
The property changed hands by 1931 and was owned by Edward E. Rice. In August of 1931, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to subdivide four apartments, increasing the occupancy from twelve to fourteen units.
The property changed hands again, with the number of units continuing to increase, and by the mid-1930s, was managed by Parker & Phillips, real estate and insurance brokers in Brookline. In October of 1935, Parker & Phillips filed for (and subsequently received) permission to subdivide one of the apartments on the sixth floor “with same layout as the floors below,” increasing the number of units from 17 to 18.
By 1938, 31 Massachusetts Avenue was owned by Lillian Y. Chandler et al, who are shown as the owners on the 1938 Bromley map.
By 1952, 31 Massachusetts Avenue was managed (and possibly owned) by Harry A. Hamacher of the Ridgemont Management Company.
In September of 1952, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the building and increase the number of units from 18 to 20.
By the early 1950s, a penthouse had been added to the property and in December of 1952, Harry Hamacher filed for (and subsequently received) permission to “install new front stairway and stair hall to penthouse from sixth floor” and remodel several apartments, increasing the occupancy from 20 to 25 units.
In March of 1953, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to change the occupancy from 25 apartments to 25 apartments and an optical office on the first floor.
By 1959, 31 Massachusetts Avenue was owned by the 352 Beacon Street Realty Trust. In May of 1959, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to increase the number of apartments from 25 to 31 by creating six apartments on the basement level.
The property changed hands and in October of 1980 was acquired by Stratford Inc.
In March of 1981, it converted the property into 30 condominium units, the Stratford Condominium.