312 Beacon was built in 1870-1871 by Daniel Davies and his son, Charles H. Davies, housewrights and master carpenters, one of a symmetrical pair of houses (312-314 Beacon). At the same time, Daniel and Charles Davies built a second pair of houses at 308-310 Beacon. On December 5, 1870, they filed with the Board of Aldermen a Notice of Intention to build on Beacon, presumably for all four houses (the specific house numbers are not given in the Boston Journal’s December 6, 1870, report of the filing).
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting does not attribute 312-314 Beacon to a specific architect, but does attribute 308-310 Beacon to architect Charles K. Kirby. Bunting’s source for attributing 308-310 to Charles Kirby is not known. Charles Kirby designed and built 304-306 Beacon at about the same time as 308-310 Beacon were built, and Bunting may have concluded that he designed them as well (308-310 Beacon had been demolished by the time Bunting wrote his book). This attribution is uncertain, inasmuch as both 308-310 Beacon and 312-314 Beacon had brownstone facades, whereas 304-306 Beacon have brick facades. However, if 308-310 Beacon were designed by Charles Kirby, then it is likely that the companion buildings at 312-314 Beacon were as well.
The houses at 308-310 Beacon and 312-314 Beacon were built while the land was still owned by the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation, probably under an agreement with Daniel and Charles Davies. On November 23, 1871, Daniel and Charles Davies acquired the land for all four houses, the deeds confirming that they had erected houses on the property in conformance with the building restrictions set forth in the deeds.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 312 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
A December 19, 1871, advertisement by Daniel Davies and Son in the Boston Transcript, offering 308 Beacon for sale, described the house as “four stories, exclusive of basement and attic.” 310 Beacon and 312-314 Beacon probably were offered for sale at about the same time. However, they were not sold until the mid-1870s.
On May 24, 1876, 312 Beacon was offered for sale at public auction by Wheatland & Bird (George Wheatland, Jr., and Lewis J. Bird), real estate auctioneers and dealers. The May 20, 1876, advertisement of the sale in the Boston Traveller described the property as “the new four story octagon front and rear dwelling house, situated on the water side of Beacon street,” containing “16 rooms, including wash room, two bath rooms and billiard room, and all the modern improvements.”
On August 26, 1876, 312 Beacon was purchased from Daniel and Charles Davies by hide and leather dealer Benjamin Greenleaf Boardman, Jr., who probably was the successful bidder at the May 24, 1876, auction. He and his wife Sarah Bryant (Dennie) Boardman, lived at 120 Beacon.
312 Beacon became the home of the Boardmans’ son-in-law and daughter, banker Edward Belknap Haven and Sarah (Boardman) Haven, who married in April of 1877.
Benjamin Greenleaf Boardman died in February of 1887. 312 Beacon was inherited by his three surviving children: Thomas Dennie Boardman, a leather merchant and later a real estate dealer; Eliza Dennie Boardman; and Sarah (Boardman) Haven. It continued to be Edward and Sarah Haven’s home.
Edward Haven died in December of 1909. Sarah Haven continued live at 312 Beacon during the 1911-1912 winter season, but moved thereafter to an apartment at 186 Commonwealth.
By the 1914-1915 winter season, 312 Beacon was the home of Joseph Gardner Bradley and his wife, Mabel Bayard (Warren) Bradley. They previously had lived at 18 Fairfield.
Joseph Bradley was a lawyer and president of the Elk River Coal and Lumber Company, a coal mining company in Widen, West Virginia.
Thomas Dennie Boardman died in September of 1919, and his one-third interest in 312 Beacon was inherited by his two children: Madeline (Boardman) Goodrich, the wife of John Wallace Goodrich, dean of the New England Conservatory of Music; and Reginald Boardman, a real estate dealer.
The Bradleys continued to live at 312 Beacon during the 1923-1924 winter season, but moved thereafter to 11 Arlington.
During the 1924-1925 and 1925-1926 winter seasons, 312 Beacon was the fraternity house of the Phi Mu Gamma fraternity of Emerson College.
By the 1926-1927 winter season, 312 Beacon was the home of Charles Bohlen and his wife, Celestine (Eustis) Bohlen. They also maintained a home in Ipswich.
The Bohlens continued to live there during the 1928-1929 winter season, but moved thereafter.
By the 1929-1930 winter season, 312 Beacon was the home of Dr. Michael Edmund McGarty, a physician and surgeon, and his wife, Catherine M. (Garrity) McGarty. He also maintained his medical offices there. The previously had lived at The Miles Standish at 30 Bay State Road and he had maintained his office at 420 Commonwealth. They continued to live at 312 Beacon until 1939, when they moved to 131 Bay State Road.
On August 27, 1940, 312 Beacon was acquired from Eliza D. Boardman, Sarah (Boardman) Hazen, Madeline (Boardman) Goodrich, and Reginald Boardman by real estate dealers Warren-Stevens, Inc.
In 1940, 312 Beacon was leased by the MIT Chapter of the Phi Kappa fraternity. It previously had been located at 278 Commonwealth. Phi Kappa remained there until 1943, when it moved to 229 Commonwealth.
In October of 1943, H. Leon Sharmat of Warren-Stevens, Inc., applied for a license to operate a lodging house on the premises. The Building Department advised that, before the property could be used for that purpose, egress requirements would need to be met and the legal use of the property changed. It appears no further application was filed.
By 1944, 312 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Elizabeth (Mead) Bingham, the widow of Charles Henry Bingham. She and her husband previously had lived at 486–488 Beacon, where they operated a lodging house. He had died in December of 1942. Elizabeth Bingham continued to live at 312 Beacon until about 1946.
On March 20, 1945, 312 Beacon was acquired from Warren-Stevens, Inc., by real estate dealer Howard S. Cosgrove, and on June 10, 1946, it was acquired from him by Elin (Villander) Spongberg, the wife of Nels (Nils) Oscar Fredrik Spongberg. They lived at 315 Commonwealth, where they operated a lodging house.
On June 10, 1946, 312 Beacon was acquired from Elin Spongberg by Frances Willard (Hammond) Christian, widow of Dr. Andreas (Andrew) Forest Christian. She lived at 20 Hereford.
In July of 1946, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into eleven apartments. As part of the remodeling, she indicated that the front entrance would be lowered to street level. The remodeling was not completed.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1947-1949 City Directories.
On May 22, 1948, Frank Glazer foreclosed on a mortgage from Frances Christian and took possession of the property. On February 28, 1949, he sold the property to William Weiner, trustee of the Myrtle Realty Trust.
In March of 1949, William Weiner applied for (and subsequently received) permission to “complete the work started in 1946” under the permit issued to Frances Christian. The lowering of the front entrance, previously included in the permit, was abandoned.
In June of 1960, 312 Beacon was acquired from William Weiner by Basil Pannagiotis Kaidas and his wife, Kalliope (Kalie) B. (Demopoulos) Kaidas. They lived in Brookline.
In August of 1983, 312 Beacon was purchased from Kalie Kaidas, conservator of the property of Basil Kaidas, by Jean Pierre Sanchez, owner of a hair salon on Newbury, and his wife, Judith G. Sanchez. In January of 1985, they transferred the property to themselves as trustees of the 312 Beacon Street Realty Trust.
In September of 1985, the Sanchezes applied for (and subsequently received) permission to increase the number of units from eleven to twelve.
312 Beacon remained an apartment house in 2016.