313 Commonwealth

313 Commonwealth (2013)

313 Commonwealth (2013)

Lot 28' x 124.5' (3,486 sf)

Lot 28′ x 124.5′ (3,486 sf)

313 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue, with 311 Commonwealth to the east and 315 Commonwealth to the west.

313 Commonwealth was designed architect William Whitney Lewis and built in 1877-1878 by Woodbury & Leighton and B. D. Whitcomb, builders, one of two contiguous houses (311-313 Commonwealth).

313 Commonwealth was built as the home of wholesale wool merchant Warren Davis Hobbs and his wife, Annie Frances (Kettell) Hobbs.  They previously had lived at 162 West Newton.  He is shown as the owner of 313 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated August 15, 1877, and on the final inspection, dated November 4, 1878, and Annie F. Hobbs is shown as the owner on the 1883, 1883, 1898. 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.

Warren and Annie Hobbs’s children, Henrietta and Conrad, lived with them.  Henrietta Hobbs married in November of 1895 to Homer A. Norris, a musician and music teacher, and moved to the Hotel Oxford (southeast corner of Exeter and Huntington).  They divorced and she married again in October of 1902 to Howard Walter Beal, a physician and surgeon.  Conrad Hobbs, a wool merchant, married in November of 1906 to Jessie Langmaid and they moved to 31 Hereford.

311-313 Commonwealth; The American Architect and Building News, 9Feb1878

311-313 Commonwealth; The American Architect and Building News, 9Feb1878

Annie Hobbs died in 1919.  She continued to be shown as the assessed owner through 1923.

By 1920, Warren Hobbs had been joined at 313 Commonwealth by his widowed daughter, Henrietta (Hobbs) Norris Beal, whose husband, Howard Walter Beal, had been killed in 1918 in World War I while serving as a US Army surgeon.

Warren Hobbs died in February of 1922.

By 1923, 313 Commonwealth was owned by  leather and fibre manufacturer Franklin Vane Chaney and his wife, Katherine (Pennell) Price Carlisle Hull Chaney.  They had been married in 1922 and previously had lived at The Puritan at 390 Commonwealth.  Katie P. Chaney was the assessed owner of 313 Commonwealth from 1924 through 1931 and is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map, and F. V. Chaney, Inc., was the assessed owner in 1932.

In July  of 1923, Kate Chaney applied for (and subsequently received) permission to significantly remodel the property, including replacing the front façade with a new, Georgian brick façade with a bow window and roof balustrade.  The remodeling was designed by architects Parker, Thomas, and Rice.

311-315 Commonwealth (ca. 1883); photograph by Albert Levy; Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago (Digital file #51191)

311-315 Commonwealth (ca. 1883); photograph by Albert Levy; Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago (Digital file #51191)

They continued to live at The Puritan during the 1923-1924 season while the work was being completed, but thereafter made 313 Commonwealth their home.

They continued to live there until about 1932, when they moved to an apartment at 6 Arlington.

In late 1932, Henry C. Brookings purchased 313 Commonwealth from Pennell Cox Price, Kate Chaney’s son by her first marriage, to Isaiah Willis Price.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on January 8, 1933.  Henry Brookings was the assessed owner in 1933.

On February 7, 1933, 313 Commonwealth was sold at auction, described in a January 22, 1933, Boston Globe advertisement by auctioneer John C. Kiley as a “thoroughly modern, medium-sized house” that would make “an admirable private residence, a doctor’s office or home, a club or society headquarters, [or] a school.”

On February 9, 1933, the Boston Globe reported that Saxon D. Clarke had been the successful bidder at the auction.

It appears that Saxon Clarke was bidding on behalf of Dr. Juanita P. Johns, a physician, and on August 6, 1933, the Boston Globe reported that 313 Commonwealth had been conveyed to her by Henry Brookings.  She previously had lived in Scituate and maintained her office at 144 Commonwealth.  Juanita Johns was the assessed owner of 313 Commonwealth from 1934 through 1953 and is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

In May of 1933, before taking title, Dr. Johns applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a residence and doctor’s office.  The application states that there are “no alterations to be made,” but it appears that the property was used as a three-family dwelling and doctor’s office.

313 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

313 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

Dr. Johns was joined at 313 Commonwealth by Georgia Laura White, former Dean of Women at Cornell University (from which Dr. Johns had graduated in 1922) and at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.  She continued to live with Dr. Johns until her death in May of 1949.

Dr. Johns continued to live and maintain her medical practice at 313 Commonwealth until about 1953, when she moved to 300 Commonwealth.

By 1953, 313 Commonwealth was owned by Charles S. White.  In June of 1953, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a three-family dwelling and doctor’s office into eight apartments.

The property changed hands and in December of 2010 was purchased by the 313 Back Bay LLC.  That same month, James Keliher filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into three apartments.

In February of 2012, 313 Back Bay LLC converted the property into three condominium units, the 313 Commonwealth Avenue Condominium.