314 Dartmouth was built in 1871 by building contractor George Wheatland, Jr. one of two contiguous houses (312-314 Dartmouth).
312-314 Dartmouth were built on part of a larger parcel of land that George Wheatland, Jr., acquired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and that also included the land where 164 Marlborough would be built. He originally purchased the land at the Commonwealth’s auction on April 10, 1869, and then entered into agreements on August 23, 1869, and January 29, 1870, with Katharine Crowninshield, wife of Benjamin Williams Crowninshield, under which he agreed to sell her the lot for 164 Marlborough once the Crowninshields had built their home on it. 164 Marlborough was completed in late 1870, the Commonwealth conveyed the land to George Wheatland, Jr., on November 15, 1870, and he conveyed the lot for 164 Marlborough to Katharine Crowninshield on December 15. 1870. He retained the land for 312-314 Dartmouth and began construction soon thereafter.
The original lot acquired from the Commonwealth by George Wheatland, Jr., was 80 feet wide (east-west). On December 9, 1870, Eben D. Jordan purchased from the Commonwealth the 25 foot wide lot immediately to the west, and on December 15, 1870, he sold a 7 foot wide strip to George Wheatland, Jr. That same day, George Wheatland, Jr., sold the 7 foot strip at the west of 164 Marlborough to Katharine Crowninshield, increasing the frontage of her lot to 87 feet on Marlborough. He retained the strip behind 312-314 Dartmouth. On April 30, 1874, Eben Jordan sold the remainder of his lot, with an 18 foot width, to George Tyson, by then the owner of 314 Dartmouth, and on July 7, 1874, George Tyson sold the portion behind 164 Marlborough to Katharine Crowninshield, and the portion behind 312 Dartmouth to Catherine Fay, owner of 312 Dartmouth, increasing the east-west depth of each lot to 105 feet.
In the December 15, 1870, deed transferring the land to Katharine Crowninshield, George Wheatland, Jr., had agreed to restrictions on the dimensions of the houses he would build at 312-314 Dartmouth so that they would conform with the house already constructed at 164 Marlborough. That agreement also specified that nothing would be built on a small strip of land on Dartmouth Street, about 4.5 feet deep and extending about 7.3 feet at the face of the buildings on either side of the property line between 164 Marlborough and 314 Dartmouth.
On January 12, 1872, after 312-314 Dartmouth were completed, their new owners and Katharine Crowninshield of 164 Marlborough entered into an agreement confirming that the dimensional requirements in the earlier deeds had been met and extending in perpetuity the prohibition on building on the small strip between 164 Marlborough and 314 Dartmouth.
The various deeds and agreements also specified a five foot (later four foot) wide easement at the western edge of 312-314 Dartmouth providing access and drainage from all three properties to the alley.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 314 Dartmouth.
Bainbridge Bunting, in his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay does not attribute 312-314 Dartmouth to a specific architect. They are built in the style of 164 Marlborough, including distinctive dormers and a string course of blue, green and white tiles between the second and third stories. 164 Marlborough was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson. However, George Wheatland was not known to use prominent architects, and Jeffrey Karl Ochsner’s H. H. Richardson Complete Architectural Works states that “there is no evidence to indicate that they [312-314 Dartmouth] were designed by Richardson.”
When it was built, 314 Dartmouth had an angled bay extending from the ground level on the southern half of its façade. To the right of the bay was the entrance, up a flight of stairs, and to the right of the entrance was a slightly projected flat façade with windows, continuing up to a gable. Sometime before the early 1940s – and probably in the mid-1920s – the façade was remodeled to move the entrance into the squared bay, at street level, and square off the first story of the angled bay. A large oriel window was installed above the new entrance. Sometime after the late 1940s, this oriel was removed.
On January 1, 1872, 314 Dartmouth was purchased from George Wheatland, Jr., by George Tyson. He and his wife, Sarah (Anthony) Tyson, made it their home. They previously had lived at 232 Beacon.
George Tyson was former partner in Russell and Company, the China merchant trading firm, and had spent much of the 1860s in Shanghai. He is credited with introducing steamboats on the Yangtze River. After returning to Boston, he retired from his partnership in Russell and Company and subsequently became a partner in J. M. Forbes Co. and also an official of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.
Sarah Tyson died in February of 1873, and in 1875 George Tyson married again, to Emily Davis of Philadelphia. They continued to live at 314 Dartmouth with his three children from his first marriage: Russell, George, Jr., and Elizabeth (Elise) Russell Tyson.
George Tyson died in January of 1881.
Russell Tyson married in June of 1891 to Sarah Merry Bradley. After their marriage, they lived in Milton and then in Chicago, where he was a real estate dealer.
During the 1896-1897 winter season, the Tysons were living elsewhere and 314 Dartmouth was the home of James Hewitt Morgan and his wife, Martha (Leavitt) Morgan. They had recently returned from Paris, where he had studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and were in Boston with the intention of his entering Harvard Law School (which he ultimately did not do). By the next season, they had moved to 509 Beacon and Emily Tyson and her stepchildren were once again living at 314 Dartmouth.
In 1898, Emily Tyson and her step-daughter, Elise, acquired Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine, which they restored and made their summer home.
Elise Tyson married in April of 1915 to Henry Goodwin Vaughan, an attorney (and fox hunting aficionado). After their marriage, they lived in Sherborn. Emily Tyson and George Tyson, Jr., a banker and stockbroker, continued to live at 314 Dartmouth.
By the 1918-1919 winter season, the Vaughans were living at 314 Dartmouth with George Tyson, Jr. They also retained their home in Sherborn. Emily Tyson was living elsewhere during the 1918-1919 and 1919-1920 seasons, but then resumed living there, with the Vaughans and George Tyson, Jr.
By the 1922-1923 winter season, 314 Dartmouth had become the home of attorney Pierpont Langley Stackpole and his wife, Lora (McGinley) Knowles Stackpole. They had married in May of 1922 and 314 Dartmouth probably was their first home together. Her children by her marriage to Lucius James Knowles — Lucius, Jr., and Sarah Montgomery Knowles — lived with them (Lucius James Knowles, Sr., had died in November of 1920). They continued to live at 314 Dartmouth during the 1923-1924 season, but moved soon thereafter to 53 Marlborough.
On October 9, 1924, 314 Dartmouth was purchased from the Tyson estate by Barbara (Deering) Danielson, the wife of Richard Ely Danielson. They previously had lived in Groton, where they continued to maintain a home.
Richard Danielson was editor and publisher of the Atlantic Monthly magazine; Barbara Stackpole was the daughter of Charles Deering, co-founder of the International Harvester Company.
314 Dartmouth was not listed in the 1924-1925 Blue Book and it appears likely that it was at this time that the house was remodeled to lower the entrance to street level and move it to the northern side of the house.
The Danielsons continued to live at 314 Dartmouth in 1942. The house was shown as vacant in the 1943-1945 City Directories, but was again the Danielsons’ home in 1947.
On December 27, 1948, 314 Dartmouth was purchased from Barbara Danielson by real estate dealer Henry J. O’Meara. On January 24, 1949. it was acquired by the American National Red Cross for use by their Boston Metropolitan Chapter. After interior renovations, it was opened as the Red Cross Blood Bank in June of 1949.
On January 27, 1970, 314 Commonwealth was acquired from the Red Cross by the Society of Jesus of New England. They used the house for offices and a chapel.
In June of 1972, the Jesuits purchased 312 Dartmouth from the Teresian Institute and used the building for a rectory with an accessory chapel.
In January of 1983, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to combine 312 and 314 Dartmouth into one building to be used as a chapel and offices. At the same time, they requested that the legal use of 312 Dartmouth be clarified as offices, which they alleged had been the use for a number of years. That use was approved by the Inspectional Services Department.
On March 21, 1983, the Society of Jesus sold 312-314 Dartmouth to Swiss Properties, Inc. It appears they intended to lease the space for commercial offices.
Back Bay residents filed an appeal of the Inspectional Services Department’s decision granting the use of 312 Dartmouth for offices and, in December of 1983, the Board of Appeal ruled that there was “no credible evidence” that 312 Dartmouth had been used for offices and, therefore, the approved use for 312 Dartmouth was “rectory with accessory chapel” and the legal use for 314 Dartmouth was “offices and chapel.”
The owners filed suit to appeal the Board of Appeal decision, and the case was in litigation until about June of 1987, at which time a settlement was reached.
On December 9, 1987, Swiss Properties sold 312-314 Dartmouth to Edgard Puente and David Boersner, trustees of the Boston Dartmouth Realty Trust. On the same day, they converted the property into three commercial condominium units and six residential condominium units, the 312-314 Dartmouth Street Condominium.
Over the next five years, the configuration of the condominiums was modified and, by 1992, the building consisted of one condominium that could be either residential or commercial, and four residential condominiums.