317 Commonwealth was designed by architect Obed F. Smith and built in 1878 by James W. Tobey, builder, as the home of Josiah Gardner Abbott and his wife, Caroline (Livermore) Abbott. In 1877, they had lived at 6 Arlington. He is shown as the owner of 317 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated April 3, 1878, on the final inspection report, dated December 31, 1878, and on the 1883, 1888, and 1890 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home in Wellesley Hills.
Josiah Abbott was an attorney. He had served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and State Senate, and was a Member of Congress in 1876-1877. He also had been an unsuccessful candidate for US Senate on several occasions.
Caroline Abbott died in September of 1887. Josiah Abbott continued to live at 317 Commonwealth until his death in June of 1891.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, 317 Commonwealth was the home of Miss Eliza Collamore and Miss Helen Elizabeth Collamore, sisters. They previously had lived at 115 Beacon.
Heirs of Elizabeth and Helen Collamore are shown as the owners of 317 Commonwealth on the 1895, 18987, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
By 1917, it was the home of William Converse Chick and his wife, Ruth Agnes (French) Chick. They previously had lived in Brookline. He was the assessed owner of 317 Commonwealth from 1917 and is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps. He also was the assessed owner of 319 Commonwealth from 1920 through 1937 and from 1940 through 1945. The Chicks also maintained a home in Swampscott.
William Chick was an investment banker until his father’s death in 1929, after which he succeeded his father as president of John H. Pray & Company, dealers in carpets, rug, wallpaper, and furniture.
In May of 1917, William Chick applied for (and subsequently received) permission to add two new windows and to remodel the interior.
The Chicks continued to live at 317 Commonwealth until William Chick’s death in October of 1965.
In September of 1966, florist Maynard Winston and his wife, Miriam G. (MacLeod) Winston, acquired 317 Commonwealth from the Chick Estate. In October of 1966, Maynard Winston applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into five apartments. In November of 1966, he amended the plans to increase the number of apartments to six. The Winstons lived in one of the apartments.
Maynard Winston died in January of 1988. Miriam Winston continued to live at 317 Commonwealth.
317 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2015.