319 Dartmouth was built ca. 1869 by Hiram P. Bean, mason, one of three houses (317-319-321 Dartmouth) built at the same time as a symmetrical composition, with a bow in the center and octagonal bays at either end.
In the appendix to his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that “letters and office records of Sturgis and Brigham currently being studied by Margaret Henderson Floyd indicate that firm as the original designers of 317 Dartmouth.” He does not attribute 319-321 Dartmouth to the firm, but based on the design and the fact that they were built at the same time by the same builder, it appears likely that Sturgis and Brigham designed all three.
Bunting also indicates that 317-319-321 Dartmouth were built for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr. Based on the deeds for the houses, this does not appear to be correct.
Hiram Bean purchased the land for 317-319-321 Dartmouth on November 25, 1868, from attorney Peleg Whitman Chandler, who had purchased the land from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on September 19, 1865. The original land was composed of three lots, two with 24 foot frontages on Marlborough and the third, at the corner of Dartmouth, with a 30 foot frontage on Marlborough. The original deeds from the Commonwealth included the standard deed restrictions for lots located on Marlborough, including requirements that the houses be set back twenty-two feet from the street. As built, the houses faced Dartmouth and, as a result, on January 7, 1870, Peleg Chandler and Hiram Bean secured a deed from the Commonwealth confirming that the houses conformed with the Commonwealth’s requirements.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 319 Dartmouth, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 419, from Clarendon to Dartmouth.
On April 1, 1870, 319 Dartmouth was purchased from Hiram Bean by John L. Curtis of Charlestown.
On June 27, 1870, Hiram Bean acquired the property back from John Curtis and on the same day it was acquired from him by Maria Josephine (Sawyer) Richardson, the wife of leather merchant Thomas Owen Richardson. They previously had lived at 69 Charles.
On June 25, 1873, she transferred the property into her husband’s name.
Maria Richardson died in June of 1878. Thomas Richardson continued to live at 319 Dartmouth.
On September 30, 1885, 319 Dartmouth was acquired from Thomas Richardson by Timothy Thompson Sawyer. He and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Stockman) Sawyer, were the parents of Thomas Richardson’s deceased wife, Maria, and previously had lived in Charlestown.
Timothy Sawyer was president of the Bunker Hill Bank from 1885 to 1890, and also president of the Warren Institution for Savings from 1880 to 1903. He had served as Mayor of Charlestown from 1855 to 1857, and subsequently as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and then the State Senate.
The house was not listed in the 1905 and 1906 Blue Books.
On January 24, 1907, 319 Dartmouth was purchased from Timothy Sawyer’s heirs by Elizabeth Perkins (Lee) Shattuck, the wife of Dr. Frederick Cheever Shattuck, a physician. They owned and lived at 135 Marlborough, around the corner from 319 Dartmouth.
By the 1907-1908 winter season, 319 Dartmouth had been leased from Elizabeth Shattuck by Timothy Sawyer’s grandson, Clifford D. Sawyer, a banker, and his wife, Gertrude B. (Hershey) Sawyer. They previously had lived in an apartment at 270 Commonwealth. They continued to live at 319 Dartmouth in 1917. By 1918, they were living at 11 Lime.
By the 1917-1918 winter season, 319 Dartmouth was the home of Elizabeth Shattuck’s son-in-law and daughter, Dr. Charles Pierson Richardson, a physician and surgeon, and Clara Lee (Shattuck) Richardson. They had married in May of 1917 and 319 Dartmouth probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 224 Beacon with his mother, Margaret White (Pierson) Richardson, the widow of Dr. Maurice Howe Richardson. He continued to maintain his medical office there.
The Richardsons had moved by 1919 and were living in Brookline by 1920. Clara Richardson died in December of 1921.
During the 1918-1919 winter season, 319 Beacon was the home of Henry Bancroft Sprague, treasurer of the Roxbury Carpet Company, and his wife, Louise (Hill) Sprague. By 1920, they had moved to 182 Bay State Road, and by 1921 to 3 Exeter.
By the 1919-1920 winter season, 319 Dartmouth was the home of Clarence Vose Burrage and his wife, Alice (Nichols) Burrage. They had lived at 193 Beacon in 1918. They also maintained a home in Cohasset. Formerly a real estate dealer, he was treasurer of a rug and carpet company. By March of 1921, they had moved to 225 Marlborough.
By the 1921-1922 winter season, 319 Dartmouth was the home of John Wallace Goodrich and his wife, Madeline (Boardman) Goodrich. They previously had lived at 145 Beacon with Madeline Goodrich’s father, real estate agent T. Dennie Boardman, who died in September of 1919. The Goodriches also maintained a home in West Manchester.
John Wallace Goodrich was Dean of Faculty (and later Director) of the New England Conservatory of Music.
Elizabeth Shattuck died in April of 1931. 319 Dartmouth became the property of a trust established in her will for the benefit of her daughter, Elizabeth Perkins (Shattuck) Bigelow, the wife of oceanographer and zoologist Henry Bryant Bigelow, and her son-in-law, Edward Pierson Richardson, the widower of Clara Lee (Shattuck) Richardson.
On July 24, 1945, Madeleine Goodrich purchased the house from the trustees for Elizabeth Bigelow and Edward Richardson.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1950 City Directory.
On December 29, 1949, 319 Dartmouth was purchased from Madeleine Goodrich by Frank Sawyer, who operated it as a lodging house. His wife, Mildred (Farrar) Sawyer, owned 137 Marlborough (317 Dartmouth).
Frank Sawyer was president of the Checker Cab Company and the Transportation Mutual Insurance Company. He also developed the Avis car rental company into Avis International and served as its chairman until his retirement in the 1980s. The Sawyers lived at 203 Bay State Road and later in Chestnut Hill.
In September of 1961, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the house and convert it into five apartments.
On February 15, 1963, 319 Dartmouth was acquired from Frank Sawyer by Edward H. Mank and Richard G. Maloney, trustees of the 319 Dartmouth Street Trust.
The property subsequently changed hands. It remained an apartment house, assessed as a four- to six-family dwelling, in 2016.