323 Beacon was designed by Frederick B. Pope and built in 1872 by J. P. Beal. The house was built for Frederick B. Pope for speculative sale, one of fourteen contiguous houses (303-305-307-309-311-313-315-317-319-321-323-325-327-329 Beacon) he designed and built between 1871 and 1874. He is shown as the architect and owner on the original building permit inspection, dated June 28, 1872.
By 1873, 323 Beacon was the home of Henry F. Mills and his wife, Annie M. (Taylor) Mills. They previously had lived in Cambridge He is shown as the owner of 323 Beacon on the 1874 Hopkins map.
Henry Mills was a barrel stave and heading dealer, in business with his brother, William, who lived next door at 321 Beacon.
They continued to live there in 1879, but by 1880 had moved to Lexington. The house remained in the Mills family. He is shown as the owner on the 1883 Bromley map, and Annie T. Mills is shown as the owner on the 1888 and 1895 maps.
During the 1879-1880 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of Nathaniel Hugh Cotton and his wife, Harriet Emma (Clapp) Cotton. They had been married in 1879, and 323 Beacon probably was their first home together. N. Hugh Cotton was a West Indies shipping merchant. By 1882, they had moved to the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Boylston and Clarendon).
During the 1880-1881 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of M. Clark.
By the 1881-1882 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of leather dealer Walter Irving Bigelow and his wife, Harriet Staples (Christian) Bigelow. They had lived at 254 Beacon during the previous season. They continued to live at 323 Beacon in 1889, but had moved to an apartment in the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon by 1890.
By 1890, 323 Beacon appears to have become the home of Thomas Wentworth Peirce, III, a student at John P. Hopkinson’s college preparatory school at 29 Chestnut. He is listed as “T. W. Pierce” in the Blue Books from 1890 and as “Thomas W. Peirce, student,” in the City Directories for 1895 and 1896.
Thomas Wentworth Peirce, III, was the son of Thomas Wentworth Peirce, a shipping merchant and investor in Texas railroads and other businesses. He had died in October of 1885, and his nephew, also named Thomas Wentworth Peirce, became the executor and trustee of his uncle’s estate. The Peirces’ primary residence was in Topsfield, and the Peirce estate probably leased 323 Beacon so that the younger Thomas Peirce could be educated in Boston.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, Thomas Peirce was joined at 323 Beacon by his sister, Marion Wentworth Peirce. They continued to live there until about 1896 (when Thomas Peirce entered Harvard).
323 Beacon was not listed in the 1897 and 1898 Blue Books.
By the 1898-1899 winter season, it was the home of Dr. George Shattuck Whiteside and his wife, Adeline Haven (Cheever) Whiteside. They had been married in October of 1898 and 323 Beacon probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 6 Newbury and she had lived at 557 Boylston. Adeline Whiteside’s father, Dr. David Williams Cheever, is shown as the owner of 323 Beacon on the 1898 Bromley map.
George Whiteside was a physician and surgeon, and was assistant in anatomy at Harvard Medical School.
In mid-1904, 323 Beacon was purchased from David W. Cheever by Dr. Richard Goodwin Wadsworth, a physician, and his wife, Mary Heath (Atkinson) Wadsworth. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on August 16, 1904. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his medical office) at the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon. He maintained his medical offices both at 323 Beacon and at 65 Marlborough. Mary H. Wadsworth is shown as the owner of 323 Beacon on the 1908 Bromley map.
During the 1911-1912 winter season, it was the home of Miss Edyth Deacon. She previously had lived at The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon and in Newport.
Edyth Deacon had been engaged to marry banker George Lee Peabody, who died in February of 1911. She was the sister of Gladys Deacon, who later would become the Duchess of Marlborough, second wife of the Ninth Duke of Marlborough, Charles Richard John Spencer Churchill (first cousin of Winston Churchill), and of Dorothy Deacon, who later would become Princess Radziwell, wife of Prince Radziwell of Poland, and then Countess Palffy, wife of Count Francis Palffy of Hungary.
By mid-1913, Edyth Deacon was living at 256 Beacon.
By the 1912-1913 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of attorney Alexander Whiteside, Jr., and his wife, Ethel (Stockton) Whiteside. They previously had lived at 192 Beacon with his widowed mother, Eleanor Anne Brune (Shattuck) Whiteside. Alexander Whiteside was the brother of George Shattuck Whiteside who had lived at 323 Beacon from 1898 until 1904.
The Whitesides continued to live at 323 Beacon during the 1913-1914 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 233 Beacon.
By the 1914-1915 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of Robert Amory, Jr., and his wife, and Leonore (Cobb) Amory. They previously had lived at The Stratford apartments at 31 Massachusetts Avenue. He was a textile manufacturing executive. Among their children was Cleveland Amory, born in September of 1917, an author and pioneer advocate for animal rights, whose works include The Proper Bostonians. The Amorys continued to live at 323 Beacon during the 1918-1919 winter season, but had moved to Milton by 1920.
By mid-1919, 323 Beacon was the home of Jasper Whiting and his wife, Marion McBurney (Schlesinger) Whiting. In 1917, they had lived at 17 Exeter. He is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.
A chemical engineer by training, Jasper Whiting was a chemical company executive and an inventor. Among his inventions were a process for making Portland cement from blast furnace slag and the “Whiting Cell” used in the manufacturer of chlorine gas.
During the 1923-1924 and 1924-1925 winter seasons, it was the home of Albert Marshall Jones, a book publisher, and his wife, Grace (Webber) Jones. They previously had lived in Brookline. By 1926, they had moved to 2 Arlington.
During the 1925-1926 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of bond broker Henry Whitney Minot and his wife, Ellen Sears (Curtis) Minot. They previously had lived at 9 Lime. They had married in October of 1924; prior to their marriage, he had lived at 188 Marlborough with his widowed father, Dr. James Jackson Minot. In mid-1926, they purchased and moved to 108 Marlborough.
The Whitings resumed living at 323 during the 1926-1927 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to Dover, New Hampshire. They continued to own the house, however, leasing it to others, and it appears that, for several years, they may have retained an apartment at the house, inasmuch as Jasper Whiting continued to list it as his Boston address in the City Directories through 1929. He is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.
By 1928, 323 Beacon was the home of Charles Brooks Perkins and his wife, Mary Louise (Floyd) Perkins. They previously had lived in an apartment at 100 Beacon. He was a tobacco dealer. They continued to live there until mid-1930, when they moved to 116 Charles.
By the 1931-1932 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of Percy Musgrave, Jr., and his wife, Marguerite (Swann) Musgrave. They had been married in October of 1931 and 323 Beacon probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 304 Marlborough with his widowed mother, Edith (Porter) Musgrave, and two unmarried aunts, Hortense and Rosamond Porter. Percy and Marguerite Musgrave also maintained a home in Stockbridge, Linwood House, which later became the Norman Rockwell Museum. They continued to live at 323 Beacon during the 1932-1933 season, but moved thereafter to Milton.
During the 1933-1934 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of George Upham Baylies, a salesman (and later sales manager) with the American Can Company, and his wife, Jacquelyn (Hartford) Baylies. They had been married in November of 1933. and 323 Beacon probably was their first home together. Before their marriage, he had lived with his parents, Walter and Charlotte (Upham) Baylies, at 5 Commonwealth. By 1935, George and Jacquelyn Baylies had moved to an apartment at the Hotel Royal at 295-297 Beacon.
By the 1934-1935 winter season, 323 Beacon was the home of Donald Carter Starr and his wife Ethel Randolph “Polly” (Thayer) Starr.
Donald Starr was an attorney and avid sailor (he was the author of The Schooner Pilgrim’s Progress, A Voyage Around the World in 1932-1934), In the 1950s, he led efforts to create parks and lagoons at the banks of the Charles River in conjunction with construction of Storrow Drive. Polly (Thayer) Starr was a noted artist.
The house was not listed in the 1937 Blue Book and was shown as vacant in the 1937-1939 City Directories.
By 1940, 323 Beacon was the home of Max Feer, who owned a grocery and variety store, and his wife, Emma (Korb) Wolffers Feer. They previously had lived at 28 Blagden. They operated 323 Beacon as a lodging house. The Feers continued to live there in 1942, but had moved to 151 Beacon by 1943.
By 1943, 323 Beacon was owned by Ellen Simpson. In May of 1943, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
By 1944, 323 Beacon was the home of Lillian C. (Barbanti) Luderer, the former wife of Walter P. Luderer. who operated it as a lodging house. She continued to live there in 1945, but purchased and moved to 527-529 Beacon that year.
In late 1946, 323 Beacon was purchased by Paul G. Donahue from Lillian Luderer. The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on December 8, 1946.
The property changed hands and by 1957 was owned by Jean Hoppe. In March of 1957, Jean Hoppe filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as a single-family dwelling and lodging house.
The property changed hands, remaining a lodging house, and in October of 1993 was purchased by Patrick O’Byrne and his wife, Gloria. The O’Byrnes continued to operate the house as a lodging house.
In May of 1997, they applied for permission to convert the property from a lodging house into nine apartments, indicating that this was an existing condition inasmuch as there was a “cooking area” in each unit. The application was denied because of the small size of the units. In December of 2005, the O’Byrnes applied again for permission to convert the property from a lodging house into nine apartments, and their application was once again denied. Their appeal was dismissed by the Board of Appeal on November 28, 2006.
In March of 2007, Reverso LLC purchased 323 Beacon from Patrick and Gloria O’Byrne.
The legal occupancy of 323 Beacon remained a lodging house in 2014.