326 Dartmouth was designed by architects Snell and Gregerson and built ca. 1871, one of three houses – 163 Marlborough and 326-328 Dartmouth — built at the same time, creating a symmetrical composition on Dartmouth.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting comments that the houses are “three closely related structures” that “fit together to create an impressive whole.” 326 Dartmouth forms the center house of the three, half a story lower than the houses on either side and differentiated by changes in floor level and stone trim.
The three houses were built on a parcel with a 100 foot frontage on Marlborough and a 112 foot frontage on Dartmouth. The parcel was assembled by building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., who purchased the eastern portion at the corner of Dartmouth, with a 30 foot frontage on Marlborough, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on November 29, 1870, and the western portion, with a 70 foot frontage on Marlborough, from Eben D. Jordan on December 3, 1870 (it was part of a 100 foot wide lot that Eben Jordan had purchased from William Thomas on March 9, 1870; William Thomas had purchased it from the Commonwealth on November 2, 1869).
On December 3, 1870, George Wheatland, Jr., sold Thomas Forbes Cushing the southern portion of the parcel, with a 100 foot frontage on Marlborough and a 57 foot frontage on Dartmouth. He retained the northern portion. Thomas Cushing had 163 Marlborough built on his lot, and George Wheatland, Jr., had 326-328 Dartmouth built on his, for speculative sale. 163 Marlborough appears to have been completed before 326-328 Dartmouth.
The houses were built with an irregular east-west line. As a result, the eastern (Dartmouth) façade of 163 Marlborough is 44 feet and the western wall is 61 feet; the eastern façade of 328 Dartmouth is 46 feet and the western wall is 18 feet, and the eastern façade wall of 326 Dartmouth is 22 feet and the western wall is 33 feet. The lot bought by Thomas Cushing did not match the footprint of the house he had built at 163 Marlborough, and on December 29, 1871, and January 16, 1872, he and George Wheatland, Jr., exchanged parcels of land to reflect the irregular shape. The deed from George Wheatland, Jr. – and subsequent deeds conveying 326 Dartmouth and 328 Dartmouth — also included a 4 foot wide easement over the rear of 328 Dartmouth to provide for access to the alley for 326 Dartmouth.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 326 Dartmouth.
On October 19, 1874, 326 Dartmouth was purchased from George Wheatland, Jr., by dry goods merchant William Mathias Bremer and his wife, Welthea Loring (Malbon) Bremer. They previously had lived at 127 Boylston.
By the 1877-1878 winter season, 326 Dartmouth was the home of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Wright, the former wife of Charles Henry Todd. She previously had lived at 321 Dartmouth . Her unmarried son, Charles Francis (Todd) Wright, lived with her (after Mary Wright’s divorce from Charles Henry Todd, she and their children took her maiden name, Wright, as their surname).
She continued to live at 326 Dartmouth until her death in July of 1900. Prior to her death, she and her son had been joined at 326 Dartmouth by her unmarried sister, Esther Fidelia Wright.
Charles Wright and his aunt Esther continued to live at 326 Dartmouth. He listed his occupation as “gentleman of leisure” in the 1880 US Census, and showed no employment in the 1900 US Census.
Esther Wright died in January of 1903.
Charles Wright continued to live at 326 Dartmouth and on May 14, 1904, he purchased the house from the estate of William Bremer (who had died in February of 1885).
Charles Wright died in December of 1909. In his will, he left 326 Dartmouth to his brother, William James Wright, and by the 1910-1911 winter season, he and his wife, Georgianna (Buckham) Wright Wright, had made it their Boston home. They also maintained a home in Duxbury, where Georgianna Wright had donated the funds to build the public library (now known as the Wright Memorial Library).
William Wright was a gentleman farmer and had served in the Massachusetts legislature in 1890 and 1891. He had married Georgianna (Buckham) Wright in January of 1900. She was the widow of his uncle, George Wellman Wright (who died in 1897).
On October 27, 1919, 326 Dartmouth was purchased from Georgianna Wright’s estate by Dr. William Edwards Ladd. He and his wife, Helen Katharine (Barton) Ladd, made it their home. They previously had lived at 346 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Nahant.
William Ladd was a physician and pediatric surgeon. He devised a number of new surgical procedures, and is known as the “father of pediatric surgery.”
In May of 1924 he purchased 66 Commonwealth, which he converted to medical offices for himself and other doctors.
On December 31, 1926, 326 Dartmouth was purchased from William Ladd by Margaret (Margot) Putnam (Cushing) Rueter, the wife of William Glover Rueter. They previously had lived at 10 Fairfield. They also maintained a home in Manchester.
William Rueter previously had been a brewer in his family’s firm until the 1920s. By 1930 was treasurer of Kennedy & Company, dealers in butter, cheese, and eggs, he also was treasurer the La Touraine Coffee Company.
By 1935, the Rueters had been joined at 326 Dartmouth by his mother, Bertha (Glover) Rueter, the widow of Henry Arnold Rueter. They had lived with her at 284 Beacon in the mid-1920s.
On December 22, 1941, 326 Dartmouth was purchased from Margot Rueter by Julia (Giulia) (Leverone) Arata, the widow of Paul (Paolo) Arata. She lived in Brighton with her son and daughter-in-law, Fred L. Arata and Annette Flossie (Crovo) Boggiano Arata. Fred Arata was a retail liquor dealer and real estate investor.
By 1943, 326 Dartmouth was the home of Nell K. Mercier. She was the owner of the Hotel Brunswick at 520 Boylston, where she previously had lived. She continued to live at 326 Dartmouth until about 1947. While living there, she accepted lodgers. By 1948, she had moved back to the Hotel Brunswick. Born Nellie Fidelia Mercier, she was the former wife of Clifton Nicholson Phillips, and would marry again by 1963 to Herbert Camp Sneath, Boston district manager for American Express.
In July of 1947, Fred Arata applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the property from a single-family dwelling into three medical offices and six apartments.
Julia Arata died in 1952, and on November 23, 1953, Fred Arata, as administrator of her estate, transferred the property into his name, and on April 5, 1954, he transferred the property into his and his wife’s names.
On January 3, 1956, 326 Dartmouth was acquired from Fred and Annette Arata by Beatrice (Miller) Silversmith, the wife of Peter Philip Silversmith, a real estate dealer and lawyer. They lived in Brookline.
The property subsequently changed hands, and by 1961 it was composed of nine apartments and one office (the Spanish Consulate). It again changed hands, including being sold in foreclosure in 1975.
On January 15, 1979, 326 Dartmouth was purchased by the Rhedom Realty Corporation of Providence (Rhea Patriarca, president and treasurer).
On November 12, 1980, it converted the property into eleven condominium units, the 326 Dartmouth Street Condominium. Three of the condominiums were purchased by the same buyer, and in December of 1980, Rhedom Realty applied for (and subsequently received) permission to change the occupancy to eight units.