332 Commonwealth

332 Commonwealth (2013)

332 Commonwealth (2013)

Lot 24' x 124.5' (2,988 sf)

Lot 24′ x 124.5′ (2,988 sf)

332 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue, with 330 Commonwealth to the east and 334 Commonwealth to the west.

332 Commonwealth was built in 1878-1879 by Henry J. Bartlett, builder.  No architect is indicated on the original building permit application.  It was originally numbered 330 Commonwealth until about 1889, when 328-330 Commonwealth were built to the east of it.

332 Commonwealth was built as the home of provisions dealer Benjamin Fitch and his wife, Elizabeth W. (Shute) Fitch.  They previously had lived in Somerville. He is shown as the owner of 332 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated December 16, 1878.  Elizabeth W. Fitch is shown as the owner on the 1883, 1888, and 1898 Bromley maps.

The Fitches continued to live at 332 Commonwealth during the 1904-1905 winter season, but moved thereafter to Lexington.

In the spring of 1905, 332 Commonwealth was purchased from Elizabeth Fitch by Thomas Upham and his wife, Marcella (Ballard) Upham.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on May 3, 1905.  They previously had lived at the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Clarendon and Boylston).  Marcella B. Upham was the assessed owner of 332 Commonwealth from 1905 through 1937 and is shown as the owner on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.  They also maintained a home in Phillips Beach.

A retired grocer, Thomas Upham was an investor in railroads and real estate.

332 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

332 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

Thomas Upham died in July of 1916 at the age of 105.  Marcella Upham continued to live at 332 Commonwealth.

Between 1921 and 1924, she was joined there by her husband’s great-grand-nephew, Thomas Carleton Upham, a playwright.  Thomas Carleton Upham’s great-grandfather, Nathan Upham, was Thomas Upham’s older brother.

Between 1928 until about 1935, her niece, Miss Maud M. Morse, lived with her.  She previously had lived at 134 West Newton.  She was the daughter of Marcella Ballard’s deceased brother-in-law and sister, Edwin and Maria (Ballard) Morse.

Marcella Upham continued to live at 332 Commonwealth until her death in February of 1937.  At about the time of her death, Maud Morse resumed living at 332 Commonwealth.  When she died, Marcella Upham left major bequests to MIT and other institutions and charities, and named Maud Morse as her residual beneficiary.  Maud Morse continued to live at 332 Commonwealth until her death four months later in June of 1937.   After her death, Thomas Carleton Upham challenged Marcella Upham’s will, in which he was left $10,000, alleging that he had been promised a far greater share of the estate in exchange for services he provided to her during her lifetime.

Samuel B. Doggett, trustee, was the assessed owner in 1938 and 1939 and is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

The house was shown as vacant in the 1939 City Directory.

In July of 1939, 332 Commonwealth was purchased at auction by Dr. Julian Carrell Gant, a physician, and his wife, Anita (Davis) Gant.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on July 9, 1939.  They previously had lived in Arlington.  Anita Gant was the assessed owner of 332 Commonwealth from 1940 through 1946.

In May of 1940, Anita Gant applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a single-family dwelling and doctor’s office.

They continued to live at 332 Commonwealth, and he to maintain his medical offices there, until about 1946.  By the early 1950s, he was medical director of the Madison Sanitarium Hospital in Madison, Tennessee.

By 1947, 332 Commonwealth the home of Lewis William Harlem and his wife, Stacia Hermina (born Mary Erminia Stacy) (Sirois) Willett Harlem. They previously had lived in Arlington. He was the assessed owner of 332 Commonwealth from 1947 through 1953.

Lewis Harlem was president of the American Traveling Goods Company.

In January of 1947, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling and doctor’s office into two apartments and a doctor’s office.

They continued to live at 332 Commonwealth until about 1953.

Marion N. Doyle was the assessed owner of 332 Commonwealth in 1954.  The house was not included in the 1954 List of Residents.

By 1955, 332 Commonwealth was owned by Bernard Brideau and his wife. Louise Marie (Gautreau) Geldart Brideau.  They previously had lived at 389 Marlborough.  Louise Brideau was the assessed owner of 332 Commonwealth from 1955.  They continued to live there in 1963, but had moved to 250 Commonwealth by 1964.

By 1963, 332 Commonwealth was owned by Gerassimo A. Alexandrato.  In  October of 1963, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from three apartments (the doctor’s office apparently having become a third apartment) into seven apartments.

In June of 1967, Robert White acquired 332 Commonwealth from Gerassimo A. Alexandrato and his wife.  By 1969, he owned 324326328330332334336 Commonwealth, and in 1978 he acquired 322 Commonwealth.

In December of 1988, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 332 Commonwealth from seven apartments into eight apartments.  At the same time, he also applied for (and subsequently received) permission to combine it with 322-330 Commonwealth and 334 Commonwealth into one property with 63 apartments, to be known as 322-334 Commonwealth.  336 Commonwealth remained a separate property.

332 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2015.

328-332 Commonwealth (2014)

328-332 Commonwealth (2014)