334 Beacon was built ca. 1872 by architect and builder Frederick B. Pope, for speculative sale. He is shown as the owner on the 1874 Hopkins map. The property was numbered 332 Beacon until about 1889.
In a December 16, 1872, advertisement in the Boston Transcript, Fred Pope included 334 Beacon among several new houses for sale: “Beacon, corner Fairfield street. Water side. Two stories, basement and French roof; four stories finished in natural woods. House 30×75. Stable 30×30. The design of the builder has been to make this house for completeness of details and thoroughness of construction superior to any house ever built for sale in Boston.”
By 1876, it was the home of leather and morocco dealer David Locke Webster and his wife, Joanna (Ryder) Webster. They had lived at 12 Hancock in 1875. J. R. and D. L. Webster are shown as the owners on the 1883, 1888, and 1890 Bromley maps.
Joanna Webster died in April of 1890. David Webster continued to live at 334 Beacon and, by the 1890-1891 winter season, had been joined there by his son and daughter-in-law, Andrew Gerrish Webster and Lizzie Florence (Briggs) Webster. They previously had lived at 247 Newbury. Andrew Webster was a leather merchant in partnership with his father. Also living with David Webster was his niece, Mary I. Webster. She was the daughter of his brother, Andrew Jackson Webster and his wife, Mary A. (Littlefield) Webster.
Andrew and Lizzie Webster continued to live at 334 Beacon during the 1896-1897 winter season, but moved thereafter to an apartment at 330 Dartmouth. They resumed living with his father at 334 Beacon in about 1902. They also maintained a home in Cohasset.
David Webster died in April of 1903. Mary Webster had continued to live with him until his death.
Andrew and Lizzie Webster continued to live at 334 Beacon during the 1904-1905 winter season. By 1906, they had moved to an apartment at 373 Commonwealth.
By 1906, it was the home of Clarence Walker Barron and his wife, Jessie Maria (Barteaux) Waldron Barron. They had lived at 253 Newbury in 1905. After acquiring 334 Beacon in about 1906, they had it extensively remodeled by the firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson before they took occupancy. They also maintained a home, The Oaks, and several farms in Cohasset
In the early 1900s, Clarence Barron had acquired control of Dow, Jones & Company, publishers of the Wall Street Journal, of which he became president in 1912. In 1921, he established Barron’s National Financial Weekly.
Jane and Martha Waldron-Barron, the daughters of Jessie Barron by her first marriage (to Samuel Wallis Waldron), lived with them. Jane Wallis Waldron-Barron married in January of 1907 to Hugh Bancroft, a lawyer, and they moved to 253 Newbury.
Martha Waldron-Barron married in October of 1911 to Henry Wendell Endicott, a shoe manufacturer, and they moved to Dedham. She died in October of 1916 and H. Wendell Endicott and their infant daughter, Martha, moved to 334 Beacon to live with his in-laws.
Jessie Barron died in May of 1918. Clarence Barron and H. Wendell Endicott continued to live at 334 Beacon and in Cohasset.
H. Wendell Endicott married again in September of 1925 to Priscilla Maxwell. They lived at 334 Beacon during the 1925-1926 winter season, but moved thereafter to Dedham.
Clarence Barron continued to live at 334 Beacon and in Cohasset until his death in October of 1928. He left 334 Beacon to his grand-daughter, Martha Endicott. He left his Cohasset home to his grand-daughter, Jessie Bancroft, and his Cohasset farm properties to his son-in-law, Hugh Bancroft.
334 Beacon was not listed in the 1929 and 1930 Blue Books.
By 1931, it was the home of Harold G. Cutler, a stock and bond broker, and his wife, Bessie Woodbury (Preston) Ong Cutler. In 1930, they had lived at 52 Fenway. They also maintained a summer home, Dorrich, in Beach Bluff, Massachusetts.
Bessie Cutler’s three children by her first marriage, to Eugene Walter Ong, lived with them. Eugene and Bessie Ong had divorced in the early 1920s, and their three children had been adopted by her father, Andrew W. Preston, president of the United Fruit Company, and took the surname Preston.
Harold and Bessie Cutler had separated by 1937. She continued to live at 334 Beacon with her three children: Dorothy, Richard W., and Patricia Winifred Preston. She also maintained a summer home, Seven Pines, in South Hamilton. Patricia Winifred Preston married in January of 1938 to Farley Wilder Wheelwright, and Richard W. Preston married in January of 1939 to Martha Proctor.
Bradley W. Palmer, trustee, is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.
Bessie Preston Cutler continued to live at 334 Beacon until about 1939. Her daughter, Dorothy Preston, lived with her. By 1941, when Dorothy Preston married Charles P. Ware, they were living in Hamilton.
334 Beacon was shown as vacant in the 1940 City Directory.
In the fall of 1940, 334 Beacon was purchased by Warren-Stevens Inc. from the estate of Andrew W. Preston (Bessie Cutler’s father). The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on November 3, 1940.
Within several weeks, Warren-Stevens Inc. had sold the house to Margherita (Ercolani) Grilli. The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on December 29, 1940, Margherita Grilli was the wife of Silvestro (Silvio) Grilli, a manager and later vice president and manager of Pieroni, Inc., restaurant operators. They lived at 282 Commonwealth.
In November of 1940, Margherita Grilli applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into lodging house. Based on City Directory entries, it appears to have been converted into six apartments by 1942.
From about 1941 through 1947, the Grillis lived in one of the apartments at 334 Beacon. They continued to own 282 Commonwealth and moved back there in about 1948.
In September of 1942, Margarita Grilli filed for permission to cut doors in the party wall connecting with 336 Beacon on the first and third floors. This complemented a similar filing by the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company, owners of 336 Beacon, filed in August of 1942. This proposal, probably designed to provide egress for both houses, was abandoned, and, instead, Massachusetts Hospital Life applied for (and subsequently received) permission to build fire balconies connecting with 338 Beacon.
By the late 1940s, Margherita Grilli had acquired 336 Beacon.
Based on City Directory entries, the number of units at 334 Beacon appears to have increased to ten by the mid-1940s and to twelve by the late 1950s.
Margherita Grilli died in December of 1960 in Rome. 334 and 336 Beacon were transferred to the Grilli Realty Trust, and Silvestro Grilli subsequently moved to one of the apartments. He died in May of 1966.
In June of 1961, the Grilli Realty Trust filed for (and subsequently received) permission to modify the ell at the rear of 334 Beacon, removing the pitched roof, building up the walls four feet, installing a new flat roof, and “cantilevering out the west side four feet.”
In June of 1962, the Grilli RealtyTrust transferred 334 and 336 Beacon to Aldo Fioravanti and Luca J. P. Fioravanti, trustees of Grilli Investment Trust. Aldo and Luca Fioravanti were brothers and were nephews of Margherita Grilli. In May of 1967, the Grilli Investment Trust also acquired 338 Beacon.
In January of 1980, 334-338 Beacon Street Associates purchased 334-336-338 Beacon from Aldo and Luca Fioravanti. In April of 1980, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy of 334 Beacon as fourteen units.
In June of 1980, it converted the property into 33 condominiums, known as the Beacon on the Charles Condominium: fourteen units at 334 Beacon (thirteen in the main building and one “carriage house” unit in the ell at the rear), ten units at 336 Beacon, and nine units at 338 Beacon.
In September of 1992, the Beacon on the Charles Condominium Association filed for (and subsequently received) permission to consolidate 334 Beacon and 336 Beacon into one property. 338 Beacon, while part of the same condominium development, remained a separate property.