334 Beacon was designed and built ca. 1872 by architect and builder Frederick B. Pope for speculative sale on land he purchased on September 8, 1871, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation. The property was numbered 332 Beacon until about 1889.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 334 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
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.”
The house did not sell, and on October 28, 1873, he sold it at public auction. The Boston Traveller advertisement for the sale noted that “this house was built by Mr. Fred Pope, in the most thorough manner; the architecture is chaste and elegant; the plan commodious and convenient; the finish perfect and appointments complete. This house combines comfort, convenience and elegance in a higher degree than any estate ever before offered at public sale in this city.”
The successful bidder probably was dry goods merchant John Stratton Wright, who took title to the property on November 3, 1873. He was a widower, whose primary residence was in Nahant. He died in June of 1874 and may never have occupied the house.
On December 2, 1874, 334 Beacon was purchased from John Wright’s estate by retail clothier Leopold Morse (born Maas). He and his wife, Georgiana (Georgie) Louisa (Ray) Morse, lived at 49 Beacon; in the mid-1880s, they would build a home at 203 Commonwealth.
On January 1, 1876, 334 Beacon was purchased from Cyrus Clark by real estate dealer Benjamin Gleason Reed.
On June 1, 1876, 334 Beacon was purchased at public auction by leather and morocco dealer David Locke Webster, who took title to the property from Benjamin Reed on June 3, 1876. He and his wife, Joanna (Ryder) Webster, made it their home. They previously had lived at 12 Hancock.
The Websters’ two adult sons, Augustus Floyd Webster and Andrew Gerrish Webster, lived with them at 334 Beacon. They were both associated with their father’s leather business. The Websters’ daughter, Elizabeth, had married in October of 1866 to Arthur Reed, an insurance broker, and had died in May of 1870.
Andrew Webster married in June of 1880 to Lizzie Florence Briggs. After their marriage, they lived briefly at 124 Marlborough with her parents, Harrison Otis Briggs and Hannah Elizabeth (Stetson) Briggs, and then at the Hotel Huntington (Huntington and Blagden Streets). During the 1883-1884 winter season they lived at 306 Beacon, then moved briefly to 334 Beacon to live with his parents and brother, and then to a new home they had built at 247 Newbury.
Joanna Webster died in April of 1890. David Webster and Augustus Webster continued to live at 334 Beacon, and by the 1890-1891 winter season, they were joined by Andrew and Lizzie (Briggs) Webster, who moved there from 247 Newbury.
In the spring of 1892, Augustus Webster married (in London) to Lizzie Jacobs Josselyn. After their marriage, they lived in an apartment at The Imperial at 308 Commonwealth.
By the 1893-1894 winter season, David Websier and Andrew and Lizzie Webster had been joined at 334 Beacon by David Webster’s niece, Mary I. Webster. She was the daughter of his brother, Andrew Jackson Webster, and Mary A. (Littlfield) 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 the next season, they had moved to an apartment at 373 Commonwealth.
On March 20, 1905, 334 Beacon was purchased from David Webster’s estate by Clarence Walker Barron. He and his wife, Jessie Maria (Barteaux) Waldron Barron, made it their home. They previously had lived at 253 Newbury.
After acquiring 334 Beacon, Clarence Barron 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.
On October 23, 1930, 334 Beacon was purchased from Martha Endicott by the estate of Andrew W. Preston, president of the United Fruit Company, who had died in September of 1924.
334 Beacon became the home of Andrew Preston’s son-in-law and daughter, Harold Garfield Cutler, a stock and bond broker, and Bessie Woodbury (Preston) Ong Cutler. They previously had lived at 52 Fenway. They also maintained a home, Dorrich, at Beach Bluff in Swampscott.
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 and took the surname Preston: Dorothy (Ong) Preston, Richard (Ong) Preston, and Patricia Winifred (Ong) Preston.
Harold and Bessie Cutler separated in about 1937. She continued to live at 334 Beacon with her children, and also maintained a home, Seven Pines, in South Hamilton.
Patricia Winifred Preston married in January of 1938 to Farley Wilder Wheelwright, a journalist and later a Unitarian minister, and they moved to New York City.
Richard Preston married in January of 1939 to Martha Moore Proctor. They moved briefly to New York City and then to Hamilton, Massachusetts, where Martha Preston died in June of 1941. He was employed with the United Fruit Company and later, between 1953 and 1958, was Massachusetts Commissioner of Commerce.
Bessie Preston Cutler and Dorothy Preston continued to live at 334 Beacon until about 1939. 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.
On October 16, 1940, 334 Beacon was purchased from Andrew Preston’s estate by real estate dealers Warren-Stevens, Inc., and on November 1, 1940, it was acquired from Warren-Stevens Inc. by Margherita (Ercolani) Grilli, 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, Margherita Grilli’s nephew, Luca J. P. Fioravanti (the son of Louis (Luigi) Fioravanti and Rosina (Ercolani) Fioravanti), acquired 336 Beacon.
That same month, Margherita Grilli filed for permission to cut doors in the party wall connecting 334 Beacon with 336 Beacon on the first and third floors. This complemented a similar filing in August of 1942 by the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company, from whom Luca Fioravanti had purchased 336 Beacon. 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.
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.
On October 11, 1948, Margherita Grilli transferred 334 Beacon to herself as trustee of the Three Thirty Four Trust. In November of 1955, she acquired 336 Beacon from her nephew, and on May 28, 1958, she transferred both 334 Beacon and 336 Beacon to herself as trustee of the Grilli Realty Trust.
Margherita Grilli died in December of 1960 in Rome. Silvestro Grillo subsequently moved to one of the apartments at 334 Beacon. 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.”
On June 15, 1962, Margherita Grilli’s nephews, Aldo Fioravanti and Luca J. P. Fioravanti, as successor trustees of the Grilli Realty Trust, transferred 334 Beacon and 336 Beacon to themselves as trustees of the Grilli Investment Trust. In May of 1967, the Grilli Investment Trust also acquired 338 Beacon.
On January 14, 1980, 334-336-338 Beacon were purchased from the Grilli Investment Trust by the 334-338 Beacon Street Associates Limited Partnership (Harold Brown, general partner).
In April of 1980, Harold Brown filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy of 334 Beacon as fourteen units.
On June 30, 1980, 334-338 Beacon Street Associates converted the property into 33 condominium units, the Beacon on the Charles Condominium, with 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.