338 Commonwealth was designed by Bradlee, Winslow, and Wetherell, architects, and built 1882-1883 by Vinal & Dodge, masons, for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., for speculative sale. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated September 20, 1882. The house was originally numbered 336 Commonwealth until about 1889, when 328 Commonwealth was built and the houses to the west of it were renumbered.
338 Commonwealth was one of thirteen houses (336-360 Commonwealth) built for George Wheatland, Jr., by Warren D. Vinal and Charles A. Dodge on land owned by Charles Merriam and by Jacob Rogers. 336 Commonwealth was designed by George Avery, 338-340 Commonwealth were designed by Bradlee, Winslow, and Wetherell, and 342-360 Commonwealth were designed by Obed F. Smith.
Charles Merriam purchased his land, with a 50 foot frontage, on October 25, 1879, from David Skillings, and Jacob Rogers purchased his land, with a 231 foot frontage to the west of Charles Merriam’s parcel, on January 19, 1880, also from David Skilllings. All of the land was part of two parcels originally purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on April 19, 1870, and December 16, 1870, by David Skillings as trustee for a trust composed of himself, Lawrence Barnes of Burlington, Vermont, Charles Whitney of Lowell, and David Whitney, Jr., of Detroit. The land had subsequently changed hands and he had re-acquired it, in his own name, on January 12, 1878.
336-338 Commonwealth were built first, in 1881-1883, on Charles Merriam’s land. On December 10, 1881, after 336 Commonwealth was completed, Charles Merriam sold George Wheatland, Jr., the house and land, together with the remainder of his land to the west. On the same day, George Wheatland, Jr., sold 336 Commonwealth and the 24 foot lot at 338 Commonwealth to Warren Vinal and Charles Dodge. He retained the two feet the west.
340-360 Commonwealth were built between 1883 and 1885 on Jacob Rogers’s land. All of the building permit applications were filed by George Wheatland, Jr., in November of 1883, and the houses were constructed by Vinal & Dodge, with the houses towards the east built first. Jacob Rogers sold his land to George Wheatland, Jr., in one- and two-lot transactions between November of 1883 and January of 1885, sometimes before construction of the houses had begun and sometimes after the houses were substantially completed.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 338 Commonwealth, and click here for further information on the land on the south side of Commonwealth between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On July 12, 1883, Warren Vinal and Charles Dodge sold 338 Commonwealth back to George Wheatland, Jr., and on October 10, 1883, it was acquired from him by Anna (Preston) Lincoln, the wife of Joseph B. Lincoln. They previously had lived at 17 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Cohasset.
Joseph Lincoln was a wholesale boot and shoe dealer.
He died in October of 1895. Anna Lincoln continued to live at 338 Commonwealth until her death in May of 1910.
The house was not listed in the 1911-1920 Blue Books.
On May 20, 1912, 338 Commonwealth was acquired from Annie Lincoln’s estate by Lillior (Lillie) Taylor (Dowling) Nutting, the widow of William B. Nutting. She was the sister of Mark Temple Dowling, a real estate dealer in partnership with James Sumner Draper. She transferred the property to J. Sumner Draper, with the deed dated May 20, 1912, but not recorded until October 28, 1914.
On December 28, 1917, 338 Commonwealth was acquired from J. Sumner Draper by Eva Margaret (Perry) Walker Barry, the wife of John Michael Barry. They lived in Allston and then in Winthop. John Perry was an automobile dealer.
On August 6, 1918, the trustees under the will of Benjamin L. Loring, who held a mortgage on 338 Commonwealth, foreclosed and took possession of the property.
On January 12, 1920, 338 Commonwealth was acquired from the trustees by Robert Moore Dobbins. He was a widower. He lived at 338 Commonwealth with his brother, Henry Dobbins, Jr., and their widowed father, Henry Dobbins, Sr. They previously had lived in Brookline.
Robert Dobbins was a real estate dealer, and Henry Dobbins, Sr., was an optician. Henry Dobbins, Jr., was an optician with his father until about 1923, when he became a salesman in his brother’s real estate office.
They continued to live at 338 Commonwealth in 1923, but by 1924 had moved to 435 Beacon.
On August 22, 1923, 338 Commonwealth was purchased from Robert Dobbins by Miss Mary E. Dillworth. She lived there with her unmarried brothers, Daniel C. Dillworth, a salesman of woven goods, and Charles Henry Dillworth, an attorney and real estate dealer, and her sisters, Anna L. and Eleanor Dillworth. Mary and Anna Dillworth were hairdressers and operated their beauty parlor at 338 Commonwealth. They all had lived in Brookline in 1923. They had two married brothers. Joseph D. Dillworth and his wife, Mary Emily (McWilliams) Dillworth, lived in Jamaica Plain; he was a real estate dealer in association with his brother, Charles. John T. Dillworth and his wife, Margaret (Colahan) Dillworth, lived in Newton; he was a wholesale silk dealer.
The Dillworths leased space at 338 Commonwealth to Dr. Edward R. Williams, a physician, who lived in Cambridge. He continued to maintain his office there until about 1933.
By 1928, 338 Commonwealth also was the location of Daniels Den, a gift shop operated by Margaret E. Daniels, who lived in Brookline. She continued to maintain her store there until about 1933, but had moved it to 48 Gloucester by 1934.
Mary Dillworth died in January of 1929. 338 Commonwealth was inherited by her siblings, and on February 16, 1929, they all transferred their interests in the property to Anna L. Dillworth.
Daniel, Charles, Anna, and Eleanor Dillworth continued to live there until about 1935, but had moved to 204 Beacon by 1936.
On December 17, 1935, Anna Dillworth transferred 338 Commonwealth to the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company, which held the first mortgage on the property.
On October 1, 1936, 338 Commonwealth was acquired from Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance by Mary F. Donlan of New Haven, Connecticut, and on December 30, 1936, it was acquired from her by Lillian E. (Fookes) Hunt, the wife of Roy Wilbur Hunt. They previously had lived in North Acton.
In February of 1937, Lillian Hunt applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into a lodging house. In her application, she indicated that the current use was as a four-family dwelling.
The Hunts continued to live at 338 Commonwealth until about 1939, when they moved to 329 Commonwealth.
On May 2, 1939, 338 Commonwealth was purchased from Lillian Hunt by Annie (MacKinnon) Hardy, the wife of Hugh Hardy, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 80 Appleton. He was a butler and later would become a manager with the First National Bank of Boston. In October of 1940, they purchased and moved to 5 Fairfield, where they operated a lodging house. They had moved back to 338 Commonwealth by 1942, and continued to live there in 1943, when they moved to Milton. By 1946, they were living at 387 Commonwealth.
On October 2, 1944, 338 Commonwealth was purchased from Annie Hardy by Mary K. Sheridan, a nurse, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived in Rutland.
On October 10, 1955, 338 Commonwealth was acquired from Mary Sheridan by Elizabeth (Gunther) Ford Edson, the former wife of Edward Layton Ford and the widow of Robert Adams Edson. She lived at 114 Commonwealth. She continued to operate 338 Commonwealth as a lodging house. She also operated lodging houses at 136 Marlborough and at 114 Commonwealth.
On February 20, 1980, 338 Commonwealth was purchased from Frances G. (Ford) Colby, conservator of Elizabeth Edson’s estate, by Naomi Rosen. Frances Colby was the wife of Charles Robert Colby and the daughter of Elizabeth Edson and her first husband, Edward Layton Ford.
On May 22, 1980, 338 Commonwealth was purchased from Naomi Rosen by Joanna Polito, trustee of the 338 Commonwealth Realty Trust.
In August of 1980, the trust filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into five apartments.
On December 19, 1980, Susan McEachern, successor trustee of the 338 Commonwealth Realty Trust, converted the property into five condominium units, the 338 Commonwealth Avenue Condominiums.