338 Marlborough was built in 1876-1877 by Keening & Fellows, masons, for real estate dealer Henry Whitwell, for speculative sale, one of five contiguous houses (338-340-342-344-346 Marlborough) they built for him in 1876-1878. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 338-340-342 Marlborough, dated September 30, 1876, and on the final inspection, dated May 8, 1877. No architect of the houses is indicated.
As originally built, all five houses were of the same design, three stories high plus a basement, with an angular (octagonal) bay on the left and the top floor enclosed by a mansard roof. 338-340-342 Marlborough were built on 22 foot wide lots and 344-346 Marlborough were built one year later on 20 foot wide lots. Between 1887 and 1897, additional stories were added at 338 Marlborough and 340 Marlborough.
Henry Whitwell purchased the land for all five houses on April 1, 1872, from a real estate investment trust formed by Grenville Temple Winthrop Braman, Henry Dwight Hyde, and Frank William Andrews. The land was part of one of several tracts tracts of land the trust had purchased on March 1, 1872, from the Boston Water Power Company.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 338 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 428, from Gloucester to Hereford.
On May 15, 1877, 338 Marlborough was purchased from Henry Whitwell by locomotive manufacturer William Gordon Means. He and his wife, Martha (Allen) Means, lived at 16 Hancock and then at 248 Commonwealth.
William G. Means purchased 338 Marlborough in anticipation of the marriage of his son, William Allen Means, to Sophia Parry Sword of Philadelphia. They married in June of 1877 and made 338 Marlborough their home. He was associated with his father’s locomotive business.
William Allen Means died in May of 1891. Sophia Means continued to live at 338 Marlborough with their two daughters, Martha Means and Mary McGregor Means.
William Gordon Means died in January of 1894. In his will, he left the residue of his estate in trust for the benefit of their children, to remain in trust until January 1, 1900, when the principal was to be distributed. He stipulated that, during the term of the trust, Sophia Means could continue to live at 338 Marlborough and that it could not be sold without her consent.
Sophia Means and her daughters continued to live at 338 Marlborough during the 1895-1896 winter season, but then traveled abroad.
Sometime prior to 1897, and probably while the Means family was traveling abroad, the house was remodeled to add an additional story, inserted between the original second story and the mansard-roofed third story, which became the fourth story. The house is shown as three floors plus basement on the 1887 Sanborn map, and as four floors plus basement on the 1897 Sanborn map.
During the 1897-1898 winter season, 338 Marlborough was the home of banker Edward Leach Giddings and his wife, Susan (Kittredge) Giddings. Their principal residence was in Beverly.
The Giddingses moved by 1898-1899 winter season and 338 Marlborough was once again the home of Sophia Means and her two daughters.
The trust established under William G. Means’s will terminated on January 1, 1900, and on January 18, 1900, the trustees transferred 338 Marlborough to Martha Means and Mary McGregor Means.
Sophia Means and Mary McGregor Means continued to live at 348 Marlborough during the 1907-1908 winter season, but moved thereafter.
On August 22, 1908, 388 Marlborough was acquired from Martha (Means) Hinsdale and Mary McGregor Means by Miss Anstiss Hunt Putnam. She and her parents, George Franklin Putnam and Sarah Becket (Hood) Putnam, made it their home. They previously had lived at 273 Beacon. He was a retired wholesale leather dealer.
George Putnam died in October of 1911. Sarah Putnam and Anstiss Putnam moved soon thereafter to an apartment at 295 Commonwealth.
On November 24, 1911, 338 Marlborough was purchased from Anstiss Putnam by Dr. John Bryant, Jr. He and his wife, Adelaide Barnes (Rockford) Bryant, made it their home. They had married in April of 1910 and had lived briefly at Haddon Hall at 282 Berkeley before purchasing and moving to 334 Marlborough. On November 28, 1911, he transferred the property into his wife’s name.
John Bryant was a physician and surgeon, and also maintained his medical office at 338 Marlborough.
During the 1912-1913 winter season, the Bryants were traveling abroad and 338 Marlborough was the home of Mrs. Gertrude (Robbins) Caswell, the wife of John Caswell, from whom she was living apart. He was a real estate investor, and noted big game hunter and gun expert. Their two children, John Caswell, Jr., and Elizabeth Robbins Caswell, lived with her. They had lived at the Hotel Puritan at 390 Commonwealth during the previous season and at 44 Commonwealth with her sister, Phyllis Robbins, the season before that. They also maintained a home, Round Plain Farm, in Pride’s Crossing.
By mid-1913, Mrs. Caswell and her children had moved and by the 1914-1915 season they were once again living at 44 Commonwealth.
The Bryants resumed living at 338 Marlborough.
During the 1917-1918 winter season, the Bryants were living elsewhere while Dr. Bryant served in the US Army and 338 Marlborough was again the home of Gertrude (Robbins) Caswell and her children, John, Jr., and Elizabeth. They had moved by the next season and were living at 267 Beacon by the 1919-1920 season.
The Bryants had resumed living at 338 Marlborough by the 1918-1919 winter season. In about 1927, he moved his office back to 282 Berkeley. They continued to live at 338 Marlborough in 1930, but moved thereafter to Cambridge.
On May 20, 1930, 338 Marlborough was purchased from Adelaide Bryant by Daniel Berkeley Updike. He previously had lived at 112 Pinckney.
Daniel Updike was a printer, typographic designer, and publisher of finely printed, limited edition books. His firm, Merrymount Press, was considered one of the finest examples of the Arts and Crafts movement.
He continued to live at 338 Marlborough until his death in December of 1941.
On November 27, 1942, Daniel Updike’s estate transferred 338 Marlborough to the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company for the value of the mortgage on the property held by the company.
On December 1, 1942, 338 Marlborough was acquired from Massachusetts Hospital Life by George Emules LeTendre and his wife, Rose (Sylva) LeTendre. They previously had lived at 336 Commonwealth, where they operated a lodging house. In April of 1943, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 338 Marlborough from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
They continued to live and operate a lodging house there in 1944. They also operated lodging houses 395 Marlborough from about 1941 to 1946, at 364 Marlborough in about 1942 and 1943, and at 365 Marlborough from 1943 through 1946.
By 1945, they had moved to 365 Marlborough.
On June 29, 1944, 338 Marlborough was acquired from the LeTendres by Roland Stanley Hall and his wife, Mary Ann (Oliver) Hall. They previously had lived in Cambridge. He was a draughtsman and later an engineering consultant.
They continued to live at 338 Marlborough, and operate it as a lodging house, until shortly before Mary Hall’s death in April of 1973.
On April 28, 1972, 338 Marlborough was purchased from the Halls by Keith John Cooper-Baines, a building contractor, and Mac Clanning Grant.
The property changed hands, and on May 6, 1985, was purchased by Edward Harwood, trustee of the 338 Marlborough Street Trust. In June of 1985, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into four apartments. On July 17, 1986, he converted the property into four condominium units, the 338 Marlborough Street Condominium.
On October 10, 2005, the 338 Marlborough Street Condominium Trust entered into a “Preservation Restriction Agreement” with the National Architectural Trust for the purpose of ensuring preservation of 338 Marlborough’s exterior.