340 Commonwealth

340 Commonwealth (2013)

340 Commonwealth (2013)

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

Lot 24′ x 124.5′ (2,988 sf)

340 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue, with 338 Commonwealth to the east and 342 Commonwealth to the west.

340 Commonwealth was designed by Bradlee, Winslow, and Wetherell, architects, and built 1882-1883 by Vinal & Dodge, builders, for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., probably for speculative sale. It was one of two contiguous houses (338-340 Commonwealth) built at the same time, and one of fifteen houses (322-326 Commonwealth and 338-360 Commonwealth) built on the same block for George Wheatland, Jr., in 1882-1884.  He is shown on the original building permit application for 340 Commonwealth, dated September 20, 1882.

340 Commonwealth was originally numbered 338 Commonwealth until about 1889, when 328-330 Commonwealth were built to the east of it.

340 Commonwealth (ca. 1900-1910), Dowse family album, courtesy of Historic New England

340 Commonwealth (ca. 1900-1910), Dowse family album, courtesy of Historic New England

By the 1883-1884 winter season, it was the home of George L. Damon and his wife, Arolyne P. (Leavitt) Damon.  They previously had lived in Somerville.  Arolyne Damon is shown as the owner of 340 Commonwealth on the 1888 Bromley map.  By 1895, they had been joined by Arolyne Damon’s mother, Margery Lowell (Record) Levitt, the widow of Nehemiah Leavitt.

George Damon was a manufacturer of safes.

The Damons continued to at 340 Commonwealth during the 1887-1888 season, but moved thereafter to the Coolidge House hotel in Bowdoin Square.

By the 1888-1889 winter season, 340 Commonwealth was the home of Ashton Rollins Willard and his wife, Agnes (Fairbanks) Willard.  They had married in September of 1888 and 340 Commonwealth probably was their first home together.  Agnes Willard is shown as the owner on the 1890 Bromley map (as Agnes Fairbanks), and the 1895 and 1898 maps (as Agnes F. Willard), and continued to be the assessed owner through 1904.

Ashton Willard was a lawyer and art historian, author of several books on Italian art.

They continued to live at 340 Commonwealth during the 1902-1903 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to a new home they had built at 43 Commonwealth.

In May of 1904, wholesale hardware merchant Charles Francis Dowse and his wife, Lucy Ada (Howes) Dowse, purchased 340 Commonwealth from Ashton and Agnes Willard.  They previously had lived at 347 Marlborough.  Lucy A. Dowse is shown as the owner of 340 Commonwealth on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.  They also maintained a home in Duxbury.

338-340 Commonwealth (2013)

338-340 Commonwealth (2013)

Lucy Dowse died in November of 1915.  Charles Dowse continued to live at 340 Commonwealth.  He was the assessed owner from 1917 through 1930 and is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.

By the 1915-1916 winter season, he had been joined at 340 Commonwealth by his son-in-law and daughter, Carleton Sprague Gifford and Raymah (Dowse) Gifford.  They previously had lived at 18½ Autumn in the Fenway.

Charles Dowse died in February of 1931.  340 Commonwealth was inherited by Charles and Lucy Dowse’s two children: Raymah (Dowse) Gifford and Granton Hall Dowse.  The heirs of Charles F. Dowse were the assessed owners from 1931 through 1940 and are shown as the owners on the 1938 Bromley map.  The Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, trustees, were the assessed owners from 1941.

Carleton and Raymah Gifford continued to live at 340 Commonwealth and to maintain a home in Duxbury.  He was purchasing agent for the Provident Institution for Savings.

Carleton Gifford died in 1945 and Raymah Gifford continued to live at 340 Commonwealth.  Their daughter, Rosamond, lived with her.

Raymah Gifford died in October of 1971.  Rosamond Gifford continued to live at 340 Commonwealth until her death in July of 1997.

In April of 1998, Clarendon Associates LLC, purchased 340 Commonwealth from the Dowse and Gifford estates.  In September of 1998, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into four units.

In August of 1999, it converted the property into four condominium units, the 340 Commonwealth Condominium.

Comm 336-344 (2013-02) 1a

336-344 Commonwealth (2013)