340 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 four 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 340 Marlborough.
On September 11, 1877, 340 Marlborough was purchased from Henry Whitwell by Frederic Alonzo Turner, a dealer in window glass. He and his wife, Cora Leslie (Powell) Turner, made it their home. They previously had lived at the Commonwealth Hotel at 1697 Washington. In October of 1877, the Turners’ only child, Frederic Alonzo Turner, Jr., was born at 340 Marlborough.
Sometime between 1887 and 1897, the house was remodeled to add an additional story. The mansard roof was eliminated and the third floor built out, with the angular (octagonal) bay extended to the third story with a bow. A new story was added with a façade with arched windows. 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.
Frederic Turner died in March of 1922. Cora Turner and Frederic A. Turner, Jr., a lawyer, continued to live at 340 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in Hingham.
Cora Turner died in 1938. Frederic A. Turner, Jr., continued to live at 340 Marlborough until his death in June of 1963.
On January 14, 1964, 340 Marlborough was purchased from Frederic Turner’s estate by Helen Elizabeth (Sherwood) Firnkas, the wife of Josef (Sepp) Firnkas. He was a structural engineer and professor at Northeastern University.
They continued to live at 340 Marlborough in the 1970s. They separated and Helen Sherwood Firnkas continued to live at 340 Marlborough.
On November 17, 1980, 340 Marlborough was purchased from Helen Sherwood Firnkas by Keld Agnar of Agnar Seafoods, Inc.
On January 20, 2001, 340 Marlborough was purchased from Keld Agnar by M. Gary I. Riley and his wife, Julia H. Riley.
The property subsequently changed hands. It remained a single-family dwelling in 2017.