342 Beacon was designed by Allen and Kenway, architects, and built in 1880-1881 by James Fagan, mason, and Creesy & Noyes, carpenters, for leather merchant Miles Washburn and his wife, Sarah Henshaw (Carruth) Washburn. The property was numbered 340 Beacon until about 1889. They previously had lived at 18 Newbury.
Miles Washburn is shown as the owner of 342 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated September 22, 1880, and on an accompanying application (dated December 15, 1880) to build a stable at the rear of the house. Sarah Washburn purchased the land for the house on September 30, 1880, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 342 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
Miles Washburn died in January of 1882. Sarah Washburn continued to live at 342 Beacon.
During the 1884-1885 winter season she was joined by her first cousin, Charles Theodore Carruth, a dealer in chemicals, drugs, and dyestuffs, and his wife, Anna (Kent) Carruth. They had married in June of 1884. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 79 Newbury with his parents, Charles and Mary Anna (Bachi) Carruth. By the 1885-1886 winter season, Charles and Anna Carruth had moved to 220 Newbury.
During the 1891-1892 winter season, Sarah Washburn was living elsewhere and 342 Beacon was the home of Harry Snow Hall and his wife, Ellen Nichols (Wood) Hall. He was a trustee of estates. They had lived at 351 Beacon during the previous season. They had moved from 342 Beacon by the 1892-1893 season, and by the 1893-1894 season were living at 472 Beacon.
During the 1894-1895 winter season, she was living at 381 Commonwealth and 342 Beacon was the home of John Hitchcock, Jr., a lawyer and trustee of estates, and his wife, Esther Mary (Baker) Hitchcock. They had married in April of 1893 and earlier in 1894 had lived at 117 Commonwealth with her mother, Mary Ann (Martyn) Baker, the widow of Ezra Howes Baker, Jr. By the 1895-1896 season, the Hitchcocks had moved to 415 Commonwealth, and by the 1896-1897 season, they had moved back to 117 Commonwealth.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, 342 Beacon was once again Sarah Washburn’s home. Her son, Paul, and her daughter, Margaret, lived with her. Paul Washburn married in April of 1897 to Mary Louise Brown and, after their marriage, they lived at 342 Beacon with his mother. Paul and Mary Washburn also maintained a home in Winchester.
During the latter part of the 1900-1901 winter season, the Washburn family was living elsewhere and 342 Beacon was the home of Alfred Edward Davis and his wife, Mary (Cheney) Davis. They had married in December of 1900 and 342 Beacon was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at Brimmer Chambers at 112 Pinckney and she had lived at 32 Marlborough with her mother, Elizabeth (Clapp) Cheney, the widow of Benjamin Pierce Cheney. The Davises continued to live at 342 Beacon until May of 1901, when they moved to the Somerset Hotel. Their primary residence was Greystone Farm in Dover.
342 Beacon was not listed in the 1902 Blue Book.
Sarah Washburn and Paul and Mary Washburn resumed living at 342 Beacon by the 1902-1903 winter season.
In April of 1910, at the time of the 1910 US Census, Sarah Washburn was living at the Wadsworth Hotel on Kenmore Street and Paul and Mary Washburn were living elsewhere, and 342 Beacon was the home of William Vail Kellen and his wife Ella Frances (Sturtevant) Kellen. They had lived at 202 Commonwealth in 1909.
William Kellen was an attorney and also served as treasurer of the B. F. Sturtevant Company, manufacturers of fans and air handling equipment, founded by his father-in-law, Benjamin Franklin Sturtevant.
By the 1910-1911 winter season, the Kellens had moved to 32 Commonwealth and Sarah Washburn and her son and daughter-in-law were living there once again. By the 1911-1912 season, they had moved back to the Wadsworth Hotel.
On August 8, 1911, 342 Beacon was purchased from Sarah Washburn by Elsie Baker (Folsom) Mactaggart, the wife of John Burrow Muir Mactaggart. During the 1909-1910 winter season, they had lived at 276 Newbury. He was a retired merchant.
They continued to live at 342 Beacon during the 1915-1916 winter season, but moved thereafter to Chestnut Hill.
On June 28, 1916, 342 Beacon was purchased from Elsie Mactaggart by Ada Medora (Whitney) Davis, the wife of George Gilbert Davis, a manufacturer of woolen machinery. They lived to 316 Beacon.
By the 1916-1917 winter season, 342 Beacon was the home of the Davises’ son-in-law and daughter, George William Simpson and Dorothy (Davis) Simpson. He was a wool buyer with the American Woolen Company. They previously had lived in an apartment at 8 Gloucester.
George Simpson died in November of 1918 and Dorothy Simpson moved to 316 Beacon to live with her parents.
During the 1919-1920 winter season, 342 Beacon was the home of department store heir Harold Leufroi Chalifoux and his wife, Elizabeth Alice (Burrage) Chalifoux. They had spent the previous season in Washington DC, and before that lived at 269 Beacon. By the 1920-1921 season, they had moved to 63 Commonwealth.
On September 16, 1920, Ada Davis transferred 342 Beacon to Dorothy Simpson and her two children, Davis Simpson and Ada Whitney Simpson. Ada Davis died later that month and George Davis died in December of 1920.
Dorothy (Davis) Simpson remarried in February of 1921 to David Alexander Gardner, a salesman with a British wool company. A native of Liverpool, he had served as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery in World War I. After their marriage, they lived at 342 Beacon.
In July of 1922, Dorothy Gardner had 342 Beacon remodeled to lower the front entrance to the basement level, build a rear addition, and install an elevator. The remodeling was designed by architect Edward Sears Read. Plans for the remodeling are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston City Archives (reference BIN G-47).
David Gardner was killed in August of 1922 in an automobile accident in Reading, a passenger with William Madison Wood, Jr., who also was killed. William Wood, Jr., and his wife, Edith Margaret Goldsborough (Robinson) Wood, lived at 25 Commonwealth.
Dorothy (Davis) Simpson Gardner continued to live at 342 Beacon, remarrying again in September of 1923 to Charles Percy Rimmer. Like David Gardner, he was a native of Liverpool and had served as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery in World War I. After their marriage, they made their home in England until about 1939, when they returned to the United States and lived in Hamilton. Their three children — Betsey Gilbert Rimmer, Charles Percy Rimmer, Jr., and Dorothy Ann Rimmer – were born in Liverpool. Dorothy Rimmer and her children by her first marriage continued to own 342 Beacon and lease it to others.
By the 1924-1925 winter season, 342 Beacon was the home of Philip Stockton and his wife Margaret (Head) Stockton. They previously had lived at the Hotel Agassiz at 191 Commonwealth and before that at 280 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Manchester, Massachusetts.
Philip Stockton was president of the Old Colony Trust Company. In 1929, when it was acquired by the First National Bank of Boston, he became president of the bank.
Philip Stockton died in February of 1940, and by 1941 Margaret Stockton had moved to an apartment at 282 Beacon.
On August 2, 1941, Dorothy Rimmer’s son, Davis Simpson, transferred his interest in 342 Beacon to her, and on November 29, 1941, her daughter, Ada (Simpson) Coogan, the wife of Henry Peirson Coogan, did the same.
By 1941, 342 Beacon was the home of Emerich von Pflügl and his wife, Harriet (Wright) Mercati von Pflügl. Emerich von Pflügl had been an Austrian diplomat and served as a delegate to the League of Nations. He fled Europe during World War II. His wife was the former wife of Count Alexander Mercati, and her mother was Princess Myra Abigail (called Daria) (Pankhurst) Wright Pratt Karageorgevich, wife of Prince Alexis Karageorgevich of Russia (Daria Pratt won the bronze medal for women’s golf in the 1900 Olympics).
They continued to live at 342 Beacon in 1943.
By 1944, 342 Beacon was once again the home Charles and Dorothy (Davis) Rimmer. They continued to live there until about 1950.
On August 1, 1950, 342 Beacon was purchased from Dorothy (Davis) Rimmer by Dr. Raymond G. Ingalls. That same month, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a single-family dwelling and doctor’s office.
On July 17, 1951, 342 Beacon was purchased from Raymond Ingalls by Dr. George Anteblian, a physician, and his wife, Margaret Sanderson (Nall) Anteblian. They lived at 209 Beacon.
On October 26, 1951, 342 Beacon was purchased from the Anteblians by Sidney Llewellyn Sholley and his wife, Hazel Eda (Hoag) Sholley. Sidney Sholley was founder of the Keystone mutual funds. They continued to live at 342 Beacon in 1953.
On May 8, 1953, 342 Beacon was purchased from the Sholleys by James John Healy, a Harvard Business School professor and nationally-renowned labor arbitrator. He previously had lived in an apartment at 18 Exeter. He operated 342 Beacon as a multiple dwelling, either a lodging house or apartments. No change in the legal occupancy was obtained. He continued to live at 342 Beacon in the 1980s.
The property changed hands and on November 5, 1992, was purchased by Daniel J. Townsend and his wife, Cheryl L. Clarkson. In April of 2001, Cheryl Clarkson applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling and doctor’s office back into a single-family dwelling.
342 remained a single-family dwelling in 2016.