343 Beacon was designed and built in 1873-1874 by Frederick B. Pope for speculative sale, one of two contiguous houses (343-345 Beacon). He is shown as the owner original building permit applications for both houses, dated July 11, 1873, and the final inspection reports, dated May 26, 1874.
The land on which 343-345 Beacon were built was purchased by Frederick Pope on March 5, 1872, from real estate dealer Henry Whitwell. At the same time, he also purchased an equivalent lot from Henry Whitwell across the alley, fronting on Marlborough, where he built 277–279 Marlborough. The land was part of a larger parcel originally purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on February 16, 1863, by Daniel Davies, Jarvis Dwight Braman, and Grenville Temple Winthrop Braman. Grenville Braman was treasurer of the Boston Water Power Company, Jarvis Braman was his brother (and later president of the company), and Daniel Davies, a housewright and master carpenter, was Grenville Braman’s father-in-law.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 343 Beacon; click here for more information on the land at 343-345-346 Beacon; and click here for further information about all of the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 417, from Exeter to Fairfield.
Frederick Pope originally planned to build two 24 foot wide houses at 343-345 Beacon. In a May 25, 1872, advertisement in the Boston Evening Transcript, he indicated that the houses “will be built this season and finished by October next.” He described 345 Beacon as “two stories, Basement and French roof,” with “three stories in natural wood,” the house to be 24 feet by 55 feet with an ell 18 feet by 27 feet. 343 Beacon would be “similar to No. 345” but without the ell.” As built, 343 Beacon was 31 feet wide and 345 Beacon was 17 feet wide.
343-345 Beacon were subject to mortgages held by George A. Gibson (which also included 277-279 Marlborough) and by James C. Ayer, Frederick Ayer, and Albert G. Cook. On September 12, 1874, James C. Ayer and his associates offered their interest in the houses for sale at a public auction held by auctioneer George M. Atwood & Co. The property did not sell.
On October 5, 1874, 343-345 Beacon were again offered for sale at public auction. A September 28, 1874, advertisement in the Boston Traveller by the auctioneer, Samuel Hatch & Co., described 343 Beacon as a “beautiful new brown stone front house,” noting that “on the main entrance floor is an elaborate drawing room, dining room, library, and large Hall with fire-place” and that the house “contains 13 chambers” on five stories. The same advertisement described 345 Beacon as a “genteel and new brown stone front house … finished in hard wood and has been constructed in the most thorough manner with all modern improvements.”
343 Beacon was not sold, but according to an October 7, 1874, Boston Globe report, 345 Beacon was purchased by Joseph E. Merrill. He was treasurer of the New England News Company. He did not take title to the property.
Through a series of transactions in the fall of 1875,Frederick Pope’s brother, Eugene Alexander Pope, acquired 343 Beacon and George A. Gibson acquired 345 Beacon.
On November 2, 1875, 343 Beacon was purchased from Eugene A. Pope by George H. Norman. He and his wife, Abbie (Durfee Kinsley) Norman, made it their Boston home. Their primary residence was Belair in Newport.
George Norman was co-founder of the Newport Daily News, which he managed for a number of years. He then became a civil engineer, and was the successful designer and builder of numerous gas works and water works throughout the country, including the water distribution system for Newport.
In December of 1875, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to build a stable, designed by Frederick B. Pope, at the rear of 343 Beacon. It was one of the few stables built on the south side of Beacon, where — like Marlborough — the lots are less deep than on the north side of Beacon and on Commonwealth.
Abbie Norman was the daughter of Thomas Durfee. After her father’s death in 1850, she was adopted by Rufus Bent Kinsley and his wife, Abbie (Durfee) Kinsley, the sister of Thomas Durfee. Rufus Bent Kinsley died in 1870, and his widow subsequently lived with George and Abbie Norman. Abbie (Durfee) Kinsley was living with the Norman family on February 11, 1880, when burglars broke into 343 Beacon (gaining access via the roof of the stable, which was connected by a fire escape ladder to an upper story window of the house) and stole jewelry, bonds, and other valuables.
The Normans and Abbie (Durfee) Kinsley continued to maintain their Boston home at 343 Beacon until about 1893.
On March 21, 1893, 343 Marlborough was purchased from George Norman by Jeanie Lawrence (Perkins) Kimball, the wife of attorney Marcus Morton Kimball. They previously had lived at 325 Commonwealth with his mother, Susan Tillinghast (Morton) Kimball, the widow of Moses Day Kimball. They also maintained a home, Bark Meadow Farm (later Barlk Meadow House), in Pomfret, Connecticut.
On July 6, 1925, 343 Beacon was purchased from Jeanie Kimball by Edward M. Abbot and The Atlantic National Bank of Boston, trustees under the will of Abiel Jacob Abbot. It became the home of Dr. George Oliver Clark, a physician and surgeon, and his wife, Alice Carnzu (Abbot) Clark, the daughter of Abiel Jacob Abbot. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at 67 Marlborough. They also maintained a home, Chailey, in Newburyport.
The Clarks continued to live at 343 Beacon until about 1951. By the mid-1950s, they had retired to Santa Barbara, California.
On March 14, 1951, 343 Beacon was purchased from the Abiel Abbot estate by Miss Alma Vorland. In November of 1951, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into nine apartments.
On April 14, 1952, real estate dealer Thomas J. Diab purchased 343 Beacon from Alma Vorland. On August 24, 1953, it was acquired from him by the National Realty Company, inc., of which he was treasurer and Charles Talanian, president.
Basil Kaidas died in January of 1985, and on March 26, 1985, Robert P. Kingman, trustee of the 343 Beacon Street Trust, purchased 343 Beacon from Kalie Kaidas. In July of 1985, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to increase the number of units from nine to ten (which he indicated was an existing condition).
On October 11, 1985, 341 Beacon Street Associates (a joint venture of H & P Associates Limited Partnership II and First American Development Corporation III) purchased 343 Beacon from Robert Kingman. On the same day, 341 Beacon Street Associates also purchased 339 and 341 Beacon.
In July of 1986, 341 Beacon Street Associates applied for (and subsequently received) permission to combine 339-341-343 Beacon into one property, add an additional story to 339 and 341 Beacon, aligning it with the roofline of 337 Beacon, and add a penthouse and roof deck on all three buildings.
On August 20, 1987, 341 Beacon Street Associates converted 339-341-343 Beacon into twenty-three condominium units, the Beacon Place Condominium.