344 Beacon

344 Beacon (2014)

Lot 22' x 150' (3,300 sf)

Lot 22′ x 150′ (3,300 sf)

344 Beacon is located on north side of Beacon, between Fairfield and Gloucester, with 342 Beacon to the east and 346 Beacon to the west.

344 Beacon was designed by Allen and Kenway, architects, and built in 1880-1881 by James Fagan, mason, and Creesy & Noyes, carpenters, for Daniel C. Knowlton and his wife, Mary Elisabeth (Dearborn) Knowlton.  The property was numbered 342 Beacon until about 1889.

Daniel Knowlton is shown as the owner of 344 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated November 19, 1880, and on an accompanying application to build a two-horse stable at the rear of the house.

Mary Knowlton purchased the land for 344 Beacon on April 13, 1881, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation, after the house had been substantially completed.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 344 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.

By late 1881, the Knowltons had made 344 Beacon their home. They previously had lived at 11 Buckingham Street.

A former cotton merchant, Daniel Knowlton was treasurer of the Flexible Shoe Nail Company.  He later became a stockbroker.

Beac 344 AABN 28Jul1883a

344 Beacon, drawn by T. Raffles Davison from a photograph; American Architect and Building News; 28Jul1883

The Knowltons’ three children – Julian G. Knowlton, Louis G. Knowlton, and Blanche Dearborn Knowlton – lived with them.

Blanche Knowlton died in June of 1893. Later that year, Louis Knowlton, a leather merchant, was found guilty of passing worthless checks and defrauding merchants in Boston and Lynn.

The Knowltons continued to live at 344 Beacon during the 1893-1894 winter season, but moved thereafter to 7 Follen. By 1900, they were living in New York City.

On November 9, 1893, 344 Beacon was purchased from Mary Knowlton by Edmund Dana Barbour. He and his wife, Mary Therese (Ross) Barbour, made it their home. They also maintained a home in Sharon, which previously had been their primary residence. Their only surviving child, Mary Ella Barbour, lived with them.

Edmund Barbour had been a partner in the shipping firm of Russell & Company and served as their agent in China for eight years.  He returned to Boston in 1871 and became associated with John Murray Forbes (also a partner in Russell & Co.) in the development of the Michigan Central Railroad and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, serving as secretary and treasurer of the latter.  He retired in 1895 and devoted much of his time to genealogical research.

Mary Barbour died in December of 1897.  Edmund Barbour and their daughter, Mary, continued to live at 344 Beacon.

Mary Ella Barbor married in August of 1900 to Frank Preston Blair, a mining engineer from Chicago, where they lived after their marriage, In 1904 he organized and then served as president of the Shoal Creek Coal Company. They divorced in 1915. When she died in April of 1954, the Chicago Tribune reported that when she married Frank Blair, her father gave her a dowry equivalent to her weight in gold (132 pounds, worth at that time $32,558). When divorced, she sued to recover the amount.

Edmund Barbour continued to live at 344 Beacon until his death in March of 1925.

On March 17, 1927, 344 Beacon was purchased from Edmund Barbour’s estate by Donald T. Fenton, a real estate dealer. In January of 1927, prior to Donald Fenton’s taking title to the property, George H. Bowles, a real estate dealer at the same business address as Donald Fenton, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the stable at the rear of the property into a garage.

The house was not listed in the 1927 and 1928 Blue Books, nor in the 1926-1928 Lists of Residents.

On July 10, 1928, 344 Beacon was purchased from Donald Fenton by Colette (Dumaresq) Whitney, the wife of stockbroker Charles Handasyde Whitney. They previously had lived at 345 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Mattapoisett.

They continued to live at 344 Beacon until his death in June of 1958.

344-346 Beacon (2014)

344-346 Beacon (2014)

On October 22, 1958, 344 Beacon was purchased from Colette Whitney by real estate dealer Thomas J. Diab. In November of 1958, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into eight apartments.

The property subsequently changed hands and in May of 1986 was purchased by Steven Gould.  In March of 1987, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the house and convert it from eight apartments into four apartments.  It appears likely that it was at this point that the windows on the top floor in the front were enlarged (as originally built and continuing into the early 1940s there was one small gable window on the east side of the roof; by the 1990s there were two windows, a much larger one on the east side and a new one on the west side).

On September 19, 1989, Steven Gould converted the property into four condominium units, the 344 Beacon Street Condominium.

Units 1 and 4 were acquired by Wynn Newhouse on September 28, 1989. Units 2 and 3 changed hands, and then were acquired by Wynn Newhouse on September 4, 1992. In December of 1992, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units from four to three by combining Units 1 and 2, both on the basement level, into one unit.

On December 4, 2003, Wynn Newhouse removed the previous conversion of the property into condominiums and sold the property to George H. Conrades and his wife, Patricia B. Conrades. In February of 2004, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from three units into a single-family dwelling. On December 30, 2012, they transferred the property to the Longfellow Beacon LLC (Patricia Conrades, manager).

On August 1, 2018, 344 Beacon was purchased from the Longfellow Beacon LLC by Derica Rice and his wife, Robin Nelson Rice.

344 Beacon was assessed as a single-family dwelling in 2022.