344 Beacon was designed by Allen and Kenway, architects, and built in 1880-1881 by James Fagan, mason, and Creesy & Noyes, carpenters, for shoe nail manufacturer Daniel C. Knowlton and his wife, Mary Elisabeth (Dearborn) Knowlton. The property was numbered 342 Beacon until about 1889. The Knowltons previously had lived on Buckingham Street.
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 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, probably 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.
The Knowltons continued to live there during the 1893-1894 winter season, but moved thereafter to 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Between 1989 and 1992, all four units were acquired by Wynn Newhouse. In December of 1992, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units from four to three by combining the two apartments in the basement into one.
On December 4, 2003, George H. Conrades and his wife, Patricia B. Conrades, purchased all of the units. In February of 2004, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from three units into a single-family dwelling.
344 Beacon remained a single-family dwelling in 2016.