346 Marlborough was built in 1877 by Keening & Fellows, builders, 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 1876-1877. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 344-346 Marlborough, dated September 18, 1877, and on the final inspection, dated May 15, 1878. No architect of the houses is indicated.
By 1879, 346 Marlborough was the home of Edward Clarke Ellis and his wife, Lillie Harriet (Ely) Ellis. They had lived at 4 Spruce in 1878.
Edward Ellis was a wholesale cotton merchant and later would become a real estate broker.
They continued to live at 346 Marlborough during the 1882-1883 winter season, but had moved to the Hotel Vendôme by the 1883-1884 season.
By the 1883-1884 winter season, 346 Marlborough was the home of Mary Bartlett (Vose) Hayward, the widow of Isaac Davenport Hayward, and their children, Mary May Hayward and Roland Hayward. They previously had lived in Milton. She is shown as the owner of 346 Marlborough on the 1883, 1888, and 1898 Bromley maps.
As built, 346 Marlborough was three stories plus a basement in height, and the rear façade corresponded with the houses at 342-344 Marlborough and 348-350 Marlborough. Sometime between 1890 and 1895, the rear was extended further south and a bay spanning most of the rear façade was added. Probably at the same time, a partial fourth floor was added on the half of the house. Sometime between 1895 and 1897, the rear of 344 Marlborough was extended even further than 346 Marlborough, with a wooden oriel window.
Mary May Hayward married in October of 1899 to Henry Winchester Cunningham and moved to 351 Marlborough. Mary (Vose) Hayward continued to live at 346 Marlborough with her son, Roland, a stockbroker. He also maintained a home in Milton.
Mary (Vose) Hayward died in September of 1901. After her death, Roland Hayward moved to 351 Marlborough to live with his brother-in-law and sister, Henry and Mary Cunningham. He also continued to maintain a home in Milton, where he died in April of 1906.
By the 1904-1905 winter season, 346 Marlborough was the home of real estate broker and trustee George Lewis DeBlois, III, and his wife Mary (Brooks) DeBlois. They previously had lived at 18 Fairfield. Mary B. DeBlois is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.
They continued to live at 346 Marlborough during the 1919-1920 winter season, but moved thereafter. By the 1922-1923 season, they were living at 62 Chestnut.
During the 1920-1921 winter season, 346 Marlborough was the home of Henry Maynard Rees and his wife, Eliza Pugsley (McKeehan) Rees. They had married in September of 1920 in Cleveland while he was a medical student. By 1922 they had returned to Cleveland, but by the 1924-1925 season were living at 110 Marlborough and he was executive of a bearings manufacturing company.
During the 1921-1922 winter season, 346 Marlborough was the home of coal dealer Louis Frederic Stanton Bader and his wife, Constance (Jaques) Wadley Bader, who had married in June of 1921. Their principal residence was in Dover.
In August of 1922, 346 Marlborough was purchased from George and Mary DeBlois by clothing and woolens merchant James Leonard Wesson, a widower. Living with him were his daughters, Isabel Wesson and Caroline (Wesson) Freeman, widow of Henry Huggeford Freeman, and the Freemans’ son, James W. Freeman. Earlier in 1922, they had lived at 174 Newbury.
James Wesson died in November of 1927.
Caroline Freeman and Isabel Wesson continued to live at 346 Marlborough. They also maintained a residence in Sandwich. Caroline S. Freeman, et al, are shown as the owners of 346 Marlborough on the 1928 Bromley map.
From about 1928, they were joined by Caroline Freeman’s daughter, Lucy (Freeman) Leser, the former wife of Felix Leser, and probably their son, Felix Leser, Jr. They lived at 346 Marlborough until about 1931.
During the 1931-1932 and 1932-1933 winter seasons, Caroline Freeman and Isabel Wesson were living elsewhere, probably traveling abroad, and 346 Marlborough was the home of investment banker George A. Percy and his wife, Elvia W. (Enders) Percy. They had been married in April of 1931 and 346 Marlborough probably was their first home together. She was an actress and had been playing a leading role in the play “Little Accident” when they met and married.
By 1934, Isabel Wesson and Caroline Freeman had returned to 346 Marlborough. Isabel Wesson died in November of 1936, and Caroline Freeman moved to an apartment at 90 Commonwealth soon thereafter.
In mid-1937, 346 Marlborough was purchased from Caroline Freeman by Shirley Clifford Speed. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on July 11, 1937. S. Clifford Speed was a real estate dealer who converted many Back Bay houses into lodging houses and apartments.
Mabel C. Welsh is shown as the owner of 346 Marlborough on the 1938 Bromley map. In September of 1938, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
346 Marlborough remained a lodging house until the mid-1940s. The resident operators included Joseph R. Roberts, a salesman, and his wife, Helen, in 1938; Robert Wadleigh Goodhue, a newspaper press operator, and his wife, Bertha Alfreda (Duff) Goodhue, in 1939 and 1940 (they previously had operated a lodging house at 379 Marlborough, and moved to 323 Marlborough by 1941); Budford W. Savory and his wife, Frances, in 1941-1943; and John V. Bonasera, a bell captain, and his wife, Eileen, in 1944.
By 1945, 346 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Philip Edwin Adams, a dentist, and his wife, Ethel Marie (Sanford) Adams. He maintained his offices at 106 Marlborough. They previously had lived in Newton and, before that (in about 1939 and 1940) in an apartment at 196 Beacon. They returned 346 Marlborough to being a single-family dwelling. Ethel Adams’s parents, George Otis Sanford and Edith Bowker (Roby) Sanford, lived with them. They continued to live at 346 Marlborough until about 1953, when the Adamses moved to 170 Marlborough and the Sanfords moved elsewhere.
In 1953, 346 Marlborough became the home of Kilby Page Smith, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth (Carret) Smith. They previously had lived in Scituate. He was president of the Lincoln & Smith Press, publishers. In August of 1953, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel portions of the interior. In his application, he indicated that the current and proposed use was as a single-family dwelling. They continued to live there until about 1960.
By 1961, 346 Marlborough was the home of Robert Adams Poling and his wife, Estrella Louise (Johnson) Poling. He was president of Packer’s Laboratory, Inc. They continued to live there in 1963, but had moved to 25 Bay State Road by 1964.
By 1964, 346 Marlborough was the home of Richard T. Beck and his wife, Doris S. Beck. In 1963, they had lived at 12 Chestnut. He was assistant comptroller of the American Optical Company.
By 1965, 346 Marlborough was owned by Theodore W. Head. He was an interior decorator. In June of 1965, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into six apartments. He subsequently abandoned the permit but it appears that the property was operated as a multiple dwelling from this time.
By 1066, 346 Marlborough was owned by Patrick A. Trani, a teacher in Watertown.
By 1984, 346 Marlborough was assessed as a four-to-six unit building, from 1992, it was assessed as a two-family dwelling, and from 2003, it was assessed as a three-family dwelling. It remained assessed as a three-family dwelling in 2015.
Patrick Trani remained the assessed owner until his death in February of 2015.