353 Commonwealth was designed by architect G. Wilton Lewis and built in 1894, one of three contiguous houses (349-351-353 Commonwealth) built and owned by housing contractor Luther M. Merrill, probably for speculative sale. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application dated April 25, 1894, and on the final building inspection report dated March 8, 1895. The three houses are designed as a single, symmetrical unit, centered on a two-story palladian window.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, 353 Commonwealth was the home of Miss Eleanor Stanley Parker. She is shown as the owner on the 1898 Bromley map, and was the assessed owner through 1904. She also maintained a home in Nahant.
She continued to live at 353 Commonwealth until about 1901. During the 1899-1900 winter season, she was joined by Mrs. Elizabeth Gardiner (Stone) Bacon, the widow of William Benjamin Bacon, Jr., who had died in September of 1896.
In June of 1900, at the time of the 1900 US Census, Eleanor Parker was living elsewhere and 353 Commonwealth was the home of Louis Stone Greenleaf, an electrical engineer, and his wife, Margaret (Adams) Greenleaf. Louis Greenleaf was the nephew of Elizabeth (Stone) Bacon, son of Richard Cranch Greenleaf and his wife, Adeline Emma Stone (Elizabeth (Stone) Bacon’s half-sister).
Eleanor Parker resumed living at 353 Commonwealth during the 1900-1901 winter season, but moved thereafter. During the 1903-1904 winter season she was living at the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth and by the 1904-1905 season she was living at Haddon Hall at 282 Dartmouth.
By the 1901-1902 winter season, 353 Commonwealth was the home of banker William Pratt Lyman and his wife Helen (Beeckman) Lyman. They had lived at 435 Beacon during the 1899-1900 season. They also maintained a home in Nahant. They continued to live at 353 Commonwealth in 1903, but had moved to 528 Beacon by 1904.
In the spring of 1905, 353 Commonwealth was purchased from Eleanor Parker by Mrs. Anna Dwight (Whiting) Howard, widow of William Henry Howard, a land owner and cattle rancher in California. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on March 3, 1905. Her mother, Rebecca (Bullard) Whiting, and her unmarried children, Frances Sargent Howard and John Kenneth Howard, lived with her. They previously had lived at The Holland at 50 Commonwealth.
Anna Howard was the assessed owner of 353 Commonwealth from 1905 and is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.
Anna Howard continued to live at 353 Commonwealth in 1907, and by the 1907-1908 winter season had been joined there by Eugene Van Rensselaer Thayer, Jr., and his wife, Gladys Baldwin (Brooks) Thayer. They also maintained a home in Lancaster. He was an investment broker, and later would become president of the Merchants National Bank in Boston and then president of Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. By 1909, the Thayers had moved to 164 Marlborough.
During the 1908-1909 winter season, Anna Howard was living elsewhere and 353 Commonwealth was the home of Francis Augustus Shea, a bachelor. His mother, Mrs. Elizabeth (Eliza) (Dooley/Dorley) Shea, the widow of Francis Patrick Shea, and his unmarried sisters, Caroline J. Shea and Helen E. Shea, lived with him. They previously had lived at 22 Peterborough. He was president of the Reece Button Hole Machine Company, founded by his brother-in-law, John Reece (husband of Marietta Shea), who died in March of 1896.
By 1910, and Anna Howard was once again living at 353 Commonwealth, but in 1911 it was the home of dry goods merchant Henry Coffin Everett and his wife, Ellen Crocker (Tufts) Everett. They had lived at 283 Commonwealth in 1910.
By the 1911-1912 winter season, the Everetts had purchased and moved to 49 Commonwealth and Mrs. Howard was living at 353 Commonwealth again with her daughter, Frances. They continued to live there in 1915.
Anna Howard died in July of 1916. Her heirs were the assessed owners of 353 Commonwealth through 1920.
During the 1916-1917 and 1917-1918 winter seasons, 353 Commonwealth was the home of Anna Howard’s son and daughter-in-law, John Kenneth Howard and Ruth (Gaston) Howard. He was a lawyer. They moved in 1918 and by the 1919-1920 season were living at 208 Beacon.
During the 1918-1919 winter season, 353 Commonwealth was the home of Paul Drummond Rust and his wife, Florence R. (Stuart) Rust. They had lived at 135 Beacon during the previous season. Paul Rust was an investor in timber lands, wholesale lumber dealer, and investment banker and broker. They continued to live at 353 Commonwealth during the 1919-1920 season, but moved thereafter to 415 Commonwealth.
In March of 1921, 353 Commonwealth was acquired by Stanley W. Lovejoy, a real estate dealer associated with the Professional Building Co., Inc. In April of 1921, he filed for permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into doctors offices and a single-family dwelling. On September 7, 1921, he wrote the Building Department to indicate that he was withdrawing application to convert the property “from a residence into an office building.” The application was marked abandoned, but then that indication was crossed off and a permit was granted in November of 1921.
In June of 1922, the Professional Building Co., Inc., acquired 353 Commonwealth from Stanley Lovejoy. At the same time, it also acquired the Empire hotel at 333 Commonwealth. It also owned the Tuileries hotel at 270 Commonwealth.
On November 15, 1922, the Boston Globe reported that 353 Commonwealth had been acquired by the Commonwealth Home and Office Trust, the trustees of which were Russell S. Codman (trustee of the Central Building Trust and other concerns), Allan Forbes (president of the State Street Trust Company), and Leavitt C. Parsons (president of Marshall & Co., Inc.). At the same time, the Trust also acquired 270 Commonwealth (which by then had been converted into professional offices) and 333 Commonwealth.
Russell S. Codman et al, trustees, were the assessed owners from 1923 through 1934 and are shown as the owners on the 1928 Bromley map.
The City Institution for Savings of Lowell was the assessed owner of 353 Commonwealth from 1935 through 1937.
By 1937, 353 Commonwealth was owned by Dryco Properties, Inc., which was the assessed owner from 1938 through 1946 and was shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.
The property changed hands, remaining medical offices and one apartment for the building superintendent.
By 1971, 353 Commonwealth was owned by Archibald H. Ferran and Dora B. Ferran, trustees. In May of 1972, Archibald Ferran filed for permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling and medical offices into five apartments and medical offices. He subsequently abandoned the permit.
In July of 1972, Andrew J. Saggese, trustee of the Drew Realty Trust, acquired 353 Commonwealth from Archibald H. and Dora B. Ferran.
In March of 1974, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling and medical office into ten apartments and a medical office. In its June 8, 1976. decision allowing the change of use, the Board of Appeal noted that the July 18, 1972, purchase and sale agreement between Andrew Saggese and Alexander Ferran described the property as an “8 unit apartment and commercial building.”
Although granted by the Board of Appeal, the permit is marked “abandoned.”
In May of 1978, Dana M. DeLuca and his wife, Susan J. (Bordewieck) DeLuca, purchased 353 Commonwealth from Andrew Saggese. In June of 2004, they transferred the property to themselves as trustees of the Commonwealth Realty Trust.
353 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2015.