354 Beacon

354 Beacon (2014)

Irregular lot 24′ on Beacon, 23.67′ on Back St. x 150′ North-South (3,600 sf)

354 Beacon is located on north side of Beacon, between Fairfield and Gloucester, with 352 Beacon to the east and 360-370 Beacon to the west.

354 Beacon probably was built ca. 1883 for Samuel Tarbell Ames, probably for speculative sale, one of two contiguous houses (354 and 356 Beacon).

In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting states that the two houses built by Ames ca. 1883 were 356 and 386 Beacon (next door).  This appears to be incorrect, inasmuch as 386 Beacon appears on the 1874 Hopkins map and is listed in the 1877 Blue Book.  It is more likely that 386 Beacon was built ca. 1872 by John Farrington, a housewright, who is shown as the owner on the 1874 Hopkins map.  In addition, 386 Beacon appears to have had a bay, rather than a bow, and therefore is unlikely to have been one of a pair built at the same time by the same builder.

By 1885, 354 Beacon was the home of attorney William Warren Vaughan and his wife, Ellen Twisleton (Parkman) Vaughan.  In 1884. they lived at 3 Brimmer.  They also maintained a summer home in North East Harbor, Maine.

William Vaughan is shown as the owner of 354 Beacon on the 1888, 1898, 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.

354 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

354 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

During the 1899-1900 winter season, they were living elsewhere and 354 Beacon was the home of Robert Swain Peabody and his wife, Annie (Putnam) Peabody.  They also maintained a home in Marblehead.  He was an architect; his firm, Peabody and Stearns, was one of the foremost architectural firms in Boston and designed a number of homes in the Back Bay.  Earlier in 1899 they had lived with Annie Putnam’s sister, Ellen Putnam, at 355 Marlborough.  The Peabodys had moved by 1901 and were living at 22 Fenway by 1902, and 354 Beacon was once again the Vaughans’ home.

Ellen Vaughan died in August of 1934.  William Vaughan continued to live at 354 Beacon until about 1935. He had moved to Hallowell, Maine, by 1937.

In 1936, 354 Beacon became the home of Frederick A. Marsden, a retired physician, who operated it as a lodging house.  Earlier that year, he had lived at 22 Marlborough.  He had moved to 290 Marlborough by mid-1937.

On January 13, 1937, the Boston Globe reported that William Vaughan had sold 354 Beacon to Fred A. Kilgore, who (the article stated) had purchased the property with the intention of converting it into apartments.

By April of 1937, 354 Beacon was owned by Mrs. Sylvia (Levy) Sundland, former wife of Dore Sundland.

In April of 1937, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into ten apartments.  She also was the owner of 371 Beacon, across the street, which she also converted into apartments in 1937.  Both remodeling projects were designed by architect Herman L. Feer.  She is shown as the owner of both 354 Beacon (as Sylvia F. Sunderland) and 371 Beacon (as Sylvia L. Sunderland) on the 1938 Bromley map.

The property changed hands and In May of 1969 was acquired by the Marco Realty Corporation.  In June of 1979, it transferred the property to the Commonwealth Group, Inc.

In July of 1980, the Commonwealth Group converted 354 Beacon into ten condominium units, the 354 Beacon Street Condominium.