354 Commonwealth

354 Commonwealth (2013)

354 Commonwealth (2013)

Lot 21' x 124.5' (2,615 sf)

Lot 21′ x 124.5′ (2,615 sf)

354 Commonwealth is located on the south side of Commonwealth, between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue, with 352 Commonwealth to the east and 356 Commonwealth to the west.

354 Commonwealth was designed by Obed F. Smith, architect, and built in 1883-1884 by Vinal & Dodge, builders, for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., probably for speculative sale.  It was one of five contiguous houses (352-354-356-358-360 Commonwealth) built at the same time, and one of fifteen houses (322-326 Commonwealth and 338-360 Commonwealth) built on the same block for George Wheatland, Jr., in 1882-1884.  He is shown on the original building permit application for 354 Commonwealth, dated November 30, 1883.

354 Commonwealth was originally numbered 352 Commonwealth until about 1889, when 328-330 Commonwealth were built to the east of it.

By the 1885-1886 winter season, 354 Commonwealth was the home of banker and broker George Francis Wood and his wife, Anna Maria (White) Wood.  They previously had lived in Newton.  Anna Wood is shown as the owner of 354 Commonwealth on the 1888 and 1898 Bromley maps, and was the assessed owner through 1904.

George Wood died in July of 1903 and Anna Wood moved soon thereafter.

During the 1903-1904 winter season, 354 Commonwealth was the home of John William Corcoran and his wife, Margaret Josephine (McDonald) Corcoran.  He was an attorney and former associate justice of the superior court, and had been a candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General and Lt. Governor.  The Corcorans’ primary residence was in Clinton, where they were living at the time of his death in August of 1904.

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

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

During the 1904-1905 winter season, 354 Commonwealth was the home of investment broker Frederick R. Tibbitts and his wife, Mabel Tibbitts.  They had lived at the Hotel Somerset in 1904.  They also maintained a home in West Manchester.

In May of 1905, 354 Commonwealth was purchased from Anna Wood byHelena A. (Cox) Raymond, the wife of banker Arthur Clements Raymond.  They had lived at 499 Audubon in 1905.  They lived at 354 Commonwealth during the 1905-1906 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to the Hotel Touraine, southeast corner of Boylston and Tremont.

By 1906-1907 winter season, 354 Commonwealth was the home of Dr. George Adams Leland and his wife, Alice P. (Higgins) Leland.  They previously had lived at 669 Boylston, where he had also maintained his medical office.  Alice Leland was the assessed owner of 354 Commonwealth from 1907 through 1924 and is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.

George Leland was an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and also maintained his office at 354 Commonwealth.  In 1880, he had served as an advisor to the Imperial Court of Japan in the development of their higher education system.  He also served as a professor of laryngology and otology at Dartmouth Medical College.

The Lelands continued to live at 354 Commonwealth until his death in March of 1924.  Alice Leland moved soon thereafter, probably to Brookline to live with her son and daughter-in-law, George Adams Leland, Jr., and Letitia Gertrude (Brookins) Leland, with whom she was living in 1930.  George Leland, Jr., also was a physician.

354 Commonwealth remained in the Leland family, held in trust.  The Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, trustee, was the assessed owner of 354 Commonwealth from 1925 through 1944 and is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

By 1925, 354 Commonwealth had become the Phi Mu Delta fraternity house. It had been located at 398 Marlborough in 1924.  By 1926, it had moved to 378 Marlborough.

By 1930, 354 Commonwealth had been converted into a medical office and apartment.

In April of 1939,  George Leland, Jr., filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a doctor’s office and single-family dwelling into two medical offices and a single-family dwelling.  In November of 1941, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into two medical offices and a lodging house.

George Leland, Jr., did not maintain his medical offices at 354 Commonwealth, but rather at 144 Commonwealth.  He and his wife continued to live in Brookline until his death in September of 1943.

By 1945, 354 Commonwealth was the home of Robert W. Baker, who operated it as a lodging house.  He was the assessed owner in 1945 and 1946.  He continued to live there until about 1946.

By 1946, 354 Commonwealth was the home of Dr. Raymond James Nagle, a dentist, and his wife, Elva M. (Pomfret) Nagle.  He maintained his dental office there and they also operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived in Newton and he had maintained his office at 358 Commonwealth.  Raymond Nagle et al were the assessed owners of 354 Commonwealth from 1947 through 1949.  They continued to live there until about 1950.

The property changed hands and by 1954 was owned by wool importer  John Austin and his wife, Maria Alexandra (Pakszwer) Austin.  In September of 1954, they were cited by the Building Department for failure to have sufficient egress at 354 Commonwealth.

In January of 1955, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to install fire escapes.  In their filing, they indicated that the occupancy was four dental offices on the first and second floors, and four apartments on the third and fourth floors.

In November of 1956, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into three dental offices and five apartments.

The property changed hands and in September of 1966 was purchased by Harry Miller and his wife, Thelma Miller.  In October of 1968, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the property as eight apartments, which they indicated was the existing condition when they acquired the property.

The property changed hands and in June of 1972 was acquired by Robert White.

354 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2015.