2 Commonwealth

2 Commonwealth (2013)

2 Commonwealth (2013)

Lot 147' x 124.5' (18,302 sf)

Lot 147′ x 124.5′ (18,302 sf)

2 Commonwealth is located on the SW corner of Arlington and Commonwealth, with 1 Commonwealth (12 Arlington) to the north, across Commonwealth, 15 Arlington to the south, across Alley 437, and 12 Commonwealth to the west.

2 Commonwealth, The Carlton House of Boston, was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, architects, and built in 1979-1981 for the Carlton House Trust, formed by real estate developers Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, as an 18-story combined residential condominium building and annex to what was then the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 15 Arlington.  The condominium master deed, dated October 7, 1981, included 53 residential units on the upper floors and one commercial unit for the hotel, comprising the basement and first through seventh floors.

Click here for an index to the certificates of title for 2 Commonwealth.

The building was built on the site of five original townhouses at 2-4-6-8-10 Commonwealth, all built ca. 1864. 8-10 Commonwealth had been acquired on November 6, 1945, by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company of Boston, operated by Edward N. Wyner, who had built the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1926-1927.  2-4-6 Commonwealth were acquired on February 24, 1954, by the Ritz-Arlington Trust, formed by Edward Wyner.  The houses were razed in the early 1960s and the lot remained vacant while various plans for its development were pursued in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Carlton House was the third in a series of efforts by owners of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel to construct a new building on the site.

In mid-1961, a consortium headed by Edward Wyner proposed a 16-story cooperative apartment house with between 100 and 125 units and two underground levels of parking.  Edward Wyner died in December of 1961 and the project was subsequently abandoned after the developers were unsuccessful in securing the City Council’s approval to raise the 70-foot height limit for Commonwealth Avenue.

On August 6, 1964, Gerald W. Blakeley, Jr., chairman and major shareholder of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, announced the purchase of the Wyner family’s holdings, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 15 Arlington, the hotel’s parking lot at 4-6 Newbury, the property on Commonwealth Avenue, and the Ritz Carlton Operating Company.

On May 10, 1965, Gerald Blakeley announced plans for a 27-to-30 story apartment house at 2-10 Commonwealth, to be designed by architect Hugh A. Stubbins.  The proposed building would have had a frontage of 100 feet on Arlington and 65 feet on Commonwealth, and, according to the May 11, 1965, Boston Globe article on the proposal, a “four-story garage, designed to appear as a town house, will be next door.”  On June 23, 1965, the Carlton House Trust, with Gerald Blakeley and others as trustees, was formed to hold the property and manage the project.  The proposal was once again abandoned, however, because of its excessive height.

In June of 1978, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes undertook the third and ultimately successful project.  It was designed to be approximately the same height as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 15 Arlington and included a connecting structure over Alley 437 between the two buildings.

The proposals in the 1960s were not the first attempts to construct a major building at the corner of Arlington and Commonwealth.

In 1896, plans were underway to build a tall apartment building, similar to Haddon Hall, which had been constructed at the northwest corner of Commonwealth and Berkeley in 1894.  That plan was thwarted by a syndicate formed by the residents of the block, who purchased 2 Commonwealth and, through a trust, restricted its height and depth for a minimum of twenty years.  In 1913, the building became the Engineers’ Club.

In the late 1930s, a 14-story business and general office building was proposed to replace the Engineers’ Club.  A March 25, 1939, Boston Globe article reported that, at the Boston Park Commission public hearing on the proposal, the project sponsors asked whether the Back Bay would continue “to be controlled by the dead hand of heritage,” but the residents were strongly opposed to the proposal.  The Commission took the matter “under advisement” for two weeks and it subsequently was abandoned.

In 1948, hotel operator and real estate developer Irving Saunders proposed replacing 2-4-6 Commonwealth with a 155-foot, sixteen story apartment house with retail stores on the Arlington Street side.  Both the height and commercial use required zoning variances, which were opposed by the neighborhood residents and denied by the zoning Board of Appeal.

2 Commonwealth (Demolished)

2 Commonwealth was built ca. 1864 as the home of importer, dry goods merchant, and real estate investor James Lovell Little and his wife, Julia Augusta (Cook) Little.  They previously had lived at 44 Chestnut.  They also maintained a home on Little’s Point in Swampscott.

2 Commonwealth (ca. 1870), photograph by Frederick M. Smith, II; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

2 Commonwealth (ca. 1870), photograph by Frederick M. Smith, II; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

Click here for an index to the deeds for 2 Commonwealth (Demolished).

The land on which 2 Commonwealth was built was purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on November 27, 1858, by William S. Whitwell, treasurer of the Boston Water Power Company, and Peleg Whitman Chandler, an attorney.  They sold the land on November 12, 1860, to Paran Stevens.  He was the owner of the Revere House and Tremont House hotels, and may have acquired the property with an eye to building a hotel on it.  Instead, he moved to New York City, where he owned the Fifth Avenue Hotel and later built the Stevens House (later the Victoria Hotel) designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt (who designed the houses at 13-14-15 Arlington, immediately to the south of 2 Commonwealth).

James Little purchased the land from Paran Stevens on January 27, 1863, and had his home built soon thereafter.

The Littles’ six children lived with them: Grace Atkinson Little, James Lovell Little, Jr., John Mason Little, Arthur Little, Philip Little, and David Mason Little.

Grace Little married in March of 1869 to John Harvard Ellis, a lawyer and author.  After their marriage, they lived at 2 Commonwealth with her parents.  John Ellis’s mother, Lucretia Goddard (Gould) Ellis, died in July of 1869, and his father, Rev. George Edward Ellis, retired as pastor of the Harvard Unitarian Church in Charlestown and lived temporarily at 2 Commonwealth.  By 1870, he had purchased and moved to 110 Marlborough.  John Harvard Ellis died in May of 1870 and Grace Ellis continued to live with her parents at 2 Commonwealth.

John Mason Little married in January of 1872 to Helen Beal and they moved to 122 Marlborough.  James Little, Jr., married in January of 1874 to Mary Robbins Revere and they moved to 140 Marlborough.  John and James Little were both wholesale dry goods merchants in their father’s firm.

In September of 1879, Grace (Little) Ellis married again, to Dr. Joseph Pearson Oliver, a physician, and they moved to 124 Boylston.  In January of 1883, Philip Little married to Lucretia Shepard Jackson; after their marriage they lived with his parents at 2 Commonwealth.  He was an artist.

Julia Little died in July of 1883.  James Little continued to live at 2 Commonwealth, joined by Philip and Lucretia Little and by his unmarried sons, Arthur Little, an architect, and David Little.  David Little married in November of 1883 to Clara Bertram Kimball and they moved to Salem.  He was treasurer of a paint and oil company.  By 1886, Philip and Lucretia Little had also moved to Salem.

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

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

In about 1886, Grace (Little) Ellis Oliver separated from her husband and resumed living at 2 Commonwealth.

James Little died in June of 1889.  Arthur Little moved to 8 Commonwealth and Grace (Little) Oliver moved to Salem.  She was an author and biographer, and was a member of the Salem School Committee at the time of her death in May of 1899.

On April 1, 1891, 2 Commonwealth was acquired from James Little’s estate by Dr. James Washington Bartlett, a dentist.  He converted it into medical offices for himself, his son, Sidney Roland Bartlett, also a dentist, and other doctors and dentists.  The Bartletts previously had maintained their offices at 13 Arlington.  They lived in Newton.

On February 6, 1896, 2 Commonwealth was purchased from James Bartlett by a trust formed by many of the residents of Commonwealth between Arlington and Berkeley, with attorney Henry Parkman of 30 Commonwealth, attorney Francis Peabody of 391 Commonwealth, and real estate dealer Albert Rufus Whittier of 16 Commonwealth as trustees.

2-4 Commonwealth (ca. 1960), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

2-4 Commonwealth (ca. 1960), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

The acquisition was made to block proposals for construction of a tall apartment building similar to Haddon Hall, which recently had been built at the northwest corner of Commonwealth and Berkeley.  The trust included a stipulation prohibiting any increase in the height or depth of any building on the lot for at least twenty years.  An April 1, 1896, Boston Globe article commenting on the transaction noted that “…it was highly important to the residents as well as the citizens of Boston and visitors…that the entrance to the beautiful avenue and outlook from the public gardens should remain as at present, fine residences.”

On March 17, 1908, the trust restrictions were modified to allow the height of the building to be increased to 70 feet and to allow the depth to be increased provided that the height of any addition was no more than 11 feet.  These modifications probably were made in anticipation of the sale of the building, which occurred on April 1, 1908, when it was acquired by attorney Willard B. Luther, who transferred it the same day to former trustee Francis Peabody.  Francis Peabody sold the property on June 30, 1909, to real estate dealer Loren Delbert Towle.  It probably was during this period that an additional story was added by extending the mansard roof (the new floor had been added by 1913).

On March 15, 1910, 2 Commonwealth was acquired from Loren Towle by Abbott Lawrence Lowell, as trustee of the Lowell Lecture Fund, later the Lowell Institute.  In January of 1925, the Lowell Institute acquired 4 Commonwealth, and in June of 1926, it acquired 6 Commonwealth.

In January of 1913, 2 Commonwealth became the Engineers’ Club of Boston.  It continued to be located there until about 1947.

On September 12, 1947, 2-4-6 Commonwealth were purchased from the Lowell Institute by Julian M. Beaudoin.  On the same day, the property was acquired from him by hotel operator and real estate developer Irving Saunders.  He proposed to raze the three houses and build a 155-foot, sixteen story apartment house with with stores on the Arlington Street side.  The proposal was denied by the City and 2-4-6 Commonwealth remained vacant.

The property changed hands and on February 24, 1954, was acquired by the Ritz-Arlington Trust.

4 Commonwealth (Demolished)

4 Commonwealth was built ca. 1864 for retail druggist William Brown and his wife Lucy Howard (Church) Brown, on land he had purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on January 13, 1859.  They previously had lived at 52 Chauncy.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 4 Commonwealth (Demolished).

Their three children — Lucy Josephine Brown, Olivia Howard Brown, and Henry Howard Brown — lived with them.

Lucy Josephine Brown married in June of 1865 to Henry G. Parker, editor and publisher of the Saturday Evening Gazette.  After their marriage, they lived at 4 Commonwealth with her parents.  Olivia Brown married in July of 1865 to Meriweather Hood Griffith, an East India merchant.  After their marriage, they traveled to India (where their daughter, Rachel, was born in Calcutta in September of 1866).   Henry Howard Brown married in December of 1872 to Hannah B. Thayer.  After their marriage, they lived at 4 Commonwealth with his parents and the Parkers.

By July of 1870, at the time of the 1870 US Census, Meriweather and Olivia Griffith also were living at 4 Commonwealth.  By 1872, they had moved to 300 Beacon.

William Brown died in February of 1875, and Lucy Brown died in December of 1875.  By 1876, Henry and Hannah Brown had moved to 269  Beacon, and Henry and Lucy Parker had moved to 235 Beacon, and 4 Commonwealth had become the home of Meriweather and Olivia Griffith.  By 1879, however, the Griffiths had purchased and moved to 400 Beacon.

By the 1879-1880 winter season, 4 Commonwealth was the home of John Larrabee Manning and his wife, Adelaide (Weir) Root Manning.  They had married in January of 1877 and had lived at 96 West Newton, which had been Adelaide Manning’s home with her first husband, sewing machine dealer James Edward Root, prior to his death.  Pauline Root, Adelaide Manning’s daughter by her first marriage, lived with the Mannings at 4 Commonwealth.

On September 20, 1883, Adelaide Manning purchased 4 Commonwealth from the estates of William and Lucy Brown.

Adelaide Manning died in July of 1887.

Pauline Root married in November of 1887 to William Sigourney Otis.  After their marriage, they lived at 4 Commonwealth with her step-father.

William Sigourney Otis died in April of 1893, and John Manning died in October of 1893.

Pauline Otis continued to live at 4 Commonwealth, which was owned by her mother’s estate.  In June of 1895, she married again, to John DeForest Danielson.  The son of a Rhode Island cotton mill owner, he was a prominent Boston and Newport clubman and socialite.

The Danielsons continued to live at 4 Commonwealth and also maintained a home in Newport.

De Forest Danielson died in October of 1909.  Pauline Danielson continued to live at 4 Commonwealth until the mid-1920s.

On December 29, 1924, 4 Commonwealth was purchased from Adelaide Root Manning’s estate by Abbott Lawrence Lowell, trustee of the Lowell Institute.  At the same time, the Manning estate purchased 28 Commonwealth and Pauline Danielson subsequently moved there.

The Lowell Institute also owned 2 Commonwealth and in June of 1926 acquired 6 Commonwealth.

By 1926, 4 Commonwealth was the home of Arthur Gilpatrick and his wife, Mina A. (Barron) Gilpatrick, who operated it as a lodging house.  In 1925, they had lived at 28 Commonwealth (where Pauline Danielson moved), where they also had maintained a lodging house.

Arthur Gilpatrick died in May of 1941.  Mina Gilpatrick continued to live at 4 Commonwealth and operate the lodging house.  In 1943, one of the lodgers, John F. Holbrook, defrauded her out of her savings; he was convicted of larceny and sentenced to state prison.  Mina Gilpatrick continued to live at 4 Commonwealth until her death in 1945.

4 Commonwealth continued to be operated as a lodging house until about 1947.

On September 12, 1947, 2-4-6 Commonwealth were purchased from the Lowell Institute by Julian M. Beaudoin.  On the same day, the property was acquired from him by hotel operator and real estate developer Irving Saunders.  He proposed to raze the three houses and build a 155-foot, sixteen story apartment house with with stores on the Arlington Street side.  The proposal was denied by the City and 2-4-6 Commonwealth remained vacant.

The property changed hands and on February 24, 1954, was acquired by the Ritz-Arlington Trust.

6 Commonwealth (Demolished)

6 Commonwealth was built ca. 1864 for Dr. Alanson Abbe, a physician, and his wife, Margaret Livingston (Douw) Abbe, on land he had purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on May 16, 1859.  He died in April of 1864, before 6 Commonwealth was completed.  The Abbes were living at 20 Boylston at the time of his death.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 6 Commonwealth (Demolished).

On November 14, 1864, 6 Commonwealth was purchased from the Abbe family by shipping merchant William Gordon Weld.  He and his wife, Caroline L. (Goddard) Weld, made it their home. They previously had lived at 11 Ashburton Place.

6 Commonwealth (ca. 1870), photograph by Frederick M. Smith, II; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

6 Commonwealth (ca. 1870), photograph by Frederick M. Smith, II; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

By 1871, the Welds had been joined at 6 Commonwealth by Stephen Van Rensselaer Thayer and his wife, Alice (Robeson) Thayer.  He had graduated from Harvard in 1870 and they had married in November the same year.  He died in October of 1871 at the age of 24 while living at 6 Commonwealth.  At the time of his death, they were building a new home at 306 Dartmouth.  She appears never to have lived there and it became the home of Charles Whitney.  By 1873 she and their infant son, Stephen, had moved to 191 Beacon.

By the 1880s, the Welds also maintained a home in Newport.

William G. Weld died in April of 1896, and Caroline Weld continued to live at 6 Commonwealth.  From about 1913, she was joined there by her sister, Mary Louisa Goddard.

Caroline Weld and Mary Louisa Goddard continued to live at 6 Commonwealth until Caroline Weld’s death in April of 1918.  Mary Goddard moved thereafter and by 1919-1920 winter season was living at 79 Newbury.

During the 1918-1919 winter season, 6 Commonwealth was the home of real estate investor Edward Deshon Brandegee and his wife, Mary (Pratt) Sprague Brandegee.  Their primary residence was their home, Faulkner Farms, in Brookline.  Mary Brandegee was William Weld’s niece, the daughter of George Langdon Pratt and Sarah Minot (Weld) Pratt.

On April 13, 1920, the William Weld estate transferred 6 Commonwealth to his only grandchild, Mary Weld, the daughter of Dr. Charles Goddard Weld and his wife, Harriet Putnam (Train) Weld.  Charles Weld had died in June of 1911.

6 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1920 and 1921 Blue Books.

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

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

By the 1921-1922 winter season, it was the home of Dr. George Hayward Binney, Jr., a physician, and his wife, Susan Jeannette (Appleton) Binney,  They previously had lived at 261 Marlborough.  He maintained his office at 45 Bay State Road.  They continued to live at 6 Commonwealth in 1924, but by 1925 had made 45 Bay State Road their home as well as his office.

On December 3, 1924, 6 Commonwealth was acquired from Mary Weld by real estate dealer William J. Stober, and on December 10, 1924, it was acquired from William Stober by The Copley Investment Company.

On June 21, 1926, 6 Commonwealth was acquired from The Copley Investment Company by Abbott Lawrence Lowell, trustee of the Lowell Institute.  The Lowell Institute also owned 2 and 4 Commonwealth.

6 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1925-1928 Blue Books.

By 1928, 6 Commonwealth was the clubrooms of the Junior League of Boston.  They previously had been located at 37 Commonwealth.  They remained at 6 Commonwealth in 1930, after which they moved to a new building at 6 Arlington (0 Marlborough).

6 Commonwealth subsequently became primarily medical and professional offices, with one or two residential units.  By the mid-1940s, it was a multiple dwelling.

On September 12, 1947, 2-4-6 Commonwealth were purchased from the Lowell Institute by Julian M. Beaudoin. On the same day, the property was acquired from him by hotel operator and real estate developer Irving Saunders.  He proposed to raze the three houses and build a 155-foot, sixteen story apartment house with with stores on the Arlington Street side. The proposal was denied by the City and 2-4-6 Commonwealth remained vacant.

The property changed hands and on February 24, 1954, was acquired by the Ritz-Arlington Trust.

8 Commonwealth (Demolished)

8-10 Commonwealth (ca. 1870), photograph by Frederick M. Smith, II; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

8-10 Commonwealth (ca. 1870), photograph by Frederick M. Smith, II; courtesy of the Print Department, Boston Public Library

8 Commonwealth was built ca. 1864, one of two contiguous houses (8-10 Commonwealth) built as a symmetrical pair.

Click her for an index to the deeds for 8 Commonwealth (Demolished).

The land on which 8-10 Commonwealth were built was purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 27, 1860, by merchant tailor Horace E. Armington.  He sold the property on November 22, 1862, to architect and builder Charles Kirk Kirby, who then resold it on January 21, 1863, to Erastus Brigham Bigelow.

On March 23, 1863, Erastus Bigelow subdivided the land into a 29-foot wide lot at 8 Commonwealth, which he retained, and a 27-foot wide lot at 10 Commonwealth, which he sold to Thomas Gold Appleton.  As part of the sale, he retained an easement for “constructing, maintaining and using…a room on the first chamber floor of the house to be built” at 10 Commonwealth, allowing him to have a room that spanned the full width between the two bows in the rear of the houses.

In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting does not identify the architect of 8-10 Commonwealth.  However, the plan for the room easement filed with the deed to Thomas Appleton was prepared by Snell and Gregerson, to whom the design can therefore be attributed.

Erastus Brigham Bigelow and his wife, Eliza (Means) Bigelow made 8 Commonwealth their home.  They previously had lived at 87 Boylston.

Plan of easement for room at rear of 8-10 Commonwealth, drawn by Snell and Gregerson, March 1863; Suffolk County Deed Registry, Book 825, p. 195.

Plan of easement for room at rear of 8-10 Commonwealth, drawn by Snell and Gregerson, March 1863; Suffolk County Deed Registry, Book 825, p. 195.

Erastus Bigelow was the inventor of the power loom for manufacturing carpets and, with his brother, Horatio, was founder of the Bigelow Carpet Company in Clinton, Massachusetts.

The Bigelows also maintained a residence, Stonehurst, in North Conway, New Hampshire, designed by Snell and Gregerson and built in 1872.

Erastus Bigelow died in December of 1879. Eliza Bigelow continued to live at 8 Commonwealth until her death in March of 1888.

During the 1888-1889 winter season, 8 Commonwealth was the home of the Bigelows’ son-in-law and daughter, Rev. Daniel Merriman and Helen (Bigelow) Merriman.  He was pastor of the Central Congregational Church in Worcester, which was their usual residence.

During the 1889-1890 winter season, 8 Commonwealth was the home of architect Arthur Little.  He had lived at 2 Commonwealth, his family’s Boston home, until his father’s death in June of 1889, and then moved temporarily to 8 Commonwealth while awaiting completion of a new home he had designed for himself at 57 Bay State Road (at the corner of Raleigh, later numbered 2 Raleigh).

During the 1890-1891 winter season, 8 Commonwealth was the home of Eliot Hubbard and his wife, Helen (Faulkner) Hubbard.  They had married in April of 1890 and 8 Commonwealth probably was their first home together.

Eliot Hubbard was singer and music teacher, described in a February 9, 1892, New York Times article as a baritone “very popular among the fashionable persons in Boston.”

By the 1891-1892 season, the Hubbards had moved to 206 Beacon.

On March 1, 1892, 8 Commonwealth was purchased from Erastus Bigelow’s estate by Miss Priscilla S. Nickerson and her sister, Adeline (Nickerson) Parker, the wife of George Judson Parker, an oratorio vocalist and music teacher.  They all previously had lived at 45 Commonwealth.

By 1910, they had been joined at 8 Commonwealth by Myra Nickerson and Adeline Nickerson.  They were the daughters of Alfred Alexander Nickerson, brother of Adeline (Nickerson) Parker and Priscilla Nickerson.

Priscilla Nickerson died in March of 1911.  The Parkers and Myra and Adeline Nickerson continued to live at 8 Commonwealth.  Adeline Parker died in February of 1916, and George Parker and the Nickerson sisters moved soon thereafter (he died in May of 1917).

8 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1917 Blue Book.

On February 16, 1917, 8 Commonwealth was purchased from the estates of Priscilla Nickerson and Adeline (Nickerson) Parker by Marie Glass (Burress) Currier, the wife of Guy Wilbur Currier.  They previously had lived at 389 Commonwealth.  They also maintained a home in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Guy Currier was an attorney.  Prior to their marriage in June of 1894, Marie Burress had been an actress, a leading lady with the Boston Museum stock company.

In 1920, Marie Currier established Mariarden Theatre in the Woods in Peterborough, New Hampshire, described in an April 1922 advertisement in Theatre Arts Magazine as “an outdoor stage for professional performance” and “a summer school for students of the drama and of stage dancing.”  Among the actors and actresses who came to Mariarden were Bette Davis, Walter Pidgeon, Paul Robeson, and the Bennett sisters: Joan, Constance, and Barbara.

In August of 1925, the Curriers’ daughter, Lucy Pettingill Currier, married Robert Shuman Steinert, president of the Jewett Piano Company, owned by his family’s firm, M. Steinert & Sons, piano and music dealers.  During the 1927-1928, the Steinerts lived with the Curriers at 8 Commonwealth and also at 486 Beacon.  They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms.  By 1929 they had moved to 13 Gloucester.

In June of 1928, Marie Currier acquired 10 Commonwealth and was the assessed owner of both 8 and 10 Commonwealth from that year.

Guy Currier died in June of 1930, and Marie Currier moved soon thereafter to 63 Mount Vernon.

8-10 Commonwealth were not listed in the 1931-1937 Blue Books and were shown as vacant in the 1931-1933 City Directories.  By 1934, they had become lodging houses.

In 1934, the lodging house at 8 Commonwealth was operated by Mrs. Ida M. (Jackson) Morgan Christenberry, the former wife of Harry Morgan and of William Oscar Christenberry, and her daughter, Mrs. Mabel F. (Morgan) Reynolds, the former wife of Robert Burns Reynolds.  They previously had lived at 408 Beacon, and by 1935 had moved to an apartment at 362 Commonwealth.  They subsequently moved to 638 Beacon and by 1939 were living at 428 Marlborough.

On November 6, 1945, 8-10 Commonwealth were purchased from Marie Currier by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company of Boston.  They remained lodging houses until the early 1960s.

10 Commonwealth (Demolished)

10 Commonwealth was designed by architects Snell and Gregerson and built ca. 1864, one of two contiguous houses (8-10 Commonwealth) built as a symmetrical pair, built on land originally purchased from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 27, 1860, by merchant tailor Horace E. Armington and subsequently owned by Erastus Bigelow.

Click here for an index to the deeds for 10 Commonwealth (Demolished).

10 Commonwealth was built for Thomas Gold Appleton, who purchased the land from Erastus Bigelow on March 23, 1863.  He previously had lived at the Tremont House hotel.  He also maintained a home in Newport.

A lawyer by training, he was a painter by vocation and a raconteur by avocation, credited with the characterization of Nahant as “cold roast Boston” and for assuring that “good Americans when they die go to Paris.”  He was unmarried.  He continued to live at 10 Commonwealth until his death in April of 1884.

10-12 Commonwealth (ca. 1880), courtesy of Historic New England

10-12 Commonwealth (ca. 1880), courtesy of Historic New England

On  August 14, 1884, 10 Commonwealth was purchased from Thomas Gold Appleton’s estate by Ralph Miller Pomeroy.  He and his wife, Elmina (Fleming) Pomeroy, made it their home, joined by their son-in-law and daughter, Daniel Ahl, Jr., and Esther (Pomeroy) Ahl.  They all previously had lived at 90 Chester Square.   Both Ralph Pomeroy and Daniel Ahl, Jr., were wholesale boot and shoe dealers.

Elmina Pomeroy died in October of 1885, and Ralph Pomeroy died the next month, in November of 1885. Daniel Ahl, Jr., died in June of 1887.

Esther Ahl, her sons Ralph P. Ahl and Leonard Daniel Ahl, and her widowed brother, James Pliny Pomeroy, continued to live at 10 Commonwealth.  James Pomeroy moved in about 1889 and on December 4, 1891, he transferred his interest in 10 Commonwealth to his sister.

Ralph Ahl, a stockbroker, died in October of 1892.  Esther Ahl and her son, Leonard, continued to live at 10 Commonwealth.

During the 1907-1908 and 1908-1909 winter seasons, Esther Ahl was joined at 10 Commonwealth by Alanson Long Daniels and his wife, Frances (Pomeroy) Daniels.  Frances Daniels was Esther Ahl’s niece, the daughter of James Pomeroy and Frances (Wilshire) Pomeroy.  The Danielses probably lived with Mrs. Ahl while renovations were being done at their home at 1 Fairfield, where they had lived since about 1901. They probably moved back to 1 Fairfield in early 1909, inasmuch as they are listed in the 1909 Blue Book at both 10 Commonwealth and 1 Fairfield (where they continued to live in the 1930s).

10-12 Commonwealth (ca. 1920), showing remodeling of upper floors of 12 Commonwealth; courtesy of Historic New England

10-12 Commonwealth (ca. 1920), showing remodeling of upper floors of 12 Commonwealth; photograph by William T. Clark, courtesy of Historic New England

Esther Ahl and Leonard Ahl had moved from 10 Commonwealth by the 1909-1910 winter season; in April of 1910, at the time of the 1910 US Census, they were living in Beverly.

During the 1909-1910 winter season, 10 Commonwealth was the home of Mrs. Clarina Bartow (Shumway) Hanks, the widow of lawyer Charles Stedman Hanks.  At the time of his death in March of 1908, they had lived at the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Boylston and Clarendon).

On September 29, 1910, 10 Commonwealth was acquired from Esther Ahl by George H. Wood.

The house was not listed in the 1911 Blue Book.

By the 1911-1912 winter season, 10 Commonwealth was the home of Sidney Wilmot Winslow, a widower, president of the United Shoe Machinery Company.  In 1910, he had lived at the Algonquin Club at 217 Commonwealth.  He also maintained a home in Beverly.

Sidney Winslow continued to live at 10 Commonwealth until his death in June of 1917.

The house was not listed in the 1918 and 1919 Blue Books.

By the 1919-1920 winter season, 10 Commonwealth was the home of Sidney Winslow’s son-in-law and daughter, Frederick William Choate Foster and Mabel Gladys (Winslow) Foster.

George Wood continued to be the assessed owner through 1920.  However, on January 21, 1921, two deeds were recorded, both dated September 28, 1910, the date on which George Wood acquired the property from Esther Ahl.  The first deed transferred the property from George Wood to Sidney Winslow’s brother, Herbert Freeman Winslow, who also held a mortgage on the property from George Wood.  The second deed transferred the property from Herbert Winslow to Sidney Winslow, thereby making it part of his estate.

The Fosters continued to live at 10 Commonwealth in 1922, but had moved to 189 Marlborough by 1923.

10 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1923 and 1924 Blue Books.

By 1925, 10 Commonwealth was the home of Mrs. Elizabeth A. (Ames) Carney, widow of Walter E. Carney, who operated it as a lodging house.  In 1924, she had operated a lodging house at 249 Berkeley.  Among her lodgers at both addresses was George Abbott Osborne, a professor of mathematics at MIT.  Elizabeth Carney died in 1926.  George Abbott Osborne continued to live there during the 1926-1927 winter season, but by the fall of 1927 had moved to 353 Beacon.

On June 7, 1928, 10 Commonwealth was acquired from Sidney Winslow, Jr., by Marie Glass (Burress) Currier, the wife of Guy Wilbur Currier.  She and her husband lived at 8 Commonwealth until about 1930.

On the same day as the deed from Sidney Winslow, Jr., to Marie Currier was recorded, two additional deeds also were recorded, both dated twenty months earlier, on October 5, 1926.  The first deed transferred 10 Commonwealth from the estate of Sidney Winslow, Sr., to Elizabeth MacKenzie, and the second deed transferred the property from her to Sidney Winslow, Jr.

8-10 Commonwealth were not listed in the 1931-1937 Blue Books and were shown as vacant in the 1931-1933 City Directories.  By 1934, they had become lodging houses.

On November 6, 1945, 8-10 Commonwealth were purchased from Marie Currier by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company of Boston.  They remained lodging houses until the early 1960s.