371 Commonwealth (61 Massachusetts Avenue) is located on the NW corner of Commonwealth and Massachusetts Avenues, with 355 Commonwealth to the east, across Mass. Ave., 373 Commonwealth to the west, 51 Massachusetts to the north, across Alley 905, and 370 Commonwealth to the south, across Commonwealth.
371 Commonwealth (57-59-61-65 Massachusetts Avenue) was designed by Mackay and Dunham, architects, and built in 1892-1893 by Keening & Strout Brothers, builders, for real estate developer Albert Geiger. It was built as a six-story apartment house, The Chesterfield, with two stores on the street level and five apartments on the upper floors. Albert Geiger is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated November 19, 1892, and on the final building inspection report, dated November 20, 1893.
By 1895, 371 Commonwealth was owned by Dudley N. Hart et al. They show as the owners on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps, and continued to be the assessed owners in 1923.
On January 22, 1924, the building was damaged by a three alarm fire which started on the fifth floor.
By 1925, 371 Commonwealth was owned by Mary O’Brien, who is shown as the assessed owner from 1924 to 1927. In June of 1925, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the retail stores, installing new windows and doors. The building remained two stores and five apartments.
By 1927, 371 Commonwealth was managed by real estate dealer Samuel L. Lowe. In April of 1927, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from apartments into medical offices. The building subsequently was known as the Pasteur Building.
Frances E. O’Brien is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.
The property subsequently changed hands, remaining medical offices with retail stores on the street level
In late 1958, 371 Commonwealth was purchased by Richard S. Robie. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on November 23, 1958. He was a real estate dealer, automobile leasing company operator, and president of the John S. Powers Schools.
By mid-1962, 371 Commonwealth was owned by real estate dealer Moses I. Richman. In June of 1962, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the third through sixth floors from offices into lodging units. In February of 1963, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to install an entrance canopy extending 18-½ feet from the front of the building.
By 1970, 371 Commonwealth was owned by Edward H. Mank, trustee of the New England Real Estate Equities Trust.
In 1971, Walter Bauke purchased 371 Commonwealth from the New England Real Estate Equities Trust. When he purchased the property, its legal occupancy was three retail stores, two offices, lodging house with 45 rooms, and two apartments.
In October of 1971, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert one of the three retail stores into a restaurant with take-out service.
The property subsequently changed hands and in June of 1979 was purchased by real estate dealer Charles C. Patsos, trustee of the 371 Commonwealth Trust. In October of 1982, Feliciano Petruzziello succeeded Charles Patsos as trustee of the 371 Commonwealth Trust, in February of 2001, Gloria Petruzziello succeeded Feliciano Petruzziello as trustee, and in April of 2006, Gina Petruzziello succeeded Gloria Petruzziello as trustee.
371 Commonwealth remained a combination commercial and residential building in 2014, with a restaurant on the street level at 57-65 Massachusetts Avenue, and a lodging house, two apartments, and two offices on the upper floors.
Over the years. a number of commercial tenants occupied the retail store spaces at 57-61 Massachusetts Avenue.
Longer-term commercial tenants included Hoffman florists, located at 61 Massachusetts Avenue from about 1916 until the mid-1950s, and Fennell’s Liquors, located at 59 Massachusetts Avenue from 1938 until 1992.
In the 1990s, the corner retail space at 61-65 Massachusetts Avenue was Baci’s restaurant. It closed in about 1998, and by 2000, the space had become The Seasonal Table, a retail food store that also sold beer and wine. It subsequently closed, and the space was once again used for a restaurant, with the space expanded into the former retail stores at 57-59 Massachusetts Avenue.