375 Beacon

375 Beacon (2013)

375 Beacon (2013)

Lot 19' x 112' (2,128 sf)

Lot 19′ x 112′ (2,128 sf)

375 Beacon is located on the south side of Beacon, between Fairfield and Gloucester, with 371 Beacon to the east and 377 Beacon to the west.

375 Beacon was designed by architect Carl Fehmer and built in 1886 by James Smith, builder, as the home of Charles Bartlett Wells, Jr. cashier of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, and his wife, Louisa Trumbull (Blake) Wells.  They previously lived at 54 Pinckney.  He is shown as the owner of 375 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated March 17, 1886, on the final building inspection report, dated November 13, 1886, and on the 1888 Bromley map.  Louisa Wells is shown as the owner on the 1895 and 1898 maps.

From the 1888-1889 winter season through the 1893-1894 season, Charles and Louisa Wells were living at various addresses on Beacon Hill and in the Back Bay (56 Chestnut, 89 Mt. Vernon, 7 Massachusetts, and 12 Brimmer) and 375 Beacon was the home of Royal Robbins and his wife, Theresa (Huntington) Robbins. They had married in November of 1888 and 375 Beacon probably was their first home together.  Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 44 Commonwealth with his parents, Royal Elisha Robbins and Mary Elizabeth (Horton) Robbins.  Royal Robbins was treasurer of Robbins, Appleton & Co., agents for the American Waltham Watch Company, founded by his father..

Royal and Theresa Robbins continued to live at 375 Beacon during the 1893-1894 winter season.  By the 1894-1895 season, they had moved to 341 Marlborough and 375 Beacon was once again the home of Charles and Louisa Wells.

Second floor plan of 375 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report, 13Nov1886 (v. 16, p. 60); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Second floor plan of 375 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report, 13Nov1886 (v. 16, p. 60); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

During the 1900-1901 winter season, the Wellses were again living elsewhere and 375 Beacon was the home of Albert Farwell Bemis, president of the Bemis Brothers Bag Company, and his wife, Faith M. (Gregg) Bemis.  They moved to Newton and the Wellses were once again living at 375 Beacon by the 1901-1902 season.

Charles Wells died in March of 1902, and Louisa Wells continued to live at 375 Beacon.

During the 1907-1908 winter season, she was living elsewhere and 375 Beacon was the home of Susan Player, the widow of lawyer John Preston Player, and their son, Preston.  They previously had lived at 405 Beacon.  In April of 1908, Preston Player purchased 311 Marlborough, which he and his mother made their home.

Louisa Wells resumed living at 375 Beacon by the 1908-1909 winter season and continued to live there through the 1913-1914 season.

Also listed in the City Directories at 375 Beacon in 1911 and 1912 was John H. Thomas, manager of the Boston office of the White Star steamship line.  By 1913, he had moved to 304 Marlborough.

Philip Dexter et al, trustees (probably for Charles Wells’s estate) are shown as the owners on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.

During the 1914-1915 winter season, 375 Beacon was the home of Felton Broomall Elkins and his wife, Burton (Oliver) Kronowith Elkins.  The Elkinses lived in Burlingame and Santa Barbara, California, where they were prominent in society.  He was a budding author and playwright, and they had come to Boston so that he could attend a class for aspiring playwrights at Harvard.  They were close friends of Eugene O’Neill, also a student in the class, whom they entertained at 375 Beacon.

A September 26, 1914, article in The Wasp (a California society magazine) commented on the Elkinses impending trip to Boston: “Everyone is interested in the news that that the Felton Elkins’ are planning to spend the winter in Boston, where Felton will be a pupil of Professor George P Baker at Harvard, who is the dean of American instructors in dramatic art.  We have known for some time that Felton was an author and playwright in embryo, but it is indeed a surprise to learn that he intends to apply himself seriously.”

375 Beacon (ca. 1955), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

375 Beacon (ca. 1955), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

The Elkinses continued to live at 375 Beacon during the 1915-1916 season, but returned soon thereafter to California, where they were divorced later in 1916.

Louisa Wells was once again living at 375 Beacon by the 1916-1917 winter season, and by the 1917-1918 season she had been joined by her daughter, Louisa (Wells) Gray, wife of Gerald Hull Gray, an attorney in New York City, from whom she was either separated or divorced.

Louisa Wells died in December of 1920.  Louisa Gray continued to live at 375 Beacon.  She also maintained a summer home at Richfield, Connecticut.  Her son, Edward Richmond Gray, lived with her until the mid-1930s.  Louisa W. Gray, trustee, is shown as the owner on the 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps.

Louisa Gray continued to live at 375 Beacon until her death in November of 1951.

By 1953, 375 Beacon was the home of attorney Paul Charles Hanna and his wife, Ruth Frances (Gallan) Hanna.  They previously had lived in Framingham.  They continued to live at 375 Beacon in 1957. They subsequently moved back to Framingham, and then, in 1960, to 174 Marlborough.

By 1958, 375 Beacon was the home of steel company executive  J. Harvey McKenney and his wife, Yvonne (Pene du Bois) McKenney.

Yvonne McKenney’s father, Guy Pene du Bois lived with them.  He was a noted artist, author, and art critic.  He died while living at 375 Beacon in July of 1958.

The McKenneys continued to live there until about 1962.

By about 1962, 375 Beacon was the home of John Cornish Nott and his wife, Genevieve Margaret (Cronin) Nott.  They previously had lived at 31 Fairfield.  They were dance instructors with a studio on Newbury Street.  They continued to live at 375 Beacon until about 1971, when they moved to Duxbury.

In July of 1971, 375 Beacon was acquired from the Notts by attorney and financial advisor Maynard Goldman and his wife, Margery Ruth (Loewenberg) Goldman.

The property changed hands.  It remained a single-family dwelling in 2014.