379 Beacon was designed by architect Frederick B. Pope and built ca. 1869, one of ten contiguous houses built as five symmetrical pairs (377-379-381-383-385-387-389-391-393-395 Beacon), each house on an 18 foot wide lot and each pair united by a shared portico. 377-379 Beacon are one story higher than the other four pairs, and probably were built that way (they appear as such on the 1887 Sanborn map).
The ten houses were built for speculative sale by a consortium of Frederick Pope, who was both an architect and a builder, and George Martin Gibson, a builder and contractor. They shared the same business address at 81 Washington in 1870.
Frederick Pope purchased the land for 377 Beacon on March 18, 1869, and George Gibson purchased the land for 379-381-383-385 Beacon and 389-391 Beacon between March and August of 1869. Once the houses were built, they sold them to individual buyers.
The land for 387 Beacon was owned by real estate investor Charles Uriah Cotting, and the land for 393-395 Beacon was owned by dry goods merchant Eben Dyer Jordan, co-founder of the firm of Jordan, Marsh & Co. In these three cases, the houses were constructed by Frederick Pope and George Gibson under agreements with the land owners, who then sold the houses after they were built.
The land for all ten houses originally had been part of a parcel purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on January 29, 1866, by a real estate investment trust formed by John Templeman Coolidge, Franklin Evans, and Charles Henry Parker. The trust subsequently subdivided the property into lots, which it sold to investors and builders, who then frequently resold the lots to others.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 379 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 416, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
On July 6, 1870, George Gibson offered 379 Beacon for sale at public auction. A June 29, 1870, advertisement in the Boston Traveller described the house as “recently erected by one of the best builders in the city, and now in perfect condition for immediate occupancy. It is four stories high, with basement and French roof, has a wide spacious hall with inlaid floor, reception room, large dining room, two china closets, coat room and wash closet in the first or entrance story, two spacious parlors with large closets in the second story, and six large chambers with clothes closets to each: bath room, water closet and billiard room in the story above, together with a spacious kitchen in the basement, large dry cellar, soapstone sinks and laundry fixtures, furnace, range, gas, hot and cold water fixtures, and every other modern improvement and convenience for the housekeeper to be found in the more expensive houses in that part of the city. The first three stories and staircases are finished in black walnut or chestnut, and the entire interior work is of a similar permanent character.”
The auction notice also commented that the “line of horse railroad in the process of construction through Marlboro’ street, the rails for which are now being laid, will soon afford to the occupants of estates upon this portion of Beacon street largely increased facilities of travel to and from the business portion of the city.”
It is not known whether the house sold at the July auction.
On November 1, 1869, 379 Beacon was purchased from George Gibson by Harriet S. (Loring) Johnston, the wife of stockbroker Thomas A. Johnston. She may have been the successful bidder at the auction or purchased the right to buy the house from the successful bidder, if there was one, or purchased the house from George Gibson through private sale. The Johnstons lived at 165 Charles Street and do not appear to have moved to 379 Beacon.
On August 5, 1870, 379 Beacon was purchased from Harriet Johnston by Mary Caroline (Goddard) Goddard, the widow of David Goddard.
Living with Mary Goddard were her son-in-law and daughter, attorney Samuel Appleton Browne Abbott and Mary (Goddard) Abbott, and her two unmarried children, Lucy W. Goddard and Thatcher Goddard, a medical student. Her mother, Mary (Goddard) Goddard, the widow of William Goddard, also lived with her. They all previously had lived at 10 Pemberton Square.
Mary Abbott died in January of 1871 and Samuel Abbott moved to 6 Arlington to live with his parents, Josiah Gardner Abbott and Caroline (Livermore) Abbott. He remarried in October of 1873 to Abby Francis Woods; after their marriage, they lived at 11 Exeter.
Mary Goddard’s mother, Mary Goddard, died in January of 1878.
Thatcher Goddard married in March of 1876 to Hannah F. Watson; after their marriage, they lived with his mother and sister, Lucy, at 379 Beacon.
They continued to live at 379 Beacon during the 1881-1882 winter season, but moved thereafter to Newport.
On June 1, 1882, 379 Beacon was purchased from Mary Goddard by Harriet A. (Ellery) Mills, the wife of Isaac B. Mills. They previously had lived at 15 Temple. He was a dealer in cooperage stock.
Isaac Mills died in June of 1889. Harriet Mills continued to live at 379 Beacon during the 1889-1890 winter season, but moved thereafter to 82 Huntington.
On March 31, 1890, 379 Beacon was purchased from Harriet Mills by cigar manufacturer William N. Fisher. He and his wife, Rebecca (Crockett) Fisher, made it their home. They previously had lived at 44 S. Russell.
On December 23, 1901, he transferred the property into his wife’s name.
The Fishers continued to live there during the 1902-1903 winter season, but moved thereafter to 623 Commonwealth.
379 Beacon was not listed in the 1904 Blue Book.
On September 23, 1904, 379 Beacon was purchased from Rebecca Fisher by Adela Pegram (Myers) O’Neil, the wife of Dr. Richard Frothingham O’Neil. They previously had lived at 416 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in York Harbor, Maine.
From 1905 through 1912, Dr. Franklin Spilman Newell, an obstetrician, also lived and maintained his offices at 379 Beacon. He had moved to 443 Beacon by 1913. From about 1924, Dr. William Henry Smith, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and physician, was a lodger with the O’Neils. He had lived at 10 Gloucester in 1917 and in Brookline in the early 1920s. Dr. Smith maintained his office at 8 Marlborough.
Richard O’Neil died in November of 1944. Adela O’Neil continued to live at 379 Beacon until shortly before her death in January of 1949. Their son, Richard F. O’Neil, Jr., a broker, lived with her. Dr. Smith also continued to live at 379 Beacon until about 1946, after which he made 8 Marlborough his home as well as his office.
On October 26, 1948, 379 Beacon was acquired from Adela O’Neil by Miss Ruby E. Burgess. She previously had lived at 103 Shawmut. She operated 379 Beacon as a lodging house.
On June 7, 1950, 379 Beacon was acquired from Ruby Burgess by Charles (born Beshara) George Leon, an electrician. He and his wife, Rebecca M. (Sullivan) Leon, lived in West Roxbury. In April of 1951, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the use of the property as a lodging house.
On August 21, 1962, Charles Leon transferred 379 Beacon to himself and his wife as trustees of the Nole Realty Trust. They continued to operate it as a lodging house.
On August 25, 1976, 379 Beacon was purchased from the Leons by real estate dealer Patrick J. Glynn.
In November of 1987, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into twelve apartments.
On January 22, 1991, he transferred the property to himself and his wife, Anne T. (Kelly) Glynn, as trustees of the 379 Beacon Street Trust.
On May 15, 1997, they transferred the property to the 379 Beacon Street Limited Partnership.
379 Beacon remained an apartment house in 2017.