379 Commonwealth

379 Commonwealth (2014)

379 Commonwealth (2014)

Irregular Lot: 23.39' on Commonwealth (2,600 sf)

Irregular Lot: 23.39′ on Commonwealth (2,600 sf)

379 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 377 Commonwealth to the east and 381 Commonwealth to the west.

379 Commonwealth was designed and built by O. H. Drisko and Son, architects and builders, one of two contiguous houses (377-379 Commonwealth), built for building contractor and real estate dealer Albion Knowlton. He is shown as the owner on both of the original building permit applications, dated April 2, 1889, and on the final building inspection reports, dated October 25, 1889.

Albion Knowlton and his wife, Mary S. (Goldsmith) Knowles made 377 Commonwealth their home and sold 379 Commonwealth.

By the 1889-1890 winter season, 379 Commonwealth was the home of Edwin H. Woods and his wife, Mary Frances (Smith) Woods. They previously had lived at 113 Appleton. Mary Woods is shown as the owner of 379 Commonwealth on the 1895, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.

377-381 Commonwealth (ca. 1905). detail from photograph of 373-391 Commonwealth, © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

377-381 Commonwealth (ca. 1905). detail from photograph of 373-391 Commonwealth, © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

Edwin Woods was president and business manager of the Boston Herald until his retirement in 1906.

Edwin Woods died in October of 1910. Mary Woods continued to live at 379 Commonwealth during the 1911-1912 winter season, but moved thereafter to Brookline.

By the 1912-1913 winter season, 379 Commonwealth was the home of Dr. Marshal Fabyan and his wife, Eleanor Harryman (McCormick) Fabyan. They previously had lived at 381 Commonwealth. Marshal Fabyan is shown as the owner of 379 Commonwealth on the 1912, 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms.

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

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

Marshal Fabyan was a physician and an instructor and later assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. He maintained his medical office at 379 Commonwealth.

Marshal Fabyan died in October of 1952. Eleanor Fabyan moved soon thereafter.

In March of 1953, Saul B. Levitan filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 379 Commonwealth from a single family dwelling into ten apartments.

Saul Levitan was a jeweler and real estate investor who lived at 197 Marlborough with his wife, Eleanor Helen (Hirsch) Mitnick Levitan. He probably obtained approval to convert 379 Commonwealth to apartments in contemplation of purchasing the property, but subsequently did not do so.  He died in October of 1953.

In April of 1953, the Briggs Realty Corporation purchased 379 Commonwealth from the estate of Marshal Fabyan. (n May of 1997, it transferred the property to the Briggs Realty LLC.

379 Commonwealth remained an apartment house in 2014.

Colorized photographic postcard of 371-381 Commonwealth (ca. 1900), showing Commonwealth Avenue before it was widened and straightened ca. 1918; courtesy of Historic New England