383 Beacon is located on the south side of Beacon, between Fairfield and Gloucester, with 381 Beacon to the east and 385 Beacon to the west.
383 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 383 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 416, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
On October 1, 1869, 383 Beacon was purchased from George Gibson by Rev. Thomas Baldwin Thayer. He and his wife, Sarah Athena (Harris) Peck Thayer, made it their home.
Rev. Thayer was a retired Universalist clergyman. He had served as minister of the First Universalist Society in Lowell and then as minister of the Shawmut Universalist church in Boston. He edited The Universalist Quarterly from 1864 to 1886 and was the author of The Theology of Universalism, published in 1862.
Sarah Thayer died in August of 1871, and he moved soon thereafter.
On September 29, 1871, 383 Beacon was purchased from Thomas Thayer by Mary Augusta (French) Roberts, the wife of hide and leather dealer James Adams Roberts. They previously had lived at 11 Newbury. They also maintained a home in Andover.
The Robertses’ four surviving children lived with them: Mary Kate Roberts, George French Roberts, Edwards Roberts, and Fanny Esther Roberts.
George Roberts, a partner in his father’s hide and leather business, married in February of 1877 to Rachel Howe Richardson. After their marriage, they lived in Dorchester.
Edwards Roberts traveled to Europe in the mid-1870s and then lived in the West, where he was a correspondent for various eastern publications, served as editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette in 1881, and wrote several books on western subjects. In June of 1886 he married Beatrice Fernald in Santa Barbara, California.
On August 30, 1883, Mary Roberts transferred 383 Beacon to her brother-in-law, George Lucien Davis of North Andover (George Davis was the husband of James Roberts’s sister, Harriet Kneeland (Roberts) Davis).
During the 1883-1884 winter season, the Robertses were living elsewhere and 383 Beacon was the home of William R. Caulkins and his wife, Julia A. (Wurzbach) Caulkins. He was manager of the Craig Kidney Cure Company. In April of 1884, they were joined briefly by William Roswell Burrows, a part owner of the business, who had moved to Boston from Albion, New York, to manage the New England office with William Caulkins. He was an alcoholic and had been living on Hudson Street, apart from his wife, Helen Louise (Powell) Burrows, and their two children, Maud Eleanor Burrows and Harold Melville Burrows.
William Burrows was the son of Roswell S. Burrows and Louise C. (Bidwell) Burrows. Roswell Burrows, founder and principal stockholder of the First National Bank in Albion, had died in 1879 and William Burrows was one of several heirs. The estate was managed by Albert Silas Warner, who also was president of the bank. In March of 1884, William Burrows placed his financial affairs in William Caulkins’s hands, naming him as his trustee on shares of stock and providing him with a power of attorney on his behalf. He asked William Caulkins to seek an accounting of his father’s estate from A. S. Warner, and William Caulkins subsequently initiated the action.
In early April of 1884, William Burrows became ill and moved from Hudson Street to live with William and Julia Caulkins at 383 Beacon. A. S. Warner learned of William Burrow’s illness and came to Boston, joined by William Burrows’s mother and other members of his family. Physicians subsequently determined that he had been poisoned with small doses of arsenic over a period of time and was suffering from severe liver damage. His family moved him from 383 Beacon to 311 Beacon, the home of attorney and former Boston Mayor Frederick O. Prince, to whom he gave a new power of attorney to act on his behalf. William Burrows subsequently returned to Albion with his mother.
A. S. Warner charged that William Caulkins was responsible for the slow poisoning, a charge that was repeated in the press but subsequently was found without basis by a grand jury. The action commenced by William Caulkins to secure an accounting of the Burrows estate resulted in a court order requiring that A. S. Warner provide the accounting by August 18, 1884. He left town on August 13 for Canada. As reported by the Boston Globe on August 22, 1884, an examination of his papers indicated that it appeared “that he has used all that was available of the securities belonging to the Burrows estate for his own benefit.” He continued to live in Canada until his death in February of 1907.
By the 1884-1885 winter season, William and Julia Caulkins had moved to Auburndale and James and Mary Roberts were living at 383 Beacon once again.
James Roberts died in July of 1885 and George Roberts, who had remained his father’s business partner, died in December of 1885. Mary Roberts and her daughters, Mary Kate and Fanny, lived at 383 Beacon during the 1885-1886 winter season, but moved thereafter, probably to Andover (where she died in February of 1893).
On October 19, 1886, George Davis transferred 383 Beacon back to Mary Roberts.
During the 1886-1887 winter season, 383 Beacon was the home of Edmund Dana Barbour, a railroad executive and former shipping merchant in the China trade, and his wife, Mary Therese (Ross) Barbour. They previously had lived in Newtonville. They also maintained a home in Sharon which they subsequently made their primary residence (in November of 1893, they acquired a Boston home at 344 Beacon).
By the 1887-1888 winter season, Edwards and Beatrice (Fernald) Roberts were living at 383 Beacon, having moved from California to Boston, where he had become an investor in street railway systems. They continued to live at 383 Beacon during the 1888-1889 season, but moved thereafter.
On March 18, 1889, 383 Beacon was purchased from Mary Roberts by Charles Loring Jackson. He was an organic chemist and professor of chemistry at Harvard, credited as being one of the first organic chemists in the United States.
383 Beacon became the home of Charles Jackson’s parents, Patrick Tracy Jackson and Susan Mary (Loring) Jackson, and his unmarried siblings, Anna Pierce Jackson and Ernest Jackson, a teacher. They previously had lived at 94 Pinckney. They also maintained a home in Pride’s Crossing.
Patrick Jackson was a cotton buyer and mill agent. He died in November of 1891 and Susan Jackson died in March of 1905. Charles Jackson appears to have lived in Cambridge until after his parents’ deaths, after which he joined his brother and sister at 383 Beacon.
Ernest Jackson died in February of 1913, and Anna Jackson died in April of 1922.
Charles Jackson continued to live at 383 Beacon and in Pride’s Crossing until his death in October of 1935.
On July 21, 1936, 383 Beacon was purchased from Charles Jackson’s estate by real estate dealer Henry Joseph O’Meara.
On September 21, 1936, Henry O’Meara transferred 383 Beacon to Jane F. Holland, and on October 15, 1936, it was acquired from her by Joseph Corman, a building contractor, as trustee of the Mason Trust. That same month, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single family dwelling into four apartments. In November of 1936, he amended the filing to increase the number of units from four to five.
On April 10, 1959, Joseph Corman transferred 383 Beacon to his daughter, Anne (Corman) Adler, the wife of Julius Adler, who was the sole beneficiary under the Mason Trust. On April 13, 1959, she transferred the property back to him.
The property changed hands and on August 31, 1970, was acquired by Joseph A. Spadafora. In August of 1971, he wrote the Building Department for clarification as to whether the legal occupancy was four apartments or five apartments, noting that he was in the process of transferring the title and wanted to remove this uncertainty. The Building Department confirmed that 383 Beacon’s legal occupancy was five units.
On August 27, 1971, 383 Beacon was acquired from Joseph Spadafora by Emma F. Willman, who applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from five units into four.
On March 15, 1979, 383 Beacon was acquired from Emma Eillman by Allan J. Ganem. On May 23, 1979, he converted the property into four condominium units, the 383 Beacon Street Condominium.
In August of 1979, Allan Ganem filed for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units to three, and on December 31, 1979, he amended the condominium master deed to reduce the number of units from four to three.