383 Commonwealth

383 Commonwealth (2014)

383 Commonwealth (2014)

Irregular Lot: 24' on Commonwealth (2,406 sf)

Irregular Lot: 24′ on Commonwealth (2,406 sf)

383 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 381 Commonwealth to the east and 385 Commonwealth to the west.

383 Commonwealth was designed by architect Obed F. Smith and built in 1885-1886 by Charles H. Dodge, mason, for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., for speculative sale, one of six contiguous houses (381-383-385-387-389-391 Commonwealth). George Wheatland, Jr., is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 383 Commonwealth, dated December 15, 1885, and on the 1888 Bromley map.  At the same time, George Wheatland, Jr., was having six more houses built at 430-440 Marlborough on the lots to the north, behind 381-391 Commonwealth, also designed by Obed Smith and built by Charles Dodge.

By the 1889-1890 winter season, 383 Commonwealth was the home of brick manufacturer John Henry Hubbell and his wife, Sarah Marietta (Dana) Hubbell. They previously had lived at 283 Commonwealth. Sarah Marietta Hubbell’s sister, Caroline Winchester Dana, lived with them.

383 Commonwealth (ca. 1896). detail from photograph of 383-387 Commonwealth; © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

383 Commonwealth (ca. 1896). detail from photograph of 383-387 Commonwealth; © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

They continued to live at 383 Commonwealth during the 1893-1894 winter season, but moved thereafter, probably to Coal Run, Ohio, where Sarah Marietta Hubbell died in September of 1894 (she and her sister were born Waterford, Ohio).

Real estate dealer Samuel Horatio Whitwell is shown as the owner of 383 Commonwealth on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps.

During the 1894-1895 winter season, 383 Commonwealth was the home of Eben Wright and his wife, Leta (Pell) Wright. Their usual residence was in New York City. He was a collector and expert on Mediaeval tapestries, carvings, and art, and had just lent the Museum of Fine Arts five Flemish tapestries for display.

By the 1895-1896 winter season, 383 Commonwealth was the home of Miss Carrie Thirza Fitch. She previously had lived at 34 Fairfield. The Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, trustee, is shown as the owner of 383 Commonwealth on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.

During the 1907-1908 winter season, she was living elsewhere and 383 Commonwealth was the home of wholesale cotton merchant John Silsbee Lawrence and his wife, Emma (Atherton) Silsbee. They had married in April of 1907 and 383 Commonwealth probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 140 Beacon. By the 1908-1909 season, the were living at the Lenox Hotel at 61 Exeter.

383-387 Commonwealth (ca. 1896), © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

383-387 Commonwealth (ca. 1896), © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

By the 1908-1909 winter season, Carrie Fitch had resumed living at 383 Commonwealth. She continued to live there during the 1918-1919 season, but moved thereafter to The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon.

383 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1920 and 1921 Blue Books.

By 1920, 383 Commonwealth was the home of Mrs. Anna K. (Brigham) Hall, widow of leather merchant Henry Lyon Hall, and their four children: Henry Lyon Hall, Jr., Anna Brigham Hall, Frank B. Hall, and Mary C. Hall. Prior to her husband’s death in June of 1917, they had lived in Dorchester. The Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, trustee, continued to be shown as the owner of 383 Commonwealth on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

Henry L. Hall, Jr., a leather salesman, married in 1924 to Edith Page Blanchard. After their marriage, they lived in Newton. Anna Brigham Hall married in March of 1929 to John Sewall Hooper. After their marriage, they lived in Brookline, where he died later that same year. By 1930, Anna Hooper and their infant daughter, Dorothy, were living at 383 Commonwealth with her mother and unmarried siblings.

Anna Hall, Frank and Mary Hall, and Anna and Dorothy Hooper continued to live at 383 Commonwealth during the 1930-1931 winter season, but moved thereafter to Hingham.

383 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1932-1937 Blue Books.

By 1932, 383 Commonwealth was the home of Stephen J. Flynn and his wife, Elizabeth G. (Sweeney) Flynn, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived in Lowell, where he had served as City Clerk until 1931. They continued to live at 383 Commonwealth. and to operate it as a lodging house, until about 1940, when they moved to 350 Beacon.

383 Commonwealth was shown as vacant in the 1940 City Directory.

By 1942, 383 Commonwealth was owned by the Christian Science Church. It also owned 385 Commonwealth, which had been the home of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church, and 387 Commonwealth. 385 Commonwealth was a single-family dwelling, the residence of the Church’s First Reader; 387 Commonwealth was a lodging house.

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

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

In April of 1942, the Church applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 383 Commonwealth from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house, legalizing its prior use.

Both 383 and 387 Commonwealth remained lodging houses, with various operators and owned by the Church, for the next forty-five years. 385 Commonwealth remained the residence of the Church’s First Reader.

By 1942, the lodging house at 383 Commonwealth was operated by Mrs. Mildred Eaton (Thompson) Hadley, the former wife of Waldo Snow Hadley. She lived at 506 Beacon, where she also operated a lodging house. She continued to operate the lodging house at 383 Commonwealth until about 1954.

By 1954, 383 Commonwealth was the home of Miss Jessie E. Gardner, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 176 Huntington. She continued to live (and operate the lodging house) at 383 Commonwealth until about 1964.

By the mid-1980s, 383 and 387 Commonwealth were held in the name of the Church Realty Trust.

In October of 1987, the Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 383 Commonwealth into seven apartments, and in May of 1991, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of apartments to five.

In December of 2017, the Trust received approval to increase the number of apartments from five to six by building a new unit in the basement.

383 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2017.

381-389 Commonwealth (ca. 1898), © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.

381-389 Commonwealth (ca. 1898), © The Mary Baker Eddy Collection; used with permission.