387 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 387 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 416, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
By 1870, 387 Beacon was the home of William Marshall Stedman, Jr., a wholesale grocer, and his wife, Elizabeth Bowen (Brown) Stedman. In 1869, they had lived at the Norfolk House and in 1868 they had lived at 8 Marlborough.
Living with them was his father, William Marshall Stedman, a retired wholesale grocer.
On January 9, 1871, 387 Beacon was acquired from Charles U. Cotting by William F. Grubb. He was a clerk at the same business address (9 Tremont) as Charles Cotting, and probably was employed by him.
The Stedmans continued to live at 387 Beacon in 1873. By 1874, they were all living at the St. James Hotel.
On October 27, 1873, William Grubb transferred 387 Beacon to Charles Cotting’s wife, Susan Cordelia (Delano) Cotting, and on October 30, 1873, it was acquired from her by Charles (Carl) E. Meyer, owner of a glass and mirror business. He and his wife, Henrietta L. (Quimby) Meyer, made it their home. They previously had lived in East Cambridge.
They continued to live at 387 Beacon during the 1875-1876 winter season, but moved thereafter to 486 Warren.
During the 1876-1877 winter season, 387 Beacon was the home of Perez Briggs Howard, a dry goods importer, and his wife, Mary Ellen (Atkins) Howard. They previously had lived at 107 Mt. Vernon. By the next season, they had moved to the Longwood district of Brookline.
On September 18, 1877, Eleanor Elizabeth (Bisbee) Perkins, the wife of Charles Brooks Perkins, foreclosed on a mortgage given by Charles Mayer and took possession of 387 Beacon. She and her husband made it their home. He was a tobacco importer and dealer. They previously lived at 24 Temple. By the mid-1890s, they also maintained a home in Swampscott.
The Perkinses’ three children – George Batcheller Perkins, Charles Brooks Perkins, Jr., and Eleanor Perkins – lived with them.
Charles Brooks Perkins, Jr., who was associated with his father’s tobacco company, married in November of 1898 to Mary Louise Floyd. After their marriage, they lived at 387 Beacon with his parents and siblings.
Charles Perkins, Sr., died in January of 1902. Charles and Mary Perkins moved at about that time to Brookline. Eleanor Perkins continued to live at 387 Beacon with her unmarried children, George and Eleanor. George Perkins was an artist, furniture designer, and interior decorator.
In September of 1905, Eleanor Perkins’s daughter, Eleanor, married Herbert Henry Holton, a securities broker. After their marriage, the Holtons lived with her mother and brother at 387 Beacon.
In November of 1914, George Perkins was arrested for a shooting on the SS Mohawk while at sea off of the Carolinas, in which he killed one passenger and injured another passenger and the captain. His defense was that he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs, and did not remember the incident. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three years in jail, but the conviction apparently was overturned inasmuch as he was issued a US Passport in July of 1915.
Eleanor Perkins died in 1917. 387 Beacon was inherited by her daughter, Eleanor Holton.
The Holtons continued to live at 387 Beacon until Henry Holton’s death in January of 1943. They also maintained a home at Phillips Beach in Swampscott.
On July 14, 1943, 387 Beacon was acquired from Eleanor Holton by Israel Ramler. He was president of the State Electric and Lock Shop and lived in Roxbury. In August of 1943, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to make repairs to the interior of the house. In his application, he indicated that it was a five-family dwelling.
387 Beacon was shown as “no return” in the 1944 Boston City Directory and as vacant in the 1945 and 1946 directories. By 1947, it was occupied as a five unit apartment house.
The property changed hands and on November 1, 1946, was acquired by Paul Verne Shaffer, an engineer and later an instrument maker at MIT, and his wife, Margaret E. (Hamilton) Shaffer. They previously had lived at 351 Beacon. By 1949, they had moved to 443 Marlborough.
On April 5, 1949, 387 Beacon was acquired from the Shaffers by Wallace W. Cass. He lived in an apartment at 541 Commonwealth and was employed with the Fall River Shipyard in Quincy. After he retired in the mid-1960s, he moved to an apartment at 356 Marlborough.
On April 29, 1969, 387 Beacon was acquired from Wallace Cass by Raymond T. Doherty and his wife, Marie Esther (Hurley) Doherty. On June 5, 1981, he transferred his interest in the property to Marie Doherty.
Marie Doherty died in February of 2017.
On November 2, 2017, 387 Beacon was purchased from Marie Doherty’s daughter, Jennifer M. Doherty, as personal representative of Marie Doherty’s estate, by the 387 Beacon Street LLC (Eva Veson, manager of record).
387 Beacon remained an apartment house, assessed as a four- to six-family dwelling, in 2020.