387 Commonwealth

387 Commonwealth (2014)

387 Commonwealth (2014)

Irregular Lot: 24' on Commonwealth (2,170 sf)

Irregular Lot: 24′ on Commonwealth (2,170 sf)

387 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 385 Commonwealth to the east and 389 Commonwealth to the west.

387 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 387 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, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Ceilan Milo Spitzer and his wife, Lilian Cortez (McDowell) Spitzer. They previously had lived at Young’s Hotel at 20 Court.

Ceilan Spitzer was an investment banker from Toledo, in partnership with his cousin, Adelbert Lorenzo Spitzer. They had opened a Boston branch in 1887; they moved it to New York City in 1899.

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

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

The Spitzers continued to live at 387 Commonwealth during the 1890-1891 winter season, but moved thereafter to the Hotel Vendôme.

387 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1892 Blue Book.

By the 1892-1893 winter season, 387 Commonwealth was the home of hardware dealer George Allen and his wife, Annie (Grant) Allen. They previously had lived in Newton. Annie Allen is shown as the owner of 387 Commonwealth on the 1895 Bromley map.

George Allen died in January of 1905 and Annie Allen moved soon thereafter to Cambridge.

387 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1906 Blue Book.

By 1906, 387 Commonwealth was owned by Mrs. Mary (Baker) Glover Patterson Eddy, widow of George Washington Glover, former wife of Dr. Daniel Patterson, and widow of Dr. Asa Gilbert Eddy. She is shown as the assessed owner from 1906. Her cousin, Henry M. Baker et al, trustee, is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.

Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science Church. She had lived at 385 Commonwealth in the late 1880s and subsequently had deeded it to the Church to be the residence of the First Reader of the Church. She lived in Chestnut Hill and in Concord, New Hampshire.

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 1906-1907 winter season, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Joseph Armstrong and his wife, Mary E. (Perrin) Armstrong. They previously had lived at 191 Huntington. Joseph Armstrong was charge of publishing for the Christian Science Church. He died in December of 1907 and Mary Armstrong moved soon thereafter.

387 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1909 Blue Book.

By the 1909-1910 winter season, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Thompson Howard Lewis and his wife, Jane (Jennie) Brumley (Lindsay) Lewis. They previously had lived at 495 Commonwealth.

T. Howard Lewis was manager of the Boston office of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York.

They continued to live at 387 Commonwealth during the 1910-1911 winter season, but moved thereafter and by 1913 were living in Milton.

Mary Baker Eddy died in December of 1910. In her will, she left the bulk of her estate to the Christian Science Church, and 387 Commonwealth passed into its possession following the resolution of a court challenge by her son, George W. Glover. The Church is shown as the owner on the 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps. It continued to lease the property to others.

By the 1911-1912 winter season, 387 Commonwealth was the home of David Crocker and his wife, Julia Gwathmey (Davis) Crocker. Julia Crocker’s mother, Ellen Maria (Andrews) Davis, the widow of Barnabas Davis, lived with them. They had all previously lived at the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth. The Crockers also maintained a home in Barnstable.

David Crocker had been a commission merchant in New York City in the China and India trade; he had retired about 1898.

Ellen Davis died in December of 1913. The Crockers continued to live at 387 Commonwealth during the 1916-1917 winter season, but moved thereafter to The Ludlow (southwest corner of Clarendon and St. James).

387 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1918-1924 Blue Books.

By the 1924-1925 winter season, 389 Marlborough was the home of Laurence Willcomb Morgan, a trustee, and his wife Esther Parkman (Turner) Morgan. They previously had lived at 389 Marlborough. They continued to live at 387 Commonwealth during the 1925-1926 season, but moved thereafter to Dedham.

By the 1926-1927 winter season, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Gerald Dorr Boardman, a real estate broker, and his wife, Elizabeth Elwood (Devens) Boardman. They previously had lived at 49 Hereford. They continued to live at 387 Commonwealth during the 1932-1933 winter season, after which they moved to an apartment at 90 Commonwealth.

In August of 1933, the Christian Science Church filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 387 Commonwealth from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.

By the 1933-1934 winter season, it was the home of Mrs. Lula M. (Fox) Darling, the former wife of Jerome M. Darling, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived (and operated a lodging house) at 320 Commonwealth. She continued to live at 387 Commonwealth until her death in 1939.

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

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

By 1942, the Church also owned 383 Commonwealth, which it also converted into a lodging house. 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 a single-family dwelling, the residence of the Church’s First Reader.

By 1940, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Michael F. Brady and his wife, Helen (Ellen/Nellie) (Anderson) Brady, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 26 Hemenway. He was a chief engineer at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital. They continued to live at 387 Commonwealth until about 1945, when they moved to 133 Peterborough

By 1946, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Hugh Hardy and his wife, Annie (MacKinnon) Hardy, who continued to operate it as a lodging house. They previously had lived in Milton and, before that, had operated a lodging house at 338 Commonwealth. A former butler, he was a manager with the First National Bank of Boston. They continued to live at 387 Commonwealth until about 1949, when they moved to 193 Huntington, where they were living at the time of her death in June of 1950.

By 1950, 387 Commonwealth was the home of Clarence Leo Evans, a purchasing agent with the Christian Science Publishing Society, and his wife, Josephine F. Evans. They continued to operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 95 Park Drive.

Clarence Evans died in 1963. Josephine Evans continued to live at 387 Commonwealth and operate it as a lodging house 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 387 Commonwealth into five apartments.

387 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2014.

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.