395 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 395 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 416, from Fairfield to Gloucester.
The agreement to build 393-395 Beacon, dated January 23, 1869, originally was between Eben Jordan and Frederick Pope. Frederick Pope agreed “to furnish all materials and build for said Jordan on land owned by him situated on the southerly side of Beacon Street, between Fairfield and Gloucester Streets, two brick dwelling houses of the dimensions and arrangements described in plans and specifications signed this day by the parties.” Eben Jordan agreed to convey the land to Frederick Pope at a specified price when the houses were completed. On February 3, 1869, the parties agreed that George Gibson would take Frederick Pope’s place in the agreement, and on April 3, 1869, the parties further agreed that Eben Jordan would retain the 36 foot lot where 393-395 Beacon would be built and, instead, would transfer to George Gibson a 12 foot lot to the east, where 391 Beacon would be built.
On October 26, 1869, Eben Jordan offered 395 Beacon for sale at public auction. On October 27, the Boston Journal reported that it had been “knocked down to Mr. Pratt of Louisburg square,” presumably either George Williams Pratt or his son, Robert Marion Pratt, both bankers and stock brokers, who lived at 13 Louisburg square. Mr. Pratt did not take take title to the property, but may have been acting on behalf of Rev. Mellish Irving Motte and his wife, Marianne (Mary Ann) (Alger) Motte. She purchased 395 Beacon from Eben Jordan on November 15, 1869.
Mellish and Marianne (Alger) Motte made 395 Beacon their home. They previously had lived at 22 Castle. He was retired pastor of the South Congregational Church in Boston.
At the time of the 1870 US Census, living with the Mottes were their daughter, Lucy French (Motte) Frothingham, widow of Stephen H. S. Frothingham, and her daughter, Louisa Frothingham. Also living with them were the Mottes’ son-in-law and daughter, Willard Thomas Sears and May (Motte) Sears, and their two daughters, Ruth (Daisy) and Mabel. Willard Sears was an architect.
Willard and May Sears moved by 1872 to the Hotel Boylston (Boylston at Tremont) and by 1873 to a new home they had built at 15 Gloucester. Louisa Frothingham died in February of 1874 and Lucy Frothingham traveled abroad soon thereafter.
The Mottes continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1875-1876 winter season, but moved thereafter. By 1878, they were living at 15 Gloucester with Willard and May Sears. Marianne Motte continued to own 395 Beacon and lease it to others.
By the 1876-1877 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Henry Townsend Blodget, manager of the Boston office of the Equitable Life Assurance Company, and his wife, Lucretia W. W. (Leland) Blodget. They previously had lived at the Hotel Blackstone at 423 Shawmut. They continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1878-1879 season, but moved thereafter to Roxbury,
By the 1878-1879 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Richard Sullivan and his wife, Henrietta (Gardiner) Sullivan. He was a retired shipping merchant in the Calcutta trade. They previously had lived at 85 Pinckney.
They continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1879-1880 winter season. In October of 1879, he applied for permission to build a new house at 178 Marlborough. In the spring of 1880, while the house was being built, the Sullivans traveled to Europe. Henrietta Sullivan died in in Austria in September of 1880. Richard Sullivan lived at 178 Marlborough upon his return.
393 Beacon was not listed in the 1881 Blue Book.
By the 1881-1882 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of George Henry Thayer and his wife, Cordelia (Skinner) Thayer. They previously had lived at 46 Chestnut. He was a dealer in dye-stuffs. They continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1886-1887 season; but moved thereafter to 3 Fairfield.
Marianne Motte died in April of 1886. 395 Beacon continued to be owned by a trust established under her will, with her son, Ellis Loring Motte, as trustee.
During the 1887-1888 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Sarah Hickling (Webster) Dabney, the widow of John Pomeroy Dabney, a commission merchant in the Fayal trade. In 1886, she had lived at 3 Mount Vernon Place, and in 1885 at 319 Beacon.
During the 1889-1890 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Benjamin E. Corlew, a real estate dealer, and his wife, Juliet (Snow) Corlew. They had lived at 5 Caledonia in 1888. By 1890, they had moved to 356 Commonwealth.
During the 1890-1891 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Dr. Aaron Young and his wife, Helen Marie (Lippincott) Young. They had lived at 295 Columbus in 1889.
Nearly deaf from birth, Aaron Young was a physician specializing in aural conditions. He also was a botanist and served as state botanist of Maine prior to the Civil War. From 1863 to about 1874, he served as US Consul in Rio Grande do Sol, Brazil, after which he and his family settled in Boston. The Youngs’ son, Henry Dudley Young, also a physician, lived with them.
By the 1891-1892 winter season, Aaron and Helen Young and Henry Dudley Young were living at 217 Huntington.
395 Beacon was not listed in the 1892 Blue Book.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, it was the home of Arthur S. Austin, a banker, and his unmarried sisters, Harriet Almira Austin and Caroline W. Austin. They previously had lived at the Hotel Oxford (southeast corner of Exeter and Huntington). They also maintained a home in Swampscott. They continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1900-1901 season, but moved thereafter to The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon.
By the 1901-1902 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Dr. William Phillips Graves, a gynecologist, and his wife, Alice Myrick (Chase) Graves. They had married in October of 1900 and had lived in Vienna during the winter and then in London, where their son, Sidney Chase Graves, was born in July of 1901. They returned to Boston in the autumn of 1901.
They continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1908-1909 season, but moved thereafter to 244 Marlborough.
By the 1909-1910 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Lawrence Murray Keeler and his wife, Elizabeth Klock (Whitin) Keeler. They previously had lived at 312 Marlborough. He was a cotton machinery manufacturer. They continued to live at 395 Beacon during the 1912-1913 season.
395 Beacon was not listed in the 1914 Blue Book.
By the 1914-1915 winter season, 395 Beacon was the home of Hendricks Hallett Whitman and his wife, Adelaide Chatfield (Taylor) Whitman. They previously had lived at 32 Lime. He was a textile manufacturer and wholesale dry goods merchant in his father’s firm. William Whitman Co., Inc. By 1916, they made their home in Beverly.
395 Beacon was not listed in the 1916 Blue Book.
By the 1916-1917 winter season, it was the home of Bessie (Value) Stackpole, the widow of banker Henry Stackpole. They had lived in Cambridge at the time of his death in December of 1915, and at 340 Beacon in 1912. Their daughter, Grace, lived with her.
In April of 1924, Bessie Stackpole acquired 395 Beacon from the heirs of Marianne Motte.
She continued to live there until her death in December of 1933. Grace Stackpole moved soon thereafter.
In June of 1934, 395 Beacon was purchased from Bessie Stackpole’s estate by John Whitman Watson, an insurance broker.
In 1935, 395 Beacon was the home of Joseph Luther Moulton, a real estate broker, and his wife, Alice W. (Hopkinson) Moulton, an artist. They previously had lived at 208 Commonwealth.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1936 City Directory.
In October of 1936, 395 Beacon was acquired from John Watson by Miss Rose M. Donahue. She previously had lived at 169 Newbury, where she had operated a lodging house.
In September of 1937, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 395 Beacon from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house. She also continued to operate the lodging house at 169 Newbury.
In April of 1953, 395 Beacon was acquired by Francis Ralph Sundbergh, a salesman and later a realtor, and his wife, Julia (Abraham) Sundbergh. It remained a lodging house. The Sundberghs lived at 477 Beacon, where they also operated a lodging house.
In August of 1954, 395 Beacon was acquired from the Sundberghs by Milton Popkin and Louis Grolnic. They also acquired 477 Beacon.
In July of 1958, 395 Beacon was acquired by Lucy Letitia (Purdy) Gilnor, the widow of Roy Gilnor, who continued to operate it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 70 Commonwealth.
395 Beacon changed hands and In May of 1960 was acquired by Mrs. Gertrude (MacFarlane) Fisher, the former wife of George Ellis Fisher, who continued to operate it as a lodging house. She lived at 313 Marlborough. In May of 1962, she transferred the property to herself and her daughter, Diana Duncan Fisher.
In October of 1977, 395 Beacon was acquired from Gertrude and Diana Fisher by Patrick J. O’Brien and his wife, Catherine O’Brien, as trustees of the Catherine Realty Trust. They lived in West Roxbury and also owned 393 Beacon, which they had acquired in April of 1976.
Gertrude Fisher continued to operate the lodging house at 395 Beacon (and to live at 313 Marlborough) until the early 1980s.
395 Beacon was assessed as a four-to-six family dwelling in 2021.