397 Commonwealth

397 Commonwealth (2014)

Irregular Lot: 46.03' on Commonwealth and 46.12' on Marlborough (6,919.10 sf)

Irregular Lot: 46.03′ on Commonwealth and 46.12′ on Marlborough (6,919.10 sf)

397 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 395 Commonwealth to the east and 401 Commonwealth to the west.

397 Commonwealth was built in 1924 on a vacant lot by the W. H. Whitcomb Construction Company for the Moorland Company.  It is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated March 14, 1924, and as the assessed owner from 1924 through 1927.

The rear of the lot on which 397 Commonwealth was built extends north to Marlborough Street and has a secondary street address of 446 Marlborough.  397 Commonwealth also occasionally appears with the address 399 Commonwealth.

The architect indicated on the original building permit application is H. B. Andrews of 40 Court Street in Boston. There is no architect of that or similar name listed in the City Directories for the period, nor is there any architect listed at 40 Court. It appears that the architect may have been Hiram Bertrand Andrews, a civil engineer and expert on reinforced concrete, who, in the 1920s, was a partner in the engineering firm of Andrews, Tower, and LaValle, of Springfield, Massachusetts.

The original permit application for 397 Commonwealth indicates that it was being built as a dental surgery. It does not appear to have been used for that purpose.

By the 1925-1926 winter season, 397 Commonwealth was the location of the Fraternities Club. It continued to be located there until about 1928.

By 1928, 397 Commonwealth was owned by the Peoples Savings Bank and had been converted into an apartment house, The Moorland. The bank is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map and continued to be the assessed owner through 1934.

By 1935, 397 Commonwealth was owned by the Oliver Investment Corporation. It continued to be The Moorland apartments. Oliver Investment was the assessed owner from 1935 through 1938, and is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

The property subsequently changed hands, remaining an apartment house, The Moorland, until 1953

By 1954, 397 Commonwealth became the Boston Evening Clinic, utilizing the address of 399 Commonwealth. It previously had been located at 452 Beacon. The Clinic continued to be located at 397 Commonwealth until about 1958, when it moved to 314 Commonwealth.

In January of 1958, 397 Commonwealth was purchased by the Hearthstone Insurance Company of Massachusetts. It also owned 395 Commonwealth, where it maintained its offices.

It operated 395 and 397 Commonwealth as a single building, the Hearthstone Building. In addition to maintaining its offices there, it leased space to other businesses, among them the Frick Company, dealers in refrigerators, and the Paul L. Beane Company, food brokers.

In December of 1964, the Association for Cultural Interchange, Inc., acquired 395 Commonwealth and 397 Commonwealth from Hearthstone Insurance.

An affiliate of the Roman Catholic Opus Dei organization, the Association for Cultural Interchange opened a dormitory and cultural center for women students, Bayridge Residence, at 395 Commonwealth and 397 Commonwealth.

In September of 1966, 395 Commonwealth was added to the State Register for Historic Places.

In March of 1971, the Association applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the dormitories, including combining 395 Commonwealth and 397 Commonwealth into one building, with the address of 395 Commonwealth.

In August of 1974, the Association for Cultural Interchange, Inc., changed its name to The Trimount Foundation, Inc. It continued to operate the Bayridge Residence and Cultural Center at 395 Commonwealth.

In June of 1988, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to build a 300 s.f. addition at the rear of the property allowing the extension of the existing chapel at 395 Commonwealth.

In April of 2005, 395 Commonwealth was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

In June of 2013, The Trimount Foundation entered into a Preservation Restriction Agreement for 395 Commonwealth with the Massachusetts Historical Commission, designed to preserve “those characteristics which contribute to the architectural, archaeological and historical integrity of the Premises which have been listed in the National and/or State Registers of Historic Places… which include, but are not limited to, the artifacts, features, materials, appearance, and workmanship of the Premises…”.

395 Commonwealth remained a dormitory in 2014, the Bayside Residence and Cultural Center, with the original 395 Commonwealth, the Ayer Mansion, open for public tours, lectures, and events.