398 Beacon was built ca. 1872 by Bourn & Leavitt, a partnership of carpenters Robert Tower Bourn (Bourne) and William Leavitt, one of seven houses (388-390-392-394-396-398-400) built for speculative sale. E. D. Porter & Company is shown as the owner of all seven houses on the 1874 Hopkins map.
By 1878, 398 Beacon was the home of Joseph Prince Hawes, Jr., and his Anna C. (Marsh) Hawes. They had married in October of 1877 and 398 Beacon may have been their first home together. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 17 Hereford with his parents, Joseph and Ellen (Hall) Hawes.
In April of 1878, Anna Hawes applied for (and subsequently received) permission to build a stable at the rear of the property. She is shown as the owner of 398 Beacon on the 1883 and 1888 Bromley maps.
Joseph Hawes was a wholesale dealer in spices, dyestuffs, and fertilizers.
Joseph and Anna Hawes also maintained a home at 182 Savin Hill Avenue and it appears that, after the 1882-1883 winter season, they made that their principal residence and leased 398 Beacon to others during the winter seasons (they continued to list 398 Beacon as their home, along with their Savin Hill Avenue residence, in the City Directories, but other residents were listed at 398 Beacon in the 1884-1888 Blue Books).
During the 1884-1885 winter season, 398 Beacon was the home of Ogden and Sarah (Bradlee) Codman and their son, Ogden Codman, Jr., who was attending MIT and later would become a renowned architect and interior designer. Their primary residence was The Grange in Lincoln.
During the 1885-1886 winter season, 398 Beacon was the home of Elijah Brigham Phillips, president of the Fitchburg Railroad, and his wife, Maria Rebecca (Ayling) Phillips. Their son-in-law and daughter, Cyrus A. Page and Anna M. (Phillips) Page, lived with them. They had married in February of 1885. The Phillipses previously had lived at 353 Marlborough. They and the Pages continued to live at 398 Beacon during the 1886-1887 season, but moved thereafter to 339 Beacon.
During the 1887-1888 winter season, it was the home of Francis Edward Bacon, a broker and commission merchant, and his wife, Louisa (Crowninshield) Bacon, whose daughters – Susan Gorham Bacon and Alice Putnam Bacon – were debutantes that season. They also maintained a home in Mattapoisett and had maintained a Boston home at 276 Beacon until about 1885. By the 1888-1889 winter season, they were living at 441 Beacon.
398 Beacon was not listed in the 1889 Blue Book.
By 1890, 398 Beacon was the home of Theophilus Parsons. In 1889, he had lived at 91 Beacon. He was unmarried and lived at 398 Beacon with his unmarried sisters, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Lucy. T. Parsons et al are shown as the owners of 398 Beacon on the 1890 Bromley map.
Theophilus Parsons was treasurer of the Lyman Mills cotton manufacturing company in Holyoke.
Theophilus Parsons married in August of 1894 to Mary Mason Oliver, and they moved to 251 Beacon. 398 Beacon remained the home of his sisters.
Elizabeth Parsons continued to live there during the 1910-1911 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to live with Theophilus Parsons (by that time a widower) at 223 Beacon, where she died in May of 1912.
T. and Elizabeth Parsons, trustees, are shown as the owners of 398 Beacon on the 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps, and Charlotte Parsons et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1928 map.
By 1936, 398 Beacon was the home of Joseph Stanley and his wife, Susan Lawrence (Parsons) Plummer Stanley. She was the daughter of Theophilus Parsons and the former wife of Morgan Hussey Plummer. Joseph and Susan Stanley had married in 1935. They previously had lived in Beverly. Susan Stanley and her first husband had divorced in the early 1930s; in the mid-1920s, they had lived at 223 Beacon.
Susan L. P. Stanley et al were the assessed owners of 398 Beacon from 1936 through 1944 and are shown as the owners (as Susan Lawrence et al, trustees) on the 1938 Bromley map.
Joseph and Susan Stanley divorced in the late 1930s. She continued to live at 398 Beacon until about 1944, but had moved to 101 Chestnut by 1945.
By 1945, 398 Beacon was the home of Samuel R. Levey and his wife, Martha (Hellvitch) Levey. He was president and treasurer of the Majestic Liquor and Wine Company. They had lived in an apartment at 122 Marlborough in 1944.
In about July of 1945, the Leveys purchased a home, Blynman, in the Magnolia district of Manchester, where they moved. In late 1945, they sold 398 Beacon to Ann C. Boothe. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on December 23, 1945.
By 1947, 398 Beacon was the home of Mary E. McNeece and her sister, Anne McNeece, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 9 West Hill Place. Mary McNeece was a milliner. They continued to live at 398 Beacon until 1948, when they moved to 232 Commonwealth.
Among the lodgers with Anne and Mary McNeece were George Alvin Ricker and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Arthur) Ricker. He was sales manager of the Poland Laundry Machine Company and later a broker. They previously had lived in Hingham and before that in Poland Springs, Maine, where he was a vice president of his family’s Poland Springs House hotel. They continued to live at 398 Beacon until about 1960. 398 Beacon continued to be a multiple dwelling, with the Rickers and three other families listed there in the 1958 City Directory.
By 1963, 398 Beacon was owned by Dr. Francine E. Delescluse, a dentist. In July of 1963, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from three apartments into five apartments and a dentist’s office (noting that the dentist would also reside in the building).
In February of 1964, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into five apartments and two doctor’s offices.
By 1974, 398 Beacon was owned by Edward G. Fallon. In March of 1974, he was cited by the Building Department for failing to secure a permit for change of occupancy from five apartments and two doctors’ offices to six apartments and an art gallery (an art gallery having been established in the basement).
In April of 1974, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into six apartments. No reference was made to the art gallery. He subsequently abandoned the permit.
In February of 1978, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into five apartments, and on February of 1978, he converted the five units into condominiums.