404 Marlborough was designed by Snell and Gregerson, architects, and built in 1888 Neal & Preble, builders, as the home of Charles Edward Cotting and his wife, Ruth Stetson (Thompson) Cotting. They were married in April of 1888, and 404 Marlborough probably was built by Charles Cotting to be their home after their marriage. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated December 8, 1887, on the final building inspection report, dated December 26, 1888, and on the 1890, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
Charles Cotting was a trustee various financial and real estate trusts.
Charles Cotting died in July of 1920. Ruth Cotting and their son, Charles Cotting, Jr., an investment banker, continued to live at 404 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in Manchester. Charles E. Cotting’s Heirs were the assessed owners of 404 Marlborough from 1922 through 1927.
In June of 1926, Charles Cotting married Constance Binney, a movie and stage actress. After their marriage, they lived at 410 Beacon and in Manchester.
Ruth Cotting died in December of 1926.
In 1927, 404 Marlborough became the home of Carl Mayhew Smith, an oil salesman, and his wife Ella Blanche (Messenger) Smith. They previously had lived in an apartment at 46 Hereford. Ella B. Smith was the assessed owner of 404 Marlborough from 1928 through 1952 and is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.
In February of 1927, Carl Smith applied for (and subsequently received) permission to install fire balconies connecting with 406 Marlborough. Thereafter, they operated 404 Marlborough as a lodging house.
In August of 1943, Ella Smith applied for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as a lodging house, noting that it had operated as such (and been licensed by the Boston Licensing Board) since 1928. The Smiths continued to live at 404 Marlborough until about 1952.
By 1952, 404 Marlborough was the home of George Edwin Dunphy and his wife, Eleanor Mae (Topliffe) Murphy Dunphy. They continued to operate it as a lodging house. George Dunphy et al were the assessed owners in 1953 and 1954, and Eleanor Dunphy, trustee, was the assessed owner from 1955.
Eleanor Dunphy died in March of 1994 as Eleanor Dunphy Murphy, and in October of 1995, 404 Marlborough was transferred to her daughter, Genevieve (Ginger) E. (Murphy) Marlin.
In March of 2007, Ginger Marlin filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into seven apartments. With her application, she filed an affidavit indicating that the property had been configured as seven apartments (although operated as a lodging house) “since on or before 1975.”
In May of 2007, the 404 Marlborough Street LLC purchased 404 Marlborough from Genevieve E. Marlin.
In July of 2008, 404 Marlborough Street LLC converted the house into seven condominium units, the Topliffe-Murphy House Condominium.