408 Beacon

408 Beacon (2014)

Lot 25' x 150' (3,750 sf)

Lot 25′ x 150′ (3,750 sf)

408 Beacon is located on north side of Beacon, between Gloucester and Hereford, with 406 Beacon to the east and 410 Beacon to the west.

408 Beacon was designed by Allen and Kenway, architects, and built in 1886-1887 by D. Connery & Co., builders, as the home of Dr. Richard Manning Hodges, a physician and professor of surgery at Harvard, and his wife, Frances Gardner (White) Hodges.  They previously had lived at 67 Marlborough.

Richard Hodges is shown as the owner of 408 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated July 23, 1886, and on the 1888 and 1895 Bromley maps.

During the 1891-1892 winter season, the Hodges were living elsewhere, and 408 Beacon was the home of banker Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Jr., and his wife, Clara (Amory) Coolidge.  They had married in September 1891, and 408 Beacon probably was their first home together.  By the next season they had moved to 93 Beacon, and by the 1893-1894 season they were living at 170 Beacon.

By the 1892-1893 winter season, the Hodges were living at 408 Beacon once again.  He died in February of 1896.  Frances Hodges continued to live at 408 Beacon, joined by their son, Winthrop Taylor Hodges.  They continued to live there until her death in March of 1898.  Winthrop Hodges subsequently moved to the Hotel Austerfield at 9 Massachusetts Avenue.  Francis (sic) G. Hodges, trustee, is shown as the owner on the 1898 Bromley map.

By 1899, 408 Beacon was the home of Miss Edith Andrew, daughter of John Albion Andrew, who had been Governor of Massachusetts during the Civil War.

During the summer of 1900, she was living on Martins Lane in Hingham with her two nieces, Cordelia and Elizabeth Andrew, the daughters of John Forrester Andrew and Harriet (Thayer) Andrew, both of whom had died in the 1890s.

Edith Andrew continued to live at 408 Beacon in 1902, but had moved to live at 32 Hereford (her brother’s former home) with her nieces.

408 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

408 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

408 Beacon was not listed in the 1903 Blue Book.

During the 1903-1904 winter season, it was the home of William Jones Ladd, a civil and mining engineer, and his wife, Anna Russell (Watson) Ladd.  Their primary residence was in Milton.

During the 1904-1905 winter season, 408 Beacon was the home of stockbroker John Dudley Clark and his wife, Cornelia Thayer (Andrew) Clark, the niece of Edith Andrew who had lived at 408 Beacon until about 1902.

J. Dudley and Cornelia Clark had been married in April of 1904 and 408 Beacon probably was their first home together.  Prior to their marriage, J. Dudley Clark had lived 84 Commonwealth with his mother, Loula (Henslee) Clark Engelmann, the widow of Benjamin Oliver Clark and of Dr. George Julius Engelmann.  Cornelia Clark had lived with her sister, Elizabeth, at their family home at 32 Hereford.  Elizabeth Andrew continued to live at 32 Hereford until her marriage in July of 1905 to Charles Ellis Mason, after which they moved to 8 Gloucester.

After her sister’s marriage, John and Cornelia Clark moved to 32 Hereford and made it their home.

By the 1905-1906 winter season, 408 Beacon was the home of leather manufacturer Edward Lane White and his wife, Ida Vining (Moseley) White.  They previously had lived at 17 Exeter.  Ida V. White is shown as the owner of 408 Beacon on the 1908 Bromley map and was the assessed owner through 1912.

408 Beacon was not listed in the 1912-1915 Blue Books and it appears that the Whites were living elsewhere.  However, Edward White continued to be listed at 408 Beacon in the City Directories and the family may have lived there during some part of the year.  At this time, their primary residence may have been in Little Falls, New York, where Edward White and later three of his sons (Richmond Lane White, Barrie Moseley White, and Maurice Towle White) were associated with the Barnet Leather Company.

During this period, 408 Beacon was owned by Henry Nettleton Sweet, an investment banker, who is shown as the owner on the 1912 and 1917 Bromley maps and was the assessed owner from 1913 through 1919.  He was a bachelor and lodged at 62 Mount Vernon.

By the 1915-1916 winter season, the Whites had resumed living at 408 Beacon, and from 1920, Ida White was once again the assessed owner.  She continued to be through 1927.

Edward White died in November of 1922 in Little Falls, and Ida White continued to live at 408 Beacon with their unmarried son, Gordon K. White, an investment broker.  They lived there until about 1928, after which they made their home in Beverly Farms.

408 Beacon was not listed in the 1929-1932 Blue Books, and was shown as vacant in the 1930 City Directory.

J. F. Watkins, trustee, is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map. Joseph P. Brennan was the assessed owner in 1929 and 1930, and M. M. Daly was the assessed owner in 1931.

By 1932, 408 Beacon was once again owned by Ida White, who was the assessed owner from 1932 through 1936.  She converted it into a lodging house.

By 1932, the lodging house at 408 Beacon was operated by Mrs. Ida M. (Jackson) Morgan Christenberry, the former wife of Harry Morgan and of William Oscar Christenberry.  She previously had lived at 468 Commonwealth.  Her daughter, Mrs. Mabel F. (Morgan) Reynolds, the former wife of Robert Burns Reynolds, lived with her.  They continued to live at 408 Beacon in 1933, but had moved to 8 Commonwealth by 1934.

The house was not listed in the 1934 Blue Book and was shown as vacant in the 1934 City Directory.

By 1935, 408 Beacon was owned by the Columbia Life Insurance Company (although Ida White remained the assessed owner through 1936; she died in November of 1936).

The Columbia Life Insurance Company leased the property to the Boston Speech School for Crippled Children and Copley School of Expression, operated by Mrs. Emma G.Tunnicliffe, who also resided there.  The schools (and her home) had been located at 284 Commonwealth in 1934.

In May of 1935, the Building Department cited Columbia Life Insurance for changing the use of the building from a dwelling into a school without obtaining a permit.

The schools continued to be located there in 1936, but had moved to 324 Commonwealth by 1937.

In May of 1936, Columbia Life filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into seven apartments.  It continued to be shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

The property changed hands and in May of 1947 was acquired by Alexander L. Lercari and his wife, Dr. Alma A. (Binasco) Lercari.  They previously had lived at 536 Commonwealth.  In September of 1947, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct a one-car garage at the rear of the property.

Alexander Lercari was a painting contractor specializing in the interior decoration of churches, theatres, and other public buildings.  Alma Lercari was a physician and obstetrician.  They lived in one of the apartments at 408 Beacon and she maintained her medical office there until her retirement in 1950.

Alexander Lercari died in October of 1978.  Alma Lercari continued to live at 408 Beacon until her death in February of 1986.

In June of 1986, Christopher W. Kelly and Stephen Palmer, Jr., trustees of the 408 Beacon Street Realty Trust, purchased 408 Beacon from the estate of Alma B. Lercari.

In September of  1986, they converted the property into seven condominium units, the 408 Beacon Street Condominium.

In June of 1987, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from seven apartments into three apartments.  In September of 1987, they amended the permit and received permission to add a penthouse floor and to reconfigure the apartments into three duplex units.  And in June of 1988, they amended the condominium master deed to reflect the additional story and reduce the number of units from seven to three.