409 Commonwealth

409 Commonwealth (2014)

Irregular Lot: 30' on Commonwealth and 30.08' on Marlborough (4,206.66 sf)

Irregular Lot: 30′ on Commonwealth and 30.08′ on Marlborough (4,206.66 sf)

409 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 407 Commonwealth to the east and 411 Commonwealth to the west.

409 Commonwealth was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built in 1898-1899 by Norcross Brothers, builders, for attorney William Minot, III. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated May 17, 1898.

The rear of the lot on which 409 Commonwealth was built extends north to Marlborough Street and has a secondary street address of 458 Marlborough.

Plans for the house are included in the Peabody and Stearns Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference PS/MA.107). The plans include a large number of drawings, including front and rear (Marlborough Street) elevations, a lateral section, piling and foundation plans, floor plans, framing plans, interior elevations of the first floor stair hall and various other rooms, and detailed drawings of the staircase and other interior features.

409 Commonwealth, front and rear (Marlborough Street) elevations, excerpt from drawings by Peabody and Stearns (1898); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Click here to view the original plans for 409 Commonwealth.

William Minot was a widower, his wife, Elizabeth Vredenburgh (Van Pelt) Minot, having died in September of 1897. He lived at 409 Commonwealth with their daughter, Katharine. They previously had lived at 297 Marlborough.

William Minot died in November of 1900. Katharine Minot continued to live at 409 Marlborough.

By the 1901-1902 winter season, she had been joined by her unmarried uncle, Laurence Minot, a real estate trustee. He previously had lived at 24 Marlborough.

Katharine Minot married in November of 1904 to attorney Henry Morse Channing. After their marriage, they moved to 3 Exeter and Laurence Minot moved to 144 Marlborough (by the 1905-1906 winter season, the Channings had moved to 142 Marlborough, next door to Laurence Minot).

In mid-1905, 408 Commonwealth was purchased from William Minot’s estate by William Albert Paine and his wife, Ruth Felton (Ward) Paine. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on August 11, 1905. They previously had lived at 181 Walnut Avenue in Roxbury. Ruth Paine is shown as the owner of 409 Commonwealth on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home at Beach Bluff in Swampscott.

409 Commonwealth; American Architect and Building News, International/Imperial Edition, 31May1902

William Paine was co-founder of the investment banking firm of Paine, Webber & Co.

He died in September of 1929 and Ruth Paine moved soon thereafter.

409 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1930 and 1931 Blue Books.

On March 28, 1932, the Garland School of Homemaking (later to become Garland Junior College) acquired 409 Commonwealth from Ruth Paine. It is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

Garland School converted 409 Commonwealth into its main school building, which previously had been located at 2 Chestnut. At about the same time, it also acquired 337, 341, and 343 Commonwealth, in 1937 it acquired 339 Commonwealth, and in the early 1940s it acquired 413 and 415 Commonwealth.

In October of 1944, Garland School acquired 411 Commonwealth, which it converted into classrooms and assembly areas, and later partially into a dormitory. In August of 1947, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to cut openings in the party wall, connecting it with 409 Commonwealth.

In March of 1952, Garland School acquired 407 Commonwealth, and in May of 1954, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert it into a dormitory and cut openings in the party wall, connecting it with 409 Commonwealth.

409 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

By the late 1960s, Garland Junior College had assembled a portfolio of 22 properties in the western portion of the Back Bay: 315, 319, 321, 329, 337, 339, 341, 343, 349, 377, 407, 409, 411, 413415 Commonwealth, 24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth), and 447, 449, and 451 Marlborough (composed of 451-457 Marlborough).

In April of 1976, Garland Junior College announced that, because of financial difficulties, it was merging with Simmons College. It subsequently sold twelve of its properties and in October of 1977, it transferred the remainder — those located furthest west (407-415 Commonwealth, 24 Charlesgate East, and 451 Marlborough) — to Simmons College.

Simmons College utilized the former Garland Junior College buildings for its Graduate School of Management.

In the early 2000s, Simmons College embarked on a longterm plan to expand its Fenway campus and sell its properties in the Back Bay. In 2002, it moved its School of Social Service from 49-51 Commonwealth, which it sold, and in 2005 it began designing a new School of Management building at the Fenway campus to centralize the programs housed in its buildings in the western portion of the Back Bay.

407-411 Commonwealth (2014)

407-411 Commonwealth (2014)

In June of 2005, Simmons College sold those buildings — 451 Marlborough, 407-415 Commonwealth, and 24 Charlesgate East — to Terra Green II LLC (formed by Terra Mark Development of New York and local partners). The proceeds from the sale were used to finance construction of a new school of management building. Simmons College continued to occupy several of the Back Bay buildings until the new building was completed.

In November of 2010, HD 407-411 LLC, formed by the Holland Development Company, purchased 407, 409 and 411 Commonwealth and 451 Marlborough from Terra Green II LLC.

In January of 2011, HD 407-411 LLC filed for (and subsequently received) permission to consolidate 407, 409, and 411 Commonwealth into one property, with the address of 409 Commonwealth, remodeling them into twelve apartments and adding an interior garage. It subsequently filed for (and received) permission to reduce the number of units to eleven.

In October of 2012, HD 407-411 LLC converted the combined buildings into eleven condominium units, The Bradley Condominium.

North side of Commonwealth, looking east from Charlesgate East; detail from photograph taken March 24, 1923, by Leslie Jones, courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

North side of Commonwealth, looking east from Charlesgate East; detail from photograph taken March 24, 1923, by Leslie Jones, courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection