411 Commonwealth

411 Commonwealth (2014)

Irregular Lot: 32' on Commonwealth and 32.08' on Marlborough (4,414.67 sf)

Irregular Lot: 32′ on Commonwealth and 32.08′ on Marlborough (4,414.67 sf)

411 Commonwealth is located on the north side of Commonwealth, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 409 Commonwealth to the east and 413 Commonwealth to the west.

411 Commonwealth was designed by Little and Browne, architects, and built in 1899-1900 for Robert Stow Bradley and his wife, Leslie (Newell) Bradley. They previously had lived at 255 Marlborough. He is shown as the owner of 411 Commonwealth on the original building permit application, dated June 8, 1899. Leslie Bradley is shown as the owner on the 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home, Pinehurst, in Prides Crossing.

The rear of the lot on which 411 Commonwealth was built extends north to Marlborough Street and has a secondary street address of 460 Marlborough.

Robert Bradley had served as president of the Bradley Fertilizer Company, founded by his father, until 1899, when it consolidated with a number of other companies into the American Agricultural Chemical Company. He became first vice president of the new company, and was named Chairman of the Board in 1906.

Leslie Bradley died in March of 1919. Robert Bradley continued to live at 411 Commonwealth. The Heirs of Leslie Bradley are shown as the owners of 411 Commonwealth on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

By 1926, he had been joined at 411 Commonwealth by his son-in-law and daughter, Charles A. Rheault and Rosamond (Bradley) Rheault. Charles Rheault was an investment counselor. In 1914, Rosamond Bradley had been a member of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell’s mission to provide medical services to the native populations in Labrador, and had entered into written correspondence with Charles Rheault, who was a Royal Northwest Mounted Policeman working in the arctic regions. During World War I, she was a Red Cross nurse and he was a Captain in the Royal Canadian Dragoons. They remained in contact and married in March of 1923.

407-411 Commonwealth (2014)

407-411 Commonwealth (2014)

Robert Bradley married again In January of 1927 to Mrs. Florence Heights (Sartori) Thornton Johnson, the former wife of Horace George Thornton and widow of Guy Black Johnson.

Charles and Rosamond Rheault moved to Westwood in about 1928.

Robert and Florence Bradley separated in about 1934. Robert Bradley continued to live at 411 Commonwealth until about 1944.

In October of 1944. the Garland School of Homemaking (later to become Garland Junior College) acquired 409 Commonwealth from Robert Bradley. Garland School owned 409 Commonwealth as well as 337-343 Commonwealth and 413-415 Commonwealth.

In November of 1944, Garland School filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 411 Commonwealth from a single-family dwelling into classrooms, an assembly hall, offices, and a janitor’s suite.

In July of 1947, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the fourth and fifth floors into dormitory rooms, and in August of 1947, it applied 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.

411 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

411 Commonwealth (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

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.

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