418 Beacon was designed by James T. Kelley, architect, and built in 1897 by McNeil Brothers, builders, as the home of Henry Howard Fay and his wife, Elizabeth Elliot (Spooner) Fay. They previously lived next door, at 416 Beacon, which had been built for them in 1890. He is shown as the owner of 418 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated September 15, 1897, and on an accompanying application to build a stable, dated December 9, 1897. They also maintained a home in Wood’s Hole, where he was the prime mover in formation of the Wood’s Hole Golf Club in 1898.
Henry Fay is shown as the owner of 418 Beacon on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.
Henry Fay died in March of 1920. Elizabeth Fay continued to live at 418 Beacon during the 1921-1922 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to 330 Beacon, where she and her husband had lived from the mid-1870s until the early 1890s.
In mid-1922, 418 Beacon was purchased from the Fay family by Louise (Clapp) Colburn Endicott, the former wife of leather merchant Isaac Colburn and the widow of shoe manufacturer Henry Bradford Endicott. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on June 16, 1922. Henry Endicott had died in February of 1920.
Her son by her first marriage, Samuel C. Endicott (who had changed his name from Colburn to Endicott), lived with her. He is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.
They also maintained a summer home in Beverly.
They continued to live at 418 Beacon until about 1929. The house was not listed in the 1929 and 1930 Blue Books and was shown as vacant in the 1930 Boston City Directory.
By 1931, it was the home of Eliot Spalding and his wife, Beatrice Winfield (Cullen) Spalding. They previously had lived in an apartment at 301 Berkeley. They also maintained a summer home at Beverly Cove.
Eliot Spalding was a former officer of the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company, owned by Henry Bradford Endicott, whose widow and stepson lived at 418 Beacon until about 1929. When Henry Endicott died in 1920, Eliot Spalding was named trustee of his estate, together with Henry Endicott’s son, Henry Wendell Endicott.
The Spaldings continued to live at 418 Beacon in 1935.
By 1936, it was the home of Joseph Patrick Carney and his wife, Catherine Frances (Murray) Carney. They previously had lived at 80 Marlborough. Catherine F. Carney is shown as the owner of 418 Beacon on the 1938 Bromley map.
A former lawyer and bank president, Joseph Carney had been appointed in July of 1933 by President Roosevelt as Collector of Internal Revenue in Boston. He subsequently also served as New England Administrator of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. In November of 1934, he was named New England director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He resigned in April of 1937 and resumed his position as president of the Gardner Trust Company.
The Carneys continued to live at 418 Beacon until about 1940.
In the fall of 1942, 418 Beacon was acquired from the Carneys by John Der Hovanesian, who bought it at auction. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on October 4, 1942.
In its September 20, 1942, article announcing the auction, the Boston Globe described 418 Beacon as “modern in every respect” with “17 rooms, seven baths, and an automatic elevator. There is also a three-car garage.”
At the time John Der Hovanesian purchased it, it was being operated as a lodging house.
When he applied for a lodging house license, he was advised that the property had not been legally approved for the purpose. It appears that such approvals were subsequently obtained, inasmuch as the property continued to be operated as a lodging house.
By 1950, 418 Beacon was owned by Catherine Mary Campbell. Elizabeth Krauss continued to operate it as a lodging house until the mid-1950s.
Catherine Campbell died in the mid-1960s, leaving the house and its furnishings to the Society of Jesus of New England.
By 1966, it was a dormitory for the St. Philip Neri School, and continued as such until the early 1970s, when it was converted into a residence for Jesuit Priests (the change of use was subject to a legal action decided in July of 1978, which concluded that Catherine Campbell’s intent had been to leave the house and furnishings to the Society of Jesus for its general use, and not specifically and exclusively for the use of the St. Philip Neri School).
As part of the purchase, on the Society of Jesuits applied for (and subsequently received) permission to establish the legal occupancy of 418 Beacon as a dormitory (for use by the College). The College noted that it was its ultimate intention to convert the building and a separate building at the rear into classrooms and other college functions, and in August of 1997 it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to do so.
In October of 2006, the College applied for (and subsequently received) permission to consolidate 418 Beacon into one property with 424 Beacon, making a single property composed of 418-420-422-424-426 Beacon, with the address of 424 Beacon.
The New England College of Optometry continued to be located there in 2014.