421-423 Marlborough (33-35 Massachusetts)

421-423 Marlborough (2014)

421-423 Marlborough (2014)

Combined Lot: 53' x 79' (4,187 sf)

Combined Lot: 53′ x 79′ (4,187 sf)

421-423 Marlborough (33-35 Massachusetts) is located on the NW corner of Marlborough and Massachusetts, with 411 Marlborough to the east, across Mass. Ave., 425 Marlborough to the west, 31 Massachusetts to the north, and 424 Marlborough to the south, across Marlborough.

421 and 423 Marlborough were designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1889-1890 by Keening and Strout Brothers, builders, for Edwin B. Horn, Jr., a jeweler and real estate developer who lived at 11 Greenwich Park. 421 Marlborough was built as a six story, six unit apartment house, and 423 Beacon was built as a four story, four unit apartment house. Edwin Horn is shown as the owner on the building permit applications for both buildings, both dated November 26, 1889, and on the final building inspection report for 421 Marlborough, dated May 27, 1890.

Except for a brief period in the 1920s, 421 and 423 Marlborough have been owned together since they were built.

421-425 Marlborough (ca. 1897); courtesy of Historic New England

421-425 Marlborough (ca. 1897); courtesy of Historic New England

By 1895, 421 and 423 Marlborough were owned by Washington Butcher Thomas. He is shown as the owner on the 1895, 1898, and 1908 Bromley maps.

Washington Thomas was an executive of the Standard Sugar Refinery, owned by his father, Joseph B. Thomas. and later would become president of the American Sugar Refining Company. A major investor in real estate, in 1895, he built The Marlborough at 416 Marlborough, and in 1898-1899, he built the Hotel Cambridge at 483-485 Beacon. He and his wife, Caroline (Wadleigh) Thomas, lived at 20 Gloucester.

By 1912, 421 and 423 Marlborough were owned by the Marlboro Real Estate Trust. Leslie Wead et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1912 and 1917 Bromley maps. They also are shown as the owners of The Marlborough and the Hotel Cambridge. Leslie Wead was a lawyer and real estate trustee, and probably was acting as trustee of Washington Thomas’s investments.

In mid-1925, 421 and 423 Marlborough were acquired by Mary M. O’Brien from the Marlboro Real Estate Trust. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on June 3, 1925.

Second floor plan of 421-423 Marlborough, bound with the final building inspection report for 421 Marlborough, 27May1890 (v. 35, p. 24); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Second floor plan of 421-423 Marlborough, bound with the final building inspection report for 421 Marlborough, 27May1890 (v. 35, p. 24); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

By 1926, 421 and 423 Marlborough were owned by real estate dealer Edward J. Ball.

By 1928, 421 Marlborough was owned by the Cape Ann Savings Bank, which is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map. Edward J. Ball continued to be shown as the owner of 423 Marlborough. However, Cape Ann Savings Bank is shown as the owner of both properties on the 1938 Bromley map.

By 1941, 421 and 423 Marlborough were owned by the Corner Realty Trust and managed by Walter R. Marden.

In August of 1941, the Corner Realty Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to add two stores in the basement level of 421 Marlborough. The upper floors remained six apartments, one per floor. In November of 1941, the Trust amended its plans to modify the design of the stores, so that one store entrance would be from the “court rather than directly off sidewalk.”

The two stores had the addresses of 33 and 35 Massachusetts Avenue. Various businesses leased 33 Marlborough, and Walter Marden maintained his real estate office at 35 Marlborough until about 1948.

In November of 1941, the Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to relocate the rear entrance of 423 Marlborough in order to enlarge the existing apartment for the janitor.

By 1948, 421 and 423 Marlborough were owned by the Investment Realty Trust.

In January of 1948, the Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to increase the number of apartments at 421 Marlborough from six to ten by subdividing the units on the first through fourth floors.  By this time, the two stores in the basement were apparently both being used as offices and are referred to as such on the permit application. In July of 1949, the Trust amended its application to increase the number of units to twelve by subdividing the units on the fifth and sixth floors as well.

421 Marlborough (2014)

421 Marlborough (2014)

In March of 1950, the Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the basement area from offices into a “launderette” (laundromat), with an address of 421 Marlborough. “Laun-Dry It” continued to be located there until the mid-1960s.

By 1964, 421 and 423 Marlborough were owned by Barnett N. Samuels, Burton Samuels, and Martin A. Samuels, trustees. By this time, the two properties had been consolidated and were referred to as a single lot on the property deeds. They continued to have two separate entrances, however, and to be referred to as 421-423 Marlborough.

By 1966, the basement area had been converted from a laundromat into a restaurant, Ye Beef and Great Steaks. It continued to be located there until about 1970.

In July of 1972, Barnett Samuels applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the basement area from a “sandwich shop and ice cream parlor” into a restaurant and bar.

The basement space subsequently became Bully’s Pub in 1972 and 1973, and then the Fathers Five bar from 1974. The space was identified both as 421 Marlborough and 33 Massachusetts Avenue.

423 Marlborough (2014)

423 Marlborough (2014)

In January of 1977, Andrew J. Saggese, Jr., trustee of the Drew Realty Trust, purchased 421-423 Marlborough from the Samuels family. In December of 1978, he transferred the property to himself as trustee of the Fidelity Realty Trust.

In June of 1981, Andrew Saggese transferred 421-423 Marlborough to the 421-423 Marlborough Street Corporation. That same month, it converted the buildings into 18 condominium units, the 421-423 Marlborough Street Condominium, with 13 residential units and one commercial unit at 421 Marlborough and four residential units at 423 Marlborough.

In August of 1982, Andrew Seggese filed for (and subsequently received) permission to conform the legal occupancy of 421 Marlborough with the existing use: Twelve residential units on the first six floors and a thirteenth on the roof (a former maid’s quarters not previously included in the building’s legal occupancy as a separate dwelling unit), and a restaurant in the basement.

The commercial unit continued to be occupied the Fathers Five bar until the early 1990s, when it became the Back Bay Pub. From 1993 to 2008 it was The Last Drop, and from 2009 it was the Corner Pub.

Horse-drawn street car on Marlborough, with 421 Marlborough in the background (ca. 1900), photograph by Nathaniel Livermore Stebbins; courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

Horse-drawn street car on Marlborough, with 421 Marlborough in the background (ca. 1900), photograph by Nathaniel Livermore Stebbins; courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum