422 Beacon

422 Beacon (2014)

Lot 28' x 150' (4,200 sf)

Lot 28′ x 150′ (4,200 sf)

422 Beacon is located on north side of Beacon, between Gloucester and Hereford, with 420 Beacon to the east and 424 Beacon to the west.

422 Beacon was designed by Little and Browne, architects, and built in 1899-1900 by Norcross Brothers, builders, as the home of Lester Leland and his wife, Frances Eugenia (Converse) Leland.  They previously had lived at 316 Beacon.  Lester Leland is shown as the owner of 422 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated June 8, 1899.  They also maintained a home in West Manchester.

Lester Leland was officer of several rubber manufacturing companies, including serving as Vice President of the US Rubber Company and treasurer of the Boston Rubber Shoe Company (of which his father-in-law, Elisha Slade Converse, previously had served as treasurer and principal buying agent).

Frances E. Leland is shown as the owner of 422 Beacon on the 1908, 1917, 1928, and 1938 Bromley maps.

Lester Leland died in July of 1933.  Frances Leland continued to live at 422 Beacon until her death in January of 1941.

After her death, 422 Beacon became the home of her nephew, Parker Converse, and his wife, June (Butler) Converse.  He was the son of Frances Leland’s brother, Harry Elisha Converse, and was one of the executors of her estate.  They previously had lived in Brookline.  They continued to live at 422 Beacon until 1943, when they moved to Marion.

In the summer of 1943, Henry K. O’Meara purchased 422 Beacon from Parker Converse.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on August 29, 1943.

422 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

422 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

By 1944, 422 Beacon was owned by James Bernard Regan and his wife, Susanna M. Josephine (McNamara) Cassidy Regan.  They operated it as a lodging house.  They lived at 424 Beacon, where they also operated a lodging house.  James Regan et al were the assessed owners of 422 Beacon in 1944 and 1945.

James Regan owned “Regan’s Rooms,” a lodging house at 327 Tremont.  During World War I and the early 1920s, he had been a proprietor of the New Richwood Hotel at 254 Tremont (across from the Shubert Theatre) and then the Hotel Hollis at 247 Tremont.

In June of 1944, Susanna Regan applied for permission to convert 422 Beacon from a single-family dwelling into a single-family dwelling and lodging house (legalizing the current occupancy).  Her application was denied and she subsequently abandoned it.

422 Beacon was shown as vacant in the 1946 City Directory

By 1946, 422 Beacon was owned by the Northern Building Supply Company.  In January of 1946, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the property from a single-family dwelling into a single-family dwelling and four doctor’s offices.  It remained medical offices in 1960.

By 1962, 422 Beacon had been acquired by Chandler School for Women, which operated a school at 424426 Beacon and at 448 and 452 Beacon.

In May of 1962, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into school classrooms, and the same month, George Rohrbough, the president of Chandler School and owner of 424 Beacon, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to cut doors in the party wall between 422 and 424 Beacon to facilitate the school’s use of both buildings.

By 1968, Chandler School had also acquired 420 Beacon.

In 1971, 420-422-424426 Beacon were acquired by the New England College of Optometry (known originally as the Massachusetts College of Optometry).

In May of 1971, Chandler School, as the seller under the purchase and sale agreement with the College, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 422 Beacon from a school into a college with accessory laboratories.  Similar applications for 424 and 426 Beacon were submitted and subsequently approved.

In 1983, The College acquired 418 Beacon, which it used as a dormitory.

422-426 Beacon (2014)

422-426 Beacon (2014)

In April of 1992, the College applied for (and subsequently received) permission to consolidate 422 and 424 Beacon into one property, with the address of 424 Beacon.

In August of 1996, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to consolidate 420 Beacon, 424 Beacon, and 426 Beacon into one property, with the address of 424 Beacon.  420 Beacon was used for the library, classrooms, and other college facilities.

In August of 1997, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 418 Beacon and a separate former stable at the rear from a dormitory into classrooms and other college functions.

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.

Below are front and rear elevations of 422 Beacon drawn ca. 1899 by Little and Browne for Lester Leland. These are provided courtesy of Historic New England, whose collection also includes additional original architectural drawings of 422 Beacon.

Rear elevation of 422 Beacon, drawn ca. 1899 by Little and Browne; courtesy of Historic New England

Rear elevation of 422 Beacon, drawn ca. 1899 by Little and Browne; courtesy of Historic New England

Front elevation of 422 Beacon, drawn ca. 1899 by Little and Browne; courtesy of Historic New England

Front elevation of 422 Beacon, drawn ca. 1899 by Little and Browne; courtesy of Historic New England