426 Beacon

426 Beacon (2014)

Lot 25' x 150' (3,750 sf)

Lot 25′ x 150′ (3,750 sf)

426 Beacon is located on the NE corner of Beacon and Hereford (including a parking area to the west), with 424 Beacon to the east, 448 Beacon to the west, across Hereford, and 12 Hereford (433 Beacon) to the south, across Beacon.

426 Beacon was designed by Julius A. Schweinfurth, architect, and built in 1904-1905 by McNeil Brothers, builders, one of two contiguous houses (424-426 Beacon) built at the same time.

Architectural plans of 424-426 Beacon — including elevations, piling plans, floor plans, and framing plans — are included in the City of Boston Blueprints Collection in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department (reference BIN A-83).

426 Beacon was built for Dr. George Gray Sears and his wife, Ruth (Williams) Sears, and 424 Beacon was built as the home of Ruth (Williams) Sears’s brother, Ralph Blake Williams, a real estate trustee.

Ruth Gray is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 426 Beacon, dated August 1, 1904.

Architectural rendering of the front and rear elevations of 424-426 Beacon (1904), by architect Julius A. Schweinfurth; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department, City of Boston Blueprints Collection

Combined architectural renderings of the front and rear elevations of 424-426 Beacon (1904), by architect Julius A. Schweinfurth; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department, City of Boston Blueprints Collection

While the two houses were being built, Dr. and Mrs. Sears and Ralph Williams lived temporarily at 462 Beacon with Ralph Williams’s and Ruth Sears’s mother, Alice (Weld) Williams, the widow of merchant Thomas Blake Williams.

When houses were completed, probably in late 1905, George and Ruth Sears moved to 426 Beacon and Ralph Williams and his mother moved to 424 Beacon.  Ruth Sears is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps.  The Searses also maintained a summer home in Cohasset.

George Sears was a physician and professor of clinical medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He maintained his medical offices at 426 Beacon.

Ruth Sears died in October of 1929.  George Sears continued to live at 426 Beacon with their two daughters, Ruth Sears, an archeologist, and Esther Sears, a teacher.  Ruth Sears married in 1934 to Dr. Richard Chute and moved to 350 Marlborough.  Esther Sears died in May of 1935, having fallen from her third floor bedroom window, apparently while sleepwalking.  Dr. Sears continued to live at 426 Beacon until about 1939; he died in May of 1940.  He is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

Blueprint of the first floor of 424-426 Beacon (1904), by architect Julius A. Schweinfurth; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department, City of Boston Blueprints Collection

Blueprint of the first floor of 424-426 Beacon (1904), by architect Julius A. Schweinfurth; courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department, City of Boston Blueprints Collection

426 Beacon was shown as vacant in the 1940-1942 City Directories.

In the summer of 1941, Warren-Stevens Inc. acquired 426 Beacon from Ruth (Sears) Chute.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on August 10, 1941.

In late 1941, Earl Glendon Weston and his wife, Helen G. (Clarke) Weston, purchased 426 Beacon from Warren-Stevens Inc.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on January 4, 1942.  In April of 1942, Earl Weston applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.

Earl Weston et al continued to be the assessed owners of 426 Beacon through 1944.

The Charles Management Corporation was the assessed owner in 1945.

By 1946, 426 Beacon was owned by James Bernard Regan and his wife, Susanna M. Josephine (McNamara) Cassidy Regan.  They continued to operate it as a lodging house.  They lived at 424 Beacon, where they also operated a lodging house.

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 (opposite the Shubert Theatre) and then the Hotel Hollis at 247 Tremont.

James B. Regan et al continued to be the assessed owners of 426 Beacon through 1950.

By 1950, 426 Beacon was owned by Anna Louise (Day) Hicks  In August of 1950, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into two apartments and a lodging house.

Louise Day Hicks was a real estate investor and operator of lodging houses.  She and her husband, John Edward Hicks, an engineer, lived in South Boston. She later would become a well-known Boston politician.  She was elected to the Boston School Committee in 1961 and was an outspoken opponent of using busing to integrate Boston’s schools.  In 1967, she was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor, but in 1969 was elected to the City Council.  In 1970, she was elected to the US Congress, but was defeated for re-election in 1972.  She was reelected to the City Council in 1973 and 1975, but then lost two successive bids in 1977 and 1981.

By 1959, 426 Beacon had been acquired by Chandler School for Women, which operated a school at 424 Beacon and at 448 and 452 Beacon.

424-426 Beacon (2014)

In August of 1959, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 426 Beacon from a lodging house into school classrooms, and on the same day, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to cut doors in the party wall between 424 and 426 Beacon to facilitate the use of both buildings by the school.

By 1962, George Rohrbough, president of Chandler School, had acquired 422 Beacon and in May of 1962, he 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, 420422424-426 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 426 Beacon from school classrooms into a college with accessory laboratories.  Similar applications for 422 and 424 Beacon were submitted and subsequently approved.

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

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.