429 Beacon

429 Beacon (2021)

Lot 17' x 112' (1,904 sf)

Lot 17′ x 112′ (1,904 sf)

429 Beacon is located on the south side of Beacon, between Gloucester and Hereford, with 427 Beacon to the east and 431 Beacon to the west.

429 Beacon was built ca. 1869, one of eight contiguous houses (419-421-423-425-427-429-431-433 Beacon). The houses were designed as four matching symmetrical pairs (419-421 Beacon, 423-425 Beacon, and 427-429 Beacon, and 431-433 Beacon). 433 Beacon was remodeled in about 1897 and the entrance moved to 12 Hereford.

The land on which 419-433 Beacon were built was purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on February 20, 1863, by banker and broker Robert Marion Pratt. He was unmarried and lived at 13 Louisburg Square with his parents, George Williams Pratt (one of the founders of the Boston Stock Exchange) and Mary Barrow (White) Pratt. The Pratts also maintained a home, Oakley, on Belmont Avenue in Watertown (it became the Oakley Country Club in 1898).

Click here for an index to the deeds for 429 Beacon, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Beacon and Alley 415, from Gloucester to Hereford.

On October 1, 1868, Robert Pratt sold the land on which 419-425 Beacon would be built to George M. Gibson, and the land on which 427-429 Beacon would be built to Caroline (Carrie) Beal (Burgess) Sawyer, the wife of attorney Frederic William Sawyer. He retained the lot at the southeast corner of Beacon and Hereford and the one to the east of it until after the houses were built at 431-433 Beacon.

427-429 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

427-429 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum

When 429 Beacon was completed, it was leased from Frederic and Caroline Sawyer by dry goods merchant Frank Waldo Wildes and his wife, Helen Delia (Hilger) Wildes. They had married in April of 1869, and 429 Beacon probably was their first home together. They continued to live there in February of 1870, when their son Maurice was born, but moved soon thereafter to his family home at 100 Mt. Vernon.

On March 1, 1870, 429 Beacon was purchased from the Sawyers by Lemuel Shaw, trustee under a marriage settlement indenture between Rev. William Copley Winslow and Harriet Stillman Hayward entered into at the time of their marriage in June of 1867.

429 Beacon became the Winslows’ home. They previously had lived in Lee, Massachusetts, where he had been rector of St. George’s Church.

William Copley Winslow was an Episcopal clergyman and archaeologist. In 1883, he founded of the American branch of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, and subsequently raised substantial funds for various archeological explorations and excavations in Egypt.

The Winslows continued to live at 429 Beacon during the 1887-1888 winter season, but moved thereafter to 525 Beacon.

On August 8, 1888, 429 Beacon was purchased from Samuel S. Shaw, successor trustee of the Winslows’ marriage settlement indenture, by Dr. Henry Jabez Barnes, a physician. He and his wife, Augustine (Lelievre) Barnes, made it their home, and he also maintained his medical practice at the house. They previously had lived at 386 Beacon.  They also maintained a home in Northborough.

On May 2, 1893, Henry Barnes transferred the house into his wife’s name.

Augustine Barnes died in March of 1900. Dr. Barnes and their daughter, Marie Augusta L. Barnes, continued to live at 429 Beacon. In April of 1909, he remarried, to Caroline Louisa Brooks. After their marriage, they lived at 429 Beacon.

427-429 Beacon (2021)

Henry Barnes died in October of 1923.  Caroline Barnes and Marie Barnes continued to live at 429 Beacon in 1924.  By 1895, Caroline Barnes had moved to an apartment at 295 Beacon and Marie Barnes had moved elsewhere.

On May 7, 1924, 429 Beacon was acquired from the estate of Henry Barnes by Miss Rose M. Donahue. She previously had lived at 26 Hemenway.

On July 6, 1925, 429 Beacon was acquired from Rose Donahue by Dr. John Thomas Williams, a physician, and his wife, Gerda Frederica (Johnson) Williams, a nurse. He also maintained his medical office there. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at 483 Beacon.

In July of 1928, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a single-family dwelling and doctor’s office.

John Williams died in September of 1955.  Gerda Williams continued to live at 429 Beacon until her death in 1971.

On October 1, 1971, 429 Beacon was acquired from the Williamses’ daughter, Ruth (Williams) Strange, the wife of Robert Strange, as executor of Gerda Williams’s estate, by Richard E. Sobota, an engineer, and his wife, Catherine Manton Sobota, a professot and author.

On July 18, 1978, Richard Sobota transferred the property to Catherine Sobota, and that same month she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into four apartments.

On August 21, 2003, Richard M. Watkins and his wife, Maria Esperanza Watkins, purchased 429 Beacon from Catherine Manton Sobota. On October 20, 2011, they transferred the property to The Watkins Capital Group LLC, with themselves as managers.

429 Beacon continued to be assessed as a four- to six-family dwelling in 2021.