447 Beacon was built by Daniel Davies, a housewright and carpenter, one of four contiguous houses, three (443-445-447 Beacon) built in 1872-1873 and the fourth (449 Beacon) built in 1876. They were the first houses built on Beacon west of Hereford. The original building permit application for 443-445-447 Beacon no longer is available (and probably was destroyed in the November 9, 1872, Boston fire), but Daniel Davies & Son is shown as the owner of the three houses in the Boston Globe’s September 14, 1872, report on approval of the permits. Daniel Davies is shown as the owner and Daniel Davies & Son as the builder on the original building permit application for 449 Beacon, dated July 20, 1876.
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that Charles Davis was the architect for 443-445-447-449 Beacon. There was no architect named Charles Davis listed in the Boston City Directories during this period, and Bunting probably was referring to Charles H. Davies, Daniel Davies’s son. He was in partnership with his father and, although not trained as an architect, may have designed the houses.
443-445-447-449 Beacon were built on part of a parcel of land that Daniel Davies purchased on June 20, 1866, from the Boston Water Power Company. The parcel included all of the land between Hereford and Parker Street. Parker Street was located on top of the Cross Dam and ran southwest at approximately a 45 degree angle, starting about 210 feet west of Hereford on the south side of Beacon. The street was 60 feet wide. All of the land to the west, between Parker Street and West Chester Park (Massachusetts Avenue), was purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on March 1, 1872, by a real estate investment trust formed by Grenville Temple Winthrop Braman (who was Daniel Davies’s son-in-law), Henry Dwight Hyde, and Frank William Andrews. In the late 1870s, Parker Street was abandoned and on April 30, 1878, Daniel Davies joined with Grenville Braman and his partners to acquire the land under the roadway from the Boston Water Power Company. Daniel Davies died in June of 1878, and on February 1, 1879, his heirs and Grenville Braman and his partners entered into a series of transactions to “square off” their holdings by exchanging triangular shaped lots, resulting in a north-south dividing line 265 feet west of Hereford.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 447 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the south side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On June 1, 1874, 447 Beacon was acquired from Daniel Davies by his daughter, Susan (Susie) A. (Davies) Braman, the wife of Grenville Temple Winthrop Braman, They previously had lived at 9 Brimmer. They also maintained a home in Newport and later on Jerusalem Road in Cohasset. 445 Beacon became the home of Daniel Davies and his wife, Amity Bacon (Hastings) Davies, and 443 Beacon became the home of Grenville Braman’s brother, Jarvis Dwight Braman, and his wife, Amelia Coverley (Finnegan) Braman.
Grenville and Jarvis Braman’s father, Jarvis Braman, had owned a bath house at the foot of Chestnut Street on Beacon Hill, described as the “first public bath in Boston” in an August 24, 1890, Boston Globe article. He died in 1850 and Jarvis Dwight Braman took responsibility for the business. Grenville Braman was treasurer of the Boston Water Power Company during the 1860s, and on March 1, 1872, he joined with Henry D. Hyde and Frank W. Andrews to form a real estate investment trust to purchase large tracts of the company’s Back Bay lands. Jarvis Braman served as the company’s president from mid-1878 until his death in 1888.
Beacon Street originally had been a toll road located on top of the Mill Dam. The toll house had first been located about where Arlington Street later was laid out. As the land on Beacon was filled and developed for housing, the toll house was moved further west several times, and in 1862 it was located where 447 Beacon later would be built. The tolls were discontinued in December of 1868 and the toll house was sold. A June 19, 1887, “Table Gossip” item in the Boston Globe commented that “Grenville T. W. Braman of Boston has at his summer place on Jerusalem road the old toll gate which for years did service on the Milldam. Mr. Braman purchased the toll-house and gate when toll was abolished. His present city residence on Beacon street was built on the site of the old toll-house.”
Grenville and Susan Braman continued to live at 447 Beacon during the 1881-1882 winter season, but moved thereafter to the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Clarendon and Boylston). Susie Braman continued to own 447 Beacon and lease it to others.
During the 1882-1883 winter season, 447 Beacon was the home of Frederick Daniel Hussey and his wife, Mary (Winston) Hussey. They previously had lived at the Hotel Brunswick, and resumed living there by the next season. By the 1885-1886 season they were living at 1 Gloucester.
447 Beacon was not listed in the 1884-1888 Blue Books.
Catherine Foster died in June of 1897. She died intestate and 447 Beacon was inherited by the Fosters’ only child, Ernestine Louise Foster. Nathaniel Foster and Ernestine Foster moved soon after Catherine Foster’s death, probably to Lexington, where they were living in a hotel at the time of the 1900 US Census.
By the 1897-1898 winter season, 447 Beacon had become the home of Sidney Chase and his wife, Ella (Merrihew) Chase. They previously had lived at 250 Boston. He was a stockbroker and investment banker, and later would become treasurer of the Boston Stock Exchange. They continued to live at 447 Beacon during the 1899-1900 season, but moved thereafter to 346 Beacon.
447 Beacon was not listed in the 1903 Blue Book.
By the 1903-1904 winter season, 447 Beacon was the home of Arthur Wood Kennard, a jeweler, and his wife, Helen Lucy (Stebbins) Kennard. They previously had lived at 10 West Cedar. They continued to live at 447 Beacon during the 1909-1910 season, but moved thereafter to 467 Beacon.
On December 10, 1910, 447 Beacon was purchased from Nathaniel Foster and Ernestine Foster by Lillior (Lillie) Taylor (Dowling) Nutting, the widow of William B. Nutting. She was the sister of Mark Temple Dowling, a real estate dealer in partnership with James Sumner Draper. On January 2, 1911, she transferred the property to J. Sumner Draper.
On May 24, 1911, 447 Beacon was acquired from J. Sumner Draper by Frances Kellogg (Small) Curtis, the wife of Thomas Pelham Curtis. They previously had lived at 391 Commonwealth. They also maintained a home in Nahant.
In 1894, Thomas Curtis had been a member the Boston Athletic Club team that participated in the first Olympics, held in Greece. He won the 110-meter hurdles (gold medals were not awarded to first place winners until later Olympics). He was an engineer in the electric wiring and construction businesses, associated with his MIT classmate, Frederick W. Lord. Frances (Small) Curtis was a leader in the Massachusetts movement for woman’s suffrage.
The Curtises were living elsewhere during the 1913-1914 winter season and 447 Beacon was the home of dry goods merchant Edward Sturgis Grew. He previously had lived at the Copley Plaza hotel and maintained a home, All Oaks, in Manchester. He was separated from his wife, Annie Crawford (Clark) Grew, who lived at 185 Marlborough with their son, Randolph Clark Grew. Miss R. Wheeler was listed at 447 Beacon with Edward Grew in the 1914 Blue Book. They had moved by the 1914-1915 season and he died in January of 1916 in Manchester.
The Curtises resumed living at 447 Beacon during the 1914-1915 winter season, but by 1916 were living in an apartment at 411 Marlborough, and by 1917 in an apartment at 330 Dartmouth. Frances Curtis continued to own 447 Beacon and lease it to others.
By the 1915-1916 winter season, 447 Beacon was the home of Dr. George H. Binney, Jr., a physician, and his wife, Susan Jeannette (Appleton) Binney. They previously had lived at 10 Charles River Square. They continued to live at 447 Beacon during the 1916-1917 season, but moved thereafter to 261 Marlborough.
By the 1917-1918 winter season, the Curtises were living at 447 Beacon once again. They continued to live there during the 1920-1921 season, but moved thereafter and by 1924 were living at 51 Gloucester. Frances Curtis continued to own 447 Beacon and lease it to others.
During the 1921-1922 winter season, 447 Beacon was the home of John Fry. He previously had lived at The Abbotsford at 186 Commonwealth.
During the 1922-1923 winter season, 447 Beacon was the home of investment banker Louis Curtis, Jr., and his wife, Mary Sloan (Colt) Curtis. They had married in June of 1921 and then lived in New York City. Prior to their marriage, he had lived at 464 Beacon with his parents, Louis and Fanny (Richardson) Curtis. Louis Curtis, Jr., was the second cousin of Thomas Pelham Curtis (Louis Curtis, Jr.’s grandfather, Thomas Buckminster Curtis, was the brother of Thomas Pelham Curtis’s grandfather, Charles Pelham Curtis).
By the 1923-1924 season, Louis and Mary Curtis had moved to 441 Beacon.
By the 1923-1924 winter season, 447 Beacon was the home of wool dealer Lawrence Louis Adolph Ilfeld and his wife, Margaret (Stein) Ilfeld. They previously had lived in Brookline. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms. They divorced in about 1930 and he moved to the University Club. Margaret Ilfeld remarried in July of 1931 to Dr. Hermann Ludwig Blumgart, a physician; after their marriage, they lived in Brookline.
By the 1931-1932 winter season, 447 Beacon was once again the home of Thomas and Frances Curtis. They had been living in Nahant, where they continued to maintain a home, and he had also maintained a Boston residence at the Tennis & Raquet Club at 925 Boylston. They continued to live at 447 Beacon during the 1934-1935 winter season, but moved thereafter.
On June 27, 1935, the Exchange Mortgage Loan Company foreclosed on a mortgage it held on 447 Beacon and took possession of the property.
The house was not listed in the 1936 and 1937 Blue Books, and was shown as vacant in the 1936 and 1937 City Directories.
On August 7, 1937, 447 Beacon was acquired by George Wesley Watson, an architect., who then transferred it to himself as trustee of the Four-Four-Seven Beacon Trust.
He converted the property into apartments, and he and his wife, Cora B. (Reinherz) Watson, lived in one of the apartments. They previously had lived at 79 Revere.
On August 14, 1939, the Workingmens Co-operative Bank foreclosed on the mortgage it held on 447 Beacon and took possession of the property.
On August 18, 1939, 447 Beacon was acquired from the Workingmens Co-operative Bank by Edward Wexler.
On June 3, 1943, 447 Beacon was acquired from Edward Wexler by Morris Binder (Moische Kaftan), a dress manufacturer. He and his wife, Mollie (Weiner/Weinerman) Binder lived in Dorchester.
Morris Binder died in September of 1971, and on March 5, 1973, 447 Beacon was acquired from his heirs by Keith John Cooper-Baines and Mac Clanning Grant.
The property changed hands, and was purchased on March 30, 1983, by Glenn Fiscus and Judith Avery. On November 15, 2005, Judith Avery transferred her interest in the property to Glenn Fiscus.
On December 21, 2012, 447 Beacon was purchased from Glenn Fiscus by the 447 Beacon LLC (Ty Gupta, manager).
In January of 2013, the 447 Beacon LLC applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the property and reduce the number of units from nine to four.
In July of 2015, it converted the property into four condominium units, the 447 Beacon Condominium.