448 Beacon

448 Beacon (2013)

448 Beacon (2013)

Lot 55' x 150' (8,250 sf)

Lot 55′ x 150′ (8,250 sf)

448 Beacon is located on the NW corner of Beacon and Hereford, with 426 Beacon to the east, across Hereford, 450 Beacon to the west, and 435 Beacon to the south, across Beacon.

448 Beacon was designed by Andrews and Jaques, architects, and built in 1889-1890 by B. D. Whitcomb & Co., builders, as the home of Robert Chamblet Hooper and his wife, Helen Angier (Ames) Hooper.  During the 1889-1890 winter season, the Hoopers had lived at 40 Hereford.  They also maintained a home in Manchester.

Robert Hooper is shown as the owner on the original building permit application for 448 Beacon, dated March 27, 1889, and on the final building inspection report, dated December 20, 1890 (bound with the report, located in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department, is a faded and water-damage blueprint of the first floor plan).  Helen Hooper’s father, Frederick Lothrop Ames, is shown as the owner on the 1890 Bromley map (and also as the owner of the vacant lot next door at 450 Beacon), and Helen A. Hooper is shown as the owner on the 1895 and 1898 maps.

Robert Chamblet Hooper was treasurer and later president of the Constitution Wharf Company.  A noted dog fancier, he was owner of “Judge” (also known as “Hooper’s Judge”). credited as the ancestor of the Boston Terrier breed.

Helen Hooper died in February of 1907, and Robert Hooper died in August of 1908.  The Heirs of Helen A. Hooper are shown as the owners on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.

By 1909, it was the home of Helen Hooper, the Hoopers’ daughter.  She continued to live there until her marriage in April of 1911 to Lathrop Brown and moved to New York City.  Lathrop Brown was a real estate dealer in New York and was elected to Congress in 1913, serving one term.  He had been Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s best man at his wedding to Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905.

448 Beacon was not listed in the 1912 and 1913 Blue Books.

In the spring of 1913, 448 Beacon was purchased by Mabel De Carteret (Hunt) Slater, the widow of cotton mill owner Horatio Nelson Slater.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on May 10, 1913. Prior to Horatio Slater’s death in August of 1899, they had lived at 17 Gloucester.  They also maintained a home in Webster, where he owned several cotton mills, and it appears she had been living there since she sold 17 Gloucester in 1901.   She is shown as the owner of 448 Beacon on the 1917 Bromley map.

Mabel Slater was the daughter of noted artist William Morris Hunt.  She was an inventor, filing various patents with the proceeds to go to charity. In 1904, she patented an ice-cooled refrigerator, and in 1914, an automatic ice gauge for refrigerators.  She was also credited for inventing a sleeping bag that doubled as a garment, said to have been used in World War I.

In July of 1913, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct an addition at the rear of 448 Beacon, designed by architects Bigelow and Wadsworth.

448 Beacon (ca. 1919), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

448 Beacon (ca. 1919), courtesy of the Bostonian Society

Mrs. Slater also owned the empty lot on the northeast corner of Beacon and Hereford, across Hereford from her home.  According to an October 29, 1916, “Table Gossip” item in the Boston Globe, she “purchased it with the intention of developing it into an Italian garden” that “might enhance the attractiveness of her residence,” but “never carried out her idea.”  In October of 1916, she sold the property to Marie (Griffin) Dennett. wife of Carl Pullen Dennett.  The Dennetts lived at 250 Beacon and never developed the lot.

On November 10, 1917, an intruder entered 448 Beacon through a rear door on Back Street which, according to a November 11, 1917, Boston Globe article, was “always left open under strict orders from Mrs. Slater, in order that destitute and hungry persons may find their way to the kitchen for food.”  He went searching for Mrs. Slater, and shot and killed Mrs. Slater’s butler, Emile Knabe, who had sought to stop him.  He subsequently fled and was caught by the police.

Mabel Slater continued to live at 448 Beacon in 1919.  She also maintained a home in Readville.

During the 1919-1920 winter season, 448 Beacon was the home of  Grant Walker and his wife, Mabel (Shaw) Walker. They previously had lived at 330 Beacon.

Grant Walker was an investor in and director of various textile mills and related businesses.

He died in April of 1920.  After his death, Mabel Walker moved back to 330 Beacon.

448 Beacon was not listed in the 1921 Blue Book.

In mid-1921, 448 Beacon was purchased from Mabel Slater by the Boston Masonic Club.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on July 15, 1921. The club had been formed in September of 1919 and had leased 200 Commonwealth as its headquarters in 1920.

By 1924, it was called the Square and Compass Club.  It is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.

In June of 1924, the Club applied for permission to convert the roof of the rear ell into an area for serving “light refreshments” at 28 tables with 4 persons per table.  According to a July 19, 1924, Boston Globe article, several abutters brought suit to stop the project, arguing that it violated an August 3, 1909, agreement entered into by all of the property owners on the north side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue “continuing the existing freedom from irregular building and obstruction of view which they then enjoyed from the rear of their houses overlooking the Charles River Embankment.”  It appears that the suit was unsuccessful and the roof addition was constructed by October of 1924.

In 1934, 448 Beacon was acquired by 448 Beacon Street, Inc., operators of the Fox and Hounds Club, a private dining club.  It is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

In December of 1934, William B. Seignious, et al, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a club to a club with privilege of serving alcoholic beverages to members.

448 Beacon (ca. 1942), copyright private collection

448 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

In August of 1939, the 448 Beacon St., Inc., applied for (and subsequently received) permission to construct an addition to the “banquet hall” (probably the rear ell) 13 feet x 19 feet x 9 feet high.

In October of 1943, 448 Beacon Street, Inc., applied for permission to convert the property from a private club into a public restaurant.  The application was denied and, although the applicant’s appeal was granted by the Board of Appeal, the permit was abandoned, probably because of concerns about egress and other fire safety issues.

During the mid-1940s, the Club added fire escapes and other improvements, and in October of 1948, 448 Beacon Street, Inc. (Edward I. Davis, president and treasurer) again applied for permission to convert the property into a restaurant that would occupy three floors and the basement.  This time when the application was denied, the Board of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s appeal.

In February of 1949, 448 Beacon was purchased from Edward Davis, owner and manager of the Fox and Hounds, by George Irwin Rohrbough, president of Chandler School for Women, a secretarial school, for use as a school building.  Chandler School previously had been located at 245 Marlborough.

In conjunction with the sale, 448 Beacon Street, Inc., applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a club into a school.  In August of 1949, George Rohrbough and his wife, Martha, filed an affidavit with the Building Department assuring that students would not be permitted on the fifth floor of the property, presumably because of limited egress from that floor.

During the 1950s and 1960s, George Rohrbough and Chandler School also acquired 452 Beacon and 420422424426 Beacon.  It sold 420-422-424-426 Beacon in 1971 to the New England College of Optometry, and retained 448 and 452 Beacon.

In June of 1975, the Shawmut Community Bank foreclosed its mortgages on 448 and 452 Beacon and took possession of the properties.

In December of 1975, The Church of Scientology purchased 448 Beacon from the Shawmut Community Bank.  In November of 1975, in anticipation of the sale, the bank had applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a school into a place of worship.

In August of 2013, 448 Beacon was purchased from The Church of Scientology by the 448 Beacon LLC.  In November of 2013, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a place of worship into a multi-unit residential building (the number of units not being specified).

On July 27, 2016, the 448 Beacon LLC converted the property into six condominium units, The Hooper Mansion Condominium.