45 Hereford was designed by Bradlee and Winslow, architects, and built in 1882 by Vinal and Dodge, masons. It is one of five contiguous houses (45-47-49-51-53 Hereford) they built for speculative sale in association with building contractor George Wheatland, Jr. He is shown as the owner on the original building application for all five houses, dated February 24, 1882. 47-53 Hereford are designed as a symmetrical composition, somewhat unbalanced by 45 Hereford.
The block of Newbury between Hereford and West Chester Park (Massachusetts Avenue) was intended primarily for stables, including private carriage houses and larger public livery stables, and in 1882, when 45-53 Hereford were built, there already were several stables directly across the street, on the south side of Newbury. 53 Hereford was designed with a window-less wall on Newbury, probably to avoid looking onto these stables and to firmly orient 45-53 Hereford in an eastward facing direction, as a residential block of buildings.
The land for 45-53 Hereford was acquired on April 9, 1881, by George Wheatland, Sr., of Salem, from Caleb H. Warner and Charles F. Smith, trustees for the benefit of the creditors of Nathan Matthews. It originally had been purchased by Nathan Matthews on January 2, 1871, from the David Sears family, which held large holdings of Back Bay tidal lands.
The deed to George Wheatland, Sr., included a restriction that only dwelling houses facing Hereford could be built on the land. The restriction was for the benefit of the owners of the land at 314-320 Commonwealth, which Caleb Warner and Charles Smith had sold in April of 1879 to Sumner R. Mead and to Frank N. Thayer and William H. Lincoln.
On February 18, 1882, George Wheatland, Sr., sold the land to Warren D. Vinal and Charles A. Dodge, the builders. On the same day, they subdivided the land into five lots and entered into a mortgage with George Wheatland, Jr., on each lot, probably to provide the funds for the construction. In November of 1882, after the houses were completed, Vinal and Dodge sold 45 Hereford and 53 Hereford to individual buyers, and in February of 1883, they sold 47-49-51 Hereford to real estate dealer Brice S. Evans. He sold 51 Hereford in August of 1883, but 47 and 49 Hereford remained unsold, and on April 4, 1884, George Wheatland, Jr., foreclosed on his mortgages to Vinal and Dodge, which had been assumed by Brice Evans, and took possession of the two houses. He sold them later in 1884.
The original lots at 45-53 Hereford were 67 feet deep (east-west) and had a four foot easement at the rear to provide passage and drainage from all five houses to the alley between Commonwealth and Newbury. To the west, behind the five houses, was a lot with a 23 foot 3 inch frontage on Newbury. On April 19, 1886, the individual owners of the houses purchased the portions of this lot behind each of their houses, extending the size of their lots to 90 feet 3 inches. Although the reason for this purchase is not known, it is likely that it was to preclude construction of a stable on this land and to provide a larger buffer between the houses and the stable district. On March 8, 1888, the owners of the five houses agreed to move the easement for passage and drainage to the new western edge of their property and share the cost of a new sewer system at that location. That new drainage was not built, however, and on April 8, 1908, the owners agreed that the 1888 agreement remained in effect and that, until a new sewer was built, continuing to use the old sewer, located about 65 feet west of Hereford, would not constitute an easement over the properties.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 45 Hereford.
On November 8, 1882, 45 Hereford was purchased from Warren D. Vinal and Charles A. Dodge by Clara Elizabeth (Robison) Macomber, the wife of insurance agent Frank Gair Macomber. They previously had lived in Newton Centre.
They continued to live at 45 Hereford during the 1886-1887 winter season, but moved thereafter to a new home they had built at 463 Beacon.
In 1887, 45 Hereford was the home of Charles Albert Read, Jr., and his wife, Ellen Arvilla (Hatfield) Read. They were living there at the time of the birth of their son, Charles, in June of 1887. Their principal residence was in Manchester.
On May 13, 1887, 45 Hereford was purchased from Clara Elizabeth Macomber by real estate broker James Morris Meredith. He was unmarried. He continued to lived there during the 1891-1892 season, but moved thereafter to 88 Beacon.
During the 1892-1893 winter season, 45 Hereford was the home of wholesale dry goods merchant Warren Mason Whiting. a widower, and his young children: Mason Tuxbury Whiting, Louise Whiting, and Warren Mason Whiting., Jr His wife, Emily (Tuxbury) Whiting had died in June of 1892. At the time of her death, they lived at 333 Beacon, the home of her mother, Harriet Matilda (Beals) Tuxbury, the widow of George William Tuxbury.
By mid-1893, Warren Whiting and his children had moved to Weston.
On September 19, 1894, 45 Beacon was purchased from J. Morris Meredith by Charles J. Lynch. He and his wife, Anna M. (Kane) Lynch, made it their home. They previously had lived at 50 Poplar.
Charles Lynch was a retail liquor merchant until about 1900, when he became a real estate dealer.
Charles Lynch died in May of 1917. Anna Lynch continued to live at 45 Hereford with their two children, Maurice B. Lynch, a lawyer, and Maude A. Lynch, a kindergarten teacher.
Anna Lynch died in March of 1931. Maurice and Maude Lynch continued to live at 45 Hereford. On June 18, 1935, the City of Boston filed a tax lien on 45 Hereford, and on September 10, 1940, the Land Court granted the City of Boston’s petition to take possession of the property in foreclosure of the tax lien.
Maurice and Maude Lynch continued to live there until about 1947, when they moved to 33 Gloucester.
On October 31, 1946, 45 Hereford was acquired from the City by attorney Edward H. McGrath, Jr.. He and his wife, Joan (McLaughlin) McGrath, made it their home. They previously had lived in Brookline.
Edward McGrath was a lawyer and, in 1950, was appointed commissioner of Massachusetts’s state-owned airports.
On October 24, 1951, 45 Hereford was purchased from Edward McGrath by John Breining and his wife, Ruth Y. (Allen) Breining. They previously had lived in Revere. They operated Miss Allen’s Modeling and Finishing School at 45 Hereford.
They continued to live and operate the school at 45 Hereford until about 1956. In September of 1956, they applied to legalize the occupancy as a school and photo studio. The application was denied and they appear not to have appealed the denial.
In April of 1957, they purchased 135 Commonwealth, where they moved the school, renamed as the Back Bay Modeling Academy. By that time, they made their home in Cohasset.
45 Hereford was shown as vacant in the 1958 City Directory.
On May 29, 1957, 45 Hereford was purchased from the Breinings by William Burnham Bryant, an engineer, and his wife, Lucia (Mazurek) Bryant. They previously had lived in an apartment at 458 Beacon.
Lucia Bryant died in November of 1977, in an automobile accident. William Bryant continued to live at 45 Hereford. In 1984, he married again to Sally Ruth Wilcken.
On July 2, 1986, 45 Hereford was purchased from William Bryant by John Sarno, trustee of the 45 Hereford Realty Trust.
In March of 1994, Charles C. Patsos, successor trustee of 45 Hereford Realty Trust, filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into four apartments. In his application, he indicated that this was an existing condition.
On February 23, 1999, 45 Hereford was acquired from Charles Patsos by the 45 Hereford Street LLC (Neil G. Glynn, manager).
In December of 2017, the owners of 45-53 Hereford received permission to renovate the Hereford façades of the buildings, remove the existing penthouse structure at 53 Hereford, install an entrance and windows on the Newbury façade of 53 Hereford, and construct a new building in the former rear yards of the five buildings, with an entrance at 321 Newbury.
45 Hereford remained an apartment building, assessed as a four- to six-family dwelling, in 2018.