455 Beacon was designed by architect John H. Besarick and built ca. 1886 by building contractor Asa Harden Caton, for speculative sale, one of four contiguous houses (455-457 Beacon built in 1886-1887 and 459-461 Beacon built in 1887-1888). Asa Caton is shown as the owner on the original building permit applications for 459-461 Beacon dated June 7, 1887, and the final building inspection reports dated May 9, 1888.
The permit applications and final building inspection reports for 455-457 Beacon have not been located. However, the houses were under construction by the fall of 1886, when, on October 8, 1886, the Boston Globe reported that John J. Macguire had been charged with the theft of mason’s tools from 457 Beacon, and the houses were nearing completion by the spring of 1887, when, on May 12, 1887, a classified advertisement was placed in the Globe for a painter — “one who can finish hardwood preferred” — at 455 and 457 Beacon.
Asa Caton purchased the land for 455-457-459-461 Beacon on July 1, 1886, from architect John Hubbard Sturgis. The lot was part of a parcel John H. Sturgis had assembled through three purchases in January and February of 1880, comprising all of the land on the south side of Beacon from a line 198 feet west of Hereford to Massachusetts Avenue, with a frontage of 442 feet. The parcel originally had been intersected by Parker Street, a 60 foot wide street located on top of the Cross Dam, which ran southwest from Beacon Street at approximately a 45 degree angle, starting about 210 feet west of Hereford on the south side of Beacon.
The land east of Parker Street had been purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on June 20, 1866, by Daniel Davies, a housewright and carpenter, and the land to the west had been purchased from the company on March 1, 1872, by a real estate investment trust formed by Grenville T. W. Braman (Daniel Davies’s son-in-law), Henry D. Hyde, and Frank W. 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.
455-457-459-461 Beacon were built partially on land that previously had been Parker Street.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 455 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the south side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On October 26, 1887, 455 Beacon was purchased from Asa Caton by Helen A. (Bryant) Stevens, the wife of Horace H. Stevens. They previously had lived at 560 Columbus. They also maintained a home in Hingham.
Horace Stevens was a stockbroker. He also served as president of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad in the mid-1880s , and as acting president of the Globe National Bank in 1899.
He died in March of 1904, and Helen Stevens moved soon thereafter, probably to Brookline where she was living at the time of her death in September of 1908.
On October 16, 1905, 455 Beacon was acquired from Helen Stevens by Mary Louisa (Morse) Jones, the wife of Charles Willis Jones. They previously had lived at 351 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Magnolia.
Charles W. Jones was president of the New England National Bank.
The Joneses’ children, Arthur Morse Jones and Eleanor H. Jones, lived with them. Arthur Jones married in March of 1911 to Mary L. Wetherbee. After their marriage, they lived at 499 Audubon Road.
Mary Jones died in November of 1914, and Charles Jones died in April of 1916. Eleanor Jones continued to live at 455 Beacon during the 1916-1917 winter season, but moved thereafter to The Tudor (northwest corner of Beacon and Joy).
The house was not listed in the 1918-1925 Blue Books.
On February 5, 1925, 455 Beacon was purchased from Arthur Jones and Eleanor Jones by Clara (Frost) Lyman, the wife of Willard Clark Lyman. They previously had lived in Detroit and Jackson, Michigan, where he had been a real estate agent. She was a Christian Science practitioner.
By the 1925-1926 winter season, they had moved to the Hotel Puritan at 390 Commonwealth. Their son, Claire Frost Lyman, lived with them at the Hotel Puritan; he previously had lived at 378 Marlborough. He was an English instructor at MIT and also served as treasurer of Landon Incorporation, which owned and operated the Fraternities Club at 397 Commonwealth, where he moved by mid-1926.
By the 1925-1926 winter season, 455 Beacon was the fraternity house of the MIT Chapter of Kappa Eta Kappa.
On August 31, 1926, Esther Herman foreclosed on a mortgage given by Clara Lyman and sold 455 Beacon to real estate dealer Harris Leshefsky.
Kappa Eta Kappa continued to be located at 455 Beacon during the 1926-1927 winter season.
On August 3, 1928, the North End Savings Bank foreclosed on a mortgage it held on 455 Beacon and took possession of the property.
Among the residents at 455 Beacon from about 1929 was Minna E. (Rasslee) Garvin, the widow of John Garvin. She previously had lived in West Newton. She indicated her occupation as “housekeeper” in the 1929 and 1930 Lists of Residents and probably maintained the lodging house.
In 1930 and 1931, the lodging house was operated by Annie Jane (Trimble) Varney, the widow of John R. Varney, who lived at 445 Beacon, where she also operated a lodging house.
Minna Garvin continued to live at 455 Beacon until about 1931 and probably continued to be the resident housekeeper. By 1932, she had moved to 32 Fairfield as a lodger, and by 1934 she was operating a lodging house at 53 Hereford.
On January 11, 1932, the Bristol County Trust Company foreclosed on a mortgage it held on 455 Beacon and took possession of the property.
455 Beacon was not listed in the 1932-1935 Blue Books, nor in the 1932-1935 Lists of Residents, and was shown as vacant in the 1932-1935 City Directories.
By the 1935-1936 winter season, it was the home of Ellen M. (Sullivan) White, the widow of William E. White, who operated it as a lodging house. She and several of the other residents previously had lived at 201 St. Botolph.
On December 18, 1940, 455 Beacon was acquired from the Bristol County Trust Company by real estate dealer Frederick E. Ordway, who conveyed it on the same day to Eugene N. Siskind, a real estate dealer who lived in Brookline.
Ellen White continued to live at 455 Beacon until about 1941. She had moved to 411 Beacon by 1942.
455 Beacon continued to be a lodging house with various operators.
On July 18, 1947, 445 Beacon was acquired from Eugene Siskind by Lydia R. (Tipping) Adams, the widow of Gordon Adams, who continued to operate it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 525 Beacon.
On August 13, 1953, she was attacked by an intruder to her apartment at 455 Beacon. She subsequently died of her injuries.
On December 14, 1953, 455 Beacon was purchased from Lydia Adams’s estate by Frances Madeline (Little) Callahan, the wife of Michael Joseph Callahan. They lived at 23 Southmere in Mattapan. They continued to operate 455 Beacon as a lodging house.
On January 31, 1956, Frances Callahan transferred 455 Beacon into her and her husband’s names. At about that time, they converted the property into ten apartments.
On June 30, 1972, the Callahans transferred the property to Baycroft Inc., the sole shareholder of which was Michael Callahan.
They continued to live in Mattapan until the mid-1970s, when they moved to an apartment at 298 Beacon, which they purchased in 1974.
Frances Callahan died in September of 1987.
On December 23, 1988, Baycroft Inc. transferred 455 Beacon into Michael Callahan’s name.
On January 14, 1998, 455 Beacon was purchased from Michael Callahan by the 455 Beacon LLC (Donn O’Connell, manager).
455 Beacon remained an apartment house in 2017.