456 Beacon was designed by Rotch and Tilden, architects, and built ca. 1886. It was the first house built on the north side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
456 Beacon was built on half of a 48 foot wide lot purchased from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation on April 24, 1886, by real estate investor Nathan Matthews. He and his wife, and his wife, Albertine (Bunker) Matthews, lived at 145 Beacon. He sold the western portion on the same day he purchased it, and had 456 Beacon built on the eastern half to be the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Nathan Mathews, Jr., and Ellen Bacon (Sargent) Matthews.
The deeds from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation for the land between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue included language specifying that only dwellings and associated outbuildings (including stables) could be built on the land and that the buildings were to be set back 20 feet from Beacon. The deeds for the land between 460 Beacon and Massachusetts Avenue were entered into in the early 1890s and also included restrictions limiting to one story any building in the rear north of a line 90 feet from Beacon. The deeds for the land between Hereford and 458 Beacon, which were from 1886, did not include language limiting buildings in the rear. As a result, the owners of the land at 448-458 Beacon entered into individual agreements to limit the depth of the houses that were built on their land and restrict the height of outbuildings in the rear to one story. On August 2, 1909, all of the owners of the property on the north side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue (other than the Mt. Vernon Church) entered into an agreement to “continue for twenty years longer [to December 31, 1929] the existing freedom from irregular building and obstruction of view which they now enjoy from the rear portion of their houses.” On December 30, 1929, the owners of 448-480 Beacon extended this agreement to expire on December 31, 1939.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 456 Beacon, including additional information on the deeds and agreements limiting buildings in the rear of the lot, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
456 Beacon was completed in 1887 and by the 1887-1888 winter season, Nathan Matthews, Jr., and Ellen (Sargent) Matthews had made it their home. They previously had lived at the Hotel Oxford (southeast corner of Exeter and Huntington), and before that at 354 Marlborough. On November 15, 1887, he acquired the property from his father.
During the 1889-1890 winter season, the Matthewses were living elsewhere at 456 Beacon was the home of William Sumner Appleton and his wife, Edith Stuart (Appleton) Appleton. They had returned to Boston in July of 1889, having spent three years abroad in Europe and Egypt. Prior to their trip, they had lived at 39 Beacon. They also maintained a home, Oak Hill, in Newton.
William Sumner Appleton was educated as an attorney. He never practiced law, however, but rather devoted himself to the study of history, numismatics, heraldry, and genealogy. He designed the seal for Harvard which was adopted by the Harvard Corporation in 1885.
By the 1890-1891 winter season, the Appletons had moved to 317 Dartmouth and Nathan and Ellen Matthews were living at 456 Beacon once again. They also maintained a home, Black Brook Farm, in Hamilton.
During the 1899-1900 winter season, the Matthewses were living in an apartment at The Charlesgate at 4 Charlesgate East and 456 Beacon was the home of Augustus Peabody Gardner and his wife, Constance D. (Lodge) Gardner. Augustus Gardner was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1900, and to Congress at a special election in 1901. The Gardners previously had lived in Hamilton and had resumed living there by 1901.
During the 1900-1901 winter season, the Matthewses were living in Chestnut Hill and 456 Beacon was the home of Susan Greene (Amory) Dexter, the estranged wife of shipping merchant and railroad investor Franklin Gordon Dexter. She had lived at 163 Commonwealth the previous season. In February of 1901 she purchased and subsequently moved to 171 Commonwealth.
By the 1901-1902 winter season, Nathan and Ellen Matthews were living at 456 Beacon once again.
Nathan Matthews, Sr., died in August of 1904, and in about 1905, Nathan and Ellen Matthews were joined at 456 Beacon by his mother, Albertine (Bunker) Matthews. By 1907, she had moved to the Hotel Vendome, where she died in December of 1907.
From 1909, Nathan and Ellen Matthews summered at Highfield, his parents’ home in Bar Harbor. They also continued to maintain their home in Hamilton, which they rented to others.
Nathan Matthews, Jr., died in December of 1927. Ellen Matthews continued to live at 456 Beacon until about 1932.
On August 4, 1937, 456 Beacon was purchased from Nathan Matthews’s estate by Abraham Zwi Wintman, who converted the property into apartments. He was a salesman and by the mid-1940s operated the Copley Square Subscription Agency. He lived in Mattapan with his parents, Isadore (Jacob) Wintman and Gertrude (Gitel) (Wintman) Wintman.
Abraham Wintman married in June of 1948 to Sylvia Beatrice (Sarah Blume) Cohen. After their marriage, they lived in an apartment at 456 Beacon. They continued to live there in the early 1950s, but had moved to his family home in Mattapan after his parents’ deaths and then to Malden by the late 1950s.
On April 7, 1986, 456 Beacon was purchased from Abraham Wintman by Leo Travis and Raymond C. Green, trustees of the L & R Realty Trust.
On July 24,1986, they converted the property into ten condominium units, the 456 Beacon Street Condominium.