457 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 (known as the Beacon Street Lands Trust) formed by Grenville T. W. Braman (Daniel Davies’s son-in-law), Henry D. Hyde, and Frank W. Andrews. Parker Street between Beacon and Boylston was discontinued as a public thoroughfare in 1877, and Daniel Davies and Grenville T. W. Braman joined with the Beacon Street Lands Trust to acquire the roadway between Beacon and Commonwealth and the land beneath it. 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 457 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the south side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On December 8, 1887, 457 Beacon was purchased from Asa Caton by Mary Alice (Rawson) Turner, the wife of Albion Bryant Turner. They previously had lived at 358 Commonwealth.
He was a partner in Turner, Clarke & Rawson, developers of water works systems, and later would become a banker and broker.
By the 1888-1889 season, they had moved to 253 Commonwealth.
On December 6, 1888, 457 Beacon was purchased from Mary Turner by wholesale dry goods merchant and banker James Brown Case. He and his wife, Laura Lucretia (Williams) Case, lived at 120 Commonwealth and in Weston.
During the 1888-1889 winter season, 457 Beacon was the home of stockbroker Rogers Lewis Barstow. He was a widower. He previously had lived in Dorchester. By the next season, he had moved to 220 Newbury.
By the 1889-1890 winter season, 457 Beacon was the home of James and Laura Case’s son-in-law and daughter, James Goldthwaite Freeman and Caroline Sumner (Case) Freeman. They had married in June of 1888, and had lived at the Hotel Vendome during the 1888-1889 winter season. They also maintained a home in Weston. James Freeman was a real estate dealer.
On April 10, 1890, 457 Beacon was acquired from James B. Case by Caroline (Case) Freeman.
The Freemans continued to live at 457 Beacon during the 1892-1893 season, but moved thereafter to 470 Beacon, one of two new houses (468-470 Beacon) built by James B. Case. The Cases moved to 468 Beacon at about the same time.
On May 20,1893, 457 Beacon was acquired from Caroline Freeman by cotton manufacturer John Whittemore Farwell. He and his wife, Ruby Frances (Howe) Farwell, made it their home. They previously had lived at 357 Beacon . They also maintained a home in Melrose and later in Cohasset.
Ruby Farwell died in November of 1923. John Farwell continued to live at 457 Beacon until his death in October of 1929.
On September 10, 1931, 457 Beacon was purchased from John Farwell’s estate by lawyer Winfield Chester Towne. He converted the property into six apartments, and he and his wife, Helen Medora (Gillespie) Towne, lived in one of the apartments. The previously had lived at the Hotel Somerset.
On January 15, 1941, 457 Beacon was damaged by fire. By 1942, the Townes had moved to 38 Hemenway.
On April 28, 1942, Winfield Towne transferred 457 Beacon to the Franklin Savings Bank of the City of Boston, which also held a mortgage on the property.
On May 4, 1942, 457 Beacon was acquired from the Franklin Savings Bank by real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson, who conveyed the property on the same day to Henry Albert Burnham and his son, Richard Delmont Burnham. Henry Burnham was a real estate dealer and manager of the Braemore Hotel at 466 Commonwealth, where he and his wife, Marion (Gray) Burnham, also lived.
On January 14, 1944, 457 Beacon was purchased from Henry and Richard Burnham by Horace Upham Ransom. He and his wife, Sarah Chaplin (Bent) Ransom, lived in Meredith, New Hampshire. On March 11, 1957, he transferred 457 Beacon to his daughter, Sarah Bent (Ransom) Claghorn, the wife of Allan Claghorn.
On December 14, 1960, 457 Beacon was acquired from Sally Claghorn by Thomas Spiro, trustee of the Philmark Investment Trust.
On May 12, 1972, 457 Beacon was acquired from Thomas Spiro by Anthony Wine and his wife, Shirley Jean (Smith) Wine, trustees of the Belle Realty Trust.
On September 28, 1979, 457 Beacon was purchased from Anthony and Shirley Wine by John C. O’Neil. On August 25, 1980, he transferred the property to himself as trustee of the 457 Beacon Street Realty Trust.
On March 23, 1981, he converted the property into five condominium units, the 457 Beacon Street Condominium.