459 Beacon was designed by architect John H. Besarick and built in 1887-1888 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.
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 459 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the south side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On April 6, 1888, 459 Beacon was purchased from Asa Caton by Maria Louisa (White) Prouty, the wife of dry goods merchant Dwight Prouty. They previously had lived at 166 West Chester Park. They also maintained a home in Framingham.
The Proutys’ two children – Alice Louise Prouty and Dwight Mortimer Prouty – lived with them.
The Proutys continued to live at 459 Beacon during the 1900-1901 winter season, but spent the next season in Southern California and 459 Beacon was the home of Charles Wells Hubbard and his wife, Anne Laurens (Swann) Hubbard. Their primary residence was in Weston. He was treasurer of the Ludlow Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of jute. By the next winter season, they had moved to the new home they had built at 79 Bay State Road.
The Proutys resumed living at 459 Beacon during the 1902-1903 winter season.
Dwight M. Prouty married in April of 1903 to Ethie (Ethel) Bigelow Linder; after their marriage, they lived in an apartment at 405 Marlborough. Alice Prouty married in October of 1903 to Guy Warren Walker, a banker in New York City, where they lived after their marriage.
During the 1903-1904 winter season Dwight and Maria Prouty were again in Southern California and 459 Beacon was the home of Charles Willis Jones and his wife, Mary L. (Morse) Jones. Charles Willis Jones was president of the New England National Bank. They previously had lived at 518 Commonwealth. By the 1904-1905 winter season, they were living at 351 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Magnolia.
By the 1904-1905 winter season, the Proutys were again living at 459 Beacon. Maria Prouty died in April of 1905. Dwight Prouty moved thereafter to Framingham.
459 Beacon was not listed in the 1906 Blue Book.
By 1908, it was the home of stockbroker Alfred Codman and his wife, Lydia Emmet (Eliot) Codman. They also maintained a residence in Nahant. They had lived in West Roxbury in 1907, and at 3 Fairfield in 1906. By 1909, they had moved to 406 Marlborough.
On June 25, 1909, 459 Beacon was acquired by shoe manufacturer George Edward Noyes, a widower. He previously had lived at the Copley Square Hotel (northeast corner of Huntington and Exeter). Living with him were his sister, Elizabeth Ann (Noyes) Whipple, the widow of George Whipple, and their son, George Noyes Whipple; they previously had lived at 445 Marlborough. They also maintained a home in Manchester, Massachusetts. Also living at 459 Beacon of the 1910 US Census was their sister-in-law, Maria Howard (Willett) Noyes, the widow of Henry Durant Noyes.
On November 23, 1914, George Noyes Whipple acquired 459 Beacon from his uncle, George Noyes.
George Noyes Whipple had been owner of a public storage warehouse until about 1905, when he became an advertising agent. By the 1920s, he was president of The Players, a lecture association.
Elizabeth (Noyes) Whipple died in 1922 in Manchester.
George Whipple and George Noyes continued to live at 459 Beacon during the 1922-1923 winter season, but moved soon thereafter to West Manchester. George Whipple continued to own 459 Beacon and lease it to others.
In 1923, it was the home of Susan (Jackson) Williams, the widow of real estate trustee Ralph Blake Williams, who had died in March of 1923. Prior to her husband’s death, they had lived at 424 Beacon. By 1924, she had moved to 376 Marlborough.
By the 1924-1925 winter season, 459 Beacon was the fraternity house of Psi Delta, an MIT fraternity. It previously had been located at 338 Harvard in Cambridge. It remained at 459 Beacon during the 1926-1927 season, and then moved to 97 Bay State Road (in 1932, it became the Gamma Chapter of Phi Delta Theta).
On March 20, 1928, 459 Beacon was acquired from George Whipple by real estate dealer Joseph P. Brennan.
459 Beacon subsequently changed hands and was re-acquired by Joseph Brennan on May 16, 1929, through foreclosure of a mortgage he held on the property.
The house was not listed in the 1928 and 1929 Blue Books.
On August 22, 1930, the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company foreclosed on a mortgage it held on 459 Beacon and took possession of the property.
On April 14, 1931, 459 Beacon was acquired from Massachusetts Hospital Life by Lynette (Nettie) Dawes (Moore) Baker, the widow of Harry Mudge Baker. Their adult son, Geoffrey Dawes Baker, and her mother, Florence (Dawes) Moore, the widow of Henry R. Moore, lived with her. They previously had lived in Wilton, New Hampshire, and before that, in the mid-1920s, at 333 Beacon.
Lynette Baker converted the property into a multiple dwelling, either apartments or a lodging house.
By the 1932-1933 winter season, Lynette Baker, her son, and her mother had been joined at 459 Beacon by Raymond Lester Havens and his wife, Ruth (Shoemaker) Havens. They previously had lived at 128 Chestnut. He was a piano teacher and instructor at the Boston University College of Music. They continued to live at 459 Beacon until about 1938, when they moved next door to an apartment at 457 Beacon.
By the 1933-1934 winter season, 459 Beacon also had become the home of Lawrence Bernhart Anderson, a professor of architecture at MIT (and head of MIT’s Department of Architecture from 1947 to 1965), who previously had lived in Brookline. He continued to live at 459 Beacon until about 1937, when he moved to Cambridge.
On November 13, 1934, 459 Beacon was acquired from Lynette Baker by W. Henry Duncan.
Lynette Baker, her son, and her mother continued to live at 459 Beacon until about 1937.
On June 7, 1937, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation foreclosed on a mortgage it held on 459 Beacon and took possession of the property.
In September of 1942, the Home Owners Loan Corporation applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into eight apartments.
On March 3, 1943, 459 Beacon was acquired from the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation by Morris Binder (Moische Kaftan), a dress manufacturer. He and his wife, Mollie (Weiner/Weinerman) Binder lived in Dorchester.
The property changed hands and on May 11, 1964, was acquired by Robert White.
On July 11, 1972, 459 Beacon was acquired from Robert White by the Armstead Corporation (Odee L. Landry, president).
On March 29, 1977, Robert White foreclosed the mortgage given by the Armstead Corporation when they purchased 459 Beacon and took possession of the property.
In December of 1988, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from eight apartments into ten apartments.
On February 1, 1991, Robert White transferred the property to Charles White Management, Inc.
459 Beacon remained an apartment house in 2020.