461 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 461 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, 461 Beacon was purchased from Asa Caton by Miss Susan P. Baker. Her unmarried brother, Charles T. Baker, lived with her. He was an insurance broker. They previously had lived at 8 Wellington.
Charles Baker died in October of 1905. Susan Baker continued to lived at 461 Beacon.
By 1910, she had been joined by Miss Caroline Denton Wells, a companion.
Susan Baker died in May of 1922. Caroline Wells continued to live at 461 Beacon during the 1922-1923 winter season, but moved thereafter.
The house was not listed in the 1924-1935 Blue Books, nor in the 1923-1931 Lists of Residents, and is shown as vacant in the 1930-1931 City Directories.
On January 19, 1925, 461 Beacon was acquired from Susan Baker’s estate by Laura M. Percy of Somerville.
461 Beacon subsequently changed hands and on January 8, 1929, William Hoag foreclosed on a mortgage he held and took possession of the property. He was a lawyer and real estate dealer. He and his wife, Ruth C. (Wood) Hoag, lived in Dorchester.
From the early 1930s, the property was a multiple dwelling, either apartments or a lodging house, and in April of 1932, William Hoag was cited by the Building Department because 461 Beacon lacked sufficient means of egress.
By the 1935-1936 winter season, among the residents at 461 Beacon were Dr. Allen Tibbets Moulton and his wife, Mary C. (Andrews) Moulton. They previously had lived in an apartment at 483 Beacon. He was a physician and also maintained his medical offices at 461 Beacon.
By the early 1940s, and probably earlier, 461 Beacon had been converted into four apartments. Dr. and Mrs. Moulton continued to live (and he to maintain his office) there until shortly before his death in November of 1946.
On November 16, 1944, 461 Beacon was acquired from William Hoag by Andrew J. Sullivan, and on November 13, 1945, it was acquired from him by Joseph Warren Morrill and his wife, Ernestine Lila (Hunt) Morrill.
Joseph and Elizabeth Morrill lived in one of the apartments. They previously had lived at 111 Whitcomb Avenue. He was an inspector for the Boston Health Department.
Joseph Morrill died in June of 1955, and Ernestine Morrill moved soon thereafter.
On February 12, 1957, 461 Beacon was acquired from Ernestine Morrill by Chester C. Fredberg and his wife, Celia (Ceil) (Koblintz) Fredberg. He was a salesman with the Great Northern Finance Company. They owned and lived at 471 Beacon and in December of 1958 also acquired 477 Beacon.
On September 11, 1979, 461 Beacon was purchased from the Fredbergs by Maxine Geller, trustee of the Pelican Realty Trust. She purchased 477 Beacon from them on the same day.
In August of 1979, prior to taking title, Pelican Realty filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into six apartments.
On June 7, 1980, Maxine Geller converted 461 Beacon into six condominium units, the 461 Beacon Street Condominium.