462 Beacon was designed by Brigham and Spofford, architects, and built in 1891-1892 by H. H. Hunt, builder, as the home of William Sumner Appleton and his wife, Edith Stuart (Appleton) Appleton. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated May 11, 1891, and on the final building inspection report, dated October 10, 1892.
The land for 462 Beacon was purchased by Edith Appleton on August 1, 1890, from real estate investor Nathan Matthews. It was part of a larger parcel Nathan Matthews had purchased on the same day from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
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 462 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.
During the 1891-1892 winter season, while 462 Beacon was under construction, William and Edith Appleton lived at 187 Beacon. She died there in January of 1892, before their new home was completed.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, William Appleton had made 462 Beacon his home. He also maintained a home, Oak Hill, in Newton.
Educated as an attorney, William Sumner Appleton never practiced law, but 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.
William Appleton’s five children lived with him: Eleanor Armistead Appleton, William Sumner Appleton, Jr., Marjorie Crane Appleton, Dorothy Everard Appleton, and Gladys Hughes Appleton.
William Sumner Appleton, Sr., died in April of 1903. Eleanor Appleton married in April of 1904 to Major Robert Hargreave Fraser Standen, a British military officer stationed in Halifax.
William Sumner Appleton, Jr., and his unmarried sisters continued to live at 462 Beacon during the 1903-1904 winter season, but moved thereafter to The Beresford at 845 Boylston.
William Sumner Appleton, Jr., was a noted preservationist and in 1910 founded the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (later Historic New England).
During the 1904-1905 winter season, 462 Beacon was the home Alice (Weld) Williams, the widow of merchant Thomas Blake Williams, and her son, Ralph Blake Williams, a real estate trustee. They previously had lived at 304 Commonwealth. Also living at 462 Beacon were Alice Williams’s son-in-law and daughter, Dr. George Gray Sears, a physician, and Ruth (Williams) Sears. They had married in February of 1904 and 462 Beacon probably was their first home together. Prior to their marriage, George Sears had lived at 19 Marlborough and Ruth Williams had lived at 304 Commonwealth with her mother and brother. They all were living at 462 Beacon while two houses were being built for them at 424 and 426 Beacon, where they moved in about 1906 (Alice Williams and Ralph B. Williams to 424 Beacon, and George and Ruth Sears to 426 Beacon).
On November 16, 1904, 462 Beacon was purchased from the estate of William Sumner Appleton, Sr., by Frances Elizabeth (Appleton) Jackson, the wife of stockbroker Charles Cabot Jackson. She was William Sumner Appleton, Sr.’s first cousin, twice removed. The Cabots lived at 301 Marlborough and appear not to have moved to 462 Beacon until after the 1904-1905 winter season.
The Jacksons’ daughter, Susan, married Ralph Blake Williams in September of 1906, and moved to 31 Gloucester.
Charles Jackson died in October of 1926. Frances Jackson continued to live at 462 Beacon and also maintained a home in Cohasset.
By the 1925-1926 winter season, Frances Jackson had been joined at 462 Beacon by her sister-in-law, Miss Marian Cabot Jackson. She previously had lived at 12 Marlborough.
Frances Jackson, continued to live at 462 Beacon until her death in December of 1929, and Marian Jackson continued to live at 462 Beacon until her death in June of 1936.
The house was not listed in the 1937 Blue Book.
On March 13, 1939, 462 Beacon was purchased from Frances Jackson’s three surviving children – Charles Cabot Jackson, Robert Appleton Jackson, and Susan (Jackson) Williams – by real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson.
Two days later, he conveyed the property to Samuel Marcus Zangwill, an electrician. His parents, Benedict Michael Zangwill and Anna (Feinberg) Zangwill, lived with him. They previously had lived at 17 Wabeno in Roxbury.
In September of 1939, Samuel Zangwill applied for a lodging house license and was advised by the Building Department of the egress, safety, and change in use requirements to permit the property to be used for that purpose.
By April of 1940, at the time of the US Census, the Zangwills were operating 462 Beacon as a lodging house. Living with them, as the housekeeper, was Helen (Joel) Shorter, the former wife of William Sawyer Shorter, and their children, Edna and Godfried Shorter.
In 1941, Samuel Zangwill married Helen Shorter. They continued to live with his parents at 462 Beacon.
In February of 1943, Samuel Zangwill filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house, legalizing the current use.
In November of 1946, Samuel Zangwill applied for permission to use the front room of the house for meetings of The Theosophical Society and Universalist Brotherhood, of which he indicated he had been a member for thirty years. The application was denied, but he reapplied in July of 1947, and it appears to have been granted.
On April 30, 1951, 462 Beacon was purchased from Samuel Zangwill by Stewart Toomey and his wife, Caterina (Catherine/Catheryn) (Longo) Toomey, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously lived at 439 Marlborough.
The property changed hands, remaining a lodging house, and on August 25, 1960, was acquired by Elizabeth (Andersen) MacKenzie, the widow of John Pettibone MacKenzie. She continued to operate it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 395 Marlborough.
On October 19, 1962, 462 Beacon was acquired from Elizabeth MacKenzie by Mrs. Ella P. Ciolina, who continued to operate it as a lodging house. She previously had lived in Germany.
On October 5, 1983, 462 Beacon was purchased from Ella Ciolina by Dorothy P. Wirth, trustee of The Beacon Group Trust.
In November of 1983, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into twelve apartments.
On March 4, 1984, she converted the property into twelve condominium units, the 462 Beacon Street Condominium.