471 Beacon was designed by architect John H. Besarick and built in 1889 by David Rand, mason, for building contractor Samuel M. Shapleigh for speculative sale, one of two contiguous houses (471-473 Beacon).
In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting indicates that the houses were built for J. Shapleigh, presumably John W. Shapleigh, Samuel Shapleigh’s brother and also a building contractor. However, the original building permit applications, dated March 6, 1889, and the final building inspection reports, dated October 29, 1889, indicate that the owner was Samuel M. Shapleigh (he had originally filed for permits for the two houses on November 19, 1888, but abandoned those permits and refiled in March of 1889).
Samuel Shapleigh purchased the land for 471-473 Beacon on October 29, 1888, from Frances Anne (Codman) Sturgis, the widow of architect John Hubbard Sturgis. The lot was part of a 375 foot parcel John H. Sturgis purchased on January 24, 1880, from a real estate investment trust formed by Grenville T. W. Braman, Henry D. Hyde, and Frank W. Andrews. The trust had purchased the land from the Boston Water Power Company on March 1, 1872. The 375 foot parcel was one of three John H. Sturgis had purchased 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.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 471 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the south side of Beacon between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
On February 28, 1890, 471 Beacon was purchased from Samuel Shapleigh by Maria B. (Handy) Basset, the wife of banker and broker William Basset. They previously had lived at The Tudor (northwest corner of Beacon and Joy). They continued to live at 471 Beacon during the 1892-1893 season, but moved thereafter to Arlington.
On June 20, 1893, 471 Beacon was purchased from Maria Basset by attorney Henry Gilman Nichols. He and his wife, Elsie (Quincy) Nichols, made it their home. They previously had lived at 34 Fairfield. They also maintained a home in Magnolia.
During the 1900-1901 winter season, 471 Beacon was the home of Philip Shelton Sears and his wife Mary Cabot (Higginson) Sears. He was a lawyer and trustee, and later would become a noted sculptor. Earlier in 1900, they had lived at 166 Marlborough, and by the 1901-1902 season they had moved to 4 Gloucester.
By the 1901-1902 winter season, 471 Beacon was the home of Abbie Bartlett (Adams) Worthington, the widow of Roland Worthington, publisher of The Daily Evening Traveller newspaper. She had lived at 441 Beacon during the previous season. She had moved from 471 Beacon by the 1902-1903 season, and was living at 435 Beacon by the 1903-1904 season
During the 1902-1903 winter season, 471 Beacon was the home of Thomas Sherwin and his wife Isabel Fiske (Edwards) Sherwin. Their primary residence was at 10 Revere in Jamaica Plain. They later would live at 150 Commonwealth.
Thomas Sherwin was president of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company. He had served as an officer in the Civil War and was brevetted a brigadier-general, U. S. Volunteers, for gallantry at Gettysburg and for meritorious services during the war.
On July 13, 1903, 471 Beacon was purchased from Henry Nichols’s estate by Caroline M. (Perry) Jones, the wife of Benjamin Mitchell Jones. They previously had lived in Belmont, where they continued to maintain a home.
Benjamin Jones was an iron and steel manufacturer and merchant.
Benjamin Jones died in November of 1915. Caroline Jones continued to live at 471 Beacon until her death in December of 1925.
After 1926, the house no longer was listed in the Blue Books.
On January 28, 1928, 471 Beacon was acquired from Caroline Jones’s estate by Edith Weinstein, and on February 15, 1928, it was acquired from her by real estate dealer Joseph P. Brennan.
On October 1, 1928, 471 Beacon was acquired from Joseph Brennan by John A. McLeod. In February of 1929, he filed for permission to convert the house from a single family residence to an eight family residence, also submitting an affidavit that it would remain a “one-family apartment house” as long as he was living there. He subsequently abandoned the permit.
On December 18, 1929, 471 Beacon was acquired from John McLeod by Thomas P. Daly.
On March 27, 1929, John Edwin Watkins, trustee for the benefit of William E. Watkins, foreclosed on a mortgage he held on 471 Beacon and took possession of the property.
On January 30, 1930, 471 Beacon was acquired from John Watkins by Hugh A. Carney, an attorney, who lived in Arlington.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1930 City Directory.
By 1931, 471 Beacon was the Phi Lambda Alpha (MIT) fraternity house. It continued to be located there in 1932.
By 1933, it was the Phi Iota Alpha (MIT) fraternity house.
On April 4, 1936, 471 Beacon was acquired from Mary McGill by George Bernard Rittenberg, trustee of the Sumner Realty Trust. In April of 1936, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into nine apartments. In May of 1936, he filed an amendment, reducing the number of apartments from nine to five.
On January 21, 1947, 471 Beacon was purchased from George Rittenberg by Chester C. Fredberg and his wife, Celia (Ceil) (Koblintz) Fredberg. He was corporate clerk and later a salesman with the Great Northern Finance Company. They lived in one of the apartments at 471 Beacon. In February of 1957 they acquired 461 Beacon, and December of 1958 they acquired 477 Beacon. He retired in about 1963, and they sold both 461 Beacon and 477 Beacon in September of 1979. They continued to live at 471 Beacon until their deaths, his in March of 1984 and hers in June of 1997.
After Ceil Fredberg’s death, 471 Beacon was inherited by Richard C. Berman. He and his wife, Judith A. (Gaboda) Berman, lived in Nashua, New Hampshire. In March of 1998, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of apartments from five to four by combining two apartments on the first floor.
On August 12, 1999, Richard Berman transferred the property to himself and his wife as trustees of the CKF Trust, and on February 23, 2010, they transferred the property to themselves as individuals. On November 17, 2017, they transferred the property to the CKF LLC.
471 Beacon remained an apartment house, assessed as a four- to six-family dwelling, in 2017.