474 Beacon

474 Beacon (2015)

Lot 25' x 150' (3,750 sf)

Lot 25′ x 150′ (3,750 sf)

474 Beacon is located on north side of Beacon, between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue, with 472 Beacon to the east and 476 Beacon to the west.

474 Beacon was designed by Fehmer and Page, architects, and built in 1891-1892 by James Smith, mason.  It was built as the home of dry goods merchant Nathaniel Willard Pierce and his wife, Catherine Hatch (Collamore) Pierce.  Nathaniel Pierce is shown as the owner on the final building inspection report, dated December 3, 1892.  They lived at the Hotel Vendôme while the house was being completed.

Catherine Pierce died in May of 1901, and Nathaniel Pierce died in January of 1902.

After their deaths, their unmarried daughter, Katherine C. Pierce, continued to live there until about 1906.

During the next three seasons, she was living elsewhere and 474 Beacon was the home of Nathaniel Hugh Cotton and his wife, Harriet Emma (Clapp) Cotton. They had lived at 221 Beacon during the 1904-1905 season. N. Hugh Cotton was a West Indies shipping merchant. They continued to live at 474 Beacon during the 1908-1909 season, but moved thereafter.

Nathaniel W. Pierce’s Heirs are shown as the owner of 474 Beacon on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.

First floor plan of 474 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report, 3Dec1892 (v. 49, p. 7); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

First floor plan of 474 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report, 3Dec1892 (v. 49, p. 7); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

By the 1909-1910 winter season, Katherine Pierce was living there once again.  She continued to live at 474 Beacon in 1911 but had moved to an apartment at 373 Commonwealth by 1912.

During the 1911-1912 winter season, 474 Beacon was the home of Charles Henry Wheelwright Foster and his wife, Mabel Chase (Hill) Foster.  He was president of Chickering & Sons, piano manufacturers, and of the Mutual National Bank.  Their usual residence was at The Ludlow (southwest corner of Clarendon and St. James) and in Charles River Village in Needham.  Their daughter, Edith Hill Foster, was a debutante during the 1911-1912 season and, as noted in the Boston Globe‘s “Table Gossip for October 15, 1911, they took the house for the season “to entertain in her honor.”

During the 1912-1913 winter season, 474 Beacon was the home of James T. Barron and his wife, Elizabeth (Nixon) Barron. They had lived at the Hotel Vendôme during the previous season. James Barron was owner of the Thlinket Packing Company in Portland, Oregon, operators of fish canneries. They lived in Portland and frequently summered in Alaska, where he had business interests. From about 1912, they spent the winter seasons in Boston where their son, Robert J. Barron, was in school, and their daughter, Anna Marie Barron, was introduced into society.

The Barrons also spent the 1913-1914 season at 474 Beacon but probably spent the next season in Portland, where Anna Marie Barron married in October of 1914 to Thomas Martin Fitzpatrick, a dry goods merchant from Boston. By the 1915-1916 winter season, the Barrons and the Martins were living at 315 Commonwealth (in August of 1917, the Barrons’ son, Robert, was killed while serving as a cadet in the Army Aviation Training Corps, drowned while attempting to save two other cadets who had crashed in the Delaware River).

Katherine Pierce continued to own 474 Beacon.  She died in March of 1913 in Algiers and her will was contested by her paternal aunt, Mrs. Martha Willard (Pierce) Boardman, the widow of William Bartlett Boardman (called “Margaret W. Boardman” in the April 7, 1915, Boston Globe article on the litigation).  Katherine Pierce left all of her household effects to her maternal aunt, Miss Helen Collamore, and did not mention Mrs. Boardman.  In addition to substantial charitable bequests, she also left a large bequest to her second cousin, Frank Stanley White (the son Charles Goddard White and Katharine Stanley Pierce, daughter of Nathaniel Pierce’s brother, Thomas Cary Willard Pierce).  He was a  lawyer and also was Katherine Pierce’s executor.  Martha Boardman alleged that she was misled as to her rights by Mr. White, and challenged the will.  She subsequently withdrew her suit.  She died in January of 1915, and in early April of 1915, the court ordered that all of the papers associated with the proceeding be removed from the files.  Helen Collamore died later in April of 1915.

474 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

474 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

On January 16, 1916, the Boston Globe reported that 474 Beacon had been sold by the estate of Katherine Pierce to real estate dealers James Sumner Draper and Mark Temple Dowling.

By mid-1916, 474 Beacon was owned by Arthur Little, probably the architect.

On June 16, 1916, the Boston Globe reported that 474 Beacon had been acquired from Arthur Little by Francis Russell Hart and his wife, Helen Bronson (Hobbey) Hart.  Helen Hart’s sister, Louise W. Hobbey, lived with them.  They all had previously lived at 4 Marlborough.  The Harts also maintained a summer home at Nonquitt, Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe article also notes that “Francis R. Hart’s estate on Central av, Milton, has been transferred to Mr. Little.”  The Milton estate “comprises two acres of land with beautiful lawns and gardens, and large mansion house of 21 rooms, four baths, with stable and garage.”

William J. Stober, real estate agent and conveyancer, is shown as the owner of 474 Beacon on the 1917 Bromley map.  Francis Hart is shown as the owner of 474 Beacon on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

Francis Hart was a banker with the Old Colony Trust Company.  He also served as president of the Cartagena-Magdalena Railway in Colombia from 1893 to 1906, and as president of the Lowell Light Corporation.

The Harts and Louise Hobbey continued to live at 474 Beacon until Francis Hart’s death in January of 1938.  After his death, Helen Hart and Miss Hobbey moved to the Hotel Somerset.

By 1939, 474 Beacon was the home of Dr. Moses Solomon Strock, an oral surgeon, and his wife, Bernice (Sisitzky) Strock.  He also maintained his office there.  They previously had lived in Brookline.  Bernice Strock was the assessed owner of 474 Beacon from 1939.

His brother, Alvin E. Strock, a dentist, also maintained his offices at 474 Beacon.  He lived in Newton.

By 1942, Moses and Bernice Strock had moved to Newton and had converted 474 Beacon into a combination of medical offices and apartments.

By the mid-1950s, 474 Beacon was comprosed of nine apartments, two of which were used by Moses Strock and his brother, Alvin.

Moses Strock died in March of 1970.

In July of 1970, Serena F. Weinstein acquired 474 Beacon from Bernice Strock. In March of 1971, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as nine apartments. In December of 2011, she transferred the property to herself as trustee of the River Street Realty Trust II.

In October of 2015. 474 Beacon was acquired from Joanna W. Chodes, trustee of the River Street Realty Trust (successor to the River Street Realty Trust II) by the Front Bay LLC (Peter E. Georgantas, manager of record).

In 2016, Front Bay LLC applied for (and subsequently received) permission to reduce the number of units from nine to three.