480 Beacon

480 Beacon (2015)

Lot 22' x 150' (3,300 sf)

Lot 22′ x 150′ (3,300 sf)

480 Beacon is located on north side of Beacon, between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue, with 478 Beacon to the east and 482 Beacon to the west.

480 Beacon was designed by Cabot, Everett, and Mead, architects, and built by W. A. & H. A. Root, masons, in 1892-1893 as the home of Miss Lucy Ellis.  She is shown as the owner on the final building inspection report, dated August 21, 1893, and on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps.

Lucy Ellis was an artist.  She had lived at 114 Boylston with her brother, Dr. Calvin Ellis, until his death in December of 1883. He was a physician and Dean of Harvard Medical School.

Lucy Ellis continued to live on Boylston in 1892, but moved soon thereafter to the Hotel Oxford (southeast corner of Exeter and  Huntington) and then to 480 Beacon, where she was living by the 1893-1894 winter season.  She continued to live there until her death in June of 1899.  She left 480 Beacon to Harvard University.

The house was not listed in the 1900 and 1901 Blue Books.

In mid-1901, it was purchased from Harvard by Edward Burlingame Hill and his wife Mary Alison (Bixby) Hill.  The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on July 18, 1901.  They previously had lived at 321 Beacon.  They also maintained a home in Francestown, New Hampshire.

Second floor plan of 480 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report, 21Aug1893 (v. 51, p. 94); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Second floor plan of 480 Beacon, bound with the final building inspection report, 21Aug1893 (v. 51, p. 94); courtesy of the Boston Public Library Arts Department

Edward Hill was a music teacher and composer of orchestral and choral works.  He later would become a professor of music at Harvard.

During the 1902-1903 winter season, the Hills were joined at 480 Beacon by Alison Hill’s aunt, Emma Adaline (Bixby) Vermyne, the widow of Dr. John J. B. Vermyne  She had lived at the Hotel Cambridge at 483 Beacon earlier in 1902.  She no longer was listed at 480 Beacon in the 1904 Blue Book and by 1905 was living at 391 Beacon.

The Hills continued to live at 480 Beacon in 1906, but had moved to 4 Marlborough by 1907.  They continued to own 480 Beacon house, however, and Alison B. Hill is shown as the owner on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.

By the 1906-1907 winter season, 480 Beacon was the home of Hannah King (Davenport) Brown, the widow of wholesale druggist Atherton Thayer Brown.  She previously had lived at 401 Commonwealth, which her husband had built ca. 1901.

She continued to live at 480 Beacon in 1917, but had moved to 344 Marlborough by 1918.

By the 1917-1918 winter season, 480 Beacon was the home of leather and wool merchant Morris Rosenthal and his wife Louise (Rothschild) Rosenthal.  They previously had lived in Brookline.

During the 1922-1923 winter season, they were traveling abroad and 480 Beacon was the home of Felix Vorenberg and his wife, Rose (Frankenstein) Vorenberg.  They previously had lived at the Copley Plaza Hotel.  He was a dealer in chinaware and jewelry.  By the 1923=1924 season, the Vorenbergs were living at the Copley Plaza Hotel again, and the Rosenthals had resumed living at 480 Beacon.

During the 1924-1925 season the Rosenthals were living at the Copley Plaza Hotel and 480 Beacon was the home of Abraham C. (“Cap”) Ratshesky and his wife, Edith (Shuman) Ratshesky.  They previously had lived at the Hotel Touraine.

Abraham Ratshesky and his brother, Israel, had been wholesale clothiers in the firm founded by their father, Asher Ratshesky.  In 1895, they became bankers, founding the United States Trust Company, which specialized in the needs of the immigrant population, providing services not otherwise available to them in Boston.

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

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

The Ratsheskys had moved from 480 Beacon by the 1925-1926 season, and by the 1926-1927 season were living in an apartment at 65 Commonwealth.

The Rosenthals resumed living at 480 Beacon and continued to live there until about 1932, after which they made their home in Beverly.

The house was not listed in the 1933 Blue Book and was shown as vacant in the 1933 City Directory.

By 1934, Edward and Alison Hill once again were living at 480 Beacon, joined by their sons, Henry B. Hill and George E. B. Hill.  They had been living in Cambridge, which had been their home since about 1919, when they moved from 4 Marlborough. They continued to live at 480 Beacon until about 1937.  Alison Hill was the assessed owner through 1937.

Real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson is shown as the owner of 480 Beacon on the 1938 Bromley map.

By 1939, 480 Beacon was the home of Ann Allen and the location of her Allen School of Costume Designing.  She previously had lived at 127 Newbury and the school had been located at 29 Newbury.  She continued to live and operate her school at 480 Beacon until about 1941.

Elizabeth A. Keegan was the assessed owner of 480 Beacon from 1939 through 1941.

By 1942, 480 Beacon was the location of the Kingsley School, a school for children of normal intelligence with reading difficulties or other learning problems.  The school had been founded in 1938 by Edith (Halliday) Kingsley and Helen Loud.  Edith Kingsley was an educator and expert in remedial reading; her husband, Howard L. Kingsley was a professor of psychology at Boston University.

Kingsley School continued to be located at 480 Beacon in 1944, but had moved to 397 Marlborough by 1945.

By 1945, 480 Beacon had been converted into apartments.

Alma Vorland was the assessed owner of 480 Beacon from 1942 through 1946.

By 1947, 480 Beacon was owned by real estate dealer Thomas J. Diab, who was the assessed owner from 1847 through 1949.

The property changed hands and in 1953 was acquired by Hans V. Steinhart.  In April of 1954, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to legalize the occupancy as six apartments, which he indicated was the existing condition when he purchased the property.

The property changed hands again and in July of 1960 was acquired by the Massachusetts Iota-Tau Association. It already was the owner of 484 Beacon, where the MIT chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity had been located since 1921.

In June of 1961, it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from six apartments into a second fraternity house for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

In October of 1999, the Boston Licensing Board revoked the fraternity’s dormitory licenses because of illegal consumption of alcohol by minors and repeated complaints by neighbors.

In February of 2001, the Iota-Tau Association transferred the property to The 484 Phi Alpha Foundation.

In March of 2001, Mark E. Harrington and Patricia Harrington purchased 480 Beacon from The 484 Phi Alpha Foundation.

In April of 2003, they converted the property into two condominium units, the Beacon Riverview Condominium.

478-480 Beacon (2015)

478-480 Beacon (2015)