486 Beacon was designed by Ernest N. Boyden, architect, and built in 1892-1893 by Eugene H. Fay, builder, probably for speculative sale. It was one of five contiguous houses (482-484-486-488-490 Beacon). He is shown as the owner on the original building permit applications for 484-490 Beacon, all dated June 11, 1892 (the application for 482 Beacon has not been located).
By the 1893-1894 winter season, 486 Beacon was the home of stockbroker Stephen Howe Bennett and his wife, Margaret (Darlington) Bennett. They had married in June of 1893 and 486 Beacon probably was their first home together. Margaret D. Bennett is shown as the owner on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps. They continued to live there in 1904, but had moved to 329 Commonwealth by 1905.
In the summer of 1904, 486 Beacon was purchased from the Bennetts by wholesale jeweler David Crowell Percival, Jr., and his wife, Jennie F. (Bessie) Percival. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on September 2, 1904. They previously had lived at 217 Newbury.
Living with them were their son, Lawrence F. Percival, and their son-in-law and daughter, Herman Parker and Lillian H. (Percival) Parker. Lawrence Percival was a jeweler in his father’s firm. Herman Parker had been an architect until about 1895 when he joined Macullar, Parker & Co., the retail clothing firm founded by his father, Charles Wallingford Parker. The Parkers had lived with the Percivals at 217 Newbury.
The Percivals and the Parkers continued to live at 486 Beacon in 1906. By 1907, they had moved to 60 Commonwealth.
486 Beacon was not listed in the 1907 Blue Book.
By the 1907-1908 winter season, 486 Beacon was the home of William Morgan Butler and his wife, Mary Lothrop (Webster) Butler. They had been married in January of 1907 (his first wife, Minne Ford (Norton) Butler, having died in February of 1905), and 486 Beacon probably was their first home together. He is shown as the owner on the 1908 and 1917 Bromley maps. They also maintained a home in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.
William Morgan Butler was a lawyer and former state legislator. He retired from legal practice in 1912 and became a cotton manufacturer. In 1924, he served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and in November of that year, was appointed to the US Senate to fill the vacancy left by the death of Henry Cabot Lodge. He lost his bid for election to the office in 1926, and lost a second attempt for election to the US Senate in 1930.
By the 1921-1922 winter season, 486 Beacon was the home of Washington Irving Bullard and his wife, Annie E. (Jacobs) Bullard. They previously had lived in Chestnut Hill. Annie E. Bullard is shown as the owner of 486 Beacon on the 1928 Bromley map. They also maintained a home in Edgartown.
W. Irving Bullard was a former reporter and editor. He subsequently was a bond broker, textile manufacturer, and banker.
During the 1925-1926 winter season, the Bullards were living elsewhere and 486 Beacon was the home of cotton broker and mill owner Thomas Spriggs Blumer and his wife, Nancy Warburton (Scott) Blumer. They previously had lived at 341 Beacon. The also maintained a home in Manchester. By 1927, they were living at 127 Beacon.
The Bullards were abroad for the 1927-1928 winter season, and after they returned they lived at the Hotel Somerset.
During the 1927-1928 season, 486 Beacon was the home Robert Shuman Steinert and his wife, Lucy Pettingill (Currier) Steinert. During the same season, they also lived with Lucy Steinert’s parents, Guy and Marie (Burress) Currier, at 8 Commonwealth; during the previous season they had lived with Robert Steinert’s parents, Alexander and Bessie (Shuman) Steinert, at 401 Commonwealth. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms. Robert Steinert was president of M. Steinert & Sons, piano and music dealers, on Boylston, and of the Jewett Piano Company, manufacturers of pianos. By the 1928-1929 winter season, they had moved to 13 Gloucester.
By 1929, 486 Beacon had been acquired by architect Edward Thomas Patrick Graham, who also owned 488 Beacon. He was the assessed owner of 486 Beacon from 1929 and continued to own both properties in the late 1950s and probably later.. Edward T. P. Graham lived in Cambridge and maintained his office at 171 Newbury.
486 Beacon became a lodging house, operated in conjunction with 488 Beacon by Charles Henry Bingham and his wife, Elizabeth (Mead) Bingham, who lived at 488 Beacon and had operated at lodging house there since about 1928.
Charles Bingham died in December of 1942, and Elizabeth Bingham moved to 312 Beacon by 1944.
In October of 1944, Edward Graham filed to legalize the occupancy of both properties as lodging houses, noting that they had been used as such “for more than fifteen years.” He subsequently abandoned the application.
In September of 1946, he filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the properties from lodging houses into fraternities, allowing expansion of the MIT chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, located at 484 Beacon. Doors were cut in the party wall between 484 and 486 Beacon on several floors, and doors were cut between 486 and 488 Beacon on the fifth floor, allowing the use of that floor by the fraternity as well.
By 1967, 486 and 488 Beacon were owned by the Wesley Foundation of Cambridge.
In July of 1967, it applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the properties from a fraternity back into a lodging house.
486 and 488 Beacon changed hands, and in August of 1976 were acquired through foreclosure by Nubar J. Dinjian and Karnig S. Dinjian as trustees of the Two-D Realty Trust.
In December of 1977, they transferred the properties to Malcolm McPhail and Dominick Scarfo as trustees of the Dinjian & Dinjian Realty Trust.
In June of 1979, the Dinjian & Dinjian Realty Trust converted 486 and 488 Beacon into 18 condominium units, nine in each building, the 486-488 Beacon Street Condominium.
In September of 1979, the Dinjian & Dinjian Realty Trust filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 486 Beacon from a lodging house into nine apartments (consistent with the condominiums created three months earlier). They presumably filed a similar application for 488 Beacon at the same time (a copy of the application is not included in the Building Department files).
In May of 1992, a condominium owner, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to combine two units and reduce the occupancy from nine to eight units.