495-497 Beacon was designed by architect Ernest N. Boyden and built in 1890 by E. A. Lynch, mason, as a four-unit apartment building. It was built for real estate dealer Seth Russell Baker, one of three contiguous multi-unit buildings he had built at the southwest corner of Beacon and Massachusetts Avenue: 21-23 Massachusetts Avenue, 491 Beacon (25-27 Massachusetts Avenue), and 495-497 Beacon.
At about the same time, Ernest Boyden designed two multi-family dwellings for Seth Baker at 479-481 Beacon, and probably a third at 483 Beacon (razed for construction of the Hotel Cambridge in about 1898).
Seth Baker is shown as the owner of 495-497 Beacon on the final building inspection report, dated October 9, 1890. On the report, the address is shown as 497 Beacon.
By 1895, 495-497 Beacon was owned by Godfrey Morse (born Maas), a lawyer. He is shown as the owner on the 1895 and 1898 Bromley maps. He was unmarried and lived with his brother and sister-in-law, Leopold and Georgiana Louisa (Ray) Morse, at 203 Commonwealth. He married in January of 1907 to Mrs. Janet (Jennie) (Rosenfeld) Conrad, the former wife of Sidney Smith Conrad; after their marriage, they lived at the Hotel Lenox at 61 Exeter.
By 1908, Godfrey Morse had also acquired 499 Beacon and is shown as the owner of both properties on the 1908 Bromley maps. He died in June of 1911. Godfrey Morse’s Heirs are shown as the owners of both 495-497 and 499 Beacon on the 1912 Bromley map.
After Godfrey Morse’s death, Jennie Morse married again, in 1914, to Jacob Joseph Lowe (Lowenburg), a radiologist. He operated the Boston Dental X-Ray Laboratory, and developed and patented a device to use X-Ray technology for fitting shoes to feet. They lived at the Hotel Lenox. Janet M. Lowe is shown as the owner of 495-497 and 499 Beacon on the 1917 Bromley map.
In spring of 1925, real estate dealer William N. Ambler purchased 495-497 and 499 Beacon from Janet M. Lowe. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on May 27, 1925.
In early 1927, Perley F. Ripley acquired 495-497 Beacon from Frank Connors. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on January 23, 1927.
By 1928, 495-497 Beacon was owned by Marie Elise (Chayer) Bordeau, the former wife of Frank (Francois) Xavier Bordeau, who operated it as a lodging house. She lived at 103 Beacon, where she also operated a lodging house. She is shown as the owner of 495-497 Beacon on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.
In April of 1934, Marie Bordeau applied for (and subsequently received) permission to install a fire escape on rear of the building. The current and proposed use of the property was shown as “lodgings and store.”
In August of 1936, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the front of 495-497 Beacon to add a storefront with an entrance at street level. The store address became 495 Beacon and the original entrance to the residential portion of the building became 497 Beacon.
From the late 1930s. 495 Beacon became Huntt’s Cafeteria. It continued to be located there until about 1950.
In 1947, Marie Bordeau sold 103 Beacon and moved to 495-497 Beacon. She continued to live there and operate it as a lodging house until about 1949.
In October of 1949, Louis Pappas, owner of the Esplanade Café at 25 Massachusetts Avenue, filed for (and subsequently received) permission to construct an addition at the rear of 25 Massachusetts Avenue, connecting with the rear wall of 495-497 Beacon. No opening was cut between 25 Massachusetts Avenue and 495 Beacon. However, by 1950, the Esplanade Café was operating at 25 Massachusetts Avenue and its Zebra Lounge (with live entertainment) at 495-497 Beacon in the space previously occupied by Huntt’s Cafeteria.
In November of 1950, Louis Pappas applied for a license to serve alcoholic beverages at the Esplanade Café, indicating both addresses.
In December of 1952, 495-497 Beacon was acquired by the Esplanade Café, Inc.
The Esplanade Café continued to be located at 25 Massachusetts Avenue and 495-497 Beacon until the mid- to late 1950s.
In March of 1959, I. J. Kennedy, Inc., acquired 495-497 Beacon from the Esplanade Café, Inc.
In 1961, Kennedy Café, Inc., opened The Crossroads of Boston restaurant and bar at 495 Beacon and at 25 Massachusetts Avenue. In February of 1962, Kennedy Café, Inc., applied for permission to cut an opening between 495-497 Beacon and 25 Massachusetts Avenue to facilitate its operating in both locations. The permit was subsequently abandoned and by 1963, 25 Massachusetts Avenue was the location of the Chung Sai Restaurant. The Crossroads continued to operate at 495 Beacon.
In December of 1961, Edward J. Goodfellow and his wife, Mary, acquired 495-497 Beacon from I. J. Kennedy, Inc.
In August of 1962, Edward Goodfellow filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 495-497 Beacon from four apartments and a restaurant into ten apartments and a restaurant.
It was probably at about this time that the lots for 495-497 Beacon and 25-27 Massachusetts Avenue were adjusted, and a 6′ x 30′ strip of land at the rear of 25-27 Massachusetts was transferred to 495-497 Beacon. The transfer added 180 square feet to 495-497 Beacon (increasing the lot size from 2,232 sf to 2,412 sf., and reducing the lot size at 25-27 Massachusetts Avenue from 1,441 sf to 1,261 sf. The new lot lines were contained in a plan by William S. Crocker, Inc., surveyors, and filed with the Land Court on December 3, 1966.
The property changed hands and in March of 1979 was acquired by Michael W. Brodigan, trustee of the Clearwater Realty Trust.
In June of 2005, the 495-497 Beacon Street LLC purchased 495-497 Beacon from Michael W. Brodigan and Karen Brodigan.
In January of 2006, the 495-497 Beacon Street LLC converted 495-497 Beacon into ten residential condominiums and 1 commercial condominium. The commercial condominium continued to be occupied by The Crossroads restaurant and bar.