50 Hereford was designed by Ernest N. Boyden, architect, and built in 1885-1886 by Albion Knowlton, builder, for Edwin B. Horn, Jr., a jeweler and real estate developer. It was one of four contiguous buildings (46-48-50-52 Hereford) built for Edwin Horn, designed as a symmetrical group, with 48-50 Hereford a symmetrical pair of single-family dwellings, flanked by 46 Hereford and 52 Hereford, each a four-family apartment building. Edwin Horn is shown as the owner on the original building permit applications for 46, 50, and 52 Hereford, all dated May 7, 1885 (the application for 48 Hereford has not been located).
Edwin Horn purchased the land for 46-48-50-52 Hereford on April 21, 1885, from Caleb H. Warner and Charles F. Smith, trustees. The parcel had been part of a tract of land originally purchased by Nathan Matthews on January 2, 1871, from David Sears, Jr., Frederick R. Sears, and Knyvet Sears.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 50 Hereford.
Edwin Horn sold all four of the buildings after they were completed. In the deeds, he included a four foot wide easement across the rear of 46-48-50 Hereford to provide access to the alley.
On November 11, 1885, 48 and 50 Hereford were offered for sale at public auction. The auction notice published in the Boston Daily Advertiser by Samuel Hatch & Company, auctioneers, described the houses as “containing 10 rooms, laundry, bathroom, &c. The parlors, dining rooms and kitchens are on the main entrance floor. The houses are finished in cherry and oak, very stylish; are 20 feet front by 38 feet in depth, with L., and the lot is 60 feet deep.”
On November 12, 1885, the Boston Globe reported that the successful bidder was “S. Ehrlich,” probably Samuel Ehrlich, a pawn broker. He did not take title to the property, but probably sold his right to purchase it to Miss Lavina F. B. Pitcher and her sister, Caroline B. Pitcher, who purchased the property on November 28, 1885, from Edwin Horn.
Lavina and Caroline Pitcher lived at 48 Hereford with their five sisters: Sarah Pitcher, Augusta Bridget (Pitcher) Farley (the widow of Charles Farley), Estelle V. Pitcher, Eudora E. W. Pitcher, and Grace Pitcher. Lavina, Eudora, and Grace Pitcher were teachers. They all previously had lived at 7 Walnut, together with an eighth sister, Ellen, also a teacher.
The seven Pitcher sisters continued to live at 50 Hereford at the time of the 1910 US Census.
Sarah Pitcher died in September of 1911, Augusta Farley died in November of 1913, and Eudora Pitcher died in 1917.
By the time of the 1920 US Census, Caroline, Estelle, Lavina, and Grace Pitcher continued to live at 50 Hereford, together with a lodger, Miss Jessie Holland.
On June 8, 1922, 50 Hereford was acquired from Lavina and Caroline Pitcher by A. Dudley Dowd and Dudley G. Lester, trustees of Ridgefield Associates.
On September 26, 1922, 50 Hereford was acquired from A. Dudley Dowd and Dudley G. Lester by Miss Claudia F. Hoyt. She was joined at 40 Hereford by Eva S. (Berry) Sullivan, the former wife of Homer Vincent Sullivan. They previously had lived at 55 Ivy. They operated 50 Hereford as a lodging house.
Claudia Hoyt died in August of 1923 and 50 Hereford was inherited by Eva Sullivan. She continued to live there and operate it as a lodging house.
On May 3, 1937, the Whitinsville Savings Bank foreclosed on the mortgage it held on 50 Hereford and took possession of the property.
Eva Sullivan continued to live at 50 Hereford until about 1941. By 1942, she was living in an apartment at 224 Marlborough.
50 Hereford was shown as vacant in the 1942 and 1943 City Directories.
On April 14, 1943, 50 Hereford was acquired from the Whitinsville Savings Bank by real estate dealer Henry Joseph O’Meara, and on May 12, 1943, it was acquired from him by William J. Dooley.
On July 14, 1943, 50 Hereford was acquired from William J. Dooley by Susie Grace (Fudge) Lacey, the widow of George Lacey (originally Lace). She previously had lived at 110 Huntington.
That same month, she applied for a lodging house license and was informed by the Building Department of the safety and egress requirements that must be met before the house could be legally used for that purpose. She does not appear to have filed for a permit to change the use or make the necessary improvements.
The property changed hands and on November 20, 1945, was acquired by Michael Angelo Avellino and his wife, Jean G. (Dean) Avellino, who operated it as a lodging house. He had recently returned from serving in the military in Germany; she previously had lived at 10 Blackwood.
The property changed hands again and on February 17, 1950, was acquired by Lillian Jacquelyn (Battistone) Mathewson, the former wife of Robert Edward Mathewson, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 29 Geneva Avenue.
In 1951, Lillian Mathewson married Melvin Mayo Barron, a jeweler. He was a widower, his first wife, Yetta (Pritsky) Barron, having died in August of 1950. They had lived in Dorchester before her death.
After their marriage, Melvin and Lillian Barron lived at 50 Hereford. She transferred 50 Hereford into both of their names, and on June 15, 1955, he transferred it back into her name. They continued to live there until about 1960.
On July 7, 1960, 50 Hereford was acquired from Lillian Barron by real estate dealers Stuart H. Hastings and Joseph A. Gautreau.
In October of 1960, they applied for (and subsequently received) permission to change the occupancy from a two-family dwelling and lodging house into three apartments.
On January 20, 1964, 50 Hereford was acquired from Stuart Hastings and Joseph Gautreau by Paula Frieda (Goller) Lescrinier Koebbel, the wife of George Koebbel. They moved to 50 Hereford from 114 Huntington, where they operated the “Elite Guest House.” Several of the other residents of 114 Huntington moved to 50 Hereford with them.
George Koebbel died in April of 1971. Paula Koebbel continued to live at 50 Hereford.
On June 4, 1973, William Harney (who had moved to 50 Hereford with the Koebbels) was killed in a fire in his basement apartment at 50 Hereford. The fire was attributed to careless smoking.
On September 28, 1978, 50 Hereford was purchased from Paula Koebbel by Miss Patricia L. Brown.
The legal occupancy remained as a three-family dwelling. From 2003, it was assessed as a two-family dwelling. It remained assessed as a two-family dwelling in 2017.