503 Beacon was designed by Harris M. Stephenson, architect, and built in 1888 by David Connery & Co., masons and builders, for Edward Burgess and his wife, Caroline Louisa (Sullivant) Burgess. They previously had lived at 425 Marlborough. Edward Burgess is shown as the owner of 503 Beacon on the original building permit application, dated April 23, 1888, and on the final building inspection report, dated November 24, 1888.
Edward Burgess was secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History and an instructor of entomology at Harvard. In the mid-1880s he became a designer of sailing yachts. Among the yachts he designed were the Puritan, which won the America’s Cup in 1885, and the Mayflower, which won the Cup in 1886.
Edward Burgess died in July if 1891 and Caroline Burgess moved to an apartment at 409 Marlborough.
503 Beacon was not listed in the 1892 Blue Book.
By the 1892-1893 winter season, 503 Beacon was the home of Lyman Blanchard Greenleaf and his wife, Ellen M. (Browning) Greenleaf. They had married in April of 1892, and 503 Beacon probably was their first home together. Ellen Greenleaf is shown as the owner of 503 Beacon on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
Lyman Greenleaf was a stockbroker and vice president of the Boston Stock Exchange.
During the 1897-1898 and 1898-1899 winter seasons, the Greenleafs were living at the Hotel Brunswick (southeast corner of Clarendon and Boylston) and 503 Beacon was the home of home of Dr. George Holmes Bixby, a physician. He was a widower. His daughter, Mary Alison Bixby, and his sister, Mrs. Emma Adaline (Bixby) Vermyne, the widow of Dr. John J. B. Vermyne, lived with him. Mrs. Vermyne and Miss Bixby previously had lived at the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth; Dr. Bixby had lived at 28 Marlborough in 1895 and probably in New Bedford thereafter, where he maintained a medical practice. By the 1899-1900 winter season, they had all moved to 16 Exeter (196 Marlborough).
By the 1899-1900 winter season, the Greenleafs were living at 503 Beacon once again. They continued to live there during the 1920-1921 winter season but moved thereafter.
503 Beacon was not listed in the 1922 Blue Book.
By 1922, 503 Beacon had been converted into medical offices and what appears to have been three apartments, and was the medical office of Dr. Thomas Frederick Broderick, Jr., a physician and orthopedic surgeon. He is shown as the owner on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps. He and his wife, Ellen G. (Green) Broderick, lived in Brighton.
One of the apartments at 503 Beacon became the residence of Miss Margaret C. Keegan, who was Dr. Broderick’s secretary.
By the 1922-1923 winter season, another of the apartments was the home of Dr. Martin William Peck and his wife, Wilda Claire (Strong) Peck. He was a physician and also maintained his office at 503 Beacon. He previously had been a medical officer at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital at 74 Fenwood Road in Roxbury, where he and his wife also had lived. Wilda Peck was an assistant instructor at Simmons College. They continued to live at 503 Beacon during the 1923-1924 season, but moved thereafter.
By the 1923-1924 winter season, the third apartment at 503 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Mary (Haley) Moran, the widow of Dr. Martin W. Moran. She previously had lived at 43 West Cedar, and before that had been in Bucharest, Rumania, where she was engaged in war relief and reconstruction work with the Red Cross. Prior to going to Europe in 1918, she had been a lecturer on institutional management at Simmons College. She continued to live at 503 Beacon until about 1925, when she moved to Cleveland.
By the 1925-1926 winter season, one of the apartments had become the home of Dr. Henry Alden Shaw. He previously had lived in Newton. A physician, he also maintained his office at 503 Beacon. He had spent much of his career as a surgeon in the US Army, including supervising the general military hospital in Bordeaux during World War I and serving as commissioner of the League of Red Cross Societies in relief work in Poland, Lithuania, and Salonika. He had retired from active service in 1921 and was made a brigadier general in the reserves in 1922. He was a widower. His mother, Eliza Antoinette (Thompson) Shaw, lived with him. They continued to live at 503 Beacon until about 1934, when he moved to New York City; Eliza Shaw probably moved to Rutland, Massachusetts, where she died in 1937.
By 1927, another of the apartments had become the home of Alexander Duff, an accountant, and his wife, Margaret (Manning) Duff. They had married in 1926 and 503 Beacon probably was their first home together. They continued to live there until about 1934, when they moved to Wellesley.
Margaret Keegan continued to live at 503 Beacon until about 1934, when she moved to an apartment at 27½ Massachusetts Avenue. She continued to work as Dr. Broderick’s secretary at 503 Beacon until about 1936.
503 Beacon was not listed in the 1935 Blue Book.
By the 1935-1936 winter season, Thomas and Ellen Broderick had moved from Brighton and made 503 Beacon their home. Ellen Broderick died in July of 1936 and Thomas Broderick continued to live and maintain his medical office there. He also maintained a home in Framingham, where he owned the Hickory Hill Stock Farm, where he bred horses.
Thomas Broderick married again in 1944 to Mary Osborne. They continued to live at 503 Beacon until about 1955.
By 1957, 503 Beacon was owned by Joseph Mordini. In May of1957, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into ten apartments. On his application, he indicated that the prior use had been as a lodging house.
503 Beacon changed hands, including going through foreclosure. It remained an apartment building in 2014.