506 Beacon was designed by Shaw and Hunnewell and built by Burnham & Davis, masons, in 1893-1894 for Dr. Vincent Yardley Bowditch. He is shown as the owner on the original building permit application, dated September 2, 1893, and on the final building inspection report, dated February 12, 1895.
Vincent Bowditch purchased the land for 506 Beacon on March 30, 1892, from Nelson S. Bartlett, who had purchased it on June 2, 1887, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 506 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
On February 24, 1890, Nelson Bartlett entered into an agreement with the other owners of land on the block limiting (until January 1, 1905) the depth of any new buildings to 90 feet from the north line of Beacon (with bays and other projections limited to extending another 5 feet), and limiting the height of stables and other ancillary buildings further north to no more than 12 feet in height. The agreement probably was prompted by construction of The Austerfield at 7-9 Massachusetts Avenue (502 Beacon). It was the only building on the block and its north façade extended to Back Street.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, Vincent Bowditch had made 506 Beacon his home. He previously had lived at 719 Boylston. He was a physician and pulmonary specialist, and also maintained his office at 506 Beacon. In 1891, he had founded the Sharon Sanitarium for pulmonary diseases in Sharon; he served as its medical director until his death. He was unmarried.
Dr. Bowditch was joined at 506 Beacon by his aunt, Mary Yardley (sister of his mother, Olivia (Yardley) Bowditch), his sister, Olivia Bradley Bowditch, and her friend, Miss Alice M. Curtis, an artist. They all had lived with him at 719 Boylston.
By 1900, they were joined by his cousin, Mary Adeline Yardley (daughter of his mother’s brother, Vincent Yardley).
His aunt, Mary Yardley, died in July of 1900. Olivia Bowditch and Alice Curtis continued to live at 506 Beacon until about 1907, when they moved to Milton. His cousin, Mary A. Yardley, continued to live at 506 Beacon.
In the fall of 1900, Vincent Bowditch was joined at 506 Beacon by Dr. Walter Channing Bailey, a physician. He had graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1898 and began practice in 1900 after spending a number of months abroad. He continued to live and maintain his office at 506 Beacon until his marriage in June of 1908 to Ruth Perkins; after their marriage, they lived (and he maintained his office) at 267 Clarendon.
By the 1908-1908 winter season, Vincent Bowditch was joined at 506 Beacon by his nephew, Dr. Henry Ingersoll Bowditch, the son of his brother, Edward Bowditch. He was a physician and also maintained his office at 506 Beacon. He previously had lived at the Hotel Cambridge at 483 Beacon and had maintained his office both there and at 70 Bay State Road. He married in May of 1910 to Eleanor Pratt McQueen. After their marriage they lived (and he maintained his office) at 416 Marlborough.
On March 29, 1912, Vincent Bowditch and the other owners of property at 506-532 Beacon joined in an agreement reinstating the restrictions contained in the 1890 agreement (which had expired in 1905) and extending them to May 1, 1932. Although most of the lots had been developed by 1912, there remained vacant lots at 510 Beacon, 514-516 Beacon, 520-522-524 Beacon, and 534 Beacon. The agreement probably was prompted by the impending construction of the Van Cortland apartment building at 520 Beacon.
Mary A. Yardley died in February of 1915, and by the 1915-1916 winter season, Vincent Bowditch’s sister, Olivia, was living with him at 506 Beacon once again. Mary Curtis had died in February of 1911 and Olivia Bowditch had continued to live in Milton until about 1915.
In about 1915, Walter Bailey moved his medical office back to 506 Beacon when he and his wife, Ruth, moved to Dover. They previously had lived at 269 Beacon (where they had moved from 267 Clarendon in 1909) and he had maintained his medical office there. He continued to maintain his office at 506 Beacon until about 1919.
Vincent Bowditch and his sister continued to live at 506 Beacon for the rest of their lives. Olivia Bowditch died in January of 1928, and Vincent Bowditch died in December of 1929.
On July 15, 1930, 506 Beacon was acquired from Vincent Bowditch’s estate and heirs by Walter Howard Gleason. He was an attorney, real estate dealer, and investment broker. He and his wife, Mabel W. (Robertson) Gleason, lived at 183 Beacon.
On September 19, 1930, 506 Beacon was acquired from Walter Gleason by real estate dealer Ray C. Johnson.
In November of 1930, G. Augustus Holzman, a lawyer presumably acting for Ray C. Johnson, filed for (and subsequently received) permission have a fire escape erected on the rear of 506 Beacon. The filing indicated that the property was to be used for “lodgings.”
By the 1931-1932 winter season, 506 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Mildred Eaton (Thompson) Hadley, the former wife of Waldo Snow Hadley, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived in Cambridge. From about 1932 until 1937, she was joined by Miss Ruth Jewett Manning. Mrs. Hadley and Miss Manning previously had owned 102 Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, which they had sold in mid-1930 to the Falcon Club of Harvard. The transaction had been reported in the Boston Globe on June 15, 1930.
On January 5, 1933, 506 Beacon was acquired from Ray C. Johnson by Walter Gleason’s wife, Mabel, and on November 30, 1936, she sold it to Dorothy A. Palmer of Waterville Maine.
Mildred Hadley continued to live at 506 Beacon and operate it as a lodging house, and on May 20, 1937, she purchased it from Dorothy Palmer.
On July 22, 1938, the Federal Realty Corporation foreclosed on a mortgage given by Mildred Hadley and took possession of 506 Beacon, and on May 21, 1940, it sold the property to Ralph Lawrence Thompson and his sisters, Patricia Thompson and Barbara Thompson. They were all unmarried and lived in Winchester.
Mildred Hadley continued to live at 506 Beacon and operate it as a lodging house. From the early 1940s, she also operated a lodging house at 383 Commonwealth.
By 1940, Mildred Hadley’s lodgers included Jane W. Shakespeare, a stenographer at a department store. She previously had lived in Vermont. On May 29, 1943, she acquired 506 Beacon from the Thompsons.
Mildred Hadley continued to live at 506 Beacon and operate it as a lodging house until the mid-1950s.
After Mildred Hadley moved, the lodging house at 506 Beacon was operated by real estate dealer Franklyn G. Bill. On May 18, 1960, he acquired the property from Jane Shakespeare. That same day, he transferred the property to himself as trustee of the 506 Beacon Trust, later renamed the Lafayette Realty Trust.
Jane Shakespeare continued to live at 506 Beacon until about 1962.
On May 15, 2001, Franklyn Bill transferred the property to himself and his wife, Priscilla (Pittman) Bill, a trustees of the Franklyn Realty Trust, and on August 8, 2008, Priscilla Bill and Baird Pittman (her brother and successor trustee to Franklyn Bill) transferred the property to the 506 Beacon LLC (Priscilla Bill, manager of record).
Franklyn Bill died in July of 2009.
506 Beacon continued to be a lodging house in 2018.