512 Beacon

512 Beacon (2014)

Lot 100' x 150′ (15,000 sf)

Lot 100′ x 150′ (15,000 sf)

512 Beacon is located on the north side of Beacon, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 508 Beacon to the east and 518 Beacon to the west.

512 Beacon was designed by Charles R. Greco, architect, built by the Boyle-Robertson Construction Company in 1925-1926 as the Maryland Apartments, a ten story, thirty-unit apartment building.

The building was built for Maryland Apartments, Inc., organized by George von Lengerke Meyer, Jr. The firm acquired the property in late 1924, combining what were originally four 25-foot wide lots: a vacant lot at 510 Beacon, purchased from Charles C. Wheelwright, who lived at 508 Beacon; and the existing house at 512 Beacon and a double vacant lot at 514-516 Beacon, purchased from Sarah Frances (Gray) Silsbee, the widow of George Saltonstall Silsbee, who lived at 512 Beacon. The transactions were reported in the Boston Globe on December 31, 1924.

Drawing of the Maryland Apartments from a January, 1925, mortgage bond offering advertisement by S. W. Straus & Co.

Drawing of the Maryland Apartments from a January 6, 1925, mortgage bond offering advertisement by S. W. Straus & Co.

On January 4, 1925, the Boston Globe announced that Maryland Apartments, Inc., had completed financing arrangements for the building. The article noted that the building would be “the first strictly modern full housekeeping building with large suites in this section of the city.” It noted that “the design is Tudor, with a façade of brick and limestone” and will be of “10 stories of steel frame, fireproof construction” containing “30 full housekeeping suites of six, seven, and eight rooms, each with three baths, and in the living rooms there will be large open fireplaces. The apartments will be served by two high-speed electric elevators and additional servants quarters have been provided in the building.”

In mid-1927, soon after it was completed, the building was sold in foreclosure to Clarence L. Tower. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on August 28, 1927.

By 1928, 512 Beacon was owned by Cora B. (Jenks) Warner, the wife of Frederick W. Warner, who is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map. She also is shown as the owner of the Van Courtland at 520 Beacon.

512 Beacon, American Apartment Houses Hotels and Apartment Hotels of Today, by R. W. Sexton (1929)

In mid-1932, 512 Beacon was acquired by 512 Beacon Street, Inc. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on June 12, 1932. 512 Beacon Street, Inc., is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.

By the fall of 1932, 512 Beacon was managed by the Nordblom Management Company, a real estate investment and management firm. It continued to operate 512 Beacon in the mid-1950s.

By the early 1960s (and probably before) 512 Beacon was owned by the Maryland Buildings Trust, the trustees of which included members the Nordblom family.

In December of 1964, the Trust applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the building from apartments into a dormitory.

In March of 1965, the property was leased as a dormitory by the Chandler School for Women, located at 448 Beacon. It continued to operate a dormitory there until the mid-1970s.

In October of 1976, Boston University acquired 512 Beacon for use as a dormitory.

512 Beacon remained a Boston University dormitory in 2014.

512 Beacon, original floor plan, American Apartment Houses Hotels and Apartment Hotels of Today, by R. W. Sexton (1929)

512 Beacon (Demolished)

When it was built, the Maryland Apartments replaced an existing townhouse designed by Rotch and Tilden, architects, and built in 1890-1891 by Charles H. Dodge, mason and builder, for for cotton mill treasurer George Saltonstall Silsbee and his wife, Sarah Frances (Gray) Silsbee. They previously had lived at 415 Beacon.  George Silsbee is shown as the owner on the original permit application, dated June 9, 1890, and on the final building inspection report, dated October 1, 1891 (a floor plan of the second floor is bound with the report, located in the Boston Public Library’s Arts Department).  Sarah Silsbee is shown as the owner of 512 Beacon on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.

George Silsbee died in October of 1907. Sarah Silsbee continued to live at 512 Beacon. By 1913, she had acquired the vacant double lot at 514-516 Beacon (Morris Rudnick was the assessed owner in 1912; Sarah Silsbee was the assessed owner from 1913).

Sarah Silsbee continued to live at 512 Beacon during the 1921-1922 winter season, but moved soon thereafter. By the 1924-1925 season, she was living at 88 Beacon.

In late 1924, Sarah Silsbee sold 512 and the double vacant lot at 514-516 Beacon to Maryland Apartments, Inc. They also purchased the vacant lot at 510 Beacon, owned by Charles Wheelwright, who lived at 508 Beacon. The transactions were reported in the Boston Globe on December 31, 1924.

512 Beacon subsequently was razed and the Maryland Apartments were built on the combined lots.