515 Beacon is one of ten contiguous houses (511-529 Beacon) designed by architect Samuel D. Kelley and built in 1887 for Chadwick & Stillings (N. Henry Chadwick and Oscar L. Stillings), a hat block and flange company that became a significant house building firm in the 1880s and 1890s. They are shown as the owners and builders on the original permit applications, all dated March 14, 1887. The next year, Chadwick & Stillings built one more house, also designed by Samuel Kelley, immediately to the west, at 531 Beacon.
The ten houses at 511-529 Beacon are of a similar pattern, all with entrances on the east side and cylindrical bays on the west. The houses furthest east and west in the group (511 and 529 Beacon) have brick bays which extend to the third story, with two windows above the bay on the fourth story. The next two houses from either end (513 and 527 Beacon) have rusticated stone bays which are cylindrical for the first two stories and angled on the third story, with single arched window above surrounded by decorative stonework with a triangular top. The next two houses from either end (515 and 525 Beacon) have brick cylindrical bays to the third story, with three windows above surrounded by decorative stonework with a fan shape at the top. The four houses in the center of the grouping (517-519-521-523 Beacon) are variations on the same themes.
By the 1888-1889 winter season, 515 Beacon was the home of wholesale liquor merchant Isaac H. Meserve and his wife, Clara Adella (Morse) Meserve. They previously had lived at 27 Marcella. Issac H. Meserve is shown as the owner of 515 Beacon on the 1888, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.
Isaac Meserve’s widowed father, Anthony T. Meserve, lived with them. He previously had lived at 120 Thornton.
Anthony Meserve died in September of 1900. Isaac and Clara Meserve continued to live at 515 Beacon until their deaths: Clara Meserve in April of 1919 and Isaac Meserve in August of 1920.
515 Beacon was not listed in the 1921 and 1922 Blue Books.
By the 1922-1923 winter season, 515 Beacon was the home of Earl Vincent Small, a salesman for a music company, and his wife, Marian Small. They continued to live there during the 1924-1925 winter season, but moved thereafter. They probably operated 515 Beacon as a lodging house.
During the 1927-1928 winter season, 515 Beacon was the home of Mrs, Annie Jane (Trimble) Varney, the widow of John R. Varney, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 221 Newbury. She moved soon thereafter to 390 Marlborough.
By 1928, 515 Beacon was owned by Joseph Y. Schooner, who also owned 513 Beacon, and is shown as the owner of both houses on the 1928 Bromley map. He was a note broker and treasurer of the Boston Mirror Company, and lived in Brookline.
By 1929, 515 Beacon was the home of Miss Katherine M. Brown, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived at 82 Bay State Road.
By 1938, 515 Beacon was owned by the Boston Five Cent Savings Bank, which is shown as the owner of both 513 and 515 Beacon on the 1938 Bromley map.
515 Beacon was acquired soon thereafter by Katherine Brown, who is shown as the assessed owner from 1939. She continued to live (and operate a lodging house) there until about 1960.
In February of 1961, the MIT Chapter (Delta Chapter) of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity acquired 515 Beacon from Katherine Brown and converted it into their fraternity house.
It remained the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house in 2014.