519 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.
Chadwick & Stillings are shown as the owners of 519 Beacon on the 1888 Bromley map.
By the 1889-1890 winter season, 519 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Lydia Ann (Beals) Dennison, the widow of Eliphalet Whorf Dennison. He was the founder of the Dennison Manufacturing Company, makers of paper boxes, tags, and stationers’ supplies. He had died in September of 1886, and she subsequently had lived in Newton with their son and daughter-in-law, Charles Sumner Dennison and Mary Rosabel (French) Dennison. Lydia Dennison is shown as the owner of 519 Beacon on the 1895 Bromley map.
Lydia Dennison’s unmarried daughter, Alice Louise Dennison, lived with her. Also living with her were her son-in-law and daughter, William H. Lucas and Julia (Dennison) Lucas. He was a merchant tailor. They previously had lived at 10 Durham.
The Lucases continued to live at 519 Beacon during the 1892-1893 winter season, but moved thereafter to the Hotel Vendôme.
In April of 1893, Alice Louise Dennison married Rev. William H. Lyon, pastor of All Saints’ Church in Roxbury. After their marriage, they lived at 519 Beacon with her mother.
Mrs. Dennison and the Lyons continued lived there during the 1895-1896 winter season, but all moved thereafter to Brookline, where William Lyon had become pastor of the First Parish Unitarian Church.
519 Beacon was not listed in the 1897 and 1898 Blue Books.
In the summer of 1898, 519 Beacon was purchased from Lydia Dennison by Dr. Henry Edwin Spalding and his wife, Annie Osgood (Frye) Spalding. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on August 9, 1898. He was a physician and also maintained his office at 519 Beacon. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at the Hotel Cluny at 543 Boylston. He is shown as the owner of 519 Beacon on the 1898 Bromley map. They also maintained a home in Hingham.
They continued to live at 519 Beacon during the 1904-1905 winter season, but moved thereafter to The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon.
By the 1905-1906 winter season, 519 Beacon was the home of Miss Mary Burrage Cummings and Miss Ella Pingree Cummings, sisters. They previously had lived at 501 Columbus. They are shown as the owners of 519 Beacon on the 1908, 1917, and 1928 Bromley maps.
Mary Cummings died in March of 1936. Ella Cummings moved soon thereafter and died in June of 1937 in Belmont.
In late 1936, Mrs. Ruth (Svenson) Johnson, widow of John T. Johnson, purchased 519 Beacon from John N. Worcestor, executor of Mary Cummings and guardian of Ella Cummings. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on December 9, 1936. Ruth Johnson previously lived at 517 Beacon with her sister, Signe (Svenson) Woods. Ruth Johnson is shown as the owner of 519 Beacon on the 1938 Bromley map.
Ruth Johnson continued to live at 519 Beacon and operate it as a lodging house until 1947. By 1948, she had moved back to 517 Beacon to live with her sister.
By 1948, 519 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Izetta May (Butler) Small, the former wife of Earle Augustus Small, who operated it as a lodging house. She was the assessed owner in 1948 and 1949. She previously had lived in Falmouth.
In December of 1948, she applied for (and subsequently received) approval to cut a connecting door between 517 and 519 Beacon, and from that point it appears that they were operated jointly as lodging houses.
Izetta Small died in March of 1949.
By 1950, 517 Beacon and 519 Beacon were acquired by Albert Leo Hollingdale and his wife, Margaret E. (Tabor) Hollingdale. Albert Hollingdale et al were the assessed owners from 1950. They lived at 517 Beacon and operated lodging houses at both addresses. They lived at 82 Bay State Road.
By 1964, 517 and 519 Beacon were owned by Hugh Richardson Farrington, a real estate broker and property manager, whose company continued to operate them as BU dormitories. He also owned 521 Beacon and 425-427 Marlborough, all of which he also operated as BU dormitories.
In mid-1968, Boston University acquired 517-519-521 Boston from Hugh Farrington. It continued to operate them as dormitories for BU students.
In October of 1980, Boston University filed for (and subsequently received) permission to change the legal occupancy of 519 Beacon to be a dormitory, reflecting its current use.
519 Beacon continued to be a dormitory in 2014.