520 Beacon was designed by Frederick Albert Norcross, architect, and built ca. 1912 as a 29-unit apartment house, the Van Courtland. It was built on three vacant lots at 520-522-524 Beacon by Frederick E. Johnston, a builder and real estate dealer. He is shown as the owner on the 1912 Bromley map.
In mid-1914, 520 Beacon was purchased from Frederick Johnston by Tyler Longstreet Redfield and his wife, Lydia (Wright) Pearson Story Redfield. Tyler Redfield was co-owner of a printing company in New York and published the monthly publication, Newspaperdom. They lived in Greenwich, Connecticut. Lydia Redfield is shown as the owner of 520 Beacon on the 1917 Bromley map.
The June 3, 1914, Boston Globe article on the sale commented: “The property, which was erected by Mr. Johnston about a year ago, comprises a large six-story building constructed of light sandstone, containing modern apartments, and several doctor’s offices, and is one of the most complete structures of its kind in the Back Bay. The sale of the Van Cortland (sic) is of considerable importance. Mr. Johnston erected the building for a permanent investment. He laid great stress on the interior arrangement by affording plenty of light and air.”
By 1928, 520 Beacon was owned by Cora B. (Jenks) Warner, the wife of Frederick W. Warner. She is shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map. She also is shown as the owner of the Maryland Apartments at 512 Beacon.
By the mid-1920s, 520 Beacon appears to have become primarily medical offices.
In the fall of 1928, Somerset Associates purchased 520 Beacon from Frederick Warner. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on September 16, 1928, noting the “it is one of the most modern buildings of its kind in the city, being devoted exclusively to physicians, dentists, and other professional people. It contains 350 modern rooms.”
Somerset Associates continued to own the building in the 1940s, and possibly later.
By 1958, 520 Beacon was owned by Kenneth L. Rodgers. In January of 1959, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the building from 29 medical suites into 35 residential units (34 apartments and a janitor’s unit).
In the fall of 1965, Theodore A. Green and Sydney Davis, trustees of the Anchor Realty Trust, purchased 520 Beacon from Kenneth Rodgers. The transaction was reported in the Boston Globe on October 10, 1965.
By 1974, the property was once again owned by Kenneth Rodgers.
In April of 1974, 520 Beacon was purchased from Kenneth Rodgers by Robert A. Keezer and Felix D. Paige, trustees of 520 Associates Trust.
520 Associates Trust was a subsidiary of the US Condominium Corporation, of which Robert Keezer was president. In its May 12, 1974, article on the sale, the Boston Globe noted that “the building is being remodeled from top to bottom into two bedroom units that will sell for roughly from $24,000 to $25,000.”
In July of 1974, 520 Associates Trust converted property into 34 condominium units.