523 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, 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.
N. Henry Chadwick and Oscar Stillings purchased the land for 511-531 Beacon on June 1, 1887, from a real estate investment trust formed by Francis W. Palfrey, Francis A. Osborn, and Grenville T. W. Braman. It was part of a parcel of land the trust had purchased on June 1, 1880, from the Boston Water Power Company.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 523 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land west of Massachusetts Avenue between the south side of Beacon and the north side of Commonwealth.
On March 12, 1888, 523 Beacon was purchased from N. Henry Chadwick and Oscar Stillings by Elizabeth (Crosby) Eager, the wife of George H. Eager. They previously had lived at 11 Dartmouth.
George Eager was a merchant tailor and also served as treasurer of his wife’s family’s firm, the Crosby Steam Gage and Valve Company (spelled Gage).
The Eagers’ only child, Gertrude Crosby Eager, lived with them. She married in September of 1888 to Franklin Freeborn Raymond. He was a widower and lived in Lexington, where his first wife, Antoinette R. (Calder) Raymond, had died in February of 1884. After their marriage, they lived with her parents at 523 Beacon.
George Eager died in January of 1897. Elizabeth Eager and the Raymonds continued to live at 523 Beacon. After George Eager’s death, Franklin Raymond became treasurer of the Crosby Steam Gage and Valve Company.
On August 31, 1938, 523 Beacon was purchased from Gertrude Raymond by Gertrude Long and Alice Maloof. The September 11, 1938, Boston Globe report on the transaction indicated that Gertrude Raymond had sold 523 Beacon to William P. Laxson. He operated a lodging house on Tremont Street and it is possible that Gertrude Long and Alice Maloof purchased it on his behalf.
On September 28, 1938, 523 Beacon was acquired from Gertrude Long and Alice Maloof by Roger F. Monet, a linoleum layer. He previously had lived at 357 Beacon with his widowed father, Adelard Monet, who operated a lodging house there.
In November of 1938, Roger Monet applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 523 Beacon into a lodging house. In 1940, he married to Cecilia Marie Jarvis. After their marriage they moved to 67 Symphony Road. He continued to own 523 Beacon and lease it to others.
By 1941, 523 Beacon was the home of Jane T. (Sheehan) Sullivan Goodwin, the widow of John F. Sullivan and of William James Goodwin, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived in Danvers. By 1942. she had moved to 116 Marlborough.
In 1942 and 1943, 523 Beacon was the home of Mary Cooper, the widow of William Cooper, who operated it as a lodging house. She previously had lived in Malden.
By 1944, 523 Beacon was the home of Philip J. Comiskey and his wife, Ruth C. (Whitaker) Eaton Comiskey, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 45 Revere. On October 1, 1945, they purchased the house from Roger Monet. By 1946, they had moved to 278 Commonwealth.
On October 4, 1946, 523 Beacon was purchased from Ruth Comiskey by Norma Ann (Rosenfield) Daniels, the wife of Bernard Daniels. In December of 1946, Norma Daniels’s brother, James Rosenfield, applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into a lodging house and two apartments.
By 1947, 523 Beacon was the home of Mrs. Marguerite Mary (Cofran) Flanagan, the wife of Charles Stuart Flanagan, and her mother, Elizabeth M. (Thibodeau) Cofran, the widow of William S. Cofran. They operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 627 Commonwealth. Marguerite Flanagan was living apart from her husband. She also operated a lodging house at 69 Montgomery.
On January 15, 1947, 523 Beacon was acquired from Norma Daniels by Frank J. Tracy, and on April 15, 1947, it was acquired from him by Elizabeth Cofran.
Marguerite Flanagan and Elizabeth Cofran continued to live at 523 Beacon and operate it as a lodging house until about 1950. They moved to 128 Chandler, where they were living at the time of Marguerite Flanagan’s death in August of 1951.
On November 16, 1950, 523 Beacon was acquired from Elizabeth Cofran by Frances Madeline (Little) Callahan, the wife of Michael Joseph Callahan. They lived at 23 Southmere in Mattapan.
In June of 1951, Frances Callahan applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into a doctor’s office, two apartments, and a lodging house, noting that this was the existing condition. In September of 1952, she applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property into twelve apartments.
The Callahans owned 523 Beacon for the next forty-plus years. They continued to live in Mattapan until the mid-1970s. In July of 1974, they purchased 298 Beacon and moved to an apartment there.
Frances Callahan died in September of 1987.
On July 10, 1998, 523 Beacon was purchased from Michael Callahan by the 523 Beacon LLC (Jerome R. Dangel, manager).
523 Beacon remained an apartment house in 2018.