528 Beacon

528 Beacon (2014)

528 Beacon (2014)

Lot 25' x 150′ (3,750 sf)

Lot 25′ x 150′ (3,750 sf)

528 Beacon is located on the north side of Beacon, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, with 526 Beacon to the east and 530 Beacon to the west.

528 Beacon was designed by Rotch and Tilden, architects, and built by Charles H. Dodge, mason and builder, in 1893-1894 for Dr. Harold Williams and his wife, Alice Louise (Cary) Williams. They had lived at The Huntington (Huntington at Blagden) during the 1893-1894 winter season, and before that at 225 Marlborough. He is shown as the owner of 528 Beacon on the original building permit application for 528 Beacon dated September 18, 1893, on the final building inspection report dated March 18, 1895, and on the 1895, 1898, 1908, and 1917 Bromley maps.  The Williams also maintained a summer home on Nantucket.

Harold Williams was a physician and later Dean of Tufts Medical School.  He was one of the prime movers in establishing the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children at 140 The Fenway, which opened in 1915.  He maintained his medical office at 528 Beacon.  He also was a novelist.

528 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

528 Beacon (ca. 1942), photograph by Bainbridge Bunting, courtesy of The Gleason Partnership

In the memoirs of her childhood, Thru the Turnstile, the Williams’s daughter, Alice Cary Williams, describes her recollections of 528 Beacon: “Our house was built by Arthur Roche [sic] and was of yellow brick, one of the innovations he brought home from the Sorbonne. The downstairs hall had a very high mantel …The staircase (another Paris innovation) parted at the first landing and went two ways, and there was a huge mirror there.  Above the library and parlor floor were two more floors of bedrooms and bath and on top was the final floor with a billiard room and the Nova Scotian servants’ bedrooms.  Also up there was a fine lethal terror, a huge skylight extending from top to bottom of the roof, which my father, armed with pail and mop, walked about on and cleaned while my mother hid her face in her pillow and planned her widow’s weeds.  The glass had no support other than its frames, and if he had fallen through he would have dropped clear down to the first floor.”

During the 1903-1904 winter season, the Williamses were living elsewhere and 528 Beacon was the home of banker William Pratt Lyman and his wife Helen (Beeckman) Lyman. They had lived at 353 Commonwealth during the previous season.  They also maintained a home in Nahant. They had moved from 528 Beacon by the next season, and by the 1905-1906 season were living at 331 Beacon.

The Williamses continued to live at 528 Beacon during the 1921-1922 winter season. They moved thereafter and by 1924 were living at The Charlesgate at 535 Beacon.

In September of 1922, the Theta Chi Trust acquired 528 Beacon from Harold Williams, and the house became the fraternity house of the MIT Chapter of Theta Chi fraternity.  Roland Pope et al, trustees, are shown as the owners on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

528 Beacon remained the Theta Chi fraternity house in 2014.

526-530 Beacon (2014)

526-530 Beacon (2014)