58 Commonwealth was designed by Snell and Gregerson, architects, and built ca. 1866 by Standish and Woodbury, masons, one of four contiguous homes (54-56-58-60 Commonwealth) built at the same time in a Georgian Revival style, with bow fronts and balustraded parapets above the main cornice. 54 Commonwealth was demolished in 1936 and 56 Commonwealth was demolished in 1930.
58 Commonwealth was built for banker and broker Henry Sayles. At about the same time, his mother, Maria (Francoeur) Sayles, the widow of Willard Sayles, had 56 Commonwealth built as her home, and his brother-in-law and sister, Dr. John Cauldwell Sharp and Helen (Sayles) Sharp, had their home built at 54 Commonwealth. In 1869, his brother-in-law and sister, John Reed Brewer and Caroline Francoeur (Sayles) Brewer, built 72 Commonwealth as their home, and in 1870, his sister-in-law, Jane Hereford (Hallett) Sayles, the widow of Francis Willard Sayles, built 74 Commonwealth as her home.
Henry Sayles purchased the land for 58 Commonwealth from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in two transactions, a lot with a 28 foot frontage on December 12, 1865, and a lot with a 24 foot frontage on January 4, 1866. He sold the western 22 feet (where 60 Commonwealth would be built) and retained a lot with a frontage of 30 feet for 58 Commonwealth.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 58 Commonwealth, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Commonwealth and Alley 436, from Berkeley to Clarendon.
Henry Sayles lived at 158 Tremont in 1867 and may have lived briefly at 58 Commonwealth after it was completed. However, by 1868 he was living with his mother next door.
On May 11, 1868, 58 Commonwealth was purchased from Henry Sayles by Mary Wilson (Thayer) Hollingsworth, the wife of paper manufacturer and dealer Lyman Hollingsworth. They previously had lived in Charlestown. They also maintained a home in Cohasset.
Mary Hollingsworth’s father, Jechonias Thayer, lived with them until his death in October of 1876. Also living with them at the time of the 1870 US Census were Mary Hollingsworth’s unmarried sisters, Abbie Hurd Thayer and Harriet Louisa Thayer.
Mary (Thayer) Hollingsworth died in October of 1884, and her sister, Abbie Hurd Thayer, died in November of 1885. In her will, Mary Hollingsworth left all of her property, including 58 Commonwealth, to her husband as a life estate, and named her sister, Harriet Thayer, as her residual legatee.
Lyman Hollingsworth and Harriet Louisa Thayer continued to live at 58 Commonwealth.
Lyman Hollingsworth died in April of 1890. Harriet Louisa Thayer continued to live at 58 Commonwealth, joined by her niece, Harriet A. Thayer (daughter of Benjamin Hurd Thayer). They continued to live there until Harriet Louisa Thayer’s death in April of 1907.
On October 27, 1907, 58 Commonwealth was purchased from Harriet Thayer’s estate by Henry Sherburne Rowe. He and his wife, Anna Simmons (White) Rowe, made it their home. They previously had lived at 93 Newbury.
Henry Rowe was a trustee of estates and property.
Anna Rowe died in October of 1911. Henry Rowe continued to live at 58 Commonwealth.
From about 1913, he was joined at 58 Commonwealth by Miss Mary I. Wells, probably a housekeeper. She continued to live there until about 1917.
From about 1920, he was joined by Miss Agnes Austin, also probably a housekeeper.
On May 20, 1941, 58 Commonwealth was acquired from the estate of Henry Rowe by insurance broker and real estate investor Maurice Harry Saval (Morris Savalonski). That same month, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house from a single-family home into a three-family dwelling.
By 1942, one of the apartments at 58 Commonwealth was the home of J. John Fox and his unmarried sisters, Sylvia P. Fox and Shirley A. Fox. They previously had lived in an apartment at 86 Commonwealth.
Sylvia Fox, a teacher, married in 1943 to Harold Finn, a salesman; after their marriage, they continued to live at 58 Commonwealth. Shirley Fox, a secretary, married in 1947 to Aaron Schindler; after their marriage, they moved to 46 Fayette.
On November 1, 1947, J. John Fox purchased the house from Maurice Saval.
J. John Fox was a lawyer and from 1948 to 1952 served as chief secretary to Governor Paul A. Dever. In 1952 he was appointed a municipal court judge, and later served as a judge of the probate court. He retired from the bench in 1953. He never married.
J. John Fox and the Finns continued to live at 58 Commonwealth and rent out the other apartments. The Finns lived there until the mid-1960s; he continued to live there in the 1980s, and probably until the mid-1990s.
On July 24, 1998, Hanson Acquisitions LLC of Chelmsford purchased 58 Commonwealth from J. John Fox. In December of 1998. it filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the house back into a single-family dwelling.
The house subsequently changed hands. It remained a single-family dwelling in 2015.