70 Marlborough was designed and built 1868-1869 by architect and builder Charles K. Kirby, one of eight contiguous houses (66-68-70-72-74-76-78-80 Marlborough) he built between 1866 and 1870 for speculative sale.
72-80 Marlborough were built first, in 1866, as a symmetrical grouping of five houses, on land which Charles Kirby acquired from Henry Lee, Jr. After completing these houses, Charles Kirby entered into an agreement on March 27, 1868, with the City of Boston to purchase a 75 foot wide lot to the east, between the new houses and the First Church, where he subsequently built 70 Marlborough in 1868-1869 and 66-68 Marlborough in 1870. The 75 foot lot was the western part of a 250 foot parcel extending to Berkeley, the eastern 175 feet of which the City had sold to the First Church. The City had acquired the parcel from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on July 7, 1859, as partial settlement of its dispute with the Commonwealth over rights to lands in the Back Bay.
Charles Kirby acquired the 25 foot wide lot for 70 Marlborough from the City of Boston on July 13, 1868. However, when he built 72-80 Marlborough, he placed the one foot thick party walls between 72 Marlborough and where 70 Marlborough would be built entirely on the lot for 72 Marlborough, rather than placing half of the width on the lot for 70 Marlborough as was the usual custom. When he sold 72 Marlborough in March of 1868, he retained the eastern six inches on which half of the party wall had been built, and he included this strip of land (with the wall on it) as part of the lot for 70 Marlborough, making it 25 feet six inches.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 70 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the south side of Marlborough and Alley 423, from Berkeley to Clarendon.
Charles Kirby appears to have built 70 Marlborough for a specific client who then opted not to purchase it and, as a result, the house was sold at auction on February 23, 1869. The auction announcement from N. A. Thompson & Co. described both the house and the circumstances surrounding it sale:
“The new and elegant brick Dwelling House No. 70 Marlborough street, on the southerly side, next to the Rev. Dr. Ellis’s church, 25½ feet front by about 60 in depth, and standing upon a lot 112 feet deep, which is bounded in the rear by a wide public passageway. It is most thoroughly and substantially built, 3½ stories high, with French roof, and contains all the improvements and conveniences to be found in modern houses of the highest cost, with parlor, library and dining room on the first floor, fine dry cellar, extensive kitchen and laundry arrangements, spacious chambers, closets, bath room, &tc. The hall staircases and lower rooms are finished in black walnut, and the whole interior is admirably arranged in every particular for a first class residence. The house was built last season by Mr. C. K. Kirby, architect, under the direction and expressly for the residence of a gentleman now sent from the country, who has given positive orders for its unreserved sale at once, in consequence of his return being unexpectedly delayed for an indefinite period. The location is exceedingly pleasant, the neighborhood in every particular desirable, and the terms of payment will be made entirely satisfactory. The opportunity is therefore a very favorable one for any gentleman in pursuit of a first class house in that popular portion of the city.”
On March 2, 1869, 70 Marlborough was purchased from Charles Kirby by Robert Henry Eddy, who presumably was the successful bidder at the auction. He and his wife, Annie Goddard (Pickering) Eddy, made it their home. They previously had lived at the Tremont House hotel.
Robert Eddy was a civil engineer, largely responsible for laying out East Boston and the construction of wharves, bridges, and roads in that community. He subsequently became a patent solicitor, claiming to be the first person to establish that business in the United States.
He died in May of 1887. Annie Eddy continued to live at 70 Marlborough until her death in October of 1900.
The house was not listed in the 1901 Blue Book.
On February 1, 1901, 70 Marlborough was purchased from the estate of Robert Eddy by Mabel (Stephenson) Weld, the wife of wholesale hemp merchant Bernard Coffin Weld. They previously had lived at 39 Chestnut. They also maintained a home in Beverly Farms.
Bernard Weld died in August of 1940. Mabel Weld continued to live at 70 Marlborough in 1946, but had moved to an apartment at 9 Commonwealth by 1947.
On February 24, 1947, 70 Marlborough was purchased from Mabel Weld by real estate dealer Barney Weiner. He and his wife, Celia (Lexenberg) Weiner, lived in Brookline. In March of 1947, he applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the house and convert it from a single-family dwelling into ten apartments.
On January 26, 1971, 70 Marlborough was acquired from Barney Weiner by James A. Gillis. The property subsequently changed hands, and on May 15, 1980, was purchased by the 70 Marlborough Company, a joint venture of the Heath Management Co. and the KLS Management Co.
On January 9, 1981, the 70 Marlborough Company converted the property into ten condominium units, the 70 Marlborough Condominium.