71 Marlborough was built ca. 1864 for shipping merchant and real estate investor John Lowell Gardner, one of nine contiguous houses (71-73-75-77-79-81-83-85-87 Marlborough) he had built as rental property. He and his wife, Catharine Elizabeth (Peabody) Gardner, lived at 7 Beacon and then at 182 Beacon.
71-85 Marlborough are designed as a symmetrical composition (following a pattern of c-c-b-a-a-b-c-c). In the center are 77 and 79 Marlborough, with bow fronts and entrances that mark the mid-point of the composition. 75 Marlborough and 81 Marlborough match each other and have a continuous cornice line with 77-79 Marlborough. 71–73 Marlborough and 83–85 Marlborough also match each other and form the ends of the composition. 87 Marlborough – which gives the impression of possibly having been built as an afterthought – has the same roof and cornice design as 83-85 Marlborough, extending the composition one house further to the west, but includes an oriel window which sets it apart from the other eight houses.
71-87 Marlborough were originally numbered 65-81 Marlborough, and renumbered in about 1868 when houses were built further east.
John L. Gardner contracted to purchase the land for 71-87 Marlborough from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the early 1860s. On December 31, 1862, he entered into a party wall agreement with Richard M. Hodges, the owner of the lot to the east where 67 Marlborough would be built, and on February 26, 1863, he entered into a party wall agreement with James T. Eldredge, owner of the lot to the west where 89 Marlborough would be built. On March 3, 1863, the Commonwealth conveyed to John L. Gardner the 200 foot wide lot where 71-87 Marlborough would be built.
John Gardner died in June of 1884 and on January 3, 1885, his executors (his sons George Augustus Gardner and John Lowell Gardner, Jr., and his grandson George Peabody Gardner, son of George A. Gardner) transferred the property to themselves as trustees under his will. They continued to own the property and lease it to others.
On December 21, 1899, the trustees transferred 71-73 Marlborough to John Lowell Gardner’s grandson, Francis Skinner, Jr., the son of Francis Skinner and Eliza Blanchard (Gardner) Skinner (who had died in September of 1898). On the same day, they transferred 85-87 Marlborough to John Lowell Gardner’s grandsons, Joseph Peabody Gardner, Jr., William Amory Gardner, and Augustus P. Gardner, the sons of Joseph Peabody Gardner (who had died in June of 1875) and Harriet Sears (Amory) Gardner. The trustees retained the remaining five houses (75-77-79-81-83 Marlborough). All nine houses remained rental properties until 1906-1907, when they were sold to individual purchasers.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 71 Marlborough, and click here for further information about the land between the north side of Marlborough and Alley 420, from Berkeley to Clarendon.
By 1864, 71 Marlborough was the home of Dr. Algernon Sidney Coolidge, a physician, and his wife, Mary (Lowell) Coolidge. They previously had lived at 14 Chauncy. Algernon Coolidge’s brother, Joseph Randolph Coolidge, was married to John Lowell Gardner’s daughter, Julia (Gardner) Coolidge; Mary (Lowell) Coolidge was the granddaughter of John Lowell Gardner’s sister, Mary (Gardner) Lowell, and Francis Cabot Lowell.
The Coolidges continued to live at 71 Marlborough in 1871. They subsequently lived at 70 Chestnut and 1 Fisher, and by 1879 at 81 Marlborough.
By 1872, 71 Marlborough was the home of Elizabeth Gorham (Gray) Story, the widow of Franklin Howard Story, a merchant, who had died in February of 1871. Prior to his death, they had lived at 20 Chestnut.
In 1877, she was joined by her granddaughter and her husband, Elizabeth Gray (Story) Gray and Edward Gray, a cotton broker. They previously had lived at 183 Beacon with her parents, Franklin Howard Story, Jr., and Adeline (Wainwright) Story. By 1878, they had moved to 214 Beacon.
In 1885, 71 Marlborough became the home of Dr. Morton Henry Prince and his wife, Fanny Lithgow (Payson) Prince. They had married in February of 1885 and 71 Marlborough probably was their first home together.
Morton Prince was a psychologist specializing in neurology, psychotherapy, and abnormal psychology.
The Princes continued to lived there in 1894, but had purchased and moved to 458 Beacon by 1895.
By the 1895-1896 winter season, it was the home of Adelia (Conant) Winslow, the widow of Thomas S. Winslow, and their daughter, Adelia Isabel Winslow. They previously had lived at 16 Marlborough. They continued to live at 71 Marlborough until September of 1899, when they moved to Hale House at 6 Garland, a settlement house and social center for the children of the Dover Street neighborhood. Hale House had been founded by the Tolstoi Club, of which Dr. Edward Everett Hale was president, and was named in his honor. A. Isabel Winslow was the resident director of Hale House from September of 1899 to 1906.
On December 21, 1899, the trustees under John L. Gardner’s will transferred 71-73 Marlborough to his grandson, Francis Skinner, Jr.. He lived at 266 Beacon with his widowed father, dry goods merchant Francis Skinner. He married in June of 1900 to Sarah E. Carr; after their marriage, they lived in Dedham. He continued to lease 71 Marlborough and 73 Marlborough to others.
By 1900, 71 Marlborough was the home of Mary Wilder (Foote) Tileston, the widow of paper manufacturer John Boies Tileston. Prior to his death in January of 1898, they had lived in Milton. She also maintained a home in Cataumet.
She continued to live at 71 Marlborough in 1906, but had moved to 99 Mt. Vernon by 1907.
On August 24, 1906, 71 Marlborough was purchased from Francis Skinner, Jr., by Dr. Joseph Payson Clark.
Joseph Clark was a physician, specializing in diseases of the throat. He was unmarried. He maintained his home and medical office at 71 Marlborough, and also rented residences and office space to other doctors. He previously had lived and maintained his office at 409 Marlborough, and prior to that at 76 Marlborough with Dr. Charles Wendell Townsend.
Longer term residents at 71 Marlborough with Dr. Clark were Dr. Harry Winfred Goodall (from 1907 through 1909), who moved to 213 Beacon by 1910; Frederick G. Hopkins (from 1912 through 1931), a leather merchant who also maintained a home in Dover and later in Orleans; and Dr. Theodore Jewett Eastman (from about 1913 through 1931), who had lived at 396 Marlborough in 1912. Dr. Clark’s brother, Herbert Clark, a real estate dealer, also lived at 71 Marlborough from about 1917 through 1936. He previously had lived at 385 Marlborough.
J. Payson Clark continued to live at 71 Marlborough until his death in July of 1940.
The house was shown as vacant in the 1941 City Directory and was not listed in the 1941 and 1942 Lists of Residents.
On February 7, 1941, 71 Marlborough was acquired from J. Payson Clark’s estate by Edward F. McKnight.
In May of 1941, real estate agent Donald Allmon of R. M. Bradley & Co. filed for (and subsequently received) permission to convert the property from a single-family dwelling into a lodging house.
On June 2, 1941, 71 Marlborough acquired from Edward McKnight by Julia Szabo.
On January 5, 1942, the Workingmens Co-operative Bank foreclosed on its mortgage to Julia Szabo and sold 71 Marlborough to Mabel C. Adams, and on April 16, 1942, she sold the property to Shirley Clifford Speed, a real estate dealer who converted many Back Bay houses into lodging houses and apartments.
By 1943, 71 Marlborough was the home of Leon Mitchell Marshall and his wife, Winona E. (Webb) Marshall, who operated it as a lodging house. They previously had lived at 34 Hyde Park Avenue.
On June 30, 1944, the Marshalls acquired the property from S. Clifford Speed, and on March 13, 1958, Leon Marshall transferred his interest in the property to his wife.
Leon Mitchell died in January of 1968.
On October 7, 1968, 71 Marlborough was acquired from Winona Marshall by Anthony P. Baker.
The property changed hands, remaining a lodging house.
On January 11, 1982, 71 Marlborough was purchased by Barrett Enterprises Inc.
Barrett Enterprises was owned by Diana Barrett, a real estate consultant and developer, and her husband, Robert J. (Bob) Vila, a contractor and restoration specialist who, from 1979 until 1989, was host of the Public Television series “This Old House” about the renovation of vintage homes.
In April of 1982, Barrett Enterprises applied for (and subsequent;y received) permission to convert the property from a lodging house into six apartments.
On July 26, 1985, it converted the property into five condominium units, the 71 Marlborough Street Condominium.
71-85 Marlborough were designed as a symmetrical composition. In the center are 77 and 79 Marlborough, with bow fronts and entrances that mark the mid-point of the composition. 75 Marlborough and 81 Marlborough match each other and have a continuous cornice line with 77-79 Marlborough. 71-73 Marlborough and 83-85 Marlborough also match each other and form the ends of the composition. The symmetry of the composition has been diminished by the remodeling of the entrance and penthouse addition at 81 Marlborough, and by the visible roof deck railing at 85 Marlborough.