106 Beacon was built ca. 1856. It was originally numbered 103 Beacon, but re-numbered as 106 Beacon ca. 1862 when homes were built on the south side of the street.
104 Beacon is one of seven contiguous houses (104-106-108-110-112-114-116) built ca. 1856 in the same design, all in brownstone with French Academic details, ridge roofs, and a common cornice line (the copper-clad oriels at 106, 108, and 110 Beacon were added in the mid-1880s). 104-106 Beacon, 108-110 Beacon, and 112-114 Beacon are each symmetrical pairs.
Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay does not attribute 104-116 Beacon to a specific architect. However, in his Building Victorian Boston: The Architecture of Gridley J. F. Bryant, Roger Reed indicates that they were designed by Gridley J. F. Bryant.
106 Beacon was built as the home of George Middleton Barnard, a commission merchant, and his wife, Susan Livingston (Tilden) Barnard. They previously had lived in Lynn.
George Barnard purchased the land for 106 Beacon on June 28, 1855, from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation. On March 5, 1866, he transferred the property into his wife’s name.
Click here for an index to the deeds for 106 Beacon, and click here for further information on the land on the north side of Beacon, including the Storrow Memorial Embankment on the Esplanade.
Susan Barnard’s mother, Hannah Rowe (Inman) Tilden, the widow of William Tilden, lived with them until her death in April of 1866. Susan Barnard’s brother-in-law and sister, John Templeman Coolidge and Louisa Riché (Tilden) Coolidge, lived next door, at 108 Beacon.
By 1872, the Barnards had been joined by their son, Joseph Tilden Barnard, a widower, and his infant daughter, Mary Winchester Barnard. They previously had lived in Pepin, Wisconsin, where his wife, Mary Winchester (Cunningham) Barnard, had died in February of 1871. Joseph Barnard was a note broker. In about 1883, he invested in the Glass Veneer Company and in early 1884 he moved to New York City to manage its offices there. He died in May of 1884, a suicide.
George Barnard died in March of 1891. Susan Barnard continued to live at 106 Beacon during the 1891-1892 winter season, but then moved to an apartment at 199 Marlborough with her granddaughter, Mary Winchester Barnard. They continued to live there during the 1896-1897 season, after which they moved to 389 Beacon.
106 Beacon was not listed in the 1893 Blue Book.
On June 25, 1892, 106 Beacon was purchased from Susan Barnard by Hannah Adams (Gardner) Pfaff, the wife of brewer Jacob Pfaff. They previously had lived at 405 Boylston.
On July 23, 1915, 106 Beacon was purchased from Jacob and Hannah Pfaff’s son, Charles Pfaff, by artist and antiquarian John Templeman Coolidge, III. He and his wife, Mary Abigail (Parsons) Coolidge, made it their home. They previously had lived at 114 Beacon. They also maintained a home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On May 10, 1916, he transferred 106 Beacon into both his and his wife’s names.
Susan (Tilden) Barnard, who had lived at 106 Beacon until about 1892, was J. Templeman Coolidge’s great-aunt (he was the grandson of John Templeman Coolidge and Louise Riché (Tilden) Coolidge who had lived at 108 Beacon).
In July of 1928, J. Templeman Coolidge applied for (and subsequently received) permission to remove the two dormers in the front of the house, replace them with three small dormers, and reconstruct the interior of the top floor to make three rooms out of two.
J, Templeman Coolidge died in November of 1945. Mary Abigail Coolidge continued to live at 106 Beacon in 1947, but moved soon thereafter.
On August 6, 1948, 106 Beacon was acquired from Mary Abigail Coolidge by Edward Richardson Mitton, president of Jordan Marsh department stores. He and his wife, Marie Frances (Taff) Mitton, lived in Brookline.
It appears that 106 Beacon was operated as a lodging house in conjunction with 104 Beacon. 106 Beacon is vacant in the 1949-1959 City Directories. The Lists of Residents for the period do not include 106 Beacon but do indicate a large number of residents at 104 Beacon.
On June 6, 1962, 106 Beacon was acquired from Edward Mitton by Fisher College. On the same day, it also acquired 102 and 104 Beacon. Fisher College also owned 108-118 Beacon.
In October of 1963, Fisher College applied for (and subsequently received) permission to convert 106 Beacon into a dormitory.