Back Bay Development: 1880-1884

Overview1855-18591860-18641865-18691870-18741875-1879 – 1880-1884 – 1885-18891890-18991900-19091910-2015

In the early 1880s, land west of Massachusetts Avenue (West Chester Park) was filled, extending the residential neighborhood to Charlesgate East at the edge of Back Bay Park (soon incorporated into the Back Bay Fens and called Charlesgate Park; as of 2015 largely obscured by the Philip G. Bowker highway overpass).

New construction in the Back Bay continued at a moderate pace during the first half of the 1880s. The first houses west of Massachusetts Avenue were built during this period at 378-380 Commonwealth.

In the early 1880s, the first instance of an existing Back Bay building being demolished and replaced occurred when the Hotel Vendome was expanded on Commonwealth Avenue. Five townhouses built and operated by the hotel were razed to permit construction of the new addition. When it was completed, the hotel’s main entrance moved from Dartmouth to Commonwealth.

The map below indicates when a building was first constructed on a specific lot through 1884. Included are lots within the residential portion of the Back Bay, as defined for purposes of this website, plus buildings on the north side of Newbury. The dates used are based on original permit applications or similar documentation, when available. When no such documentation is available, the dates provided in Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay are used. If an original building was replaced or rebuilt , the date of original building (not the replacement) is shown. Thus, the date shown for 160 Commonwealth (near the southwest corner of Commonwealth and Dartmouth) is the date when the original townhouses built in conjunction with the hotel were constructed (ca. 1871), not the date of the replacement structure (ca. 1881).

Following the map is a list of the 198 buildings constructed between 1880 and 1884 in the residential portion of the Back Bay.

Original Construction through 1884

Click here for a link to maps showing the progress of construction from 1855 through 2015, in slideshow format.

Below is a list of the 198 buildings constructed between 1880 and 1884 in the residential portion of the Back Bay. Houses indicated as demolished were replaced by 2015; buildings indicated as replacements were built on lots where earlier structures previously were located.

389 Marlborough (1880)384 Marlborough (1881)

Beacon: Berkeley to Clarendon
North Side South Side
166 Beacon (1882)
Beacon: Dartmouth to Exeter
North Side South Side
242 Beacon (1880) 279 Beacon (1881)
244 Beacon (1882) 281 Beacon (1881)
270 Beacon (1881) (Demolished) 287 Beacon (1881)
274 Beacon (1881) (Demolished) 289 Beacon (1881)
291 Beacon (1881)
293 Beacon (1884)
Beacon: Exeter to Fairfield
North Side South Side
318 Beacon (1881) 301 Beacon (1883)
324 Beacon (1882) (Demolished) 331 Beacon (1880)
333 Beacon (1881)
335 Beacon (1881)
337 Beacon (1881)
339 Beacon (1881)
341 Beacon (1881)
347 Beacon (1884)
Beacon: Fairfield to Gloucester
North Side South Side
340 Beacon (1880)
342 Beacon (1880)
344 Beacon (1880)
346 Beacon (1882)
354 Beacon (1883)
356 Beacon (1883) (Demolished)
Beacon: Hereford to Massachusetts
North Side South Side
451 Beacon (1882)
Commonwealth: Berkeley to Clarendon
North Side South Side
88 Commonwealth (1881) (Demolished)
Commonwealth: Clarendon to Dartmouth
North Side South Side
131 Commonwealth (1880) 110 Commonwealth: First Baptist Church Chapel (1882)
128 Commonwealth (1882)
130 Commonwealth (1882)
144 Commonwealth (1880)
150 Commonwealth (1880)
Commonwealth: Dartmouth to Exeter
North Side South Side
165 Commonwealth (1880) 160 Commonwealth: Hotel Vendôme Addition (1881) (Replacement)
167 Commonwealth (1880) 190 Commonwealth (1881)
175 Commonwealth (1881) 176 Commonwealth (1883)
177 Commonwealth (1882) 178 Commonwealth (1883)
179 Commonwealth (1883) 180 Commonwealth (1883) (Demolished)
185 Commonwealth (1883)
Commonwealth: Exeter to Fairfield
North Side South Side
197 Commonwealth (1881) 196 Commonwealth (1881)
203 Commonwealth (1884) 198 Commonwealth (1880)
205 Commonwealth (1882) 200 Commonwealth (1882)
207 Commonwealth (1883) 202 Commonwealth (1882)
211 Commonwealth (1883) 226 Commonwealth (1881)
213 Commonwealth (1881) 228 Commonwealth (1881)
215 Commonwealth (1883) 230 Commonwealth (1881)
223 Commonwealth (1883) 232 Commonwealth (1880)
225 Commonwealth (1884)
227 Commonwealth (1884)
229 Commonwealth (1882)
235 Commonwealth (1882)
239 Commonwealth (22 Fairfield) (1882)
Commonwealth: Fairfield to Gloucester
North Side South Side
251 Commonwealth (1880) 246 Commonwealth (1880)
253 Commonwealth (1880) 262 Commonwealth (1880)
255 Commonwealth (1880) 264 Commonwealth (1882)
261 Commonwealth (1880) 266 Commonwealth (1883)
263 Commonwealth (1880) 278 Commonwealth (1883)
265 Commonwealth (1880) 282 Commonwealth (1884)
267 Commonwealth (1880)
269 Commonwealth (1881)
Commonwealth: Gloucester to Hereford
North Side South Side
285 Commonwealth (1881) (Demolished) 284 Commonwealth (1880)
291 Commonwealth (1884) 286 Commonwealth (1880)
305 Commonwealth (1884) 288 Commonwealth (1880)
294 Commonwealth (1880)
296 Commonwealth (1880)
298 Commonwealth (1880)
300 Commonwealth (1880)
302 Commonwealth (1881)
Commonwealth: Hereford to Massachusetts
North Side South Side
327 Commonwealth (1880) 316 Commonwealth (1881) (Demolished)
337 Commonwealth (1880) 318 Commonwealth (1881)
339 Commonwealth (1880) 320 Commonwealth (1881)
341 Commonwealth (1880) 322 Commonwealth (1882)
343 Commonwealth (1882) 324 Commonwealth (1882)
355 Commonwealth (1882) 326 Commonwealth (1882)
336 Commonwealth (1881)
338 Commonwealth (1882)
340 Commonwealth (1882)
342 Commonwealth (1883)
344 Commonwealth (1883)
346 Commonwealth (1883)
348 Commonwealth (1883)
350 Commonwealth (1883)
352 Commonwealth (1883)
354 Commonwealth (1883)
356 Commonwealth (1883)
358 Commonwealth (1883)
360 Commonwealth (1883)
Commonwealth: Massachusetts to Charlesgate East
North Side South Side
378 Commonwealth (1883)
380 Commonwealth (1883)
Exeter: Marlborough to Commonwealth
West Side East Side
17 Exeter (1881)
19 Exeter (1881)
Exeter: Commonwealth to Newbury
West Side East Side
25 Exeter (1882) 26 Exeter (181 Newbury) (1884)
Fairfield: Marlborough to Commonwealth
West Side East Side
21 Fairfield (1880) 16 Fairfield (1884) (Demolished)
22 Fairfield (239 Commonwealth) (1882)
Fairfield: Commonwealth to Newbury
West Side East Side
30 Fairfield (1883)
Gloucester: Commonwealth to Newbury
West Side East Side
30 Gloucester (1880) 29 Gloucester (1882)
32 Gloucester (1880) 31 Gloucester (1882)
34 Gloucester (1880) 33 Gloucester (1882)
36 Gloucester (279-A Newbury) (1880) 35 Gloucester (279 Newbury)
Hereford: Marlborough to Commonwealth
West Side East Side
32 Hereford (1884)
Hereford: Commonwealth to Newbury
West Side East Side
45 Hereford (1882)
47 Hereford (1882)
49 Hereford (1882)
51 Hereford (1882)
53 Hereford (1882)
Marlborough: Clarendon to Dartmouth
North Side South Side
131 Marlborough (1880)
133 Marlborough (1880)
135 Marlborough (1880)
Marlborough: Dartmouth to Exeter
North Side South Side
171 Marlborough (1881) 180 Marlborough (1880)
173 Marlborough (1881) 182 Marlborough (1880)
179 Marlborough (1881) 184 Marlborough (1881)
181 Marlborough (1881) 188 Marlborough (1884)
183 Marlborough (1882) 190 Marlborough (1881)
185 Marlborough (1884) 192 Marlborough (1881)
191 Marlborough (1881) 194 Marlborough (1881)
193 Marlborough (1882)
195 Marlborough (1883)
Marlborough: Exeter to Fairfield
North Side South Side
241 Marlborough (1882) 226 Marlborough (1882)
245 Marlborough (1883) 230 Marlborough (1880)
247 Marlborough (1881) 232 Marlborough (1880)
249 Marlborough (1880) 234 Marlborough (1880)
253 Marlborough (1883) 236 Marlborough (1881)
255 Marlborough (1883) 238 Marlborough (1881)
257 Marlborough (1883) 240 Marlborough (1881)
259 Marlborough (1884) 242 Marlborough (1881)
244 Marlborough (1882)
246 Marlborough (1883)
272 Marlborough (1883)
Marlborough: Gloucester to Hereford
North Side South Side
336 Marlborough (1882)
Marlborough: Hereford to Massachusetts
North Side South Side
375 Marlborough (1880) 370 Marlborough (1880)
377 Marlborough (1880) 372 Marlborough (1880)
379 Marlborough (1880) 374 Marlborough (1880)
381 Marlborough (1880) 376 Marlborough (1880)
383 Marlborough (1880) 378 Marlborough (1880)
385 Marlborough (1880) 380 Marlborough (1881)
387 Marlborough (1880) 382 Marlborough (1881)
391 Marlborough (1880) 386 Marlborough (1882)
399 Marlborough (1884)