Back Bay Development: 1890-1899

Overview1855-18591860-18641865-18691870-18741875-18791880-18841885-1889 – 1890-1899 – 1900-19091910-2015

New construction in the Back Bay slowed during the 1890s as the number of available open lots dwindled.

The period saw the construction of a number large apartment houses and apartment hotels, including: The Abbotsford at 186-188 Commonwealth, expanding the original apartment house at 184 Commonwealth, built in 1889; The Charlesgate at 4 Charlesgate East (535 Beacon), which soon expanded into the 10 Charlesgate East; The Chesterfield at 371 Commonwealth and The Ericson next door at 373 Commonwealth; Haddon Hall at 282 Berkeley, the height of which prompted significant opposition; the Hotel Empire (later the Hotel Lafayette) at 333 Commonwealth; the Hotel Tuileries at 270 Commonwealth; The Marlborough at 416 Marlborough; The Colonial at 382 Commonwealth and The Torrington at 384 Commonwealth; the Hotel Somerset at 400-416 Commonwealth; and the Hotel Cambridge at 483-485 Beacon.  A number of smaller apartment houses also were constructed during this period.

333 Commonwealth (2013)

The Hotel Empire at 333 Commonwealth (2013), one of several large apartment hotels built during the 1890s

Also in the 1890s, another major church was added to the neighborhood: the Mt. Vernon Congregational Church at 490-492 Beacon at the northeast corner of Beacon and Massachusetts Avenue.

Three original Back Bay buildings were demolished and replaced with new buildings:

    • In 1894, 29 Commonwealth was razed and replaced by Haddon Hall at 282 Berkeley
  • In 1898, a multiple-dwelling at 483 Beacon, built ca. 1891, was replaced by the Hotel Cambridge at 483-485 Beacon, built on the site of 483 Beacon and on a vacant lot next door; and
  • In 1899, 316 Commonwealth was razed and replaced by 314 Commonwealth, a new house on the site of 316 Commonwealth and on a vacant lot next door, at the southwest corner of Commonwealth and Hereford..

The map below indicates when a building was first constructed on a specific lot through 1899. 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.  If a replacement building occupied both a vacant lot and the site of a previous building (e.g., 314 Commonwealth at the southwest corner of Hereford), the vacant lot is shown with the date of the replacement building and the previously occupied lot is shown with the date when the original house was built.

Following the map is a list of the 89 buildings constructed between 1890 and 1899 in the residential portion of the Back Bay.

Original Construction through 1899

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 89 buildings constructed between 1890 and 1899 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; buildings indicated as partial replacements were built on a combination of vacant lots and lots where earlier structures had been located.

Beacon: Dartmouth to Exeter
North Side South Side
278 Beacon (1890) (Demolished)
Beacon: Exeter to Fairfield
North Side South Side
326 Beacon (1890) (Demolished)
Beacon: Fairfield to Gloucester
North Side South Side
350 Beacon (1896)
Beacon: Gloucester to Hereford
North Side South Side
404 Beacon (2 Gloucester) (1893)
416 Beacon (1890)
418 Beacon (1897)
420 Beacon (1892)
422 Beacon (1899)
Beacon: Hereford to Massachusetts
North Side South Side
450 Beacon (1895) 479 Beacon (1891)
454 Beacon (1890) 481 Beacon (1891)
458 Beacon (1890) 483 Beacon (1891) (Demolished)
460 Beacon (1891) 483 Beacon (1898) (Partial Replacement)
462 Beacon (1891)
464 Beacon (1891)
468 Beacon (1891)
470 Beacon (1891)
472 Beacon (1892)
474 Beacon (1891)
476 Beacon (1891)
478 Beacon (1892)
480 Beacon (1892)
482 Beacon (1892)
486 Beacon (1892)
486 Beacon (1892)
488 Beacon (1892)
490 Beacon (1892)
492 Beacon (1891) (Demolished)
Beacon: Massachusetts to Charlesgate East
North Side South Side
504 Beacon (1894) 491 Beacon (21-23 Massachusetts) (1891)
506 Beacon (1893) 495-497 Beacon (1890)
508 Beacon (1890) 535 Beacon (4 Charlesgate East) (1891)
512 Beacon (1890) (Demolished)
518 Beacon (1893)
526 Beacon (1895)
528 Beacon (1893)
536 Beacon (1891) (Demolished)
538 Beacon (1 Charlesgate East) (1891) (Demolished)
Berkeley: Marlborough to Commonwealth
West Side East Side
282 Berkeley (1894) (Replacement)
Charlesgate East: Back Street to Beacon
East Side
1 Charlesgate East (538 Beacon) (1891) (Demolished)
Charlesgate East: Beacon to Marlborough
East Side
4 Charlesgate East (535 Beacon) (1891)
Charlesgate East: Marlborough to Commonwealth
East Side
24 Charlesgate East (419 Commonwealth) (1891)
Commonwealth: Dartmouth to Exeter
North Side South Side
174 Commonwealth (1893)
186-188 Commonwealth (1890)
Commonwealth: Exeter to Fairfield
North Side South Side
199 Commonwealth (1890)
Commonwealth: Fairfield to Gloucester
North Side South Side
273 Commonwealth (1891) 270 Commonwealth (1896)
280 Commonwealth (1894)
Commonwealth: Gloucester to Hereford
North Side South Side
287 Commonwealth (1892) 290 Commonwealth (1890)
293 Commonwealth (1890) 304 Commonwealth (1895)
295 Commonwealth (1890) 306 Commonwealth (1896)
297 Commonwealth (1899)
303 Commonwealth (1895)
Commonwealth: Hereford to Massachusetts
North Side South Side
329 Commonwealth (1895) 314 Commonwealth (1899) (Partial Replacement)
333 Commonwealth (1895) 362 Commonwealth (1890)
349 Commonwealth (1894)
351 Commonwealth (1894)
353 Commonwealth (1894)
Commonwealth: Massachusetts to Charlesgate East
North Side South Side
371 Commonwealth (61 Massachusetts) (1892) 382 Commonwealth (1895)
373 Commonwealth (1892) 384 Commonwealth (1896)
375 Commonwealth (1892) 386 Commonwealth (1899)
393 Commonwealth (1899) 400-416 Commonwealth (1897)
395 Commonwealth (1899)
409 Commonwealth (1898)
411 Commonwealth (1899)
413 Commonwealth (1890)
415 Commonwealth (1890)
419 Commonwealth (24 Charlesgate East) (1891)
Gloucester: Back Street to Beacon
West Side East Side
2 Gloucester (404 Beacon) (1893)
Marlborough: Clarendon to Dartmouth
North Side South Side
138 Marlborough (1891)
Marlborough: Dartmouth to Exeter
North Side South Side
197 Marlborough (1891)
199 Marlborough (1890)
Marlborough: Exeter to Fairfield
North Side South Side
220 Marlborough (1892)
224 Marlborough (1892)
Marlborough: Hereford to Massachusetts
North Side South Side
409 Marlborough (1890) 416 Marlborough (1895)
411 Marlborough (1890)
Massachusetts: Beacon to Marlborough
West Side East Side
21-23 Massachusetts (491 Beacon) (1891)
25-27 Massachusetts (1891)
31 Massachusetts (1891)
Massachusetts: Marlborough to Commonwealth
West Side East Side
61 Massachusetts (371 Commonwealth) (1892)