The block on the south side of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford is 375 feet in length and 112 feet from Marlborough to Alley 428.
The land was part of the Boston Water Power Company’s holdings in the residential portion of the Back Bay, which included all of the land from the south side of Beacon to the north side of Commonwealth west of a line about 95 feet east of Fairfield. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts owned the land to the east. The company also owned the land on the south side of Commonwealth west of a point about 135 feet west of Hereford. The land to the east was owned by the Sears family.
The company sold all its land in large parcels, almost exclusively to real estate investment trusts which then subdivided the land and resold it. It sold land in 1863, 1866, 1868, and 1872, by which point it had sold all of its land between the Commonwealth’s lands and a line 125 feet west of Massachusetts Avenue (West Chester Park). It sold the remainder of its land in the residential portion of the neighborhood in 1880.
On March 1, 1872, the company sold the land on the south side of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford to a real estate investment trust – known as the Beacon Street Lands Trust – formed by Grenville T. W. Braman, Henry D. Hyde, and Frank W. Andrews. It was one of several parcels acquired by the Beacon Street Land Trust at the same time. The plan to the right shows all of the parcels purchased by the trust, including land on both the east and west sides of Parker Street, which ran southwest at approximately a 45 degree angle, bisecting the land between Hereford and Massachusetts Avenue.
Grenville Temple Winthop Braman was a real estate investor and served as treasurer of the Boston Water Power Company until mid-1869. He and his wife, Susie A. (Davies) Braman, lived at 9 Brimmer and later at 447 Beacon. Henry Dwight Hyde was an attorney. He and his wife, Luvan Augusta (Charles) Hyde, lived at 153 West Newton and later at 380 Commonwealth. Frank William Andrews was a real estate investor and former importer of iron and crockery. He and his wife, Maria Frances (Adams) Andrews, lived at 6 Marlborough.
Grenville T. W. Braman and his partners in the Beacon Street Lands Trust rapidly sold all of their land on the south side of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford, subdividing it into three parcels.
Western Parcel. On March 1, 1872, the same day as they took title to the land, Grenville Braman and his partners sold the eastern 84 feet to builder and building contractor George Martin Gibson. He sold the parcel on June 26, 1872, to Hiram A. Gerrish, also a building contractor, who built 10-12-14 Gloucester and 334-336 Marlborough for speculative sale.
Central Parcel. On April 1, 1872, Grenville Braman and his partners sold a 106 foot parcel to real estate dealer Henry Whitwell. He had 338-340-342-344-346 Marlborough built for speculative sale. On the same day, the trustees also sold Henry Whitwell the eastern half of the south side of Commonwealth between Gloucester and Hereford.
Western Parcel. On May 10, 1872, Grenville Braman and his partners sold the remainder of the block with a frontage of 185 feet, to building contractor George Wheatland, Jr. On the same day, the trustees also sold George Wheatland, Jr., the western half of the south side of Commonwealth between Gloucester and Hereford.
On May 25, 1872, George Wheatland, Jr., entered into a trust agreement with respect to several parcels of land he owned, including the 185 foot parcel on the western half of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford. Under the agreement, he transferred two undivided one-third interests in the property, one to William Dudley Pickman and the other to William Pickering Fay, and they agreed to assume the obligation for one third (each) of the mortgages on the property. On April 18, 1876, George Wheatland, Jr., transferred the remaining one-third interest in the property to his father, George Wheatland, Sr., of Salem.
George Wheatland, Jr., subdivided the property into eight lots, seven with 23 foot frontages and the eighth, at the corner of Hereford, with a 24 foot frontage, and built 348-350-352-354-356-358-360-362 Marlborough for speculative sale. The lots were transferred to one of the three owners of the land as the houses were constructed; each house was then sold after it was completed.
Original Construction. All of the buildings on the north side of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford were built by 1882.
The plan below illustrates when houses were first constructed on the block (based on building permit applications, news reports, and dates provided in Bainbridge Bunting’s Houses of Boston’s Back Bay).
Building Restrictions in Original Land Deeds
The Boston Water Power Company’s deed to Grenville T. W. Braman, Henry D. Hyde, and Frank W. Andrews, trustees of the Beacon Street Lands Trust, included language specifying that all structures were to be of brick, stone, or iron; and could not be used for livery stables, carpenters shops, white or blacksmith’s shops, or for foundry or manufacturing purposes, “or for any other business which shall be offensive to the neighborhood for dwelling houses.” The deed also required that “all buildings erected thereon shall be of good class and not less than three stories in height including basement excepting church edifices which may be of any height.” The deed did not include requirements that houses be set back from the street by any specified distance.
The deeds from the trustees to George M. Gibson, Henry Whitwell, and George Wheatland, Jr., repeated the same restrictions and also specified that the front wall of houses be set back twenty-two feet from Marlborough, with “steps, windows, porticos, and other usual projections appurtenant thereto” allowed in the reserved space subject to dimensional limitations enumerated in the deed.
These restrictions were similar to those contained in the deeds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts conveying its Back Bay land, with the exception that the Commonwealth’s deeds did not specify that the buildings be made of brick, stone, or iron. The Commonwealth deeds also usually included language specifying the depth of cellars and permitting the cultivation of street trees.
The deeds from the Beacon Street Lands Trust also included language with respect to the placement of party walls on the boundary lines and the responsibility of parties using the walls to share the costs of building them. Similar language was included in deeds from the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation for land its land on the north side of Beacon, but was not contained in the deeds from the Commonwealth.
Original Land Deeds
The Boston Water Power Company sold its land on the south side of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford on March 1, 1872 (Suffolk Co. Deed Registry, Book 1095, p. 1) to Grenville T. W. Braman, Henry D. Hyde, and Frank W. Andrews, trustees of the Beacon Street Lands Trust. The deed also included the land on the south side of Marlborough between Hereford and the eastern boundary of Parker Street, the north side of Commonwealth between Gloucester and the eastern boundary of Parker Street, and the south side of Beacon, north and south sides of Marlborough, and north side of Commonwealth between the western boundary of Parker Street and a line 125 feet west of Massachusetts Avenue.
The Beacon Street Lands Trust sold its land on the south side of Marlborough between Gloucester and Hereford by the following deeds:
|01Mar1872||84’||112’||George M. Gibson||1101||193|
|338-346 Marlborough||01Apr1872||106’||112’||Henry Whitwell||1102||130|
|348-362 Marlborough||10May1872||185’||112’||George Wheatland, Jr.||1108||209|