Index to Deeds: 374 Commonwealth

Plan by Aspinwall & Lincoln, 26Feb1912; Suffolk County Deed Book 3661, p. 242 (color added)

The following is an index to property transfer deeds, party wall agreements, building restriction agreements, and easements recorded at the Suffolk County Deed Registry with respect to the original Harvard Club property at 374 Commonwealth, from the original land purchase until December 31, 2010. Mortgages, trust agreements, and other similar recorded documents are not included. This index is intended as a guide only; actual deeds should be reviewed for details.

The original lot on which 374 Commonwealth was built was purchased by the Harvard Club on August 14, 1912, from the estate of Henry Lee. The lot had a 100 foot frontage on Commonwealth and a 158.47 foot frontage on Newbury. The lot acquired by the Harvard Club was shown on a plan by Aspinwall & Lincoln dated February 26, 1912.

Date of Deed Grantor Grantee Book Page
14Aug1912 William J. Stober Harvard Club of Boston 3661 246
14Aug1912 Schuyler S. Bartlett and Henry B. Cabot, trustees under the will of Henry Lee William J. Stober 3661 242

Detail from plan by Fuller & Whitney, 15Oct1886; Suffolk County Deed Book 1752, p. 580 (color added)

The lot purchased by the Harvard Club was part of a larger parcel which extended to Massachusetts Avenue (called West Chester Park at that time) between Commonwealth and Newbury, including the property where the Sherman Building was built at 93-97 Massachusetts Avenue in 1906 and where The Eliot would be built at 370 Commonwealth in 1925. Henry Lee had assembled this parcel through a series of transactions.

Henry Lee acquired the bulk of the land in two transactions on December 9, 1886, combining portions of two larger tracts of land originally purchased from the Boston Water Power Company. The lots acquired by Henry Lee were shown on a plan by Fuller & Whitney dated October 15, 1886.

Detail from plan by Fuller & Whitney, 26Jun1880; Suffolk County Deed Book 1506, p. 194 (color added)

The western parcel acquired by Henry Lee was shown as Lots A and B on the plan (outlined in red on the plan to the left). These were part of a larger tract of land originally purchased from the Boston Water Power Company on October 15, 1880, by The Park Entrance Lands Trust, a group of investors formed to purchase, develop, and dispose of four parcels of land they acquired from the Boston Water Power Company.  The four parcels included all of the land on the south side of Commonwealth running west from a point about 24 feet west of Massachusetts Avenue to the intersection with Beacon Street (in what is now Kenmore Square), and south to Westland Avenue. These parcels were shown on a plan by Fuller & Whitney dated June 26, 1880; the parcel which included the land subsequently purchased by Henry Lee was shown as Lot 3 on this plan (outlined in red on the plan to the right)  The investors called themselves The Park Entrance Lands Trust because their property included park land south of Commonwealth between what are now Charlesgate East and Charlesgate West, land which was designated as the Beacon Street entrance to the new Back Bay Park (now the Back Bay Fens),

Transfers of Lots A and B on a plan by Fuller & Whitney dated October 15, 1886
09Dec1886 Henry M Whitney, Grenville T. W. Braman, and Henry D. Hyde, trustees of “The Park Entrance Lands” trust Henry Lee 1752 580
15Oct1880 Boston Water Power Company Henry M Whitney, Grenville T. W. Braman, and Henry D. Hyde, trustees of “The Park Entrance Lands” trust 1506 195
15Oct1880 Dwight Foster, Gilman Collamore, and George Richardson, trustees for bonds issued by the Boston Water Power Co. Henry M. Whitney, Grenville T. W. Braman, and Henry D. Hyde, trustees of “The Park Entrance Lands” trust 1506 193

Detail from plan by J. F. Fuller, 19Apr1870; Suffolk County Deed Book 997, p. 73 (color added)

The eastern parcel acquired by Henry Lee was shown as Lots C and D on the Fuller & Whitney plan dated October 15, 1886 (see above, outlined in blue). These were part of two larger tracts that ran southwest from Commonwealth at a 55 degree angle, spanning Massachusetts Avenue, that had been bought from the Boston Water Power Company on April 19, 1870, by David Nelson Skillings, as trustee for a group of investors that included himself, Lawrence Barnes, Charles Whitney, and David Whitney, Jr. These parcels were shown on a plan by J. F. Fuller dated April 19, 1870 (outlined in blue on the plan to the left). This land included Parker Street, which ran above the Cross Dam, and which ceased to be a street and was sold for development in 1878 (David Skillings bought the portion of the roadway that was within his other lands on February 7, 1878).

Transfers of Lots C and D on a plan by Fuller & Whitney dated October 15, 1886
09Dec1886 Henry M. Whitney Henry Lee 1752 584
06Dec1886 Ambrose A. Ranney Henry M. Whitney 1752 217
29Nov1884 George W. Shepard (foreclosure of mortgage by George Shepard to William Skillings et al) Ambrose A. Ranney 1662 396
13Oct1882 Alfred A. Marcus (foreclosure of mortgage by Alfred A, Marcus to William Skillings et al) George W. Shepard 1576 417
28Mar1881 Estate of David N. Skillings: Mary Skillings, William E. Skillings, Elisha D. Bangs and Georgia Bangs, his wife, by her own right, David N. Skillings, “formerly the younger,” James W. Skillings, Mary Skillings, and Julius P. Skillings Alfred A. Marcus 1520 577
12Jan1878 David N. Skillings, Jr. David N. Skillings 1407 187
05Jan1878 David N. Skillings, trustee for himself, Charles Whitney, and David Whitney, Jr. (Deed in foreclosure of mortgage from Horace M. Bearce and Ira T. Drew) David N. Skillings, Jr. 1407 185
03May1873 David N. Skillings, trustee for himself, Lawrence Barnes, Charles Whitney, and David Whitney, Jr. Horace M. Bearce and Ira T. Drew 1162 281
19Apr1870 Boston Water Power Company David N. Skillings, trustee for himself, Lawrence Barnes, Charles Whitney, and David Whitney, Jr. 997 73

Plan by William H. Whitney, 25Feb1889; Suffolk County Deed Book 1865, p. 294 (color added)

On July 1, 1896, Henry Lee acquired a third lot, with a 23 foot frontage on Newbury between the west border of the land he already owned and a passageway running north-south from Newbury (today’s Alley 917), connecting with a second passageway running east-west between Newbury and Commonwealth (today’s Alley 918).   This lot was shown as Lot C on a plan by William H. Whitney dated February 25, 1889 (outlined in red on the plan to the right).

The lot had been part of the same parcel originally purchased from the Boston Water Power Company by The Park Entrance Land Trust, shown as Lot 3 on the Fuller & Whitney plan dated June 26, 1880 (see above).

Transfers of Lot C on a plan by William H. Whitney dated February 25, 1889
Date of Deed Grantor Grantee Book Page
01Jul1896 John F. Costelo Henry Lee 2375 454
01Jun1896 John P. Rock John F. Costelo 2632 606
01Apr1896 Edward B. Miles John P. Rock 2347 614
01Feb1896 Mary J. Wason Edward B. Miles 2347 612
16Feb1894 S. Horatio Whitwell Mary J. Wason 2181 90
08Mar1889 Henry M Whitney, Grenville T. W. Braman, and Henry D. Hyde, trustees of “The Park Entrance Lands” trust S. Horatio Whitwell 1865 294
15Oct1880 Boston Water Power Company Henry M Whitney, Grenville T. W. Braman, and Henry D. Hyde, trustees of “The Park Entrance Lands” trust 1506 195
15Oct1880 Dwight Foster, Gilman Collamore, and George Richardson, trustees for bonds issued by the Boston Water Power Co. Henry M. Whitney, Grenville T. W. Braman, and Henry D. Hyde, trustees of “The Park Entrance Lands” trust 1506 193

The land on which 374 Commonwealth was built also was subject to party wall and building restriction agreements, and easements.

Party Wall Agreements
Date Party One Party Two Book Page
01Jan1913 Harvard Club of Boston (374 Commonwealth) Schuyler S. Bartlett and Henry B. Cabot, trustees under the will of Henry Lee (370 Commonwealth) 3699 261
Building restriction agreement by owners of property on the south side of Commonwealth and north side of Newbury between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, allowing bay windows to extend into the alley, provided that they extend no further than three feet and are at least 19 feet above the surface of the passageway
Date Parties to Agreement Book Page
01Jul1908 Henry M. Williams individually and as co-trustee, Somerset Hotel Trust; John D. Hardy, trustee, Avenue Realty Trust; Cambridgeport Savings Bank; A. L. K. Volkmann; Charles H. Rutan, Schuyler S. Bartlett, and Henry B. Cabot, trustees under the will of Henry Lee; Charles R. Batt and Walter R. Dyer, trustees, 399 Newbury Street; Benjamin D, Hyde, executor of the estate of H. D. Hyde; E. Florence Macconnell; Louisa P. Russell; Robert L. Winkley, conservator of the estate of Albert Pope; and Frank D. Ellison 3518 48
Easement: Passageway to Newbury between 370 and 374 Commonwealth
Date Party One Party Two Book Page
27Jun1917 William J. Stober (370 Commonwealth) Harvard Club of Boston (374 Commonwealth) 4041 262

After 374 Commonwealth was completed, the Harvard Club acquired additional property on Commonwealth Avenue and on Newbury Street.

On Commonwealth, it acquired 398 and 400 Commonwealth in the 1920s, which it merged with 374 Commonwealth. In August of 2014, it subdivided 374 Commonwealth and 378-380 Commonwealth into two properties and converted 378-380 Commonwealth into condominiums. See 378-380 Commonwealth for indices to the deeds for this property.

On Newbury, it acquired 399-415 Newbury between 1927 and 1965, razing the buildings and using the area for expanded parking. The deeds by which the Harvard Club acquired these properties (but not the predecessor deeds) are included in the index below.

399 Newbury
Date of Deed Grantor Grantee Book Page
30Dec1915 (recorded 24Oct1927) Phillips Ketchum Harvard Club of Boston 4947 314
401 Newbury
Date of Title Certificate Grantor Grantee Certificate Number
24Oct1927 Phillips Ketchum Harvard Club of Boston 22876
403 Newbury
Date of Deed Grantor Grantee Book Page
08Aug1941 Emma Florence MacConnell, formerly Emma Florence Brann Harvard Club of Boston 5940 412
405 Newbury
09Sep1953 W. Randolph Angell, Jr. Harvard Club of Boston, trustee of the Harvard Club of Boston Foundation 6931 384
415 Newbury
23Jun1965 The Southern New England Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists Harvard Club of Boston 7962 564