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45-47 Commonwealth Avenue

45-47 Commonwealth Avenue

45-47 Commonwealth Avenue

45-47 Commonwealth
45-47 Commonwealth Avenue were built ca. 1869, one of four contiguous houses (41-43-45-47 Commonwealth) built at the same time, and one of nine contiguous houses (31-33-35-37-39-41-43-45-47 Commonwealth) built in the same design between 1864 and 1873 (a tenth house, 29 Commonwealth, also built in 1864 but razed in 1894, may also have been of the same style).

41-43-45-47 Commonwealth were built for lumber merchant, real estate investor, and banker Elijah C. Drew. He and his wife, Hannah (Haines) Drew, made 41 Commonwealth their home and sold the other three houses.

45 Commonwealth
By 1870, 45 Commonwealth was the home of Elmer Townsend, former proprietor of the New England Waxed Thread Sewing Machine Company, and his wife, Wealthy Ann (Beecher) Townsend.  In 1865, they had lived at the Tremont House.

Elmer Townsend died in April of 1871.  Wealthy Ann Townsend continued to live at 45 Commonwealth in 1876.

By 1877, it was the home of ice dealer Charles Otis Gage and his wife, Charlotte Lapham (Reed) Gage.  Their primary residence was in Arlington.  They continued to live at 45 Commonwealth in 1878.

By late 1878, it was the home of banker Joseph Norton Fiske and his wife, Charlotte (Morse) Fiske.  In 1877, they had lived at 17 Arlington Street.  In July  of 1879, they purchased and moved to 121 Commonwealth.

By 1880, 45 Commonwealth was the home of Charles G. Patterson, a broker, and his wife, Frances Elizabeth (Kirby) Patterson.  They probably leased the house from George B. Clapp, who is shown as the owner on the 1883 and 1888 Bromley maps.

The Pattersons continued to live there in 1889.

The house was not listed in the 1892 and 1894 Blue Books.

By 1895, it was the home of attorney Samuel Wells and his wife, Catherine Boott (Gannett) Wells.  He died in October of 1903.  Catherine Wells continued to live at 45 Commonwealth until 1908.

In February of 1908, cotton broker Ellerton Lodge Dorr and his wife, Mary Louisa (Stanwood) Dorr, purchased 45 Commonwealth from Catherine Wells.

He died in March of 1913.  Mary Dorr continued to live at 45 Commonwealth with her daughters, Mary and Elise Dorr, in 1920.  Mrs. Dorr is shown as the owner on the 1917 Bromley map.

Mrs. Dorr probably died in 1920 or 1921, and by 1922, her daughters, Mary and Elise Dorr, had purchased and moved to 235 Marlborough Street.

45 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1922 and 1923 Blue Books.

By 1923, 45 Commonwealth had been purchased by John Valentine Dittemore, who converted it into a multiple dwelling.  He was a retired Indianapolis meat packing executive who had come to Boston in about 1908 to work in the Christian Science Church; he also owned and developed real estate.

In May of 1923, John Valentine filed an affidavit stating that he would limit the occupancy to three dwelling units with kitchens.  He was subsequently cited for having more than three families living in the house, and in 1924 he was granted permission by the Board of Appeal to convert the house into a three-family dwelling and two lodging units (without kitchens).

In 1924, while he was remodeling 45 Commonwealth, John Dittemore and his wife, Edith (Bingham) Dittemore, lived at 68 Commonwealth, which they had previously converted into apartments in about 1922.  By 1925, they were living at the Copley Plaza Hotel, and by 1927 they had moved to an apartment at 45 Commonwealth, where they continued to live in 1928.  He continued to be shown as the owner on the 1928 Bromley map.

By 1929, they had moved to 138 Marlborough Street and it appears that they were divorced at about that time.  By 1933, Edith Dittemore was once again living in one of the apartments at 45 Commonwealth.  She continued to live there in 1934, but no longer was listed there in the 1935 Blue Book.

The Cape Ann Savings Bank is shown as the owner of 45 Commonwealth on the 1938 Bromley map.

By 1954, 45 Commonwealth was owned (or possibly just managed) by the Paradise Realty Company, which converted the building from five to nine apartments.

47 Commonwealth
By 1870, 47 Commonwealth Avenue was the home of dry goods merchant Henry Blaney and his wife, Mary French (Wood) Blaney.  Mary Blaney is shown as the owner on the 1874 Hopkins map.  They continued to live there in 1876.

The house was not listed in the 1877 Blue Book.

By 1879, it was the home of merchant Joseph Peabody and his wife, Anna Perkins (Pingree) Peabody.  Anna P. Peabody is shown as the owner on the 1883, 1888, and 1908 Bromley maps.

Joseph Peabody probably died in 1887 or 1888.

Anna Peabody continued to live at 47 Commonwealth until her death in March of 1911.  In her will, she left the house in trust for the benefit of her niece, Mrs. Anna W. Phillips of Salem, the wife of Stephen W. Phillips.

The house was not listed in the 1913 and 1915 Blue Books, and is shown as owned by the Heirs of Anna P. Peabody on the 1917 Bromley map.

By 1917, it was leased from the Peabody Estate by Dr. John Thornton Bullard, a retired physician, and his wife, Emily Morgan (Rotch) Bullard.  In 1915, they had lived at 288 Beacon Street.

The Bullards continued to live at 47 Commonwealth in 1924, but by 1925 had moved to New Bedford, where he had maintained his medical practices until his retirement in about 1911.

47 Commonwealth was not listed in the 1927-1937 Blue Books.  The Heirs of Anna P. Peabody continued to be shown as the owners on the 1928 and 1938 Bromley maps.

The house was vacant in April of 1941, when an abutter filed a complaint with the Building Department about the condition of the rear yard and entrance.

By 1942, it was owned by William Karmazine, trustee of the Esdith Realty Trust.  In  August of 1942, he converted the house into lodging house.

45-47 Commonwealth
In June of 1960, Nick Haddad, trustee of the Haddad Realty Trust, purchased 47 Commonwealth.  He initially proposed to convert it from a lodging house into ten apartments, but in March of 1962 modified his plans to install a new floor, between the fourth floor and the roof (without adding to the height of the building), and increase the number of apartments from ten to twelve units.  In February of 1963, he amended the plans once again, and received approval to build a fifth floor penthouse on the building.

In May of 1963, he purchased 45 Commonwealth.  He subsequently built a fifth-floor penthouse on that building (increasing the number of apartments to ten) and, by March of 1964, had cut through doors between 45 and 47 Commonwealth on the third, fourth, and fifth floors.

On February 20, 1971, 47 Commonwealth was extensively damaged by a fire that affected the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors and the roof.  The damage was repaired, and on September 7, 1974, the building was again damaged by a smaller fire in the apartment on the third floor front of the building.

45-47 Commonwealth remained an apartment building in 2007.

 


 

 

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