Boston – Historic 474 Beacon Street has played host to high society Brahmin parties, oral surgery, and today, luxury apartments for the modern Bostonian. It’s also the latest source of reclaimed wood for Longleaf Lumber, a reclaimed wood lumber mill with a retail showroom in Cambridge, MA and mill in Berwick, ME.
The stately four-story Back Bay brick home was designed by Fehmer & Page and features curved bay windows and an arches façade theme. Construction was completed in 1891 for merchant Nathaniel Willard Pierce and his wife Catherine Hatch Pierce. Their daughter, Katharine, later owned the home for many years, renting to notable Bostonians who were active participants in Boston society. The Hart family purchased the home in 1916 and resided there for the 22 years until1939, when oral surgeon Dr. Moses Strock and his wife converted the building into apartments and medical offices. In 1960, the building was converted to a nine-apartment complex. Renovations are underway now, readying these luxury units with views of the Charles River for occupancy.
During the gut-rehab of the building, wooden joists of unpainted Heart Pine were discovered and salvaged by Longleaf Lumber for re-use. The species of wood was a rare discovery, as the majority of late 19th-century Boston buildings were constructed with spruce or fir joists. These Heart Pine joists bear the historic stamp of George McQuesten’s legendary Geo. McQuesten Lumber company. According to Longleaf Lumber owner Marc Poirier, the quality of the Heart Pine is superb and will make for fine skip-planed flooring, paneling, or countertops.
The brownstone remains historically connected to the area through Katharine Pierce, daughter of the original owners. When Katharine died in 1913 in Algiers, the Boston Evening Transcript quickly made known that “thousands [had been] left” in her will for various local organizations. The Boston Museum of Fine Art was the largest beneficiary, closely followed by other entities with missions to better the lives those in the greatest need – especially women and children. One hundred years later, the Katharine C. Pierce Trust continues to annually provide funding for “needy and deserving gentlewomen” of Massachusetts, with preference shown for the elderly.
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