Blake Park: Brookline, Massachusetts
History of a Neighborhood, 1916-2005

The Houses and People of Blake Park


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115 Tappan Street

Year Built:
Permit Date:
1925
8/21/1925
Architect:
(William P.) O'Hare & Houle
Builder:
O'Hare & Houle
Cost to Build:
$12,000
Owner
(On Permit Date):
Ellen A. O'Hare & Mary A. Jennings, Somerville
First Residents:
Mary V. & Walter E. Donovan

The first residents listed in the Street List at this address were Mary and Walter Donovan who were listed for just one year (1928). Walter (born c1895) was listed as a salesman in the Street List but as the proprietor of an inn in the 1930 U.S. Census, when he and Mary (born c1898) had moved to Plainville, MA.

The next resident, after a one year gap, was Mary Elsa Coolidge, who was listed here with a maid in 1930 and with two different maids from 1931 to 1935. Mary Coolidge (1890-1935) was the daughter of J. Randolph Coolidge, an architect, and his wife Mary. The Coolidges were one Boston's most prominent and wealthy familes and were descended from Thomas Jefferson. (Mary, who was born in France, was Jefferson's great-great-granddaughter.)

The 1930 U.S. Census listed the residents as: M. Elsa Coolidge, 39, born France; and Emma Wilson, 60, servant, born Canada. Coolidge continued to be listed at this address until 1935. Elsa Haggard, a maid, was listed alone at this address in 1936, and there was no one listed in 1937. From 1938 to 1940, Mary Coolidge's nephew, Hamilton Richards (1913-1988), was listed. The son of Mary's older sister, Julia, he was a banker/broker. Edith L. Richards, presumably his wife, was listed with him in 1939.

The next residents of 115 Tappan Street were Jacob and Sara L. Wallace. Jacob Wallace (1906-1980) was a pediatric cardiologist and a staff member of Beth Israel Hospital and the Children's Hospital Medical Center, where he practiced for more than 40 years. Wallace, who was born in New York, was also at one time examining physician for the Brookline Public Schools and president of the Brookline Music School.

Sara Klier Wallace (1909-2005) was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to the United States at the age of 3. She graduated from the Portia School of Law, now New England School of Law, in 1930. She served as a special counsel for the Town of Brookline for four decades, according to her obituary in the Boston Globe, and "put her tenacity and intellect behind many projects to benefit Brookline from creating affordable housing to upgrading a neighborhood park." The Sara K. Wallace House, a refurbished building for low-income residents, was dedicated in her name in 1997.

115 Tappan Street was owned by Wallace family until very recently.