History of the house now known as The Buttery


1903 March 26
The lot (Lot 3) was sold to Ada P Phinney, wife of Wallace B. Phinney, by Ernest L Miller "for $1.00 and other considerations."
1903 Oct 1
A 3-foot strip of Lot 4 (to the east of Lot 3) was sold to Ada Phinney by Marian Buckingham "for $1.00 and other good and valuable consideration."
1904
Boston Atlas (Dorchester map, Plate 22) shows the shape of the house, so it was evidently built by then. However, it had not yet been assigned a house number. (Mr Phinney operated a tugboat company in Boston Harbor. Because this house was made with such wide doors and wide stairs, I always picture the Phinneys as being shaped something like tugboats themselves.)
1923 Oct 23
The house was sold by Ada Phinney, 1/2 to Ike Smith and 1/2 to Philip Markovsky. (The Phinneys move to Beacon Street in Brookline. In December of 1923 alterations are made to convert the building to a two-family house and the new back stairway addition is built.)

1924 Feb 19 Ike Smith buys out Philip Markovsky's half. During the Smith/Markovsky ownership period shingles are added over the clapboards around the house.

1926 Nov 4 Ike Smith and his wife, Hilda, get a mortgage from Widdley Savings Bank. He signs his name, she makes an "X".

?? At some point Widdley Savings foreclosed after default of mortgage payments by Ike Smith. (This was the time of the Great Depression.)

1943 Apr 14 Lawrence I. and Nellie Bates buy the house from Widdley Savings.

1950 Mar 15 John R. and Katharine M. O'Brien buy the house from the Bates. Mr. O'Brien was Headmaster of Dorchester High School. He retired in 1974.

1971 Oct 6 Jonathan B. Cobb, Susanna Cobb, and Phillip R. Vesey buy the house from the O'Briens.

1974 Oct 2 Philip R. Vesey and Patricia Racowski buy the house from Cobb, Cobb, and Vesey. It becomes a radical Catholic collective.

1978 Feb 13 Karen Pavidis and Janet Woodcock buy the house from Vesey and Racowski. It becomes a radical women's collective.

1978 June 8 Marian Walke buys the house from Pavidis and Woodcock and names it "The Buttery. Greer Gilman, author of Moonwise and other works, writes a theme song for the occasion. (By a strange coincidence, Marian moved to this house from an apartment on Beacon Street in Brookline, a couple of blocks from where the Phinneys ended up. By another coincidence, Marian taught at Dorchester High School in 1974, John O'Brien's last year there. Pavidis and Woodcock bought a smaller house a few blocks away from The Buttery.)

2008 June We plan to celebrate 30 years of living here.