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

The Houses and People of Blake Park


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43 Somerset Road

Year Built:
Permit Date:
1928
6/20/1928
Architect:
Joseph McGann
Builder:
Burdo & Boyd
Cost to Build:
$11,000
Owner
(On Permit Date):
James E. O'Neill, Boston
First Residents:
James E. & Mary D. O'Neill

One of 10 houses in Blake Park constructed by the builders Burdo & Boyd (and one of three of those houses designed by Joseph McGann), 43 Somerset Road was the home at first of James E. and Mary D. O'Neill and their family. They were listed at this address from 1929 to 1937.

James O'Neill (born c1893) was listed as an engineer in the Street List and as a road contractor in the 1930 U.S. Census. He and his wife Mary (born c1895) had two daughters and a son in 1930. Also living with the family for a few years in the early '30s was a sister-in-law, Helen Cleary, and her two children. Cleary was a nurse.

The 1930 Census listed the residents as: James E. O'Neill, 37, contractor (road); Mary D. O'Neill, 35; Mary O'Neill, 7; James E. O'Neill Jr., 5; Elinor O'Neill, 2; Helen F. Cleary, 46 (sister-in-law), nurse (hospital); Paul G. Cleary, 11 (nephew); and Helen Cleary, 10 (niece). The house was valued at $16,000.

No one was listed in 1938. William F. Smith, a manager, and his wife Priscilla, previously at 38 St. Paul Street, were listed here in 1939, but no one was listed again in 1940.

Henry J. Stein (1908-1990), a lawyer, and his wife Fay (1908-1999), purchased the house around that time and owned it for more than 50 years. Henry Stein was a lawyer. He practiced with his father Simon from 1932 to 1942, when he became chief counsel with the Office of Price Administration in Washington. He served American President Lines in Boston after World War II as a sales and public relations executive before resuming his law practice, specializing in commercial real estate transactions.

The Steins rented the house to tenants at 43 Somerset Road for three years before returning from Washington after the war. Residents during those three years were: Stanley Macht, a physician, and his wife Naomi, previously in Virginia (listed here in the Street List in 1943); Joseph and Vivien Green, previously in New York. Joseph was in the Coast Guard (listed in 1944); and Alan and Marian Emery, previously in Boston. Alan was in the Navy (listed in 1945).