Glimpses. 118 Beacon Street

Built in 1895 for Charles Sumner Foss. Design by John Calvin Stevens

A substantial Colonial Revival in the Woodfords neighborhood

From its perch on a knoll above the crest of Coyle Street, 118 Beacon Street commands one’s attention even from the distance of Forest Avenue. It is a substantial house in its own right but. up on the knoll like that, it is almost looming over the street. It does make for an impressive entrance.

Schlotterbeck & Foss advertising card from 1911. Historic New England

Charles Sumner Foss was born in Deering in 1858. His father, Alexander, was an entrepreneur who operated the Cape Cottage House in Cape Elizabeth for 15 years. The Cape Cottage House was replaced by the Cape Cottage Casino after a fire in 1891. Charles was born during his father’s time at the Cape Cottage. In 1870, Charles’ elder sister Sarah married a German immigrant apothecary named Augustus Schlotterbeck.  After completing his schooling, Charles Foss clerked for Schlotterbeck before running his own store in Woodfords. Charles and Augustus founded Schlotterbeck & Foss in 1887.

For the design of their new home, Charles and Carolina, ‘Cara’, Foss went to the office of John Calvin Stevens. They had purchased the land in 1891 from a confectioner/restauranter named Leonard J Perkins. By that time they had 2 children, Clifton and Dorothy. Why they waited 4 years to begin construction is unknown. What Stevens provided is a house measuring 53″ on the street and 38′ deep. At 1800 sq/ft per floor, it is a big house for 2 adults and 2 children. The Foss’ had arrived.

118 Beacon Street in 1924. Maine Memory Network

Clifton Foss joined the firm of Schlotterbeck & Foss and worked his way up to President of the firm. Dorothy married Ralph Owen Brewster in 1915. Brewster was a Republican politician who served as Governor, US Senator, and US Representative and the ’20s, the ’30s, and the ’40s. Cara Foss died in 1921 at the age of 60. Charles lived on at 118 Beacon Street, with various servants, until his death in 1934 at the age of 76. Clifton and Dorothy sold the property in 1936.

When Charles Foss’ children sold 118 Beacon Street after his death in 1936, the purchaser was a shoe store owner named Fred Purinton. He owned the property for all of two days before selling it to James & Georgia Barlow. James Barlow was the Portland City Manager. The Barlow’s had two children who were in their late teens when our subject was purchased. They lived here until 1946 when a physician named Joseph Ham and his wife Opal purchased it and moved in. Joseph died in 1952 at which time Opal inherited it. She remarried in 1953 and continued to live in our subject until 1975.

118 Beacon Street on the 1914 city map.

118 Beacon Street is a single-family residence. It is owned by a former World Bank economist and his wife. The condition is excellent.

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2 thoughts on “Glimpses. 118 Beacon Street

  1. Linda (Chapman) Bastarache

    Another great addition to your collection and towards documenting all of the houses in which my Portland ancestors and their close relatives lived! Charles Sumner Foss was the brother of my great-great-grandmother Lizzie Maria (Foss) Chapman, sister-in-law of Leonard Bond Chapman (90 Capisic St.) and mother of Arthur Chapman (129 William St.). I’m also grateful for the tidbits about Alexander Foss, whose father Samuel is one of my genealogical dead ends.

    Liked by 1 person


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