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Exterior view of 534 Beacon Street, a modern limestone and red brick apartment building. In 1972, the college leased, and later purchased 534 Beacon Street for use as the Fensgate Dormitory. Hotel Fensgate was built in 1923-1924. The 72-room apartment house had a restaurant downstairs famous for its steak and lobster menu. Hotel Fensgate also gave an early start to the career of legendary music entrepreneur George Wein. Wein started a music series, La Jazz Doux at the Satire Room, before gaining fame with his Storyville nightclub and record label, and founding the music festivals at Newport (Newport Jazz and Newport Folk). During the late 1930s and 1940s, it also featured a small nightclub, the Satire Room (later renamed Cafe Society). In 1952, the club hosted the first Beaux Arts Ball, the highlight of the gay social season. The hotel manager disapproved of his lobby full of men dressed in chiffon and ladies in tuxedos, so the ball found another venue. The building would be used a dormitory and dining hall for Chandler School of Women (1961-1973), and briefly used for the same purpose by Boston University, before Emerson College moved-in. In 1982, an early incarnation of the ProArts Consortium was housed in the Emerson dormitory at Fensgate. The inter-arts residency program, then called Art House, consisted of a director and 50 students from the BAC, MassArt, the SMFA, and Emerson College. Emerson continued to operate Fensgate Dormitory until the mid-1990s.
Front facade of building circa 1963 with neoclassical architectural elements. A Volkswagen beetle is parked on the street. Originally built as a home in 1904-1905, this structure at 150 Beacon Street replaced a house that was the residence of Boston arts benefactor, Isabella Stewart Gardner. 150 Beacon was designed by architect Alexander W. Longfellow, Jr., the nephew of the famous poet. In April 1961, Emerson College purchased 150 Beacon Street and converted it into dormitory and dining hall with a library on the upper floor. The college sold 150 Beacon in 1976.
Exterior front view of the building. A sign above the entry reads “Hotel Ericson.” Two small barren trees on the sidewalk frame the building. The flagpole is empty. The front end of an automobile is visible, parked on the street. In 1927, Emerson College of Oratory purchased its first piece of real estate at 373 Commonwealth Ave. It would be known as Emerson College Residence. For Emerson students, the new address replaced five rented dormitory buildings. The six-story stone and brick building stood directly across the street from the Harvard Club. It would remain a dormitory building for Emerson women from 1928 through 1960. Info source: Century of Eloquence ; BAC Catalogue; Gillach Group; BackBayHouses.org.
Corner view of the building shows four oblong towers atop a common first floor. The top of each tower has decorative architectural ornamentation. Purple and yellow Emerson College banners hang from the middle floors. The roof of the Boylston Street MBTA station entrance is visible in the lower right corner. In 1994, Emerson purchased and renovated the Little Building, a 12-story commercial structure at 80 Boylston Street, next to the Emerson Majestic Theatre and across the street from 180 Tremont Street. It serves as a residence hall with other college facilities and commercial space at street level. At the time of this photo, there was a 150-seat Cabaret theater in the lower level. The Little Building is an example of modern gothic skyscraper architecture. It was built in 1917 as office building with shopping arcade and named for Boston businessman and philanthropist, John Mason Little. It was designed by prominent Boston architect Clarence Blackall, who designed as many as fifteen theaters in the Boston area, including the Colonial and Wilbur theaters. Known as the “City Under One Roof,” the Little Building was the “first apartment house in any city along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States,” according to architectural historian Walter Muir Whitehill. The Little Building underwent its second major renovation by Emerson College between 2017 and 2019.
Exterior view of 6 Arlington St. (0 Marlborough St.), shot from Public Garden with a food truck parked out front. Constructed in 1930, Zero Marlborough is an historic art deco building that served as a dormitory and dining hall for Emerson College from 1988 to 2006. It also contained large dance hall.