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Moonies sell long time Beacon Hill pied-a-terre that was originally a mansion for the family that built Jordan Marsh

Logo of the former Boston Club

At one time, the building was the Boston Club.

Earlier this month, the Unification Church sold the 46 Beacon St. residence and former club it had owned since 1976 to a pair of local developers, according to Suffolk County Registry of Deeds records.

The church, officially the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Inc., although more recently the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, sold the five-story building for $20.5 million to developers Geoff Caraboolad and Jim Keliher of Mainsail Management, which both develops and manages residential buildings in Boston.

The church paid $475,000 for the building on an 8,000-square-foot lot in a foreclosure sale in 1976. It still has a center in Gloucester.

Being on Beacon Hill, of course, the building has a history.

Eben D. Jordan lived there in the late 1800s - city records (searchable here) show a permit allowing him to build a three-story stable in 1880. Then, after his death, his son, Eben D. Jordan Jr., lived in what is the building that exists today - a combination of what were originally two separate buildings, featuring a large music room for the musical performances the Jordans loved (they also gave Boston Jordan Hall).

Eben D. Jordan (source):

Eben Jordan

After both Jr. and his wife died, the family sold the building to the Republican Women's Club, which used it for both organizing and for talks, such as "Women Jurors - Shall We Have Them in Massachusetts?" in 1925. In 1951, the club let the local Daughters of the Confederacy hold a luncheon "honoring the memory of Gen. Robert E. Lee."

Sometime after the Gen. Lee luncheon, Benjamin White bought the building, changed it into the Boston Club and opened membership to men - who could partake of its barbershop and massage and steam rooms, as well as its squash courts, gym and cocktail salons. The club also offered dinner, held Saturday night dances for members and their guests and had rooms for them to stay in overnight should they prove too debilitated to get home.

In 1961, White outraged Beacon Hill when he turned the first and second floors into Tiffany's Restaurant and Lounge, Albert Giannino, chef, and began work to convert the upper floors and the stable/carriage house into apartments. In a letter to Boston Building Commissioner Robert York, Beacon Hill Civic Association President John Bok - grandfather of current BHA head and former City Councilor Kenzie Bok - thundered about the change from club to restaurant without so much as a single request to the community for comment, never mind a request for a variance, and that the change meant just anybody could now wander in without a membership and get a meal and a drink.

Several of our members report that they have visited the establishment and have been served both liquor and food without any questions being asked about "membership." Indeed, one of our members was informed by two waitresses, upon inquiry, that the building is no longer used for any club functions and is open to the public.

In my experience, I must confess to never having witnessed a more flagrant disregard for the zoning laws of the City of Boston or received more protests from indignant residents of the area. It seems to me incumbent upon your office to take the necessary steps to stop this violation without delay.

But delay the building commissioner did, as he sought advice from the city corporation counsel. White fired back, insisting that, if anything, the city should be grateful to him for investing serious money into renovating the club and keeping more than 100 people employed - he insisted the place was still a club even if he had removed the exercise facilities - at a time when Boston was in decline due to "the drift to the suburbs."

Then White and his attorney figured out how to outsmart the civic association. It turned out that the zoning code for Beacon Hill allowed both clubs - hence the Boston Club - and hotels in its residential areas. White filed a new application with the Building Department to turn the building into a hotel.

In 1962, York had to tell the Beacon Hill Civic Association that with the building now a hotel, White could proceed with his plans, including the restaurant, since those are customary in hotels. Oh, and the liquor sales.

Sometime by 1968, White sold the building to David Siegel of Brookline.

In 1968, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway filmed a scene for "The Thomas Crown Affair" in a ballroom in the building:

When Tommy outbids Vicki for a set of lithographs at an art auction held in the St James Ballroom of the Eben Jordan Mansion, 46 Beacon Street, she makes no bones about the fact that she's investigating him, and the game is on.

Siegel ran afoul of the Building Department in 1971, when he added an art gallery - and two signs to advertise it - without seeking city approval. He was ordered to "remove that which has been illegally established" - and take down the two signs.

In 1976, Werner Erhard's "est" movement set up its Boston headquarters in the building. In April, the Globe reported it had already trained 2,000 people.

But Siegel was running into financial problems and the bank that had given him his mortgage foreclosed that year.

The Unification Church then snapped it up.

In 1977, the church listed the use of the building as "Place of worship - Parish Hall and Monastery," but did not file for city permission for those uses until 1982, at a zoning hearing at which nobody spoke against.

Caraboolad and Keliher have yet to say what they'll do with the building, although their options might be limited to something like condos, given its location in a historic district. The building itself is not designated as a landmark; a proposal to do so has been sitting at City Hall for years with no action.

In August, when word began to spread about the building's apparently imminent sale, somebody filed a 311 complaint with the city:

Constituent states the Eben Jordan Mansion at 46 Beacon Street has been sold (with plans to turn it into luxury condos) and the closing is on August 31. Jordan was co-founder of Jordan Marsh department store. The music room has been designated a Boston Landmark but entry has been denied to complete the process. Constituent requests something be done to pursue the designation for the historically significant room.

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I’ll never forget the time Norm had a few too many and wandered in there thinking it was Cheers. Ahhh… the crazy 80’s.

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I would watch a lot more reruns if there were really episodes like "Cliff Visits the Combat Zone" or "Frasier's Friends in the Fens."

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"Woody's New Friends" Where he makes friends with a mobster and holds the car while they go rob a Baybank. (totally could see Woody being oblivious to that)

"Carla's Baby" - Norm, Cliff and Carla are trapped in traffic on the expressway. Carla starts to go into labor in heavy traffic. But its not moving, will she have enough time to make to to St Elguis or will Cliff and Norm help her deliver her twins. (crossover with St Elsewhere)

"Sportscaster Sam" - Sam gets a part time job at WBZ as a weekend sports announcer and befriends a young Bob Lobel, who appears to have a drinking problem. Sam talks about the program and how it helped. And pushes Bob toward the help he needs to save his marriage to Susan Wornick.

"The Wedding" - Kelly and Woody are going to finally tie the knot. Except Kellys family disapproves and won't give her money for a dress. Carla tells Kelly about Filene's & "Running of the Brides" sale to get a wedding dress cheap. But there's one thing, it is the morning of her and Woody's wedding, will she succeed in getting a dress and making it to the church on time to marry Woody?

"Diane Cops a Feel" - (an early episode) Diane is on her way to work and gets groped on the Green Line. Sam & the bar staff urge her to call Transit Police. Moments after she does, the assailant walks into Cheers. Will Diane confront the man? Will Sam punch the man? Or will Transit police arrive to take Diane's statement while the man is still at the bar?

"Stop & Shop" - Norm quietly gets a job as a baker at the Stop & Shop in the west end near the bar and is spotted by Rebecca one saturday afternoon. Norm being ashamed that he's had to take a second job, asks Rebecca to keep it a secret. Does she? Or does the cheers bar start to notice less and less of norm's attendance?

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So I have no idea if your post is a joke or actual episodes.

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but The Running Of The Brides should have been a real Cheers episode.

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cybah, I wish you’d been writing Cheers, these are great ideas!!

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Any chance any of the units will be affordable or income restricted for low income?

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The Beacon Hill neighborhood, on the whole, has a track record of asking developers to include income restricted units right here in the neighborhood, rather than using the NIMBY-pleasing dodge of paying into a citywide fund or building them elsewhere. Sometimes we're more successful than others, but preserving those few shreds of economic diversity that still exist downtown is something that those of us who are active in local neighborhood issues try to do.

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The Moonies' Gloucester property is for sale as well. In fact, after spying this property (and researching the owner, as one does), a friend hazarded a guess that the Moonies' mansion in 02108 would be snapped up. I lost that bet!

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Per my copy of North Shore Boston: Houses of Essex County 1865-1930, EDJ II also built a truly spectacular mansion called "The Rocks" on the Atlantic in Manchester-by-the-Sea in 1903. Almost two hundred feet long, it's just west of the town's harbor. Designed by Wheelwright & Haven. Brick on the north-facing side, stucco and timber on the south-facing (oceanfront) side.

EDJ II also built the Saxon Theater, which today we call the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater, president of the board of New England Conservatory, and built not just Jordan Hall but the Boston Opera House as well. It was torn down in the... 1950s (?), but the historical pictures are astounding; it looks to be about twice the size of Jordan Hall. Wheelwright & Haven designed that as well.

Oh, and he also had a horsey farm in the Chiltonville part of Plymouth.

The home still exists today, and would be hard to miss even a mile out to sea. Per the book, so do the stables (which are the size of a large house) and the caretaker's house (the size of a normal house), although I don't know if they are still one property. Again per the book, the home fell into a bit of disrepair over time but was restored in the early 21st century by Raymond Ozzie, who invented Lotus Notes and was later CTO at Microsoft.

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There is a gofundme to make the Music Room "an official interior landmark".
Judging by the amount collected so far, I am guessing it won't go anywhere.


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They seem to be doing fine!

I envision a public-private use for this building, with apartments or condos on the upper floors and public rooms for gathering, performances, and classes on the two lower floors, which are packed with historic detailing and have served similar purposes in the past. Sort of like an Adult Education Center. We had one . . . we need one again.

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