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Then and Now: 6 Arlington Street – Clubroom, Dorm, and Condos

This is the fourth of an Emerson Today series looking at old Emerson College properties as we lead up to the August reopening of the Little Building. Read about the history of 100 Beacon Street150 Beacon Street, and 69 Brimmer Street.

6 Arlington Street

6 Arlington Street
6 Arlington Street was a favorite dormitory for many Emerson College students through the years. (Photo courtesy Emerson College Archives and Special Collections)
By David Ertischek ’01

For almost 20 years Emerson College owned and operated one building with two addresses: 6 Arlington Street and 0 Marlborough.

6 Arlington Street in 2019
6 Arlington Street in 2019

The reason for the two addresses was simple — the building is on the corner of Arlington Street and Marlborough Street. Students would say they lived at 6 Arlington Street because the dormitory’s entrance was on the Arlington side, and you’d say you were going to eat at 0 Marlborough because the door to the cafeteria was on the Marlborough side.

Prior to the current building, the site was home to two townhouses built in 1861. Josiah Gardner Abbot, a lawyer and Massachusetts state rep and state senator lived at 6 Arlington. His neighbor at 7 Arlington was William Lawrence, a member of the family of which the city of Lawrence was named after, according to

The Six Arlington Street Trust acquired the two townhouses on the properties at 6 and 7 Arlington in 1928. The Trust then razed the townhouses and made the current building.

The building, designed by architects Strickland, Blodgett, and Law, was built in 1929 as a 10-story, eight-unit cooperative apartment house with clubrooms for the Junior League Club, according to The Junior League Club mission states it is, “…an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”

The Junior League Club’s clubrooms, included an auditorium/ballroom on the ground floor and a lounge and kitchen on the second floor. Emerson College would later have a cafeteria at ground level.

In 1953, the Katherine Gibbs School purchased the property, and the young women’s school owned the building until February 29, 1988, when Emerson College purchased it and began using it as a dormitory.

Emerson sold 6 Arlington in August 2006 for $12.8 million, according to the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds. The property was converted into an apartment building and sold as individual condominiums. The 4,789 square feet penthouse was assessed at $10.6 million in 2019.

The front entrance to 6 Arlington Street in 2019.
The front entrance to 6 Arlington Street in 2019.
The entrance on Marlborough Street back in the day
The entrance on Marlborough Street back in the day. (Photo courtesy Emerson College Archives and Special Collections)
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