History of the Vendome Condo Building in Boston's Back Bay
The Vendome Condo building is one of the most historic and prestigious residential buildings in Boston. It was built in 1872 for Colonel J.W. Walcott on the corner of Commerce Ave and Dartmouth Street, right in the heart of Back Bay. The Vendome was the first commercial building in the Back Bay area. In 1882, it became the first commercial building in the nation to have electric lighting. With a premier location in the heart of the Back Bay, the Vendome soon became one of Boston's most renowned hotels. It remained an iconic destination for travelers through the mid-1900s, but by the 1960s, there was considerable discussion of demolishing the building. The Vendome was ultimately left standing, but it required extensive renovations. Tragedy struck in 1972, when a fire destroyed the southeast part of the hotel. Nine firefighters lost their lives as a result of the fire, and a memorial stands in their honor at the Commonwealth Avenue Mall on Dartmouth Street. Following the fire, the Vendome eventually reopened, but it was converted into a luxury condominium complex instead of a hotel.
Inside and out, the Vendome features exquisite attention to detail and craftsmanship. Its exterior, which features noble columns, an arched entrance, a mansard roof and dormer windows, was designed in the French second empire architectural style by William G. Preston. In 1881, J.F. Ober and R. Rand constructed the western section of the Vendome. The building shares the same architectural style as some of the world's most renowned structures, including the Philadelphia City Hall, the Louvre Palace in France, and Washington D.C.'s Eisenhower Executive Office Building. In the 1970s, the ravished part of the building was reconstructed in the Brutalist style. The building's use also expanded to include offices and stores in addition to residences.
In addition to its luxurious features and unique architecture, the Vendome's location has historically made it a go-to destination for visitors. The Charles River runs through its back yard, and its front door opens to the vibrant streets of downtown Boston. The Copley light rail station and the Green Line are conveniently located to the Vendome, as are the premier shopping districts at Newbury and Boylston streets. Numerous fine dining establishments are located within walking distance of the Vendome. Views are another highlight of the complex; from points within the building, residents have views of Boston's bustling center, the Charles River, and the Back Bay's historic Victorian brownstone homes. Residents also enjoy proximity to other local historic landmarks including Copley Square's Trinity Church, which dates back to the 1880s and the Boston Public Library.
Today, the building has 110 residential condo units. The units are grand and luxurious, with 11 ft. ceilings, 8 ft. doors, decorative fireplaces, premium kitchen and bath appliances, central air and heating, and ornate architecture. Bay windows and decorative features like built-in shelving and marble countertops are other fine details that residents might find in their rooms. Beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows fill the Vendome's living spaces with light. It has a 24-7 concierge service and welcomes pets. Rooms come in a variety of sizes, including one, two, and three-bedroom units; living quarters are also available with one, two, and three bathrooms. All rooms feature walk-in closets, and some also have lofts. Wooden floors and a renovated lobby grace the interior, and residents have access to private terraces.