Malcolm Eaton House // 1915

This grand Colonial Revival mansion in Brookline was built for Malcolm H. Eaton (1890-1932), a restauranteur who co-owned the renowned Thompson’s Spa chain in Boston with his father Charles. Thompson’s Spa, a since long-gone chain in Boston that grew to about a dozen units in the 1930s, began as a soda fountain – a “spa” — selling non-alcoholic “temperance drinks.” Open year round, it provided both cold and hot drinks from lemonade and orangeade to “beef tea” whatever that is. Charles Eaton was a graduate of MIT who in 1880, after briefly practicing as an architect in his home town of Lowell MA, had invented an electric telephone signaling device that he sold to Bell Telephone. For some odd reason he chucked that career and joined his brother-in-law (named Thompson) in running a wholesale drug store in Boston, which later evolved to the Thompson’s Spa chain. When Charles died in 1917, Malcolm and his two brothers helped oversee the expansion of the chain and brought it to the neighborhoods of Boston. Malcolm with his earnings from the successful spa, hired the architectural firm Chapman & Frazer to design this high-style Colonial Revival home when he was just 25 years old.