Wednesday, April 20, 2016

HBI's Weekly Blog Moves to New Website

HBI is proud to announce the launch of our newly redesigned, built by Out of Website, a web design company based in Boston and Seattle. Built for 2016, the new website is mobile responsive and features a modern design that features our weekly blog. Check it out and let us know what you think! Please send feedback to

Monday, March 28, 2016

HBI Comings and Goings

HBI is pleased to announce that Brian Awe, Barbara Boylan, Karilyn Crockett, Marla Curtis, Michael Durand were elected to membership of HBI’s Board of Directors at the organization’s annual meeting on March 23rd.   At the same meeting, HBI bid a sad farewell to outgoing board members Alex Krieger, Drew Leff, Carolyn Osteen, and Jay Wickersham, thanking them for their deep commitment to HBI’s work.  In particular, the Board cited the contributions of long-time board member Carolyn Osteen who completed 37 years of service to HBI.   Alex, Drew, Carolyn and Jay will join HBI’s Council of Advisors. 
HBI is very pleased to have the addition of this talented class of new board members:

Friday, March 18, 2016

North Bennet Street School Begins Exploratory Work at Fowler Clark

Last week, the first year preservation carpentry students from North Bennet Street School paid a visit to the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan to conduct an exploratory investigation of the circa 1786 farmhouse.  Instructor Steven O’Shaughnessy led the effort to carefully peel back the exterior layers of the front fa├žade to learn more about how the house had evolved over time.  While we knew there were clapboards beneath the outer layer of shingles, we did not know how old those clapboards were, or if they might have been original.  Not surprisingly, they were not original; Steve determined that the clapboards likely dated to sometime between the 1940s and 1960s, when the house was owned by the Epstein family.  The clapboards beneath the first floor windows were removed by the students to expose the sheathing, some of which appear to be original based on the appearance of the wood and the wrought nails used to attach. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Boston University to host "The Dynamic City: Futures for the Past" in April

This year the preservation world is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Passed in 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act is a landmark piece of legislation that has served as the guidepost for historic preservation in the United States. It is also responsible for the creation of the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Register of Historic Places.

The NHPA was enacted in reaction to urban renewal in the United States Post WWII. As cities grew and flourished, old buildings and neighborhoods were demolished in order to make room for the shiny and new. For the last half century the NHPA has saved countless historic sites and buildings and has cultivated a strong, active preservation community.
Flash forward to today and we continue to face the challenges a post WWII America faced. As cities continue to grow and change, what role does preservation play?

This week HBI would like to highlight an event that will explore this very question. The Dynamic City: Futures for the Past hosted by Boston University Initiative on Cities, Historic New England and Boston University’s American and New England Studies Program is a two day conference that will examine the urban history of New England and its relationships within a global context. It will take place on Friday April 1st and Saturday April 2nd at Boston University. To find out more about the event and to register, click here.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Researching the Agricultural History of the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm

Rita Walsh, Senior Preservation Planner, with VHB is assisting HBI with state and federal historic tax credit applications to support the rehabilitation of the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm property for its new uses. She is also preparing a nomination of the property to the National Register of Historic Places. Although the property is already a Boston Landmark, the property must be officially listed in the National Register to receive the federal historic tax credits.  
1850 Agricultural Schedule, showing the details of Henry Clark’s farming activities
The 2005 Boston Landmarks Commission study report for theFowler Clark Epstein farm (which is the document that presents the reasons for the property’s significance and eligibility as a local landmark) contains an incredible amount of detail about the farm’s ownership history. The house and barn were part of an 11.25-acre parcel bounded by Norfolk Street and Blue Hill Avenue (originally known as Brush Hill Turnpike) that remained the same size from 1806 until 1895, when it was finally subdivided for building parcels by James Clark and his mother, Mary. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Noah Hicks and The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen Featured on BNN

Noah Hicks and The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen wrapped up their Indie Go Go fundraising campaign this week. With over 200 donors, Noah and his team were able to raise $18,732 in start-up capital for the new business in the historic Upham’s Corner Comfort Station.  

Their Indie Go Go campaign not only drew in funders but has generated a great deal of excitement throughout Boston. Noah Hicks and The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen have been featured in The Dorchester Reporter, Boston Biker and Boston Eater to name a few and earlier this month Noah Hicks sat down for an interview with Chris Lovett on local TV station BNN News. During his interview, Noah presented his vision for The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen and highlighted his team’s continued fundraising efforts. Check out his interview here:  

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Colorful Interior: Old North Church Begins Historic Paint Analysis

Steven Ayres, Vicar of the Boston’s venerable Old North Church in the North End, reached out recently to tell HBI about paint analyses that are just beginning inside the sanctuary of the historic building.  The church’s plans, outlined below, could very well change our perception of the colonial interior and shed light on how Bostonians deployed color and decoration in the early 18th century.

If you drop in to visit Old North Church between now and early March, you will notice scaffolding in the rear of the sanctuary.  Brian Powell and Melissa McGrew from Building Conservations Associates, a leading historic preservation consultant, will be crawling all over the sanctuary, taking paint samples and peeling back centuries of paint, in order to determine the history of decorating the interior of the church.

The Old North Foundation is conducting a historic paint analysis this winter to research the rich colonial color schemes used to decorate the church. Recently featured in the Globe, this project will be the second visit by Building Conservation Associates to Old North.  Twelve years ago, senior analyst Brian Powell, surveyed Old North’s windows prior to their complete restoration.  The buff colored paint now adorning the windows reflects the original color used in 1723.