Friday, April 24, 2015

Join the Roslindale Substation Hard Hat Tour

MAY 20 | WED | 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM ǀ TOUR 

Please join Peregrine Group, Historic Boston and Roslindale Main Streets for a hardhat tour of the Roslindale Substation. The building is being rehabilitated into a restaurant after sitting vacant for over 40 years. Built in 1911 for the Boston Elevated Railway Company, the Roslindale Substation was an electrical power conversion and transmission station. Designed in the Neo-Classical Revival style by Stone and Webster Engineering Company and architect Robert S. Peabody, the Substation converted alternating electric current (AC) transmitted from a South Boston Power Station via underground cables into direct current (DC) for use by local trolley cars. Revolutionary technology for the day, this system generated and distributed power at lower costs. Tour will be on an active construction site– please dress accordingly. 

4228 Washington St., Roslindale. Free and open to the public. 

Presented by: 
Historic Boston Incorporated ǀ 
Peregrine Group LLC ǀ 
Roslindale Village Main Streets ǀ 
Contact: Lisa Lewis | | (617) 442-1859 (ext. 28)

Learn more about the other Preservation Month activities HERE

Join Mayor Martin Walsh and HBI to Dedicate the Restored Vertullo Building in Hyde Park on Saturday, May 9th!

Please join Historic Boston IncorporatedHyde Park Main Streets, and special guest, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, to dedicate the restored Vertullo Building at 74-84 Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park on Saturday, May 9th at 12:30 p.m.  The celebration honors Hyde Park's rich history and dedicates the  $1.3 million rehabilitation of this property including the opening of three new small businesses in the Hyde Park Main Street district.

The day’s festivities include dedication of the renewed building, official opening of three new businesses, and a community photograph with Hyde Park neighbors and friends.

CLICK HERE to register

Built in 1868, the Vertullo Building is likely the oldest and only surviving wooden commercial building in this district from the first years of the Town of Hyde Park.  It is a good example of the Second Empire style, popular in the 1860s when Hyde Park was incorporated as a town and new civic and commercial buildings were constructed along River Street and Fairmount Avenue near Hyde Park's two major rail lines.   Located opposite the Riverside Theaterworks and adjacent to the Fairmount Avenue MBTA Commuter station, the Vertullo Building is a highly visible historical anchor to Logan Square. The property has survived largely intact because it has been in the hands of the Vertullo Family and their descendants since 1932.  

We hope to see you on May 9th!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Roxbury: Back to the Future of Economic Re-development - Part 1

HBI’s Jeff Morgan synthesizes the history of Roxbury Neck to help inform the direction in which new Roxbury developments may shape the future of the neighborhood.

Since HBI redeveloped the Eustis Street Fire House in Roxbury for its new home in 2011, there has been increased attention on the overall redevelopment interests in the Dudley Square, Roxbury area. The redevelopment of the Ferdinand Building as part of the recently dedicated Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, now home and headquarters for the Boston Public Schools, and the recently opened new Tropical Foods grocery store are just part of the recent cycle of development activity in Dudley Square and the Eustis Street Area with much more anticipated in the near future.

The history of Roxbury Neck and the evolution of Lower Roxbury will inform new development in Dudley Square and Roxbury. As HBI monitors the future potential for additional redevelopment including the Owen Nawn Factory and Parcel 8, we would be remiss in not pausing to consider the history of the Eustis Street Area and the many periods in Roxbury’s economic and land development history. Much has been written about this history which is rich, extensive, and significant. The following background will set the context and will be posted to the HBI blog in three parts over the course of the next few weeks. Enjoy.

Eustis Street Architectural Conservation District and Protection Area

By way of context, the Eustis Street Area of Roxbury is a designated Architectural Conservation District. It is centered around the Old Roxbury Burying Ground (present day John Eliot Burying Ground) and includes the Josiah Cunningham House, the Jesse Doggett House, the Eustis Street Fire House, and the Owen Nawn Factory (Figure 1). The boundaries of the District are roughly Washington and Eustis Streets, Harrison Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

The District is a unique collection of sites and structures which represents the post-Revolutionary history of Roxbury's commercial and industrial development -- a continuous history of Roxbury from its origins as a farming village through nineteenth century industrialization.

To understand that significance let us glimpse back into a bit of the history of is development.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

HBI Receives Tsongas Award for Alvah Kittredge House

Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) is honored to be recipient of a 2015 Paul E. Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts Inc. for rehabilitation of the 1836 Alvah Kittredge House.

Named for the late US Senator Paul Tsongas, whose leadership pioneered the renewal the city of Lowell through investments in its historic core and factory buildings, the award is presented annually to people or projects that advance preservation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This year 30 projects from across the state will be honored at a gala event on May 6th at the Copley Plaza hotel.

The Alvah Kittredge House’s $2.5 million rehabilitation was completed in 2014 by HBI, transforming a rare Greek Revival period mansion from a severely deteriorated structure to five two bedroom apartments, two of which are designated Affordable.
Founded in 1985, Preservation Massachusetts is the statewide non-profit historic preservation organization dedicated to actively promoting the preservation of historic buildings and landscapes as a positive force for economic development, tourism and the retention of community character.

HBI is grateful to Preservation Massachusetts, and honored by this award.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Boston’s Old Corner Bookstore Anchors New Literary Cultural District

A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; -- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.”
Henry David Thoreau,

Boston’s new Literary Cultural District highlights Boston’s rich tradition as a literary, writing and publishing mecca. And while there are gobs of stories to tell and great authors to highlight from over 400 years of history, we think it’s time to revisit the history of our own flagship property, the Old Corner Bookstore, and the many great works published there.

Built in 1718, the Old Corner Bookstore’s colonial appearance is deceiving. While it is downtown Boston’s oldest commercial building – built as an apothecary shop and house – it is most significant for having been the headquarters of the great publishing house Ticknor and Fields from 1832 to 1865. From this place, great works of literature were launched from some of the greatest and most distinctive American voices of that period: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne were also launched here. The firm published the Atlantic Monthly from here, and they were also was among the first American publishers of Charles Dickens’ work, and the author enjoyed two visits to Boston during his long career.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Post-Occupancy Analysis Tracks Energy and Water Usage at Eustis Street Fire House

Dee Spiro is Director of Sustainability at Bergmeyer Associates Inc. in Boston. She led the Eustis Street Fire House’s final certification for obtaining LEED Silver certification in 2013. Bergmeyer released a report on energy usage in the 3 years since occupancy this week.

When Bergmeyer Associates, Inc., as architect for the rehabilitation of the historic Eustis Street Fire House, completed the LEED Silver certified project in 2011 we knew that the building was a singular project and that Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) was a rare type of client. What we didn’t know then, however, was that HBI and the Fire House would also provide us with our first post occupancy evaluation (POE) opportunity.

In 2014, Bergmeyer launched a POE pilot program and was looking for clients who would let us to track their energy and water use data in order to help us to evaluate the effectiveness of projects’ design elements and sustainable strategies. With two full years of operational data, the Fire House was an ideal candidate. We used the WegoWise software platform to analyze data for the entire building and for each tenant individually.

We found that the actual Baseline Year building energy use was only 3% higher than the LEED energy model prediction and 5% less than that of similar buildings in the New England census region. Overall building energy use increased by approximately 10% during Year 2. While gas use held fairly steady between the Baseline Year and Year 2, increasing by only 4%, electricity use was up 14%.

The tenant-to-owner analysis found that the tenant used more than twice as much gas as HBI during the Baseline Year and more than three times as much during Year 2. Electricity use between the two offices was very similar, with HBI using approximately 1,500 kWh more than the tenant during the Baseline Year. During Year 2, both HBI and tenant electricity use increased, resulting in a difference of only 71 kWh between the two offices.

Why Neighbors Care: Preservation of the Dearborn School Matters to Roxbury

Carl Todisco lives in Roxbury and is a member of the Mount Pleasant Avenue Neighborhood Association.

As many people know from the news coverage and public meetings, the Dearborn School in Roxbury is threatened with demolition. Roxbury loses if the historic school building on Greenville Street is demolished.

As neighbors, we expect high quality schools for the children in our neighborhoods. But serving our children and saving our history are not mutually exclusive. Both of these goals should be met. Do we want our young people growing up in a world where culturally meaningful buildings are thrown away in a rush to make temporary solutions? Or do we want our children to witness a good example of their adults taking time in a rational, community-driven process to review competing interests and reach consensus?

The Dearborn School stands as a strong statement of the cohesive neighborhood fabric. The Dearborn School has historical significance and also anchors the intact fabric of not one, but two National Register Historical Districts – the Moreland Street Historic District and the Mount Pleasant Street Historic District. So much in Roxbury has been lost to the forces of change and the destructions of Urban Renewal, in particular its civic buildings. By preserving this building we stand up for the value of our neighborhoods and the collective history these structures represent.

By preserving the building, we commemorate the history of women in Boston. The Dearborn’s majestic exterior with carvings and columns defines its important original mission—to educate girls. It has high ceilings, large windows, solid masonry, and Beaux Arts design that bear out this monumental, progressive purpose for which it was designed by the distinguished architect Julius Schweinfurth. Opened in 1912 as the High School of Practical Arts, it was the first public vocational high school for girls in the Commonwealth. The school stands as a reminder that Boston was at the forefront of the movement to educate girls and prepare them for civic and vocational roles outside of the home.