Friday, November 21, 2014

Archeology Part of Roxbury’s Parcel 8 Planning

In July, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 4363 which prepares the State-owned Parcel 8 in Roxbury for transfer to the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the city of Boston for disposition for development.  Among other things, the bill requires that an archeological survey be completed of the southeastern portion of Parcel 8 (once an edge to the colonial period Roxbury Neck) in order to understand what historical material lies beneath this area so transformed in the 1960s and 70s by the unsuccessful Inner City Belt Highway project.

That archeological work began and will end this week. It was commissioned by the property owner, the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, and is being conducted by an archeological team from DCR and the University of Massachusetts’ Archeological Services program.  The team had done considerable base research using historic maps of the area over several periods of time, and designed a methodology for digging that would give them the most comprehensive subsurface views of the site. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

3D Laser Scanning Details Historic Fowler Clark Farm

HBI is grateful to Feldman Land Surveyors for providing pro-bono laser scans of the 1785 Fowler Clark Farm in Mattapan.  Stephen Wilkes of Feldman wrote this article to share how it’s done and why it’s so valuable to the preservation of historic buildings.

Constructed towards the end of the 18th Century, the present day Fowler Clark farm house, along with its later outbuildings, sits within a very different landscape from when it was built. Surrounded by today’s urban Mattapan, the farm house provides a special reminder of the earlier pastoral history of the area.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Roxbury's Kittredge House Gleams in Design New England

HBI's rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House  is featured in the new November/December edition of Design New England in an article written by Maria Karagianis.   It features beautiful photographs of the new residential units by photographer Greg Premru, and highlights the extraordinary work of David and Sukie Amory of Amory Architects PC, our architects on the project. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

With Gratitude, HBI Honors Mayor Thomas Menino (1942-2014)

Historic Boston Incorporated grieves the loss of former Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who passed away on Thursday.   We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Angela, and their family.

Mayor Menino was a champion of HBI’s work and provided the public leadership that made so many of our most challenging preservation projects -- and the dreams of so many of our communities -- possible.  He was our partner in restoring the forlorn Eustis Street Fire House as HBI’s headquarters, transforming the long-abandoned Alvah Kittredge House into new housing, turning the empty Roslindale Substation into an anchor for new development, and so much more. 

Mayor Menino co-chaired last year’s Trilogy Fund capital campaign and, when he left public office, joined HBI’s Council of Advisors.  We will miss his exuberance for Boston, his can-do attitude in the face of daunting prospects, and his commitment to doing what was best for Bostonians.  But we are most grateful for the legacy he leaves to us:  a stronger, more beautiful city that serves the needs of its people.

Read more on Mayor Menino’s preservation legacy.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Historic Substation Powers Roslindale's Future

Writer Matthew J. Kiefer is President of HBI and a partner at law firm of Goulston and Storrs. 

You sometimes find treasure in unlikely places.  An electric substation is not the first place you’d ordinarily look to help redefine a neighborhood, but the Roslindale Substation is special.  From the first time our board and staff walked through its monumental bronze doors into the industrial cathedral within, we couldn’t stop thinking about how to re-purpose this remarkable piece of orphaned infrastructure.

Electric trolleys transformed Roslindale from a rural village into a streetcar suburb after it was incorporated into the City of Boston in 1873.  Just as streetcars made Roslindale possible, electricity made streetcars possible.  The Roslindale Substation was one of several built by an MBTA ancestor to house equipment that converted alternating current into direct current to run the trains.

Designed by a prominent architect, Robert Peabody of Peabody and Stearns, and built in 1911, the Substation reflected the pride Bostonians took in the new machines and technology—sewer pump stations and waterworks are other examples—that helped turn a cluster of country towns into a manufacturing metropolis.

Transforming Dorchester North Burying Ground

It is All Hallow’s Eve this week and in honor of the true meaning of the occasion, guest blogger Kelly Thomas, Director of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Historic Burying Grounds Initiative, updates us on the extraordinary preservation projects her program has been undertaking to restore and maintain Dorchester’s oldest burying place, in Upham’s Corner. 

The Dorchester North Burying Ground is Dorchester’s earliest remaining landmark. It is the burial place of some of Dorchester’s most prominent founding citizens. It is also one of seven seventeenth-century burying grounds in Boston. First laid out in 1633, it is the final resting place of two colonial governors William Stoughton, who was also Chief Justice during the Salem witch trials of 1692; and William Tailer. It also contains the graves of John Foster; the first printer in Boston; minister Richard Mather; 40 unknown Revolutionary War soldiers; and three African-American slaves.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, 1942-2014

HBI honors the life of our Advisor, Mayor Thomas Menino, and extends heartfelt condolences to his family.

We are grieving, but deeply grateful for his unwavering support and service to our city.