Friday, October 17, 2014

Bringing the Brackets Back at Vertullo


Friday, October 10, 2014

New Information on the Life of Alvah Kittredge

Since HBI’s dedication of the Alvah Kittredge House in August, we’ve been regularly asked “Who was Alvah Kittredge?”  

Fort Hill resident and Roxbury Historic Society member Jason Turgeon recently sent us links to several on-line books published by Eliot Congregational Church’s prolific 19th century pastor-writer A.C. Thompson.  Among these are sermons preached at the funerals of Kittredge and his wife Mehitable.  But the third, Eliot Memorial Sketches Historical and Biographical of the Eliot Church and Society in Boston had a very nice summary of Deacon Kittredge’s life in Roxbury and is filled with many other interesting profiles of Roxberians of that era. 

Click here to see the book and read more.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Upham’s Corner Comfort Station – The Time has come for a Resurrection

The City of Boston has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the 611 Columbia Road Comfort Station in Upham’s Corner. Located adjacent to the Dorchester North Burying Ground which is a Designated Boston Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property is being offered through the Commercial Disposition Program administered by the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND).

The Comfort Station (a polite term for restrooms) is a one story stucco and tile Mission Style building that has been unused since 1977. Built in 1912, it was designed by architect William Besarick, who designed the Roger Clap School on Harvest Street and the municipal building at the corner of Columbia Road and Bird Street as well as many triple-deckers throughout the area. Besarick also designed the George Milliken House, at 44 Virginia Street, which is a Boston Landmark. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Phase Two Under Way on Vertullo Building

Historic Boston is excited to report that the second phase of the Vertullo Building rehabilitation is now well under way.  Contractor Michael Mawn (MJ Mawn Inc) and architect Chris Brown (b Architecture Studio) did a terrific job transforming the building’s tired storefronts in Phase 1.  Now the exterior facelift continues above the storefronts with new roofing, new clapboard to replace the shingles, and new two over two windows with shutters.  Winter will soon be upon us, so Mike’s crew is scrambling to complete the job in the next two months.  If we’re lucky with the weather, the completed work will get a finish coat of paint before the holidays.

Although we’ve had strong interest in the commercial spaces, we do still have some storefronts available to rent.  If you’re interested, please call Certified Property Management at 617-738-6606  X 208.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Libations for Preservation, This Saturday, September, 27 at Grand Ten Distillery

The Young Advisors of the Boston Preservation Alliance present Libations for Preservation, a cocktail competition of historic proportions. This fun, social event will pit bartenders from the best neighborhood bars in Boston against each other to craft reinventions of historic cocktails. Your ticket gets you samples of every cocktail and, more importantly, voting rights! Support the Boston Preservation Alliance's educational programming by cheering on your local bartender. Light appetizers, live music, and a raffle will round out this exciting evening where YOU help determine Boston's Historic Cocktail Champion!

Grand Ten Distilling is a fully functioning urban distillery producing 9 craft spirits including Wire Works Gin, FirePuncher Vodka and Medford Rum. Built in the 1950s, this former iron foundry is home to a unique small batch copper still and craft spirit production area housed in one of the areas first storied manufacturing facilities.

Ticket for you: $50
Ticket for two: $90
Ticket plus a one-year membership to the Alliance: $75

Click HERE for more information, and to buy tickets

Questions: email

A Retrospective Look at the Preservation of the Kittredge House in Roxbury

Matthew Kiefer, President of HBI's Board of Directors and a partner at Goulston and Storrs, offers a retrospective look at the Alvah Kittredge House's path to preservation and the HBI model that re-activated the historic building, completed in August. (Photos by Craig Bailey and Greg Premru)

At HBI, we often say that we’re the developer of last resort; we take on the historic resources others won’t touch.  We sometimes say that we won’t do a project unless people tell us we’re crazy to even try.  One of our most challenging tasks as a board is to be bold enough to serve our mission without putting HBI’s future stability in jeopardy.  
We recently put this to the test yet again with the Alvah Kittredge House, which we re-dedicated on August 11th.  We took the deepest breath we’ve ever taken before embarking on this rescue mission; even people who know what we do cautioned us away.  In retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t listen.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

HBI to Acquire Mattapan Landmark

Fowler Clark Farm to be Repositioned for Housing and Urban Farming

HBI has arrived at an agreement with the estate of the late Ida Gertrude Epstein to acquire the 1786 Fowler Clark Farm, a designated Boston landmark in Mattapan. HBI plans to undertake the restoration of the 18th century farmhouse and 1860s carriage barn for residential and urban agricultural use. 

Located at the corner of Norfolk and Hosmer Streets, the Fowler-Clark farm dates to the period in which Mattapan was a village of the independent town of Dorchester.  The 30,000 square foot property is a rare surviving rural landscape amidst the densely built multi-family homes that came to dominate 20th century Mattapan. The house was built in 1786 on a 35-acre farm for Samuel Fowler whose descendents sold the property to Mary B. Clark in 1837 as a 12-acre parcel.  The Clark family held the property for more than 100 years and by 1895, when Dorchester had become part of Boston and electric streetcar lines, followed the lead of many Dorchester landowners and subdivided the roughly twelve acre estate into sixty-one house lots. The remaining property—under one acre – was sold to Jorge and Ida Epstein in 1941. Mrs. Epstein lived in the house until 2009.

Collectively, the house, carriage barn, and half acre of undeveloped land remain among the earliest, intact, vernacular examples of agrarian properties identified in Boston and other urban centers across the Commonwealth.