Friday, October 24, 2014

Explore the Rich History of First Church Roxbury on November 16th

Clear your calendar and join the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry for a special afternoon at the historic First Church of Roxbury in John Eliot Square (10 Putnam Street). The program presents planning underway for an extensive rehabilitation to preserve the 1804 structure, Boston's oldest frame church and transform it into an active center of civic and cultural life in Roxbury.

Special guest speaker is Rev. F. Washington Jarvis, Roxbury Latin School Headmaster Emeritus, who will speak on the rich history of the congregation that first gathered there in 1632, helped establish Harvard College in 1636, and founded Roxbury Latin School in 1645.

Preservation expert and former HBI board member Andrea Gilmore of Building Conservation Associates, will discuss the larger historical context and the social and cultural importance of Meetinghouse structures in New England town life. 

Architect Don Mills of Mills Whitaker Architects, will discuss some of the results of his recent assessment of the building and the preservation opportunities presented by this elegant and well-preserved structure.
A festive reception will follow in Putnam Chapel, immediately adjacent to the Meetinghouse. Everyone is welcome. For more information about the event, please contact Annie Stubbs at or 617.318.6010 x205, or visit

Textizen at the Vertullo Building

Guest blogger Brian Goodman is Innovation and Systems Manager with the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development. 

The old joke says that a true local will define a space by what was once there, rather than what exists there now.  You've probably heard it before: "You know - the bakery, in the old Woolworth's building?"

Neighborhoods change.  The right use for a particular space changes; it's as dynamic as the community the space serves. But the retail mix in our neighborhoods can both shape and be shaped by its residents.

As it completes the rehabilitation of the historic Vertullo Building at 74-84 Fairmount Avenue, Historic Boston Incorported (HBI) and the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development are deploying Textizen, a web platform that collects SMS data from local residents to inform decision-making, to see what happens when shoppers in the Hyde Park Main Streets district have a voice in filling the available retail storefronts at Vertullo.

HBI has hung posters in the windows of the empty storefronts that direct shopper to text their preference for the type of retail uses they'd like to see fill one of three available spots. Voting is a simple as texting in your preference to a number shown on the poster.

This may benefit the retail leasing process in several ways:  residents can communicate their preference to the property owner (HBI); HBI can better target its outreach to potential tenants; HBI can support demand potential in talks with prospective lessees; and a new tenant will have an early lead list generated from the voters.

If the initial trials are successful, the City will be looking for ways to expand the model and use polling to create more visibility for other available commercial spaces in Boston’s neighborhood business districts.

If you live in Hyde Park, be sure to swing by the Vertullo Building and cast your vote, or view the poster below and cast your vote remotely.

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