Last week, we introduced St. Mark’s Main Street district on the blog, where HBI has been working to compile information for our growing Commercial Casebook. Today we share some of the buildings that are included in the St. Mark’s Main Street district chapter.
Through HBI’s work in St. Mark’s, we discovered that the district’s historic buildings reflect three broad categories of building types. There’s an impressive assembly of late 19th and early 20th century three story mixed-use buildings that emulate the Boston three-decker, housing retail businesses on the first floor and residences above. There are many one-story early 20th century cast stone commercial/industrial blocks that house retail operations. And there are several prominentinstitutional and religious buildings concentrated mostly near Peabody Square that developed to support the late 19th and early 20th century development of the St. Mark’s area. While there are several very significant and well known historic structures in St. Mark’s, HBI chose to look at buildings that are threatened, underutilized or whose rehabilitation might prove a catalyst for broader economic revitalization.
Here at Historic Boston, we often look towards the contextual buildings that make up our city’s architectural fabric. Some may question the significance of these buildings and many are surprised that an organization that focuses on historic preservation would ever take a second look at some of the buildings found in the Commercial Casebook. However, HBI feels that a rehabilitation that focuses on uncovering some of the lost or altered architectural features, paired with a strong, thoughtful plan for the building, can produce district- changing results.