Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting to the Heart of the Matter in Fields Corner...

Parallel to the infrastructure improvements being completed as part of the Dorchester Avenue Project—the City of Boston and Mass DOT’s $15.6 million streetscape, pedestrian, and traffic upgrade to the 5-mile length of Dorchester Avenue—HBI has been working on a “Dot. Ave. Project” of its own through its Historic Neighborhood Centers program work in Fields Corner.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Changing Places; How the Kittredge House Was Moved

1895 Bromley Atlas (Before the move)
Many of the old buildings HBI encounters are not sitting in their original locations.  The Eustis Street Fire House sits where it was originally built, but the earlier, 1829 “Torrent Six” that preceded it was sold in 1859 to W.B. May for $128 and moved to nearby Pike Street, where it was used as a residence (Pike Street and the original “Torrent Six” no longer exist).

1899 Bromley Atlas (After the move)
The Alvah Kittredge House in Fort Hill, Roxbury, was also moved from its original location in the 1890s, roughly 50 years after it was built.  It was moved from Highland Street around the corner to Linwood Street, a very short distance, and reoriented 90 degrees.   At this time, the several wings attached to the left of the house were removed, and quite possibly and re-used elsewhere, but this information is lost to history.

Though moving building is rare today, it was fairly common in the 19th century.  The materials, and craftsmanship invested in buildings were valued more in earlier generations than today, and moving buildings made good economic sense.   Moving buildings today requires factoring in traffic, road restrictions, plumbing connections, and power lines, which were not considerations in the past.  Unless a building has architectural or historical significance, it is unlikely to be relocated since the cost to move often exceeds the cost to demolish and build anew.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hi Neighbor!

Have a 'gansett!
HBI has had the pleasure of working in unison with a lot of great companies and organizations over the years. Now we have another name to add to that list. Narragansett Beer was kind enough to donate some of their famous Narragansett Lager to our HBI holiday party. The party was an opportunity for us to celebrate all the great work that has been accomplished at HBI this year, and it was made even better by Narragansett's generous gift. Narragansett has said for a while that they are the "official beer of the clam", but now they can claim to be a favorite among preservationists as well.

Save the Date! - "Greening the Older Home" - February 11,2012

Saturday the 11th of February, 2012
9:3o-11:oo am
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Massachusetts Historical Commission and Historic New England have come together to plan a fantastic event. "Greening the Older Home" will combine a speaking program as well as a tour of the nearby Pierce House. The speaking program will be held at the Adams Street Branch library in Dorchester, and the tour will follow directly after the speakers. 
The Event is free. However, they would like for people to sign up online.
Mark your calendars!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

HBI's Newest Acquisition, The Vertullo Building in Hyde Park, Highlighted on

Check out the article by Jeremy C. Fox, Town Correspondent
Historic Boston to Restore 150-year-old Hyde Park building
74-84 Fairmount Ave.

A new owner plans an old look for a historic Hyde Park building. 
Earlier this fall the Vertullo Building at 74 — 84 Fairmount Ave. was purchased by Historic Boston Inc., a non-profit historic preservation advocate and developer that plans to return the building to its past appearance, before the original clapboards were covered with cedar shakes and large storefront windows were partially covered.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Three Cheers for the Boston Landmarks Commission

Please carve away a little time for the Boston Landmarks Commission this holiday season.  Commission staff will celebrate 2011’s accomplishments and plans for 2012 with a presentation to the public and the Commission at its last hearing of the year on Tuesday, December 13th from 5:30 -6:30 p.m.  in the BRA Boardroom, 9th Floor, City Hall. 

There’s little more satisfying than to look back over a successful year, and the BLC should be praised for a job well done in an era of fewer public resources.    We all know how important this agency is to preserving and protecting Boston’s rich sense of place.  Let’s be there to pat them on the back.
Call 617 635-3850 for more information or see

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Bit of Broadway Returns to Hyde Park

It is getting dark early these days, but the streetscape on Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park just got a bit brighter with the recent installation of a Broadway-style sign over the entry to the Everett Square Theatre. Fabricated by Boston Sign, the design is based on historic photos of the original and on a 1915 building permit found by HBI. Meticulously crafted by hand, the sign represents a rare re-creation of the signs once typical on theatres in the early 20th century, whose clear incandescent bulbs helped give Broadway the name “The Great White Way.”

Friday, November 18, 2011

Malcolm Little’s Roxbury

HBI has begun working with Rodnell Collins, the nephew of Malcolm Little -- known to most as Malcolm X -- about the house in Roxbury that Rodnell grew up in but which Malcolm X would have stayed in for long periods of time in his youth.  In fact, this Boston Landmark is the only extant residence of Malcolm X from his developmental years before he converted to Islam and joined the Nation of Islam. 

The rest is history. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sox To See New Park, A Poem by Bill Littlefield

As part of the celebration of HBI's 50th birthday and Fenway Park's 100th, honorary guest, Bill Littlefield read the following poem. It was a big hit, and so we thought that we would share it with you all here.

Sox To See New Park
Tear down the Coliseum;
It's beat-up and out of date.
It's pitted and old and windy and cold
And thoroughly second rate.
Put up a 12-screen multiplex,
With a lobby as bright as the sun.
Surround it with acres of parking
For convenience, and for fun.
Sell the space that's left to fast-food joints,
As much as they're willing to buy.
In the litter and noise that follow,
We won't hear the old ghosts cry.

Spray paint the Sistine Chapel
In contemporary tones.
Some of the Red Sox Ephemera on display
at the HBI 50 Year Celebration
Don't worry at objections from
The purists, or the bones
That stir and rattle sadly in
Confusion at the loss
Of something that was worship-worthy:

Fine, but, finally, dross.

Fill in the old Grand Canyon;
Dig a deeper one next day,
With access to the interstate
Much closer to L.A.
If people come, it's worth it,
Crass as that remark may sound;
A hole's a hole, no matter where,
No matter in which ground.
And when we build the new one
Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library
We'll supply it with a bubble,
So folks can see it, rain or shine,
Sans mud or other trouble,
And instead of riding mules to reach
The river at the bottom,
We'll put in elevators made of glass…
(The Hyatt's got 'em!)
And motel rooms with cable
And Jacuzzis will await
All those who ride on down the rock,
Like so much lazy freight.

The argument is money, and
The argument's compelling;
The bottom line for baseball is -
And has been - ticket selling.
And the Red Sox will make money if
They tear down Fenway Park,
And replace it with a pleasure dome
That's never cold or dark.

Perhaps that's all we know and all
We need to know as well:
It is not truth and beauty,
It is only buy and sell.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HBI Featured in Bill Brett's Party Photos on

Bill Brett, Boston’s preeminent social chronicler, came to our 50th anniversary celebration at Fenway Park on Nov. 3, and generated some wonderful photos of those who joined in feting HBI, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino and NPR’s ‘All in The Game’s’ host, Bill Littlefield.  Here’s the photos that appeared on’s Party Lines!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Congratulations HBI On 50 Years!

Historic Boston Inc. celebrated 50 years of preservation on Thursday with a reception in one of Boston’s premier preservation properties, Fenway Park.
The ballpark was the perfect setting having been eyed just ten years ago for demolition. Instead, it was restored and now stands as a source of pride for the City of Boston. “This is our double header,” said Historic Boston Board President Matthew J. Kiefer. “It’s a chance to see some of the great preservation the Red Sox have done, and it’s a chance to learn more about what Historic Boston does.” 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Archaeology at the Eustis Street Fire House

One of the biggest challenges HBI encountered during construction at the Eustis Street Fire House was excavating next to a historic cemetery that contains many unmarked graves.  Although we made every effort to minimize digging, there was no way of avoiding it altogether, since we were building a new addition behind the fire house on the footprint of the earlier stable addition, which collapsed 20 years ago.   Our new addition would not include a basement, but it needed a foundation and footings, so some excavation was unavoidable.   

Historical research revealed that the land beneath the fire house had once been part of the Eliot Burying Ground.    Further, town records stated that when the fire house was built in 1859, a “large number of human remains were thrown out in excavating for the cellar.”   It was a little shocking to learn that our predecessors would simply “throw out” the remains they encountered, and it was not clear where they would have put them – but hopefully not where we needed to excavate. 

Success Has Many Fathers….

HBI congratulates the City of Boston and Mayor Menino, Boston’s preservation community, Emerson College and Suffolk University on receipt of a National Honor Award for revitalization of the historic theaters on Washington Street at the National Preservation Conference in Buffalo last week. 

It was 15 years ago that Boston’s preservation community gathered together in a charette that would change the course of the theater district.  In a testimony to confidence and tenacity, the public and private partnership of organizations and agencies set about advocacy and technical measures that would set the stage for the excellent work of Suffolk University and Emerson College at the Modern and Paramount Theatres. 

HBI is proud to have played an active role in that effort, intervening with the BRA in the condemnation of the Modern Theatre in 2003. Then-director Stanley Smith conducted a structural assessment of the building  and secured an agreement with the BRA for removal and preservation of the Modern’s parapet masonry.  We’re recycling a blog post from 2010 that tells the story:

BIG Difference.  BIG change. Congratulations everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Painting by History: Choosing Historically Accurate Paint Colors for The Anna Clapp Harris Smith House

Article written by Historic Boston's 1772 Foundation Fellow and Project Manager, Peter Erhartic

Many changes have been occurring at Historic Boston’s Anna Clapp Harris Smith House in Dorchester. Over the past year the façade as been restored back to its federal roots after a 100 year detour into Victorian detailing. But, perhaps most notable, is the progression of paint colors on the buildings front façade. When Historic Boston began work at the property, the house was shingled and brown. After the shingles were peeled back, grey clapboards were revealed. A peach primer coat was soon added, followed by a second coat of its current yellow color. In the coming year the house will be painted its final color which will be (drum roll please)…. Mannered Gold. What is Mannered Gold and how did Historic Boston choose this color? We chose the color by careful historical paint analysis, of course.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Upcoming Preservation Alliance Workshop For Religious Properties

“Before the Snow Flies….”

Preparing Your House of Worship for Winter:
A Workshop by the Boston Preservation Alliance
Saturday, October 29th, at 10 am
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 14 Cushing Ave. Dorchester

What can you do to protect your historic religious building from the rigors of the winter ahead? LOTS! Come hear Jeff Shaw of Donham & Sweeney, Architects, and Tom Nutt-Powell from Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light (MIP&L) discuss quick, easy, and inexpensive ways to minimize weather-related damage and save energy and money at the same time! Topics to be covered will include protecting foundations, walls and roofs, windows and doors; the different challenges facing masonry, wood, and metal; and how thermostats, interior "storm" windows, and added insulation can cut your energy costs and make your congregation and other users more comfortable.

Light refreshments will be served. This event is free but space is limited so advance registration is required. Please RSVP to

Thursday, October 13, 2011

100th post on our Blog

We launched the blog on April Fool’s Day in 2010 with a brief note that it would be the place to find HBI news. We followed that with a behind-the-scenes look at preservation of the Anna Clapp Harris Smith House at 65 Pleasant Street in Dorchester.

The blog has become a forum for highlighting our mission. We want to

• show that we are having a positive impact on our communities by preserving the historic places that enhance Boston’s neighborhoods.

• create a stronger future for this city by performing quality work and re-deploying historic buildings in a way that meets current market needs.

• our work to be meaningful to the communities in which they are located and for that we work closely with community partners to plan priority investments.

Monday, October 10, 2011

HBI's Dudley Square Headquarters featured in the Boston Globe

New life for city’s oldest firehouse

Dudley Square building undergoes $2.5m renovation

October 03, 2011|By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff

  • Kathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston executive director, showed old photos of the part of the building that the nonprofit is now using for its offices. A partnership between the group and the city led to the rehab.
Kathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston executive director, showed old photos… (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
Abandoned for half a century, Boston’s oldest firehouse spent decades sliding into decay: boarded-up, overgrown, and listing in the direction of Dudley Square’s Eliot Burying Ground.
Fans of history protected it from the wrecking ball in 1969 and propped it up in 1993 to prevent collapse, but the hollowed-out Eustis Street station remained too daunting for public or private rescue

Read article

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Historic Boston Dedicates New Dudley Square Headquarters

The large crowd attending the ribbon cutting of Historic Boston Inc.’s new Dudley Square headquarters was an indication of just how important this project is to the community.

More than 150 people came to tour the building, hear from Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other dignitaries and have lunch. It was a festive blending of new neighbors and long-time HBI supporters.

Dudley Square is one of the oldest commercial districts in the city and has a large  concentration of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Speakers said yesterday they look forward to a strong future for this area as these buildings are once again put to use.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting to Know Dudley Square: Getting Here

Dudley Square has long stood as a gateway to Roxbury and the surrounding southern neighborhoods of Boston. During the colonial period, when the delicate Roxbury Neck Road, now Washington Street, served as the only land bridge between Boston and mainland Massachusetts, Dudley saw all traffic into and out of the city. During the Revolutionary War, colonists fleeing British occupied Boston, travelled through what would later become known as Dudley Square in order to reach neighboring safe havens.

However, even after the Back Bay and the South End were filled in, and other highways opened into Boston’s downtown, Dudley remained a transportation hub.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Additions to HBI's Dudley Square Headquarters

Working on the new iron fence
Last week brought three new physical transformations to the Eustis Street Fire House. Two dying trees in the Eliot Burying Ground that stood near the fire house for many years were removed, resulting in a lot more light into our offices and far more visibility of the fire house from Washington Street.  We were especially sad to see the beautiful old silver maple go, but tropical storm Irene did some damage that revealed rot within, and we were relieved that it didn’t fall on the fire house, as we feared could happen in stormy weather. 

Our sidewalk extended
The second major transformation is the City’s continuation of the brick sidewalk to the front of the fire house. This was a logical extension, as the brick sidewalk now helps define the historic district comprised of the Owen Nawn Factory, Eliot Burying Ground and Eustis Street Fire House. We are very grateful to the City for this elegant improvement.

The most exciting new addition to the fire house was the arrival and installation of the long-awaited ornamental fence that now runs alongside our walkway. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Boston Businss Journal highlights new HBI headquarters

The Boston Business Journal featured Historic Boston Inc. in recent article about our new Dudley Square headquarters:

Renovation group relocates to Roxbury
An organization that restores historic buildings to catalyze community development has moved from its longtime headquarters in Downtown Crossing to the city’s oldest remaining firehouse — a newly renovated building in Dudley Square.
The move is an important one for Historic Boston Inc., which launched more than 50 years ago with the renovation of what became its headquarters at the Old Corner Bookstore downtown.

Friday, September 23, 2011

HBI Acquires Historic Hyde Park Building

Current photo of facade

1965 Bostonian Society photo showing early storefronts;
note Baptist Church in the background

Historic Boston is pleased to announce the acquisition of the historic Vertullo building in Hyde Park’s Logan Square for a planned rehabilitation next year.

Located at 74-84 Fairmount Avenue in Logan Square, the Vertullo Building is thought to be one of the few surviving commercial structures from the period of Hyde Park’s early commercial development in the 1850s and 1860s. Built in the late 1860s and then expanded with new storefronts in about 1895, this is one of the priority properties that HBI and its Historic Neighborhood Centers program partners identified together in a 2008 work plan for the program in that district.

It has been our genuine pleasure getting to know building owner Carmela (Vertullo) Pearce during the course of our discussions to purchase the property.  Carmela’s father, Pasquale “Patsy” Vertullo, bought the building in 1932 and operated a cobbler shop and shoe store there for almost four decades. Carmela has lived in the building most of her life, and is a walking treasure trove of neighborhood history.  While Carmela makes plans her own future, she is happy to be shedding her property management duties, which have been her responsibility for quite some time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting to Know Dudley Square: the Businesses

HBI works in a microcosm of its former offices at Downtown Crossing.  There are many lunchtime options, places to buy clothes and shoes, and shops for our daily fix of office candy.  We even have our own version of the Filenes hole in the ground at the former Ferdinand’s Blue Store, slated for development next year.  Gradually, we’re learning the new landscape and enjoying the adventure of discovery.

By this time, we are “regulars” at Haley House, a newer institution in Dudley that is the lunch hub for neighbors and workers.   In what looks like a hip, cool, yuppie lunch spot, Haley House’s managers and staff are carrying out a really important mission.  They train at-risk young people in food services and culinary arts and are devoted to the justice of good, healthy food for everyone.  The group of men and women who prepare awesome meals at Haley House have become a steady presence in our daily lives too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting to Know Dudley Square: The People

Our Groundbreaking earlier this year let us meet some of our neighbors.
We're enjoying getting to know them better.
HBI’s long-time office snack, gummi worms, has been replaced with coconut macaroons and mango wafer cookies.   Dudley Square is turning out to be more than just a new office in a new place for HBI staff; it’s a perspective shift.   Known as the heart of Roxbury, it is where the neighborhood’s major institutions and businesses are clustered in some of the city’s most beautiful historic buildings.  It is also the busiest bus station in the public transit system. In this “grand central” of communities, you can imagine that one encounters an incredible variety of people. 

If you think Dudley is just the center of African-American Roxbury, think again.  Culturally, that’s true, but the Census tells us that Roxbury is changing with significant increases in Spanish-speaking residents, and it’s evident on the street.  Visit Tropical Foods – a long time magnet for Latino food anyway – and you will experience one of the truly great markets of Boston.  Tropical Foods, at its core a basic grocery store, is peppered with imported food from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America, and produce that reflects the cooking styles of many cultures.  And as you check out, pretty much all the cashiers and staff are speaking Spanish with their customers. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Save The Date! Join HBI on October 5th to Celebrate Our New Home in Dudley Square

One of the best things about moving to a new place is getting to know the neighborhood.  We are settling into our new headquarters and enjoying getting to know the very vibrant neighborhood of Dudley Square. This is a dynamic community with plenty of local pride and a lot of action:  everyone’s whispering about the City’s upcoming work at the Ferdinand Blue Store, Elder Services of Greater Boston is nearing completion of a brand new residential building, and venerable buildings like the Eustis Street Fire House , are once again being put to use. We’ve been discovering unique shops like Hamill Gallery of African Art and lunch venues like Haley House and meeting new friends along the way. 
We are eager to share this with the Dudley Square community and many of you who supported us through years of advocacy and a long and complicated development process.  Please join us for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House on Wedensday, October 5th starting at 10:30 a.m.  We will show off the rehabilitated former fire house and showcase the neighboring Eliot Burying Ground which we will help the City manage going forward.  Both places have been off limits to the public for so long that many curious neighbors have been dropping in to learn more. 

Come celebrate and learn more about our new neighborhood on October 5th. Lunch will be served. Our special guests include Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, local elected officials, our generous funders and many neighbors – old and new. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

You're invited: September 17th is Partners in Preservation Day

When thoughtfully applied, $1 million can go a long way toward restoring and preserving valuable histroic resources. The National Trust's Partners in Preservation will showcase just how much was done through a 2009 grant program during a special Open House on September 17th. Erin Doherty, who has been working with the group, explains more in this guest post. Doherty is entering her second year of Boston University’s Master’s program in historic preservation.

Two years ago, the Partners in Preservation (PiP) program arrived in Greater Boston, ultimately granting $1 million dollars to 25 Greater Boston-area historic sites. As an intern at the Northeast Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I have been working with fourteen of these sites to organize an event inviting the public to see the work completed with their grant money. On September 17, these sites will be opening their doors with free admission to show off their restoration projects and the PiP program’s lasting impact.

The Old North Church
photos courtesy of Partners in Preservation
In 2009, the PiP competition, a collaboration between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, set off widespread public enthusiasm for restoring historic places across Greater Boston. Sites rallied for votes in the online voting portion of the competition, vying for first place and $100,000 in restoration funds. After the grants were awarded, however, it quickly became evident to the historic places involved that the effects of the program were far greater than any sum of money that could be awarded. The visibility that the program provided attracted not only additional dollars in donations but also a huge upswing in community support and changed attitudes toward preservation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Survey shapes Chinatown's Hayden Building Renovation

Images by Cube Design + Research
HBI is in the midst of converting the Hayden building in Chinatown for residential use. This major project requires gutting and then rebuilding the inside of the stone structure. Like all residential developers, we have to make difficult decisions about which design features and amenities to include in the apartment units. Will renters prefer a gas fireplace or a stackable washer and dryer? Do people actually pay more for a 24 hour concierge? Is anyone going to use a workout room? Should the bedrooms be smaller to accommodate additional common living space? Will tenants pay more rent for a LEED certified building? Do people still like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops?

In the absence of an unlimited budget, both for profit and non profit residential developers have to make choices. All real estate development and preservation projects have a budget. Budgets are not an arbitrary nuisance but are instead based upon a project’s forecasted financial return, available resources and, in our case, an organizational mission to preserve Boston’s historic buildings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Roslindale Substation Possibilities Revealed

 Historic Boston and Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) have been charged with developing a feasible proposal to reuse a long-empty substation in Roslindale. In this post, Guest blogger Elizabeth Sherva, an RVMS board member and substation neighbor, provides an update on the project.

Renderings by Taylor & Burns Architects
My husband and I moved to Roslindale three years ago this September. One of the things that we loved about this area of Boston was the feeling of a small town in the middle of Boston. The heart of Roslindale is Adam’s Park and the surrounding business. It’s here in Roslindale Village that you can find the neighborhood branch library, the community center, your local bakery, a number of wonderful restaurants and unique stores. Adam’s Park is alive with the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and a number of concerts and children’s activities during the week.

If you are a consistent reader to the HBI blog, you’ll know that Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) and HBI have been working on a plan for the Roslindale Substation building that sits overlooking Adam’s Park. The community has long supported the reuse of the building and the two groups are now excited that they have a viable option for the space.

Monday, August 8, 2011

HBI Moves into "Torrent Six"

On Monday, August 1st, we packed up HBI’s School Street office of 50 years and moved into the Eustis Street Fire House. All things considered, the move went fairly smoothly, aside from a few problems with our phone and Internet connections.

When we arrived to unpack on Tuesday morning, we were greeted by Bing Broderick of Haley House Bakery Café welcoming us to the neighborhood with a delicious plate of muffins. A little later, we received a call from Boston Sign that our reproduction of the original fire house’s “Torrent Six” sign was ready to install.

As was tradition, the Eustis Street Fire House had been named Torrent Six after its hand-pumper engine, which was built by the Hunneman Company of Roxbury. The company’s founder, William C. Hunneman, had apprenticed under Paul Revere, and in 1802 he began his own business building high quality hand-forged fire engines.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Historic Boston has moved to Roxbury

Next stop: Downtown Noshing - The Boston Globe

The closing of the Borders bookstore has many lamenting the changes in downtown Boston. This Globe editorial highlights the positive things that are still happening in the area including the arrival of two new tenants in our Old Corner Bookstore building, Sweet, a cupcake shop that is already open, and Chipotle, which is coming soon.

Next stop: Downtown Noshing - The Boston Globe

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lenox Building Shines in Fields Corner



The art deco details of the Lenox Building in Fields Corner literally sparkle these days now that work is largely complete on a rehabilitation project carried out by the Cappelletti family with the help of HBI, Fields Corner Main Street (FCMS), and the City of Boston.

The work of polishing this diamond in the rough included a thorough cleaning of the 1920 building’s brick and cast stone façade combined with the restoration of its original sign band (now evenly lit by attractive and high-tech fixtures), the removal of unattractive solid metal security grates, and the total reconstruction of the corner retail space’s storefront window systems.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Take a Tour of Dorchester

Get a new perspective on Dorchester during a MY Dot Tour in August. These free, multi-media tours are led by local teens who will talk about the past, present and future of the community.

The hour-long tours take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 6 and Saturday, August 7, and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 7 and Sunday, August 14th. They feature a selection of notable sites around Fields Corner that have been identified and researched by local teens with help from archives, residents and local institutions.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Inside the Alvah Kittredge Mansion -

Scroll through the pictures on to get a closer look at what the Alvah Kittredge House looks like now. We'll be sharing updates as the renovations progress.

Inside the Alvah Kittredge Mansion -

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alvah Kittredge House Tour Draws Crowd

The past has clearly not been forgotten in Roxbury. Our behind-the-scenes tour of the historic Alvah Kittredge house attracted many current and former neighbors who have personal memories of the people who once lived or worked in the Greek Revival period Home. They noted how pleased they are that this signficant landmark will be restored to its former glory and will once again be a point of pride in the neighborhood.

This community photo with Mayor Thomas M. Menino shows the overwhelming and broad support for this important project that will add to many ongoing community improvements in the Highland Park neighborhood. Click on read more to see a slideshow of the event.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Project to restore historic Roxbury site - The Boston Globe

On Monday, July 18, we'll be giving people a behind-the-scenes look at the Alvah Kittredge House, a home that is about to be restored to its former glory. We are looking forward to sharing our plans and getting the community more involved. This exciting project was highlighted on Saturday in the Boston Globe. The article describes the significance of this home to the the city and its future. This project is one of several that HBI is currently working on to preserve our significant historic resources while strengthening our neighborhoods.
Project to restore historic Roxbury site - The Boston Globe

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chipotle moving to historic Boston building - The Boston Globe

The story of the Old Corner Bookstore continues to evolve with a new lease. Read more in today's Boston Globe about the tenant, Chipotle, the history of this significant building, and the ongoing mission of Historic Boston to preserve our city's historic resources in a way that enhances its present and future.
Chipotle moving to historic Boston building - The Boston Globe

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Save The Date

Did you know?

In 1836, Alvah Kittredge, a prominent local businessman, a deacon in Roxbury Congregational Church, and one of Roxbury's five elected aldermen built a house on the site of the Revolutionary Roxbury Lower Fort.

Also that year:
  •  The territory of Wisconsin was created.
  • The Battle of the Alamo took place.
  • Arkansas became the 25th state admitted into the United States of America.
  • The city of Houston Texas was founded.
  • Martin Van Buren became president of the United States, defeating William Henry Harrison.
  • American painter Winslow Homer was born in Boston, Mass.
  • Charles Darwin completed his voyage aboard the HMS Beagle, a trip that shaped his theories on evolution.
Join us to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Alvah Kittredge House and be a part of our history in a community photo. Refreshments will be served. Get more information and directions 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Video Highlights Historic Boston's Mission

Before and after photographs help tell HBI’s story, but it’s not the whole story.  They don’t always explain why historic places and preservation are important to communities.  Watch this innovative video, created by Boston University student Angela Owens, to see some of Historic Boston’s most recent projects across the city and learn why they make a difference to our neighborhoods.

Historic Boston from angela owens on Vimeo.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Sweet Lease

If the lines are any indication, the cupcake company Sweet is a new
Downtown Crossing hit. Historic Boston Inc. welcomes this very saavy home-grown Boston business as our new retail tenant at 9 School Street. They’ve been expanding rapidly with stores on Newbury Street, in Harvard Square and now Downtown. And they produce these luscious sweets daily in Hyde Park, a neighborhood within which HBI’s has some very focused preservation projects underway.
About six months ago, CEO Courtney Forrester came in to pitch her business for a space we had available after long time business Copley Flair departed. Wisely, she brought a big box of product with her (see photo) and she took the time to print up our logo on the top of each one. We all sat seriously through the meeting, negotiating square footage costs, tenant fit outs and utility payments, but after one bite of Sweet cupcakes, we were (secretly) sold.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bricks, Mortar, and Memory at Fenway Park

HBI went to Fenway Park’s EMC club recently to help launch the Red Sox organization’s 2012 celebration of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary. No other baseball park exudes the rich tradition of America’s Favorite Pastime or better embodies the exultations and heartbreaks of the sport. Bostonians are very fortunate to have a beloved, original, urban baseball park filled with our collective hopes and dreams.

Red Sox by Boston Public Library
Circa 1934 photo courtesy
of Boston Public Library
So, as a preservation organization that rehabs historic buildings, Historic Boston Inc. is delighted to put the spotlight on the enormous investment the Boston Red Sox have made in Fenway Park over the last 10 years. They did the miraculous – restored the historic elements of the building, expanded facilities and seating, all without disrupting a season. Not only do we have the historic, beautiful and intimate Fenway Park with its Green Monster; we have one of the most modern, economically efficient ballparks in the world. The Red Sox exemplified the best of historic preservation while making this great gathering place home to two (hopefully three) world championship teams.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Historic Roxbury Graveyard Conservation Underway

The graveyard next to the Eustis Street Fire House, the building that will soon be Historic Boston’s new headquarters, is undergoing an extensive conservation effort to restore and preserve its remarkable and historically significant markers. Initial conservation efforts were made in 1989 through a project that Historic Boston helped fund to restore about 100 broken tombstones. This current project is a more involved in effort. In this guest post, Josh Craine, conservator of sculpture and co-president of Daedalus Inc., explains the work.

The Eliot Burying Ground, also known as the Old Roxbury Burying Ground, was founded in 1630, and is one of the oldest burying grounds in Boston. Hundreds of slate grave markers as well as a number of table top and vaulted tombs, small monuments and obelisks adorn the burying ground with images of angels, hourglasses, floral and geometric patterns, intricate lettering and unique prose. These hand carved markers are some of the earliest pieces of art that people of European descent produced in the new world.

We are currently in the process of conserving and restoring the table top tombs, the vaulted tombs and the small obelisks and monuments that mark the graves of some Roxbury’s most prominent citizens of the 17th and 18th century.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Dot Tour Returns to Fields Corner in August

My Dot Tour is now recruiting teen guides for the second year of an innovative project to explore the past, present and future of Fields Corner in Dorchester. Starting in August, these guides will offer a unique perspective on this neighborhood story that has been developing for more than 200 years.

The tour is going high tech with a new website and interactive site markers to improve access and expand the audience.

The project originally came out of Historic Boston’s Historic Neighborhood Centers program work in Fields Corner as a way to give people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds a vehicle by which to understand the history and development of their neighborhood. My Dot Tour is now being led by the Fields Corner Collaborative , a group of non-profit organizations that want to celebrate the history and architecture of Fields Corner as a way to improve social capital and economic development while supporting and strengthening youth leadership skills.

The collaborative includes the Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition, Dorchester Historical Society, Fields Corner Main Street, SCI Dorchester/Dotwell, and Historic Boston. The open source technical components of My Dot Tour are being developed in collaboration with and support from MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media.

Last year’s My Dot Tour pilot project established a guided walking tour created and presented by teen guides. My Dot Tour 2011 will continue the tours this August, presenting narratives of not only the past but also the present and future of Fields Corner. The guides will develop a story to be performed during the walking tours, weaving archival materials, their own memories, and their ideas for the neighborhood.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Paint Restores Anna Clapp Harris Smith House Facade

With rain in the forecast, more than a dozen students hurried to finish painting old and newly installed clapboards on the Anna Clapp Harris Smith house, a Federal period home thought to be built on an earlier 17th century foundation at 65 Pleasant Street in Dorchester.

The students from the North Bennet Street School and Historic Boston marked completion of the project with a picnic for participants and supporters in the side yard of the stately, restored building.  

The house is much closer to its original appearance as windows have been replaced with handmade sashes – 12 panes over 12 panes – like those shown in a 100-year-old photograph. On a rear portion of the house, which perhaps predates even the main 1804 structure, actual original windows were restored with handmade wood muntons.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Golden Building Celebration in Fields Corner

On the first sunny afternoon in a long time, a crowd of nearly 100 well-wishers gathered in Fields Corner for the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the newly-renovated Golden Building.  Co-hosted by Historic Boston and Fields Corner Main Street, Mayor Thomas Menino served as the keynote speaker and presented Stephen Golden’s family and the tenants of the building with giant checks reflecting the City’s $75,000 grant funding that the project received.

HBI’s Executive Director Kathy Kottaridis, the City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development’s chief Evelyn Friedman and Fields Corner Main Street, Inc.’s Evelyn Darling addressed the crowd, thanking the many people and organizations who played a key role in the project. 
In particular, project architects David Amory and TJ Hrabota of Amory Architects as well as contractor Kevin Piccinin of K&B Contracting were applauded for their outstanding design and construction services. HBI’s Senior Program Manager Jeff Gonyeau was recognized for his careful and hands-on oversight of both the predevelopment planning and construction phases of the project.

The theme of the day was how this project positively touched many people in the community.

Fields Corner Ribbon Cutting -

Fields Corner's Golden Building celebrates face-lift - Dorchester - Your Town -

Golden Building Face Lift --

Historic Boston Inc. and Mayor Thomas M. Menino just celebrated the major rehabilitation and restoration of the Golden Building in Dorchester, Historic Boston said.
The $320,000 project, which included giving the 116-year-old building a new facade, is designed to spur economic investment in the Fields Corner section of Dorchester, said Historic Boston, a nonprofit organization that works with local partners to identify and invest in the redevelopment of historically significant buildings and cultural resources in order to catalyze neighborhood renewal.

Second Historic Neighborhood Centers Project Begins in Fields Corner: The Lenox Building

Just as work is being wrapped up at the Golden Building at 1510-1514 Dorchester Avenue in Fields Corner, we are very happy to report that another Historic Neighborhood Centers facilitated project is now well underway a block away at the Lenox Building.
The lively, art deco style brick and cast stone façade of this 1920 building is a commanding presence on the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Faulkner Street, and this building represents one of the best examples of other masonry buildings of this era and style in the district.

Although improving this building was identified from the start as a neighborhood priority in the 2008 Historic Neighborhood Centers district work plan, HBI’s deep involvement here began early in 2010, when Linda and Jerry Quin—members of the Cappelletti Family Trust, which owns the building—began talking with HBI and Fields Corner Main Street (FCMS) about making significant improvements to the property.

HBI’s Jeff Gonyeau assessed the condition of the structure and prepared a preservation and rehabilitation planning document that identified important architectural features that should be restored and preserved. The plan also advocated the reversal of some unsympathetic changes to the exterior (such as removal of the over-scaled tenant signage that obscures the original sign band, removal of roll down solid security grates, replacement of the mismatched storefront systems at the corner, etc.) and identified various critical repairs that should be made, focusing especially on the brick and cast stone masonry.