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. 

Constructed of steel, the fence depicts fire fighters racing to a fire with hand-pulled Hunneman fire apparatus, such as the one shown in the historic “Torrent Six” photo.  Artist John Tagiuri carefully researched Roxbury’s Hunneman Company and the ornate equipment they built. Our friends at the Boston Fire Historical Society tweaked John’s design and even advised on the precise shape of the firemen’s helmets to ensure historical accuracy.

Iron fence details
Fire fighting history books describe the chaos of the rush to a fire when Boston was a more rural community; one illustration even showed a pig running out of the firemen’s way, so John incorporated a pig into the fence. His final touch was the inclusion of the shaggy black dog seen lying down in the historic photo, who is seen at the front of our fence leaping in excitement. HBI is very grateful to the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund for providing the resources needed to design and install this amazing piece of functional public art.


Dog taken from historic photo of fire house
Intricate images of original equipment

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