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It's beat-up and out of date.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.”