Friday, January 28, 2011

HBI to Build Housing in Chinatown’s Hayden Building

We are pleased to announce that Historic Boston Inc. will create four new residential units in Chinatown’s historic Hayden Building this year.

This reinvestment plan fully activates the 1875 Hayden Building and completes a 18-year turnaround plan for the building which HBI purchased in 1993 to save from serious deterioration and structural instability. At that time, HBI repaired the Hayden Building’s serious structural problems, restored its exterior, and leased the first floor for many years to a local bank. An adjacent building, acquired at the same time, became the popular Penang Malaysian restaurant. With a small floor plate and a complicated structural reinforcement system, the Hayden Building’s upper four floors were financially infeasible to activate, although HBI has remained dedicated to finding solutions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Methods of Work: Building Historic Window Sash

This following blog post is one of an occasional series of reports and perspectives on work taking place at the Anna Clapp Harris Smith House in Dorchester through Handmade Houses, a partnership of Historic Boston Incorporated and North Bennet Street School. The collaboration preserves at risk colonial and early 19th century buildings in Boston while providing preservation carpentry students with hands on training and experience. Begun in 2010, the partnership’s work is supported by a discrete revolving investment fund established through the generosity of The 1772 Foundation.

Building Historic Windows
by Bill Rainford, North Bennet Street School of Preservation Carpentry, class of 2011.

Period appropriate windows often allow you to peer into the soul of a classical house. When working with historic properties, especially earlier homes, it’s rare to come across original windows. Windows take a lot of abuse from day to day use, exposure to the elements and changes in style and building materials over time. As time marches on, old windows are often ripped out wholesale and replaced, all too often with inferior aluminum or vinyl replacement windows.


Occasionally we get lucky and find an original window in the back of a house, up in an attic, enclosed in a wall or documented in another manner – say through historical photographs, diaries or documents. Historical documentation and evidence at the 1804 Anna Clapp Harris Smith House have led us to the decision to restore the front windows back to the 12 over 12 divided light window sashes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Historic Boston Home For Sale

We are pleased to present the 1804 Anna Clapp Harris Smith House for sale to prospective buyers. Nestled at the base of the Jones Hill Historic District on Pleasant Street in Dorchester, the Clapp House is the former home of the founder of the Animal Rescue League and is one of Boston’s few remaining Federal period farmhouses. The Clapp House has a rich and unique history and provides 2800 square feet of living space on a large parcel with 10,000 square feet of land.

The house, which is the inaugural project of the Handmade Houses Program, a 1772 Foundation supported partnership between HBI and North Bennet Street School’s preservation carpentry program, has experienced considerable physical improvements over the past year. The partners have rebuilt chimneys and foundations, removed façade shingles, and installed a new Federal style door, thereby transforming the appearance of the historic house. North Bennet Street School and HBI continue to bring top craftsmanship to the preservation of this unique building, and we hope to find the right buyer who will complete its rehabilitation and become a passionate steward of this historic property.

To learn more about acquiring the Anna Clapp Harris Smith House, the building’s unique features, or about the restoration progress, please visit the following links or visit HBI’s website. For more information, please call Michael Tilford at 617-227-4679.

New Life for an Old House in Dorchester
Building a Foundation at 65 Pleasant Street
Moving Forward Through the Past
Party at 65 Pleasant Street!
Behind the Scences at the Anna Clapp Harris Smith House


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Construction Underway at the Golden Building

Work began last week on the Golden Building façade rehabilitation project at 1510-1514 Dorchester Avenue in Fields Corner—HBI’s first Historic Neighborhood Centers program bricks and mortar project.


Contractor Kevin Piccinin and his crew from K & B Contracting started work bright and early on the morning of December 29th on northernmost of the four ground floor retail spaces. By the end of this week they will have demolished the existing hodge podge of storefront configurations, materials, and signage and will have installed framing and walls that will accept the new matching store windows and entries. While they wait for the new window glass to arrive, work will begin removing the metal siding from the upper floor and preparing it for new clapboard siding, trim, and windows.