Monday, January 30, 2012

Exploring Boston Beyond the Red Brick Road

Noontime lecture series looks beyond Boston's famed Freedom Trail to highlight its most diverse and fascinating neighborhoods.
Historic Boston Harbor Map Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Boston, MA - Dorothy may have followed a yellow brick road to the Emerald City, but tourists and locals in Boston have been seeing red-the red brick line that marks the Freedom Trail -for over 50 years. But there is so much more to Boston than what is confined along that brick path. Now, one of Boston's most famous historic sites-Old South Meeting House-presents a nine-part, noontime lecture series looking beyond the Freedom Trail to discover some of the diverse communities that make up the city of Boston.

On Thursdays in February and March, Old South Meeting House presents their Middays at theMeeting House lunchtime series "Building Beantown: Exploring the Neighborhoods that Make up the 'Hub.'" The series is co-sponsored by Historic Boston Incorporated and Boston Landmarks Commission and will provide insight into eight of the city's unique neighborhoods, examining how they developed and became distinct communities. Programs will explore Dorchester, Roslindale, the South End, South Boston, Jamaica Plain, Chinatown, Roxbury, and Charlestown. 

The audience is welcome to bring a brown bag lunch; admission to the programs is included with Museum admission and is free to Old South Meeting House museum members.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Malcolm’s Sister

Ella and Malcolm at 72 Dale Street, 1941
In his Autobiography, this is how Malcolm X referred to his half-sister, Ella Little Collins:

I think the major impact of Ella’s arrival [in Lansing], at least upon me, was that she was the first really proud black woman I had ever seen in my life.  She was plainly proud of her very dark skin.  This was unheard of among Negroes in those days, especially in Lansing.
If Martin Luther King Day honors equality and civil rights, we are sharing a story from Rodnell Collin’s 1997 book, Seventh Child, about his mother’s struggle to purchase the future Boston Landmark at 72 Dale Street.  It is a reminder of an imperfect time in Boston and Roxbury, but it teaches us that our preservation work today must also interpret some challenging back stories.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Everett Square Theatre Event Highlighted on

Hyde Park Residents Mark Partial Restoration of Historic Theater

By Jeremy C. Fox, Town Correspondent

The theater on Fairmount Avenue has entertained generations of Hyde Park residents.

Read the Rest of the Article

The Year in Review

2011 has been a momentous year for HBI. From our physical move to Roxbury this summer, to our mobilization on several long term projects like the Hayden Building and the Kittredge House, to the acquisition of the Fairmount building in Hyde Park, we have been growing and responding to the development needs of Boston’s neighborhoods.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Light Up the Everett Square Theatre with Mayor Menino on Jan 6, 2012

Join Boston's own Mayor Menino at 11 Fairmont Ave in Hyde Park to celebrate the dedication of the new Hyde Park Theatre Sign and the rehabilitation of the theatre's foyer. the Mayor will join HBI and Hyde Park Main Streets to ‘flick the switch” on the project on Friday evening, January 6th and we would like you to join us for this event and a reception afterwards next door at “The Switch.”
We hope to see you there!

Where: 11 Fairmount Ave, Hyde Park
When: January 6th, 2012 at 5:00 pm
For any questions, call HBI at 617.442.1859

In the Absence of Evidence You Research and Speculate…and hope everyone agrees

We do our best at HBI to reposition historic buildings based upon what physical evidence we can find on site and what documentary research will tell us. Unfortunately, the available record is all too often incomplete and we are simply left to speculate.  In the absence of good photographs or written documentation we have to do our best to make design and construction decisions based on limited context, research, expert opinions and guess work.

Speculative preservation design and development is more than just an academic debate; it carries financial and legal consequences for those engaged  in historic rehabilitation. A number of Local, State and Federal agencies have approval authority over project design and treatments, and ideas about what might have been based on Local, State and Federal standards and criteria – which may not always prioritize the same things. Further, when a building is exceptionally significant, opinions about these things can be particularly strident.

We have been running up against those  tensions at the 1875Hayden Building project, HH Richardson’s only remaining commercial project in Boston On the first floor of the LaGrange street elevation is a large opening blocked by a reddish stucco panel that conceals some of the modern improvements from our preservation intervention in the late 1990’s.