Monday, March 26, 2012

Votes for Women in Hyde Park

In honor of Women’s History Month, which is celebrated annually in March, we thought that we would share this fascinating look at a very early manifestation of the women’s suffrage movement that took place in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Data Drives National Trust President Stephanie Meeks

National Trust for Historic Preservation President, Stephanie Meeks met with HBI’s Board of Directors last week, followed by a festive reception at the Omni Parker House that included Mayor Thomas Menino and 75 friends of preservation.

Ms. Meeks joined HBI’s quarterly board meeting to talk about changes at the National Trust that reinforce a data driven message:  for the national preservation movement to grow and succeed, it must engage more directly on the ground and be considerably more inclusive. 

New National Trust research estimates that there are about 15 million people in the US that consider themselves preservationists and are working locally on matters that support preservation.  Yet, the current National Trust has only 250,000 paid members.

Not surprisingly, these 15 million are far more diverse culturally, economically and in their level of education.   One-third (33.3%) of the 15 million preservationists are non white, while only 5% of the Trust’s membership is non white.

The average age of those 15 million preservationists is under 35.   The average age of the current National Trust Member is 51.  The 15 million are far more active users of social media, and they use these tools aggressively to communicate and engage in public policies and causes they care about.

Ms. Meeks message challenges Boston’s preservation community to engage friends of preservation in the broadest sense so that our ranks grow and our collective issues stay relevant, well funded and visible in the years ahead.   

Friday, March 9, 2012

Municipal Center Breaks Ground at Historic Ferdinand Building

Friends of Dudley Square had every reason to be joyful at the March 3rd groundbreaking for the new municipal complex at the historic Ferdinands Blue Store.  The Menino administration has delivered a real, fully conceived project that takes up the better part of a city block, restores historic structures, and builds in smart public access and retail opportunities.  The project also brings along several hundred Boston School Department employees who will expand the vitality of the business district.   It’s no wonder that nearly 400 people gathered Saturday as the Mayor and Roxbury’s public officials sunk their ceremonial shovels into the soon-to-be excavated site.

This was also a great day for Boston because it acknowledges Dudley Square as an important commercial hub at the physical heart of the city.  Long overlooked and economically strapped, the abandoned Ferdinand site has been a physical barrier to development and sad reminder of urban disinvestment.   This new complex stands to be one of the best comeback stories for Boston neighborhoods and a harbinger of much more to come.  It also demonstrates the power of vision and leadership, neither of which are simple achievements. 

After the ceremonies Saturday, Mayor Menino took great pleasure in cutting and distributing slices from an enormous chocolate cake shaped like the new building.  Simple pleasures after a lot of heavy lifting.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hot Off the Press! Read Our Newest Paper Newsletter!

The Winter 2012 edition of HBI’s Bricks & Mortar is up on our web site.  Click here to reach our News page, then scroll down and Click on the Winter 2012 (PDF)
If you would like to receive the hard copy of our newsletter (they are different from our electronic news), please email us your snail mail address at