Friday, March 29, 2013

Menino Blazed Trail on Protecting Historic Buildings

The Boston Globe 
Carter Wilkie 
Globe Correspondent 
March 29, 2013

In the mid-1980s, when America’s small towns were being overrun by suburban shopping centers, Tom Menino was the first to persuade the National Trust for Historic Preservation to bring its rural, small-town Main Street revitalization program to urban America. Under his lead, Roslindale Village became the first urban Main Streets program in the United States.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trilogy Fund Surpasses Mid-Point

At the ribbon cutting for the Hayden Building, Historic Boston and its friends had another achievement to announce:  we've surpassed the mid-point of The Trilogy Fund, HBI's $1 million capital campaign to preserve three at-risk historic buildings.  The first of the three, the Hayden Building, is complete with the help of early investments in the Fund, and the balance of the $600,000 that's been raised will let us confidently begin construction at the forlorn Alvah Kittredge House inRoxbury in May.  The balance of our fundraising will go toward rehabilitation of the Vertullo Building in Hyde Park, one of the neighborhood's earliest commercial structures and a small gem of Victorian period architecture and shopfronts.

At the ribbon cutting, we were joined by Trilogy Fund Chairs Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Ronald Druker, and major donors:  the Lewis Family, Winn Companies, and Alan Leventhal, on behalf of himself and his father Norman.  In the room were more than 150 friends, many of whom have given to the Trilogy Fund and step out regularly in support of the work we do all over the city.  To everyone, we are so grateful for every single donation and the visible moral support. 

Ron Druker likes to say that it’s “avowed lovers of Boston” who are attracted to Historic Boston’s projects, and we’ve found that he’s right so far, and we’re very honored by it. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Open House at the Hayden Building!

Interested in renting one of the new lofts at the Hayden Building? Maxwell and Associates will be hosting an open house on Saturday, March 23rd and Sunday, March 24th from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. Stop by to see how you could live in a historic building with all the modern conveniences. For more information on the apartments see the listing at Lofts Boston, or visit the Hayden Building website at

The Boardwalk Appeal: What's In That Petition Anyway?

The previous Boardwalk blog post  focused on the limited likelihood of the Supreme Court granting Historic Boardwalk Hall’s appeal due to a lack of judicial resources.  The points raised in HBH’s petition however, merit discussion.  Should the Supreme Court decide to expend some of its limited judicial resources hearing the Boardwalk appeal, it will face some difficult issues. 

 The petition opens by providing some context within which to consider the case.  It begins by emphasizing Congress’s legislative intent, harkening back to the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which Congress passed to ensure new development did not come at the expense of the nation’s “irreplaceable heritage” embodied by its historic buildings.  The petition then recounts Congress’s experimentation with tax incentives over the ensuing decades in its pursuit of one that effectively encouraged private sector investment in the rehabilitation of these historic buildings, investment it knew would not occur without such incentives due to the extra costs that often accompany historic rehabs.  Proving to be the most effective incentive, the federal historic tax credit program has done just that: it has stimulated $99 billion in projects, created 2.2 million jobs, and helped save a countless number of historic buildings.  Not to mention, the petition cleverly adds, many of these projects relied on the very type of partnership utilized by HBH in the case at hand. 

Lecture Rescheduled for Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2:00pm

The Shirley-Eustis House Announces Lecture on Thursday, February 21, 2012
“On the Road to Boston:  Remembering Historic Structures in Roxbury”

BOSTON, Mass. – The Shirley-Eustis House, a National Historic Landmark house museum and carriage house at 33 Shirley Street in Boston, Massachusetts announces a lecture to be held at Shirley Place Mansion on Thursday, February 21, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. 

Gillian Lang of Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) will explore the plot of land at the corner of Washington Street and Eustis Street.  This small patch offers a fascinating vantage point from which to view the history of Roxbury and it’s progression from Colonial outpost to an industrialized sub-sect of Boston.  Ms. Lang will examine the structures that have inhabited the southern-most corner of the plot including the Eustis Street Fire Station.  The evolution of these buildings mirrors the larger changes that were taking place in the 17th- and 18th-centuries. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On the Value of Patience

Our guest blogger today is Matthew Kiefer, HBI's Board President, who discusses his and HBI's early involvement with the Hayden Building.

At the end of February, Historic Boston re-dedicated the Hayden Building in Chinatown, an occasion marked by writhing lion dancers, excellent food, general pageantry and many, many smiling faces.  And why not smile? This was a milestone in our 20-year journey to make this very significant but very challenging HH Richardson building sing again.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Connect Historic Boston links Point A and Point B with a New Look at History and Design

City of Boston transportation planner Addy Smith-Reiman continues her update on the activities and events surrounding the new initiative of the Menino administration and the National Park Service that will link the ferry, bus, T and Hubway to historic sites throughout downtown. 

How would you call attention to public transportation and historic sites? Can you engage and activate the streets, infrastructure, stations, waterways, sites and even transportation itself, enhancing the experience of moving through the city?

The Nawn Factory: a Redevelopment Opportunity Whose Time Has Come

Located adjacent to the Eustis Street Burying Ground in Roxbury, the Owen Nawn Factory is a reminder of Roxbury’s commercial industrial past. Built in 1880, it is a modest two-story vernacular factory building exhibiting no particular style. It was named for its owner, Owen Nawn, an Irish immigrant and Roxbury contractor who was responsible for building much of the Metropolitan Railway and some of the elevated transit line and related structures at Dudley Station in 1901. Along with Eustis Street Burying Ground and the Eustis Street Fire House, the Owen Nawn Factory is located in the Eustis Street Architectural Conservation District established by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1981.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ribbon Cutting at Hayden Building a Success

Thursday, January 28th was a big day for HBI. After twenty years, the new design for the Hayden Building, H.H. Richardson's last surviving commercial building in Boston, was unveiled. The Ribbon Cutting was a celebration of Boston architecture, preservation, and the Chinatown neighborhood that the building resides in. It was all kicked off with a ceremonial blessing by local Chinese Lion Dancers, and proceeded into a speaking program, which featured Mayor Thomas Menino, local developer and leading donor, Ronald Druker, HBI Executive Director, Kathy Kottaridis and HBI Board President, Matthew Kiefer.

Afterwards, the newly completed rental units designed by CUBE Design + Research and constructed by Marc Truant and Associates, were open for touring. Those that stayed after were treated to dumplings that were served by local, Boston food truck, Mei Mei. It was a wonderful day, and we look forward to new tenants moving in really soon. 

Photography courtesy of Craig Bailey, of Perspective Photo

Historic Neighborhood Centers—The View at Year 5

by Jeffrey Gonyeau, Senior Program Manager

On the one hand, it is hard to believe that it has been 5 years since HBI first launched the Historic NeighborhoodCenters program in Hyde Park and Fields Corner. The time seems to have flown by in a flurry of projects and initiatives that HBI and our many neighborhood partners and friends have undertaken together.

On the other hand, taking a step back to look at specific outcomes and project metrics as HBI has recently done indicates that the program’s efforts have had measurable, positive impacts in the two districts in this relatively short period of time.

In typical form, HBI undertook considerable planning work in developing the Historic Neighborhood Centers program prior to its launch. That said, the program was still somewhat of a theoretical construct even as work got underway in the two districts selected through a city-wide rfp process.

The Irreplaceable Jeffrey Gonyeau

After 12 years, HBI bids farewell on March 8th to Jeffrey Gonyeau, our Senior Program Manager for the Historic Neighborhood Centers program.   Jeff has accepted a new position as the fundraising coordinator for the comprehensive restoration of All Saints, Ashmont in Dorchester. While the project at All Saints is a wonderful opportunity for Jeff at a place that is also very special to him, his departure is a big loss for HBI and, in some respects, the end of an era.

Jeff has been a steady and loyal presence here since 2001, and has bridged excellence in property and project management with HBI administration and community engagement.  Jeff has fulfilled many important roles here at HBI over the years, managing such projects as the Alvah Kittredge Park Rowhouses in Highland Park, the Spooner Lambert House’s final stages of rehabilitation and unit sales, and early feasibility studies on the Hotel Dartmouth, Roslindale Substation, and upper floors of the Hayden Building. He was also the master property manager for the Old Corner Bookstore and, in 2006 and 2007, was HBI’s acting Executive Director, bringing to completion HBI’s strategic plan, and ensuring that the organization transitioned to new leadership effectively. 

In the last five years alone, Jeff has launched and delivered the Historic Neighborhood Centers Program in Fields Corner and Hyde Park, completed rehabilitation projects, and prospected for development opportunities for our project pipeline that we expect will be a source of interesting work over the next few years. And at all times, he's maintained the highest standards  in his work, built valuable relationships for HBI with property owners and community partners, and brought immense patience, humor and camaraderie to our team.  Replacing Jeff is a challenging prospect and certainly only a professional exercise.   It is very clear to everyone at HBI that, like a fine historic building, it is impossible to replace the irreplaceable.