Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Highland Park, 30 Years of HBI Investments

A blog post by HBI Intern, Ben Berke 

The groundbreaking for the Alvah Kittredge house on June 18 marked the 7th HBI project in Roxbury's Fort Hill/Highland Park neighborhood.  It's one of our favorite neighborhoods for a number of reasons.  Beyond just the historic houses and beautiful green spaces, the Fort Hill/Highland Park area has been a community of progressive thinkers and a center for change since the Revolutionary War.

Save the Date: Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference 2013

Join your colleagues from across the state at the 2013 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference, to be held in Lexington on Friday, October 18th.  

Read about the conference details and descriptions of twenty-two sessions and round tables at the conference website
Conference registration opens August 15th. 

The 2013 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference is organized by members of the Massachusetts Preservation Coalition.  The conference host is the Lexington Historical Commission with the support of the Town of Lexington and the Lexington Historical Society.

The Coalition looks forward to bringing the preservation community together to share ideas,discuss challenges, and celebrate successes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Call for Artists in Dudley Square

The City of Boston has announced three separate calls for artists to provide public art pieces at the new Dudley Square Municipal Center. The first round of responses is due August 4th.
The City is requesting three types of art:

1) A painted or sculptural element to revitalize the Ferdinand Building’s old brick wall.
2) An outdoor sculptural piece at the southeast corner of Warren St.
3) A decorative acoustic wall panel to hang in the Boston Public Schools School Committee Room. Only BPS students may submit proposals for this piece.

The art will adorn the new Dudley Square Municipal Building, which celebrated its topping off in late June and is scheduled for completion by January 2015. “Our work is far from done,” Mayor Menino said at the ceremony. “From the beginning our goal has been simple: bring more people and economic life to historic Dudley Square.” The $115 million LEED Silver Certified project will house over 500 BPS employees.

This month Mayor Menino announced that CB Richard Ellis/Grossman RetailAdvisors has been selected for leasing advisory services for the 18,000 square feet of ground floor retail at the municipal building, and last week, the BRA hosted the 2013 Boston Retail Tour, which featured over 100 New England retailers and investors interested in calling Boston, and possibly Dudley Square, their new home.

Fort Hill Standpipe Undergoing Summer Preservation Project

The Ferdinand Building isn’t the only Roxbury structure with construction cranes around it this summer.  A little further south, the Cochituate Standpipe, or the Fort Hill Tower, is undergoing considerable preservation repairs to the 144-year-old structure. 

The City of Boston will soon complete the Tower project that includes masonry pointing and repair, painting of the entire exterior of the tower, repair and glazing of the windows, metal roof coating and painting of the interior cast iron spiral staircase to the top of the tower.  The Boston Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the park below, is reconstructing planting beds, improving and pathways, installing new site furnishings and renovating the entrances to the property.

The Tower is located at the High Fort – a Revolutionary War fortification located in what is today known as Fort Hill.  There was also a Lower Fort nearby during the revolution, a site that HBI is familiar with because Alvah Kittredge referenced that structure in 1836 as being on the property on which he built his sweeping mansion.

The High Fort was the more prominent of the two and the revolutionary infrastructure lasted there until the 1860s when the City built what is known as the Cochituate Standpipe, one of the early methods for bringing fresh water into Boston.  It is the elegant gothic tower that we know today and it served two purposes – it enclosed an 80 foot water pipe, but it also historically provided visitors a look-out tower from which they could experience the full vista of greater Boston and the sea. 

Architect for the standpipe was the Kittredge House’s second occupant until his death in 1888 was NathanielBradlee, was one of the most prolific of Boston’s 19th century architects.  He was also president of the Cochituate Water Board which oversaw the new water project into Boston.  While the standpipe structure fell into disrepair over the last century, Bradlee’s design gave the community an iconic architectural feature that is a continued source of pride for this neighborhood. 

The City’s work preserves an important historic resource for the neighborhood, and it points toward someday renewing this amenity for visitors to once again experience the past and view a very rich present.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reproducing Historic Moldings for the Alvah Kittredge House Using Traditional Tools

Our guest blogger this week is restoration carpenter, Bill Rainford. Bill is an esteemed alumnus of the North Bennet Street School's Preservation Carpentry Program, and the owner of Rainford Restorations. Recently he wrote an article for FineHomebuilding about his experience reproducing moldings from the Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury and shares some of that experience with us. Enjoy!
The Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury Massachusetts is a great example of high style Greek Revival architecture in Boston and a tangible link to the city and the nation's early history.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Deen Intensive Foundation and National Trust Launch Fundraising Appeal for Malcolm X House

You may recall that The National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Malcolm X-Ella Little-Collins House one of Americas’s11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2012. The designation, as “national historic treasure” was an important stepping stone in the efforts to restore the house on Dale Street in Roxbury. After 30 years of deterioration, it needs an estimated $1.5 million of stabilization and rehabilitation to restore it to its 1940s appearance when the young Malcolm Little lived there. 

Malcolm X’s nephew and the current owner of the home, Rodnell Collins, continues to work with Historic Boston Inc. and The National Trust for Historic Preservation to raise the necessary funds. We’re pleased to share with you a new partner in that effort:  The Deen Intensive Foundation, an American Muslim educational organization, that has joined the cause and produced two short videos as part of a viral social media campaign to encourage donations to the fund, and to raise awareness for the cause. The shorts specifically aim to raise money for this project during the holy month of Ramadan and feature two of the most influential American Islamic scholars, Imam Zaid Shakir  and Hamza Yusuf, who share their views on the importance of preserving the Malcolm X-Ella Little Collins House through charitable contributions.

We hope that you enjoy them – and that you might think about following their lead!

Click HERE to view the shorts