Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kittredge Mural in the News!

Historic Roxbury Mural Relocated

Patrick Rosso
Town Correspondent
August 26, 2013

The mural that adorned the foyer of the Alvah Kittredge House will now call the National Center for Afro-American Artists home, after it was relocated so it wouldn’t be damaged during the restoration of the historic house.

Read the Rest of the Article

Monday, August 26, 2013

Boston Business Journal Features Frozenyo and the Old Corner Bookstore

Frozenyo Expands into Boston with High-Profile Downtown Crossing Space
August 26, 2013
By Jon Chesto
Managing Editor
Boston Business Journal

When Matt Coombs started looking for a space in Boston to open a Frozenyo franchise two years ago, the concept of self-serve frozen yogurt was still a relatively new one here.

Coombs finally found his space and opened his store earlier this month. By now a number of out-of-state self-serve chains have entered the market, led by the fast-growing Orange Leaf.

Read the Rest of the Article 

Malcolm X- Ella Collins House Featured in CBS Review of Civil Rights History

As the nation remembered the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom this weekend, CBS News featured a slideshow of historic landmarks related to the important people and events of the American Civil Rights movement, including the Malcolm X-Ella Little Collins House in Roxbury

Friday, August 23, 2013

FroZenYo Opens in Old Corner Building

HBI welcomes Washington D.C.-based frozen yogurt franchise, FroZenYo, to its first Boston location, at HBI’s Old Corner Bookstore at 277 Washington Street, downtown.  Opening day on August 16th featured a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Thomas Menino and Attorney General Martha Coakley, and free yogurt to hundreds of guests.

Owner Matthew Coombs says that the self-serve froyo shop will also have breakfast baked goods, coffee, and bottles of water for 29 cents. The shop, which replaces the former Body Shop, is open daily from 7am to 10pm. 

A New Home for a Historic Roxbury Mural

Anyone who has stepped inside the Alvah Kittredge House over the past 30 years will likely recall the colorful mural hanging directly across from the front door.  Entitled “Building a Model Black Community,” the mural has graced the front hall of the house since it was owned by the Roxbury Action Program, from the 1970s to the early 1990s.  HBI wanted to make sure the mural was preserved as an example of the art that typified the social activism of its time, so we contacted Barry Gaither, Director of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Inc.. Not only was the Museum interested in receiving the mural for its collection, but Barry was able to attribute the work with some certainty to artist James Reuben Reed, an artist whose work the Museum collects.

Barry Gaither describes the scenes depicted in the RAP mural:

In its background, Reed contrasts a dilapidated old brick townhouse with the projected renovated Kittredge House.  A survival garden lies between the two.  In the foreground, builders are at work, and planners are busy charting the future.  Just behind them, residents are playing chess and exploring the world via computers.  Several images in the work evoke local activists including Doris Bunte, Joseph Warren, and Mel King.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Big News on the Fowler-Clark Farm in Mattapan!

City Seizes Control of Historic Mattapan Farm 
By Nikita Lalwani
Globe Correspondent
The Boston Globe
August 11, 2013

Fowler-Clark farm, possibly the oldest remaining farmhouse in the city, was once one of many dotting a fertile Boston countryside, a rich ecosystem of arable land, orchards, and livestock. The area was, by one 17th-century account, a place of “fair cornfields and pleasant gardens,” overflowing with pigs, goats, and cattle.

Now, sitting on a busy residential corner of Mattapan, near streets that have all too often seen gunfire and violence, the farm has fallen into disrepair. Weeds, tangled and haphazard, grow in the yard. Paper plates, candy wrappers, and half-eaten food accumulate by the fence. Inside, dust blemishes what remains of the house’s ornate woodwork, and broken windows suggest intruders have entered.

It was time, city officials said, for something to be done. 

The Kittredge House Featured on Boston.com

Restoration of Kittredge House in Roxbury Recieves Financial Boost
By Patrick D. Rosso
Town Correspondent 

Those behind the restoration of the historical Kittredge House in Roxbury received a financial boost this week to support the redevelopment of the early-19th century structure.

The Lynch Foundation, based in Massachusetts, awarded Historic Boston, the non-profit leading the restoration, a $100,000 grant.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

HBI Explores Baseball Hall of Famer George Wright's Savin Hill Estate

Wright as a Boston Red Stocking.
Last month, the HBI checked out the home of baseball's first superstar, George Wright, at 24 Grampian Way.  Located on a ridge in Savin Hill that overlooks Dorchester Bay, the stick-style house has a truly unique and impressive view of Downtown Boston.

When baseball became a professional sport in 1869, Wright quickly inked baseball's highest paying contract, earning $1400 for a nine-month season with the Cincinnati Red Stockings.  Wright signed the contract after playing half a decade of amateur baseball and cricket for various clubs in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.  When Wright was 22, the Red Stockings, managed by his brother Harry, toured the continent undefeated.  However, the Cincinnati Red Stockings dropped professionalism during their second season.  George and Harry Wright started a new team in Boston with three of their former teammates but kept the same nickname.  In 1871, George and Harry's relocated Red Stockings became Boston's first professional baseball team.

Wright and his teammates dominated the National Association of Baseball Players for four straight years, eventually leaving to join the nascent National League as a founding member in 1876.  The National League would later later join with the American League (founded in 1901) to form Major League Baseball.  On April 22, 1976, George Wright lead off against the Philadelphia Athletics to take the first pitch in National League history, and in effect, the first pitch of modern professional baseball.

The view from 24 Grampian Way, Savin Hill.
After winning back to back National League pennants in 1877
and 1878 with Boston, the nascent Providence National League club hired Wright as a player-manager.  Wright's hard work and leadership made an immediate impact and the Providence Grays took home the NL pennant in their first year as professionals.  The Grays have a putative claim to being the first MLB club to field an African-American player: William Gray White, a Brown University student, played his only game of professional baseball for the Grays under Wright's management in 1879.

Wright began what would become a successful sporting goods retail career during the time period as well.  Wright & Ditson became a nationally-known sporting goods company and it still exists to this day.

Success appeared to follow Wright wherever he went, from Cincinnati to Boston, baseball to business, and his two sons shared the same winning aura.  Both Wright children excelled at tennis and each won the U.S. Championship.  The older of the two children, Beals, also won an Olympic gold medal.  They were raised in the house at 24 Grampian Way, which Wright purchased in 1887.

Wright was also instrumental in popularizing golf in the United States.  Obituaries in both The Boston Globe and The New York Times credited him as the father of golf in the United States. Wright played in Franklin Park's first game of golf and laid out a course that would later turn into the Donald Ross Course that we see today.  Francis Ouimet, the first amateur to win the U.S. Open Golf Tournament (who Shia LaBeouf later portrayed in the 2005 blockbuster The Greatest Game Ever Played) was an employee at Wright & Ditson who Wright had taken a special interest in.  George Wright also donated land to create Boston's second municipal golf course in Hyde Park which now bears his name.

A 2013 view of the house and stable (far left) that Wright
once converted to a state of the art squash court.

Wright was one of the first players elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame after its founding in 1936.  Only Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth preceded him, as they were the only two elected into the hall during its inaugural year.  The other members of Wright's 1937 class of inductees were Cy Young and Connie Mack.

Historic Boston visited the house in July to assess its potential as a future project.  We found ourselves blown away by Wright's key role in the popularization of two major sports and his family's astonishing athletic pedigree.  We also loved the house's mansard roof, large porch, and spectacular view of Downtown Boston.  The Boston Landmarks Commission began its decision-making process on Tuesday, August 13, to designate it a landmark.

William Osgood (1928 -2013)

We were saddened to learn this week of the passing of long-time HBI board member William Osgood on July 25th at his home in Vermont.   Bill was the last surviving member of HBI’s founders, among those who worked together in 1960 to save the Old Corner Bookstore and begin an organization that has had transformative impact all over Boston.

Bill and his family have been ongoing supporters of HBI’s work, and we have been the beneficiaries of their nurturing spirit, great love for Boston, and enthusiasm for historic preservation.   We have many good memories at Historic Boston of Bill Osgood.  We share, here, a festive photograph from HBI’s 1990 30th anniversary celebration of the organization with Bill second from the right.  We also share this tribute from the Boston Globe:  

HBI sends condolences to Bill’s wife Nancy and their two sons David and Chris.

Hyde Park’s Vertullo Building Receives Massachusetts Historic Tax Credits

HBI received exciting news this week from the Massachusetts Historical Commission that its planned rehabilitation project at the Vertullo Building in Hyde Park is recipient of a $150,000 State Historic Tax Credit allocation.

This is the second allocation of credits for this project, bringing the total to $250,000 toward at $1.9 million rehabilitation project there that will restore the storefronts to their 1890’s appearance, restore the exterior clapboards and 19th century windows, and renovate five first-floor commercial spaces and four upper story residential units.

The oldest remaining structure from Hyde Park’s settlement in the Cleary and Logan Square business districts, the Vertullo Building’s rehabilitation by HBI will have a very positive economic impact on the commercial area of Cleary and Logan Squares.  The project, currently in design development, is planned to begin this fall.

HBI extends its thanks to Secretary William Galvin and the Massachusetts Historical Commission for their help and support through the State Historic Tax Credit program.  We look forward to keep you posted on our progress in Hyde Park as the Vertullo Project begins.  

Lynch Foundation Awards HBI Grant for the Kittredge House

Historic Boston is very pleased and honored to announce that it has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Lynch Foundation to support preservation of the 1836 Alvah Kittredge House, one of three preservation projects of HBI’s Trilogy Fund capital campaign. 

The Lynch Foundation’s support will particularly focus on restoration and re-creation of the distinctively Greek Revival Period features of the Kittredge House, including the fluted columns, the scrolled Ionic column capitals, and the triple hung wooden window sash.   The Kittredge House rehabilitation, which began in June 2013, will restore the long-empty building to its early 19th century glory, when the structure was the focal point of a rural estate.  Today, the house on Linwood Street faces the newly renovated Alvah Kittredge Park and is part of a much larger and denser residential neighborhood.  Once completed, the house will be five apartments, two of which will be designated at Affordable rental rates.  The Kittredge House’s restoration will be completed in June of 2014.

The Lynch Foundation, established in 1988 by Carolyn and Peter Lynch, provides support for many Massachusetts non-profit organizations and includes historic preservation as one of its priority funding program areas.   HBI is pleased to note that the Lynch Foundation’s support for this project brings The Trilogy Fund, HBI’s $1 million capital campaign total to $900,000. 

To make a donation to HBI’s Trilogy Fund, please call Kathy Kottaridis at 617-442-1859 or visit http://www.historicboston.org/general/donate/.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hayden Building Wins Preservation Achievement Award!

HBI is honored to announce that the Hayden Building is one of 13 recipients of the Boston Preservation Alliance’s 2013 Preservation Achievement Awards. For 25 years, the Preservation Achievement Awards have served to honor the creative ways that Bostonians have utilized their historic resources. This year, the awards will be handed out at the historic Paramount Theatre on Monday, October 21st. HBI is very proud to be recognized alongside some of Boston’s best, and we are privileged to be in such esteemed company. If you want to attend the event in October, or learn more about the other award winners check out the event page.

According to Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, "The Hayden project is a perfect example of the patience and foresight often required in preservation. We are so pleased to be able to honor our colleagues at Historic Boston, Inc. for taking on and finally completing this long project. Its success demonstrates not only how preservation triggers neighborhood improvement but how we must be persistent in our preservation goals" 

Thank you to Greg and the Boston Preservation Alliance for this great honor, and congratulations to our fellow awardies! We are looking forward to the October award ceremony! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Once More to the Races: HBI and Peregrine Group Team Up for the Historic Charles River Speedway Headquarters

Earlier this summer, the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Historic Curatorship Program put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the historic Charles River Speedway HeadquartersBuilding in the Allston/Brighton neighborhood of Boston. The Headquarters building, built in 1899 is all that remains of the Charles River Speedway. The Speedway consisted of a mile long race course for horse cart, or “sulky racing” as well as a course for bike racing. It was developed in the wake of increased automobile traffic on other main roads like Cambridge and Beacon, which had left little room for recreational vehicles. Until the 1960’s, the Speedway stretched all the way to the Harvard Football Stadium. After that time, with no more Speedway to look after, the Headquarters building fell into disrepair. However, it is a beautiful building, with a great story and a layout that offers many options for redevelopment. With this in mind, HBI just finished a submission for consideration by DCR.

HBI has joined forces with Peregrine Group, LLC, a real estate development corporation operating out of Rhode Island, to put together this proposal. If the name sounds familiar, it is because Peregrine is currently working with HBI on the redesign of the Roslindale Substation. However, they have also done significant historically conscious work all over New England and beyond. Together HBI and Peregrine have come up with an exciting proposal to transform the Speedway Headquarters into a 25-unit residential community. The proposed design would offer rental housing to graduate students and professionals seeking to be close to one of the many nearby educational institutions or one of a quickly growing number of businesses based in the area. An interior courtyard, an original aspect of the building’s design will offer residents a beautiful green oasis in a neighborhood that is becoming increasingly popular.

We are very excited by the many possibilities that the Speedway Headquarters has to offer, and are confident that the proposal that we have put together with Peregrine is a good and sustainable preservation solution for this site.  So, for now, keep your fingers crossed for us!