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.
Frozenyo Expands into Boston with High-Profile Downtown Crossing Space
August 26, 2013
By Jon Chesto
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
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.
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.
describes the scenes depicted in the RAP mural:
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.
City Seizes Control of Historic Mattapan Farm
By Nikita Lalwani
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
Historic Boston Incorporated redevelops historic properties to make urban neighborhoods thrive. We believe that reusing old places to meet current needs enriches our communities and restores neighborhood pride.
To learn more about our mission and our ongoing projects, please visit our website, check this blog, and flip through our Flickr photo albums for frequent updates. To sign up to receive updated news from Historic Boston, please visit this page to enter your contact information.