Friday, April 25, 2014

The Hayden Building wins MHC Preservation Award

HBI is thrilled to announce that the Hayden Building will receive one of this year’s Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Awards

HBI’s restoration of the Hayden Building, H. H. Richardson’s last standing commercial building in Boston, resulted in four new apartments and a retail space in the long-vacant building. The units are fully occupied, and residents are enjoying the hustle and bustle of its exciting Midtown location.

We are so honored to be recipient of this exciting award, and are very thankful to the MHC and Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, who wrote in his award letter: “The careful restoration of the Hayden Building demonstrates a strong commitment to historic preservation that goes well beyond what is normally expected.  

Housing Opportunity at the Kittredge House

Spring has brought rapid progress on the rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House, which is on schedule for completion in June.  If you might be interested in living in one of these beautiful, unique apartments, here’s what you need to know.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Selling the Stores; The Historic Precedent Behind the New Vertullo Signage

Chris Brown of b Architecture Studio is the architect that is working on the rehabilitation of the storefronts on the Vertullo Building. As a part of his research for the project, he and his team had to undertake a significant investigation of 19th century signage in order to ascertain what would be appropriate for the building. In the process they learned a great deal about the history of fonts, as well as the architectural history of storefronts. Chris kindly shared some of the information that he has gathered in this blog post. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we have.

Precedent-Evolution of 19th Century Commercial Signage

Not all early 19th century buildings had richly ornamental storefronts, still it was common for a commercial first floor to be much more ornamental than the above floors.  Buildings were often of similar heights and frequently wouldn’t have very much ornamentation above the first floor. For buildings lacking any architectural charm, it was left up to the signage to attract someone to one building over another. Typically building signage would conform to regular, reasonable spaces often above the display windows. As building ornamentation increased, signs were routinely squeezed in what small spaces remained on the building facade.  At the same time signs were no longer just being placed on the ground level; by the 1880s signs began to be fastened to the building in a variety of ways such as spanning from projecting pilasters or mounted to cantilevered brackets. Signage would often overlap windows or other building details contributing to the detriment of the building’s appearance. Eventually people began to speak out against excessive signage. The City Beautiful movement was one such group that spoke out against the negative affects that inappropriate signage has on a city.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Saving the Planet, One Old Building at a Time

We are reposting an article from the April 6th Boston Sunday Globe Magazine in which HBI is noted.  The story follows on recent news of efforts in Congress to revise the federal tax code and proposals to eliminate tax incentives, including the federal rehabilitation tax credit.  An important boon to preservation redevelopment in the last several decades, the federal credit, along with Massachusetts’ own historic preservation credit, has proven a valuable resource for preserving buildings for new uses.

Community Workshop Maps Cultural Contributions of Boston’s Asian American Communities

Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation (APIAHIP) and Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center  are hosting a workshop called “East at Main” in Chinatown on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 5:30-7:00 PM at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, 38 Ash St., in Boston.  The workshop aims to uncover and share information and memories reflecting the historical and cultural contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Boston.

Co-sponsored with UMass-Boston Asian American Studies Program and Chinese Historical Society of New England,  this workshop is part of a national effort to capture the rich layers of place-making and community-building in Asian American communities at historically and culturally significant sites throughout the United States and US territories. East at Main Street is a crowd-sourced map available on the web and as a mobile app at

For more information:


Friday, April 4, 2014

HBI Receives $25,000 grant from Blue Hills Bank Charitable Foundation for Vertullo Building

Just as HBI celebrates completion of the $1 million Trilogy Fund capital campaign, it is pleased to announce a new grant of $25,000 for phase two improvements to Hyde Park’sVertullo Building.

Built in 1868 and a rare surviving building from the year that the Town of Hyde Park was incorporated, the Vertullo Building is currently undergoing comprehensive restoration of its 1890s storefronts along with system upgrades that will service the first floor’s five small business spaces.  

The grant from Blue Hills Bank Charitable Foundation is targeted for Phase Two restoration of the building.  These improvements will focus on the upper floors of the building, restoring the historic windows, removing shingles and restoring the original clapboards and corner boards, re-creating the Victorian period brackets beneath the eaves that once decorated the building, and painting the entire building in period paint colors.  This scope of work is planned for summer 2014.