Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Historic Boston Thanksgiving Recipe

For this year’s Thanksgiving week blog post, we thought it would be fun to offer a recipe or two. Historians tell us that wild turkey was indeed one of the many meats served at the first Thanksgiving (in addition to shellfish, venison, duck, goose, passenger pigeon, and possibly even swan). Research into historically accurate Thanksgiving dishes yields lots of recipes that are influenced by the feast of the early settlers, but adapted for modern cooks. But isn’t it more interesting to read about how the authentic dishes were cooked and served? While smaller birds were likely spit roasted, it’s believed that turkey was cut into pieces and boiled:

Place a turkey (cut up into pieces) in a large pot filled with cold water and some salt. Simmer for about an hour, skimming away the froth that rises to the top. Remove the turkey and let it cool, then boil the water until it’s reduced by half. Add to the stock some sliced onion, a bundle of herbs (sage, parsley, savory, thyme, etc.), some cider vinegar, some butter, sugar, and pepper. Cut up the turkey into smaller pieces and add it back to the stock. Serve with “sippets” (toasted bread).

If you are not inspired to boil your Thanksgiving turkey, perhaps you’ll consider roasting the bird with a traditional New England oyster stuffing. Take a pint or two (for a large bird) of fresh oysters and their liquor and chop them finely (or put them through a meat grinder as my mother did – not an appetizing sight). Tear up stuffing bread of your choice, add salt and pepper and some old bay seasoning mix and mix in the oysters with your hands until it feels like a good stuffing consistency. Add a little water if needed and stuff it in the bird (this is best done on Thanksgiving day – don’t make it and stuff it the day before or it can go terribly wrong and make you sick) or bake it in a separate dish (safer option and will result in some nice crusty bits).

Happy Thanksgiving!

HBI Teams up on Proposal to Redevelop Upham’s Corner Comfort Station

HBI and The American City Coalition (TACC) have teamed up on a proposal to the City of Boston Department of NeighborhoodDevelopment (DND) for a community-oriented redevelopment and reuse plan for the historic Comfort Station at 611 Columbia Road in Upham’s Corner -- adjacent to the Dorchester NorthBurying Ground, a Designated Boston Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While preserving this important piece of historic architecture, HBI and TACC will partner with entrepreneur Noah Hicks, founder of Bowdoin Bike School in Dorchester, to undertake the repurposing of the Upham’s Corner Comfort Station as a full-service bicycle shop and café. Our proposal achieves three important objectives: it enhances the Upham’s Corner Main Street district by reactivating a long-abandoned building; it supports a new commercial venture for a local entrepreneur; and it expands employment opportunities, with an emphasis on skills training for neighborhood residents.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Archeology Part of Roxbury’s Parcel 8 Planning

In July, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 4363 which prepares the State-owned Parcel 8 in Roxbury for transfer to the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the city of Boston for disposition for development.  Among other things, the bill requires that an archeological survey be completed of the southeastern portion of Parcel 8 (once an edge to the colonial period Roxbury Neck) in order to understand what historical material lies beneath this area so transformed in the 1960s and 70s by the unsuccessful Inner City Belt Highway project.

That archeological work began and will end this week. It was commissioned by the property owner, the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, and is being conducted by an archeological team from DCR and the University of Massachusetts’ Archeological Services program.  The team had done considerable base research using historic maps of the area over several periods of time, and designed a methodology for digging that would give them the most comprehensive subsurface views of the site. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

3D Laser Scanning Details Historic Fowler Clark Farm

HBI is grateful to Feldman Land Surveyors for providing pro-bono laser scans of the 1785 Fowler Clark Farm in Mattapan.  Stephen Wilkes of Feldman wrote this article to share how it’s done and why it’s so valuable to the preservation of historic buildings.

Constructed towards the end of the 18th Century, the present day Fowler Clark farm house, along with its later outbuildings, sits within a very different landscape from when it was built. Surrounded by today’s urban Mattapan, the farm house provides a special reminder of the earlier pastoral history of the area.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Roxbury's Kittredge House Gleams in Design New England

HBI's rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House  is featured in the new November/December edition of Design New England in an article written by Maria Karagianis.   It features beautiful photographs of the new residential units by photographer Greg Premru, and highlights the extraordinary work of David and Sukie Amory of Amory Architects PC, our architects on the project. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

With Gratitude, HBI Honors Mayor Thomas Menino (1942-2014)

Historic Boston Incorporated grieves the loss of former Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who passed away on Thursday.   We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Angela, and their family.

Mayor Menino was a champion of HBI’s work and provided the public leadership that made so many of our most challenging preservation projects -- and the dreams of so many of our communities -- possible.  He was our partner in restoring the forlorn Eustis Street Fire House as HBI’s headquarters, transforming the long-abandoned Alvah Kittredge House into new housing, turning the empty Roslindale Substation into an anchor for new development, and so much more. 

Mayor Menino co-chaired last year’s Trilogy Fund capital campaign and, when he left public office, joined HBI’s Council of Advisors.  We will miss his exuberance for Boston, his can-do attitude in the face of daunting prospects, and his commitment to doing what was best for Bostonians.  But we are most grateful for the legacy he leaves to us:  a stronger, more beautiful city that serves the needs of its people.

Read more on Mayor Menino’s preservation legacy.