Wednesday, December 30, 2015

HBI's Top 10 Achievements in 2015

HBI is looking forward to an exciting 2016, but we're taking a moment to reflect on 2015 and a year of great accomplishment. Here's our list of HBI's top ten successes of 2015:
  1. Wine Gallery opened for business at the 1875 Hayden Building in Chinatown
  2. Mayor Walsh and the Hyde Park community gathered in May to celebrate the completion of the Vertullo Building, now home to five small businesses and four housing units
  3. After 12 years as HBI's president, Matthew Kiefer passed the torch to Kathleen MacNeil

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Alvah Kittredge House Proposed for Boston Landmark Designation

This fall the Boston Landmarks Commission commissioned a study report of the  1834 Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury a mandatory step in designating the Greek Revival structure a Boston Landmark.  The study report detailing the nomination is available here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Spirit of Recent Giving

HBI is very grateful for new charitable donations to its projects at the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan and the Upham’s Corner Comfort Station in Dorchester.  The generosity of these Boston-based foundations has been a further boost to project planning this fall with a goal of starting on both projects in 2016:

Anonymous- $100,000
George B. Henderson- $40,000
The Clipper Ship Foundation- $10,000
Pierce Charitable Trust- $25,000
Paul and Edith Babson Foundation- $7,500

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Construction Progresses on Roslindale Substation as Parkside on Adams Opens

New tenants are moving into the apartments at Parkside on Adams, the 43-unit L-shaped building developed by Peregrine Group LLC that wraps around the historic MBTA Substation in Roslindale Village. The building, now opened, is leasing up quickly and is already adding vitality to Roslindale Village.

Though exterior construction to the Substation, a project developed by Peregrine Group LLC in partnership with HBI and Roslindale Main Street, was delayed this year by difficulties in getting a large capacity gas line installed in the street, full construction of the Substation portion of the project is moving forward.  

Some infrastructure work has been completed inside the building while restaurateur Chris Douglass and his team have been at work on the restaurant design and development for the main level. In addition, Bryan Reeves is moving along with his plans for Craft Beer Cellar to be located in the lower level.  Expect major exterior work in the spring, including the opening of the bricked-in and plywood-covered windows and masonry repair work.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Transformations at the Vertullo Building to Open Next Week!

Historic Boston is pleased to announce the upcoming Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of Transformations, a natural and toxin free skin and nail care studio at HBI's Vertullo Building at 74 Fairmount Ave. in Hyde Park.The opening will be held on Thursday, December 17th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Transformations owner Tiffany White says the salon will specialize in facials, pedicures, and full body waxing. 

Please come mix, mingle and make your future appointments.  Refreshments and samples will be on hand for the first guests to arrive, so come early! The event is free and open to the public, but Tiffany asks that you please register so that she knows how many guests to expect. 

Register Here:

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Gift that Makes History

In this season of giving, we are grateful for your support and hope you will join us before the end of 2015 with a tax deductible contribution to Historic Boston (HBI). 

Thanks to you, 2015 was a banner year of achievement for us. In addition to announcing the plans to convert the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm for farming and food-related education, HBI has completed transformational projects throughout the city, including:

  • The $1.9 million renewal of Hyde Park’s Vertullo Building (1868), restoring the exterior of the building to its 1890s appearance and upgrading systems and interiors for four residences and five new retail spaces.  
  • Designation to restore the long vacant Upham’s Corner Comfort Station in Dorchester (1912), a rare surviving arts and crafts style building associated with expansion of the streetcar system in Boston for a bike repair shop operated by local Dorchester entrepreneur Noah Hicks. 
  • Start of construction on the 1911 Roslindale Substation, repositioned as a new destination restaurant by Dorchester entrepreneur Chris Douglass, surrounded by 43 new apartments in Roslindale Village.

Perkins + Will to Lead the Design Team in Redeveloping the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm

It is with great pleasure that HBI announces the addition of Perkins + Will (P+W) to the design team for the renovation and redevelopment of the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm to become the home and headquarters for the Urban Farming Institute (UFI).

P+W approached HBI through UFI and The Trust for Public Land (TPL), two of our development partners, with the purpose of committing the resources of their pro bono program and Social Responsibility Initiative (SRI) to the important work of renovating and repurposing of the historic Fowler Clark Epstein house and barn and designing of the landscape around the ¾ acre Mattapan site for urban farming.

5 Reasons to Give to HBI on #GivingTuesday December 1st, 2015

1. HBI Strengthens Boston's Main Streets
In 2015, HBI completed restoration of the 1868 Vertullo Building in Hyde Park, one of the few surviving commercial buildings dating from the year in which Hyde Park was established as an independent town. HBI acquired the mixed use building and restored it to its 1890s appearance with Victorian decoration and system and utility upgrades. Four upper story residences were upgraded and five new small businesses have opened on the first floor.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bricks and Mortar 2015 has arrived!

HBI’s newest print newsletter Bricks and Mortar is available now on our website. Highlights include stories on the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm, HBI’s strategic plans for the future, and updates on the Bike Kitchen at the Upham’s Corner Comfort Station. Download a copy or, for a hard copy, email us at  And if you’d like to be on our snail mail list, please email us your mailing address.  Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving from Historic Boston!

Each year at Thanksgiving, staff at Historic Boston share their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. But this year we changed it up a little; we asked our new friend Phyllis Tobin of Newton to share one of her favorites.

Mrs. Tobin showing off her Epstein original jewlery

Mrs. Tobin grew up in Mattapan just down the street from the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm. When she saw the announcement of HBI’s plans for the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm she reached out to us and we invited her to join us for lunch at the Eustis Street Firehouse, along with members of TPL and UFI, so she could tell us her stories of growing up in Mattapan.  She was an enormous font of memory. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Apple Pie Surprise!

Last Friday, Jamaica Plain’s Historical Society’s Michael Reiskind stopped by HBI to deliver an apple pie. This was no ordinary pie, but a Roxbury Russet apple pie. The Roxbury Russet Apple is the oldest named apple in America , dating back to the 1600s. While they are no longer widely grown, Michael was able to find some at an orchard in New Hampshire. To create his master(pie)ce he used 5lbs of the russet and infused the pie crust with lemon. It was delicious! Thank you, Michael! 

If you would like to read more about the Roxbury Russet Click Here

Friday, November 13, 2015

Preservation Partnering Part 2: HBI Forges Partnerships to Increase Capacity for Neighborhood Revitalization

This is Part 2 of a series of blogs whereby HBI’s Jeffrey Morgan discusses various preservation partnering scenarios and the opportunities they present to steward long vacant and blighted properties to new uses that add new life to their communities thereby contributing to the economic revitalization of their neighborhoods. Part 1 discussed the redevelopment of the Roslindale Substation in partnership with Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) and our for-profit partner, Peregrine Group, LLC.

Fowler Clark Epstein Farm, Mattapan

HBI recently closed on the purchase of the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm, what is likely Mattapan’s oldest building. Partnering with the Urban Farming Institute (UFI), The Trust for Public Land (TPL), and North Bennet Street School (NBSS) redevelopment of the farmstead will couple the mission of preserving a significant historic Boston Landmark with the mission of farmer training and creating and promoting urban farming enterprises. The redeveloped farmstead will become the home and headquarters for UFI.
The farmstead consists of a historic house (c. 1786-1806) and detached barn (1860) on about two-thirds of an acre and represents one of the earliest, intact vernacular examples of agricultural properties in Boston. With its history of agriculture and its location in an urban neighborhood sorely lacking =access to fresh produce, Fowler Clark Epstein Farm presents incredible opportunity to connect city residents to the history and modern day opportunities of farming providing experience-based education for youth, adults and families; and encouraging visitors to be informed and active in their local food system. 

Fowler Clark Farm Design:  Studio G Architects
Rendering: Jeff Stikeman Architectural Art

Coupling preservation with urban farming builds capacity for social impact
As a “preservation partnering” approach to real estate redevelopment, bringing together four nonprofit organizations is both a compelling idea and a challenging undertaking, and offers great potential for preserving a significant property, maximizing social impact, and helping to revitalize an inner-city neighborhood. The alignment of missions, the sharing of resources, and determining fundraising strategies are all layered on top of the other more typical aspects of partnering such as defining roles and responsibilities of the partners and working through the communication and personality aspects of a business partner relationship.

Friday, November 6, 2015

HBI Receives PRI from the 1772 Foundation

HBI is honored to be the recipient of a program-related investment (PRI) from the 1772 Foundation of Rhode Island that will be used to support pre-development work on HBI projects.  The 1772 Foundation will give HBI a $400,000 low-interest loan at a fixed rate of 2% for a five-year term. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Council of Advisors Discuss Strategic Planning

Last night HBI’s Council of Advisors gathered at Millennium Tower Sales Office to discuss HBI’s strategic plans for the next five years  . Their feedback proved valuable as we finalize our planning for the next few years.

If you’d like to know more about HBI’s strategic planning read our blog post from earlier this month.

Friday, October 23, 2015

HBI Forges Partnerships to Increase Capacity for Neighborhood Revitalization

Preservation redevelopment business models

The business model for real estate redevelopment of historic properties has typically been one of two primary approaches. In the first approach, a preservation advocacy group identifies a significant building where its use was inherently tied to its significance, for example, the private home of a noted community or business leader, or a beloved theater or civic building. The group then raises funds from foundations and individuals (often over many years) with the intent of preserving the property as a museum or maintaining the use in the case of, say, a performing arts theater.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Laying New Paths at Roxbury's Eliot Burying Ground

New Stonework

In August 2014, the Historic Burying Ground Initiative, a part of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department received a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Signature Urban Parks Program. A portion of that grant was allocated to renovating the Eliot Burying Ground that sits adjacent to HBI’s Eustis Street Fire House. The firm of Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture, Inc., headed up the design, and renovations took place over the course of a year. The burial ground was established in the 1630s and is the oldest burial ground in Roxbury.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Vertullo Building Business Owner Spotlighted in the Globe

Tiffany White, owner of a natural skin and nail care studio located in HBI’s Vertullo Building in Hyde Park was highlighted in The Boston Globe earlier this week. Tiffany’s story illustrates Historic Boston’s mission to provide opportunities for small business owners to start and expand their businesses. Congratulations Tiffany!