Saturday, May 30, 2015

HBI Receives Mass. Historical Commission Award for Kittredge House

Massachusetts Secretary of State, William Galvin was on hand Friday May 19th as HBI was honored with one of Massachusetts Historical Commission’s (MHC) 37th Annual Preservation Awards for the $3.8 million rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury.

One of 9 project recipients this year, the Kittredge House is one of three Boston projects to receive an award. The other two are the Clapp Family Barn in Dorchester and the new headquarters for North Bennet Street School in the North End.

Other recipients for rehabilitation and restoration from throughout the Commonwealth include the Lord Jeffrey Inn in Amherst, the Station Lofts in Brockton, the Ames Shovel Works in Easton, the Old Ship Meetinghouse in Hingham, the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton and the Caring Health Center in the Smith Carriage Company in Springfield.
Two individuals were honored this year. Betsy Douglas of Leverett was given an award for her achievements in local preservation, and Dr. Adelaide Cromwell received the MHC’s Individual Liftime Achievement Award.

HBI is grateful to the MHC and Secretary Galvin for their acknowledgement of the Kittredge House project, and for their direct support of that project through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Preservation Month Celebrated with Tour of Roslindale Substation

Bryan Reeves of Craft Beer Cellar and Chris Douglass
Boston Landmarks 
Commission Executive 
Director Roseanne Foley
National Historic Preservation Month is an annual celebration designed to raise awareness about the power historic preservation has to protect and enhance our historic communities. Preservation Month was established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is organized locally by the Boston Landmarks Commission. This year, Historic Boston along with our partners Peregrine Group LLC and Roslindale Village Main Streets, was happy to participate in Preservation Month by hosting a tour of the Roslindale Substation, which will begin construction in June. About 50 visitors stopped by the Substation to see inside of the building and learn about its history, planning process for its rehabilitation, and future uses.

The Roslindale Substation was built in 1911 for the Boston Elevated Railway Company as an electrical power conversion and transmission station. Designed in the Neo-Classical Revival style by Stone and Webster Engineering Company and architect RobertS. Peabody, the Substation converted alternating electric current (AC) transmitted from a South Boston Power Station via underground cables into direct current (DC) for use by local trolley cars. Revolutionary technology for the day, this system generated and distributed power at lower costs.

After sitting vacant for over 40 years, the rehabilitation of the Roslindale Substation is expected to take about a year to complete and will house a destination restaurant by Chef Chris Douglass, who owns Tavolo and the Ashmont Grill, on the main floor and Craft Beer Cellar, a retail beer store dedicated to promoting American craft beers, on the lower level. Craft Beer Cellar is anticipated to open in the fall, while the restaurant will open next spring.

Former RVMS board member Steve Gag and current board president Jennifer Madar 
talk with HBI’s Jeff Morgan and a guest

Monday, May 18, 2015

Historic Boston Inc. Completes Restoration of Vertullo Building

Mayor Walsh, Community Welcome Three New Businesses to Logan Square

HYDE PARK  – Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Historic Boston Inc., elected officials, and members of the Hyde Park community today welcomed three new businesses to the neighborhood following the recent completion of a $1.3 million rehabilitation of the Vertullo Building, which was built in 1868  -- the same year that Hyde Park was founded -- and is the oldest commercial building in the Cleary and Logan Squares Main Street district.
The successfully competed project demonstrates that historic building rehabilitation can help to enhance the economic competitiveness of Boston’s neighborhood commercial districts, while also bolstering a sense of place, neighborhood pride, and opportunity.
 “It is only fitting that we are here today during Small Business Week and National Historic Preservation Month as we celebrate the revitalization of this once forgotten asset in one of our City’s most historic retail districts,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Friday, May 15, 2015

“Upscale” Vertullo Building Welcomes Intriguing Hair

HBI is pleased to welcome Intriguing Hair to the historic Vertullo Building at 82 Fairmount Ave., Hyde Park.  This week’s blog introduces owner Nikia Londy and her hair extension business.

Nikia Londy has been passionate about hair all of her life.  Two years ago she started her hair extension business Intriguing Hair as an on-line shop but found she was spending a lot of time traveling to her customers to show her samples in person.  She decided to open a retail store so that her customers could come to her.  She sells her 100% human hair extensions and custom wigs to both salons and individuals.  Nikia’s hair extensions can last for 2+ years if properly cared for and can be bleached or colored.   Most of her customers purchase bundles, which she sells at a discounted price. 

Nikia grew up in Boston and attended Hyde Park High.  She and her husband have lived in Hyde Park for five years and were excited about the Vertullo Building because it was historic and felt “upscale.”  She visited Yolanda Sealy at Dress with Confidence and was impressed with the look and feel of the shop, so decided the Vertullo Building would be a great location for Intriguing Hair.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New to Hyde Park and the Vertullo Building: An Interview with Sandler Lacoste and Darnelle Joseph-Lacoste of "Private Office Barber Shop"

Sandler Lacoste and his wife Darnelle Joseph-Lacoste
of the Vertullo Building’s “Private Office Barber Shop”
As Historic Boston celebrates the dedication of the Vertullo Building in Hyde Park, we are pleased to interview one of the new business owners that will be opening in the building next week: The Private Office Barber Shop, which is owned by Sandler Lacoste and his wife, Darnelle Joseph-Lacoste. Next week we will profile another of the Vertullo Building’s new shops:  Intriguing Hair.

Q:   In addition to being a barber, you’re also a Boston schoolteacher.  Where and what do you teach and what age kids?

A: I’m currently a 6th grade math teacher at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester.  I teach kids that are between the ages of 11 and 12 years old. I’ve been a teacher for the past 3 years and really enjoy working with youth.

Q: How long have you been a barber?

A: I have been a barber for the past 20 years.  My passion for cutting hair roots back to being a young boy and receiving haircuts from my mother, who studied cosmetology.  I started giving myself haircuts and when I noticed I wasn’t half bad, I started giving my friends and teammates from my high school basketball team haircuts as well.  What started off as a hobby quickly stemmed into a passion.  I began to appreciate the actual art of cutting hair, so I decided to perfect and pursue the trade professionally.  I’ve been working as a professional licensed barber for the past 4 years.  My motto is “I’m cleaning up America one haircut at a time.”

Q:  Why did you choose the Vertullo Building for your shop?

A:  There are several reasons why my wife and I chose the Vertullo Building to establish our barbershop, the first being the location feels like home; we are very familiar with the area.  My wife grew up on the neighboring Pierce Street and lived there for 20 years.  The Vertullo Building is not far from my original Private Office which is located in Mattapan.  The transit accessibility was extremely important for our business; our goal is to service everyone in need of a great haircut.  The area is up and coming and extremely vibrant and the foot traffic of the local surrounding businesses was really appealing to us.  We anticipate adding to the already thriving corner of businesses on Fairmount Ave.  We are super excited for this new opportunity and chapter.  Our goal is to add a positive light to the already luminous, evolving town.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Roxbury: Back to the future of Economic Re-development - Part 3

This is Part 3 in the series of blogs whereby HBI’s Jeff Morgan synthesizes the history of Roxbury Neck to help inform the direction in which new Roxbury developments may shape the future of the neighborhood. Check out Part 1 - Early Roxbury before the Revolutionary War and Part 2 - The Impact of the Revolutionary War on the Industrialization of Roxbury

From the Industrialization to the Urbanization of Roxbury

On March 26, 1846 Roxbury became a city and as a result, many public improvements occurred such as the widening of Washington Street in 1855 along with the construction of a firehouse and other buildings to support the industrialization and modernization of Roxbury. 

Designed by Roxbury architect John Roulestone Hall, the firehouse at 20 Eustis Street is a 2 ½ story brick building was constructed in 1859 in the Italianate style (Figure 9). Contrasting granite was used in the round arched window and door surrounds with wood ornamental brackets under the wide eaves of the slate roof. The wood rear addition (interpreted in the 2011 rehabilitation) was constructed in a similar style in 1869 to house larger 'hook and ladder' equipment and a stable. The brick firehouse had replaced a smaller 2-story wood Greek Revival firehouse built in 1829. Reputed to be the oldest standing firehouse in Boston, it reflects the urbanization of Roxbury and the increased role of the public sector in providing services.