Boston’s Oldest Remaining Fire House Gets a Facelift

The Eustis Street Firehouse in the Summer of 2010. Photo Credit: Anulfo Baez.

Boston’s oldest remaining fire house; the Eustis Street Fire House in Roxbury has been fully restored and is now the headquarters for Historic Boston Incorporated. Built in 1859, the 2 ½ story, brick Italianate Style building was designed by the Roxbury architect John Roulestone Hall. A wood addition was added to the rear in 1869.

The fire house remained vacant for more than 40 years, but thanks to the vision of Historic Boston Incorporated, a preservation organization in the city; the building was bought, restored and re-purposed as their headquarters. Not only has this important piece of Boston history been preserved, but it has also been breathing new life to Dudley Square. Let’s hope this is just the beginning in the revitalization efforts of the other “heart” of Boston.

Eustis Street Firehouse in 2011. Photo credit: Boston Fire Historical Society

A New Year, A New Boston

Here’s to a new year, a new Boston!

Source: Emerson College

More than two decades in the making, the Paramount Theatre is breathing new life today thanks to dedicated organizations like the Boston Preservation Alliance, institutions like Emerson College, the  Boston Landmarks Commission and Bostonians whose vision aided in the revitalization of many of the theatres on Washington Street. Two weeks ago, I went on a tour of the Paramount Theatre organized by the Boston Preservation Alliance with the Boston Society of Architects and was thrilled to see Downtown Crossing finally reaping the benefits of historic preservation.

Sorry, these images don't do any justice to the recreated interior of the Paramount.

Perhaps the Paramount can serve as an example to the Filene’s Basement fiasco? Let’s hope that 2011 is the year that this stalled project resurrects from the ashes of Downtown Crossing.

Decaying Downtown Crossing

And what about Dudley Square? Many promises were broken in 2010, but maybe,  just maybe we’ll see a commitment from the city to finally give it the attention this area deserves.

The gaping hole in Dudley Square and the scars of the Ferdinand Building

Finally, I must commend the Boston Landmarks Commission for their outstanding work in completing the Christian Science Center Study Report. This was a tremendous, but extremely important undertaking which will give a voice to Modernism in Boston and beyond. Now the Boston Landmarks Commission will consider the petition for the  potential designation of the Christian Science Center Complex as a Boston Landmark on January 25, 2011. Let’s hope that this petition is approved!

Christian Science Complex, Nicholas Nixon, 1957. Source: Columbia College of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography

Looking forward to a year filled with many preservation successes and fewer losses!

31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston: #31 Grand Finale – with a Plea to Mayor Menino

I was inspired to highlight 31 buildings in Boston in 31 days after the architecture blog A Daily Dose of Architecture . Not only was I going to highlight 31 buildings, but 31 of Bostonian’s favorite buildings. This is the series.

Grand Finale – These two buildings were written in by people who visited my blog during the open poll. Because people feel an emotional connection with these buildings, it is only natural that I include them in the 31 in 31 of your Favorite Buildings in Boston Series.

About these two buildings: 

Ferdinand Building, Dudley Square, Roxbury, MA 02119

I’ve blogged about this building in Dudley Square before, and if you like you can read my post here.  The Ferdinand Building obviously means the world to the people of Roxbury and it is no surprise to see it in this list. Anyone who has taken a bus out of or into Dudley Square, has witnessed the sad state of decay that this sector of Roxbury has been going through. The last time I blogged about the state of decay in Downtown Crossing, I managed to upset some people, and to this day, that post is one of the most viewed on The Evolving Critic.

Mayor Menino, can we do something about the Ferdinand Building and Dudley Square in general? Can we revitalize the area and inject capital the same way you’re planning on doing with Downtown Crossing? Broken promises, always lead to broken dreams and I do hope that if you plan on getting re-elected, look back to your “Moving Boston Forward” slogan and reconsider the degree to which you have applied it, in particular to many of Boston’s decaying neighborhoods.

Stuff Magazine featured the Ferdinand Building on the cover of their “One Night in Boston” edition. You think that would have been enough to get the ball rolling with Dudley Square?

Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

Guy Lowell, 1907-1909, Additions: Hugh Stubbins and Associates, 1966-1970; The Architects Collaborative, 1976; I.M Pei, 1981, Foster & Partners with Childs Bertman Tseckares, 2008; Tenshin-En Japanese Garden: Kinsaku Nakane with Halvorson Design Group Partnership, 1988.

I think it’s safe to assume that people are referring to the main building of the Museum of Fine Arts, since I doubt that the Art of the Americas wing opening in a few weeks has already carved out a space among the most favorite or beloved buildings in Boston. I love the Museum of Fine Arts and do visit as much as I can, I’m excited for this new wing which promises to transform the way American art has been looked at for centuries.

Photo: Museum of Fine Arts