A First for Asian American History in Massachusetts

A First for Asian American History in Massachusetts

Boston’s Old Quincy School Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The former Quincy Grammar School at 90 Tyler Street in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first such listing in Massachusetts associated with Asian American history.

Built in 1847 and designed by Gridley J. F. Bryant – also the architect of Boston’s Old City Hall — the Quincy School was an early example of the application of new German education methods to school and classroom design.   It was the first grammar school in the US to have classrooms delineated by grade, and was the first to give students their own desks.

Many long time Chinatown residents have fond memories of attending the Quincy School in the early 20th century.  After construction of the new Quincy School, the historic school building was purchased by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in 1983 and has since been home to cultural programs and non-profit organizations supportive of Boston’s Asian American community. Along with the National Register nomination for this building, a statement of historical context was developed that places the Quincy School in the context of Boston’s Chinatown and the 150-year history of Chinese and Asian Americans’ history in this neighborhood.

“By designating the old Quincy School as a historic site, we hope to honor our ancestors and work with community leaders for future generations to know about the Chinese community in Boston,” said Susan Chinsen, managing director of the Chinese Historical Society of New England, in a statement to the Sampan newspaper.

The effort has been a partnership of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Chinese Historical Society of New England, and the Owners, the CCBA, with funding from the Underrepresented Communities Grant from the National Park Service.  After a public comment period, MHC voted to accept the nomination in June.  Fulling listing on the National Register of Historic Places is expected by the National Parks Service this month.

To read the National Register nomination and the historic context statement, visit www.chsne.org/nr.