Actor Bronson Pinchot Advises On Roxbury Historic Renovation

Actor Bronson Pinchot Advises On Roxbury Historic Renovation

Student of Greek Revival Style Tours Kittredge House and Examines Exterior Detail

 

ROXBURY, November 25, 2013 – TV and Broadway actor Bronson Pinchot, who is also a specialist in the rich history of Greek Revival style buildings in America, today toured one of the few remaining examples of the elegant architectural style in Boston, the Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury, which is being saved and renovated by Historic Boston Inc. and will be turned into residences.

Pinchot, who owns Greek Revival homes in the South and in Pennsylvania and who for more than a decade has collected historic parts, examined an Ionic capital, or carved wooden top, from one of the handsome columns being restored to Kittredge House.

Pinchot examined the layers of paint and noted that a caramel or maple color was the original paint used on the house, as it was in many others of the style, which was popular in the first half of the 19th century.

“Mark Twain said in the Gilded Age that, for people of middle age in the 1880s, they look back on the America of the 1840s as, ‘America was the land of, maple-sugar-candy-colored Parthenons.’ Which it was — only nobody knows that till they get out their scraping tools.”

Pinchot discussed the various colors that Kittredge House has shown since the first part of it was constructed, in 1836, with Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director of Historic Boston Inc., which is overseeing a $3.9 million renovation scheduled for completion next summer.

“That’s something for us to think about,” Kottaridis told Historic Boston’s Lisa Lewis, who is the Project Director. Kottaridis said the 54-year-old nonprofit organization — which is responsible for saving and finding new uses for many of Boston’s historic gems — will consider painting the building in its original historic color, rather than the white that it has worn for years, like many other of the nation’s Greek Revival buildings.

Pinchot, who lives in Pennsylvania, examined the capitals with tools borrowed from Bill Raymer of Restoration Resources of Boston, who looked on. The two toured Kittredge House, which is being rebuilt from the foundation up by Metric Construction.

Pinchot will take one of the capitals back home with him, where he will put it on display along with other artifacts from similar buildings. The Kittredge House capitals have deteriorated so much with age and weather that they cannot be remounted. Instead, moldings will be taken of them, and new, identical-looking capitals will be cast out of durable material for the finished building.

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WHAT: Bronson Pinchot, actor and passionate fan and specialist in the history and restoration of America’s Greek Revival style buildings (“Bronson Pinchot Saves America” on DIY Network), will tour Kittredge House, a 19th-century mansion in Roxbury’s Highland Parks neighborhood being restored and transformed into apartments by nonprofit Historic Boston Inc. Mr. Pinchot will examine the original wooden capitals, atop Greek Revival columns, being replaced at the restoration project for possible inclusion in one of his future television segments.

WHERE: The Alvah Kittredge House, 10 Linwood St., Roxbury, MA 02119.

WHEN: 10 a.m. today, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013.

WHO: Actor Bronson Pinchot has starred in film (“True Romance,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “After Hours”), on TV (“Perfect Strangers” on ABC, “The Young and the Restless” on CBS, “The Branson Pinchot Project” on DIY), and Broadway (“Putting It Together,” “Sly Fox”). He has gathered intricate knowledgeable of Greek Revival style buildings, which were popular in America in the first half of the 19th century in America. Joining Mr. Pinchot at the Kittredge House are Historic Boston Inc. Executive Director Kathy Kottaridis, Kittredge House Project Manager Lisa Lewis, Bill Raymer of Restoration Resources of Boston, and Kittredge House construction and restoration crews.

BACKGROUND: “Groundbreaking” took place in June 2013 on the renovation and restoration of the very distressed Kittredge House, in Roxbury Highlands, one of the neighborhood’s oldest structures, built in 1836. By next July, it will be transformed into affordable and market-rate apartments.

The imposing Greek Revival style columns are being repaired or replaced. Unusual “ionic” carved wooden column “capitals” are beyond repair, and identical replacements will be molded from casts of the originals. Mr. Pinchot, who owns and is restoring several Greek Revival homes in the South and in Pennsylvania, will examine the original capitals and discuss the eras indicated by condition and layers of paint. A collector of exemplary Greek Revival buildings and materials for 13 years, Mr. Pinchot will upon completion of the Kittredge project acquire and display the originals with his extensive collection of historic décor.

The Alvah Kittredge House is a $3.9 million project. The building was abandoned for more than 20 years, which led to structural and surface issues. Kittredge House was taken by eminent domain by the Boston Redevelopment Authority because of its deteriorating condition.

It will include two units of affordable housing as rental units for first five years and then for ownership thereafter, among five units that are being constructed. Funding of $200,000 from the BRA helped close the funding and is tied to the two affordable units.

Once a grand estate symbolic of Roxbury and Boston’s growth following the America Revolution, Kittredge House was built by furniture maker Alvah Kittredge in 1836. It is a rare surviving example of this period and architecture in Boston. Kittredge House was built on the site of a fort used in the Revolutionary War.

At the beginning of the 20th century it was moved to another part of the two-acre property, now facing a different direction, across from Alvah Kittredge Park. In the 1970s, Kittredge House was home of the Roxbury Action Program, a social services group.

The building was targeted by Historic Boston Inc. for restoration and reuse for much-needed housing in the neighborhood after it fell into disuse. It requires extensive structural repairs as well as detailed restoration of its finish work.

Historic Boston Inc. still needs to raise several hundred thousand dollars to complete the Kittredge project. There was a funding gap of about $1 million, but that has been reduced through the Trilogy Fund, a $1 million campaign to help fund the Hayden Building in Chinatown, the Vertullo Building in Hyde Park, and Kittredge House.

Metric Construction, under the leadership of CEO Geoff Caraboolad, has generously donated funding and services to reach a cost-effective construction project at the Kittredge House.

ABOUT HISTORIC BOSTON INC.
Historic Boston Incorporated is a nonprofit preservation and real estate organization that rehabilitates historic and culturally significant properties in Boston’s neighborhoods so they are a useable part of the city’s present and future. HBI works with local partners to identify and invest in historic buildings and cultural resources whose re-use will catalyze neighborhood renewal. HBI acquires and redevelops historic structures and provides technical expertise, planning services and financing for rehabilitation projects. HBI projects demonstrate that preserving historic properties is economically viable and that they can be useable and functioning assets in a community. For more information, please see www.historicboston.org.

For more information, please contact:
Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director of Historic Boston, Inc., 617.442.1859, kathy@historicboston.org
Or
Tom Palmer, Tom Palmer Communication, 617.755.7250, tompalmer@rcn.com

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