24 May Old Corner Marker, Long Forgotten, Retrieved from BPDA
Historic Boston recently retrieved a bronze plaque that once marked the site of Anne Hutchinson’s 17thcentury house on the 1718 Old Corner Bookstore.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) recently announced that it had discovered the City-owned plaque in the collection of The Bostonian Society and wished to give it to Historic Boston as owner of the historic building at 3 School Street. The marker dates to 1930 and was commissioned and installed by the City of Boston. It commemorates the site that was once the home to religious dissenter Anne Hutchinson before she was exiled to the colony of Rhode Island. That frame house was burned in the Great Fire of 1711 that destroyed more than 200 buildings between School Street and Dock Square (today’s City Hall). The building that became the Old Corner Bookstore was built in 1718 by apothecary Thomas Crease as his home and business.
The marker was probably removed in or around 1960 when Historic Boston purchased the building and implemented a program of restoration. There were close ties between the founders of HBI and The Bostonian Society, and the construction of the next door Pi-Alley Garage, which was supposed to also replace the Old Corner in 1960, was an Urban Renewal project that would have involved the Boston Planning and Development Agency (then Boston Redevelopment Agency).
The marker’s discovery happens in a year when HBI is celebrating the 300thanniversary of the Old Corner Bookstore’s construction. While there are no plans for its re-installation, HBI is evaluating opportunities for permanent placement inside the historic building.