October 5, 2011 Historic Boston, Inc. Celebrates New Home In Dudley Square
Mayor Menino Cuts Ribbon at Restored Eustis Street Fire House
BOSTON, MA, October 5, 2011 – Historic Boston Inc., which invests in and redevelops historically significant buildings in City neighborhoods, today officially moved into its new home in Dudley Square, the historic Eustis Street Fire House, which was handsomely restored with the assistance of the City of Boston over the last year.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Historic Boston Executive Director Kathy Kottaridis, and others cut the ribbon on the 1859 structure, the oldest remaining fire house in the City, as hundreds of other officials, neighbors, and supporters applauded.
“The rehabilitation of this storied firehouse is an investment in the past — and the future — of the Roxbury community,” Menino said. “It serves as a great complement to the work we are doing to revitalize Dudley Square, one of our city’s most historic retail districts.”
The Eustis Street Fire House, located at 20 Eustis St. in Roxbury?s Dudley Square, now houses Historic Boston?s staff of six, as well as a first-floor tenant, the Timothy Smith network, which provides technology to youth in Roxbury.
?This project exemplifies the role historic preservation can play in neighborhood development,? said Kottaridis. ?We are so proud to be part of this comeback and prouder still to be part of the burgeoning community of Dudley Square.?
Historic Boston, Inc., founded in 1960, moved recently from the Old Corner Bookstore near Downtown Crossing, which was the first of many historic buildings that have been saved by the preservation and development organization.
?This is what real neighborhood development is,? Menino said today, in front of the building, festooned with sun-lit orange and white balloons, as a Grilled Cheese Nation food truck provided sandwiches nearby.
Rep. Byron Rushing of the 9th Suffolk district said the structure was always considered important by those in the neighborhood. ?This is a good place to do business,? he said. ?This is a good place to be.?
Department of Neighborhood Development Director Evelyn Friedman said the building is one of 15 historic properties in Dudley Square, making it the most historic square in the city.
The Fire House first housed a steam pumper pulled by firefighters of the Roxbury Fire Department. A decade after it was built, a two-story stable for horses and a ?hook and ladder? was added. Boston Engine Company 10 operated there from 1889 to 1916, disbanding in 1922. The building later housed the Spanish American War Veterans chapter and some operations of the Boston Parks Department.
The building had been vacant since the 1950s. The Eustis Street Fire House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and became part of the Boston Landmarks Commission?s Eustis Architectural Conservation District in 1982.
The structure, adjacent to the also historic Eliot Burying Ground, was propped up to keep it from falling down in recent decades, but it was saved from demolition in 1969 and stabilized for uncertain future use in 1993. The brick structure built in 1859 replaced a wooden firehouse in Roxbury before the town merged with Boston in 1868. A wooden annex, added later, was torn down in 1991, but the new restoration added a wing on the same footprint.
In partnership with the City of Boston and making use of historic tax credits, Historic Boston planned and executed the two-year, $2.5 million rehabilitation of the Italianate-style building, designed by John R. Hall, a noted architect of the day who also oversaw the 1859 restoration of the State House dome and cupola.
The city helped the project with a low-interest loan, and state and federal tax credits covered almost a $1 million of the restoration cost.
?This is a bricks-and-mortar, project-based organization,? Historic Boston Board Chairman Matt Kiefer said of the nonprofit group. ?But it?s not about the buildings ? it?s about the stories that buildings tell. It?s what the bringing buildings to life does for communities.?
The Eustis Street Fire House, though historic, will be a model of energy efficiency, having been designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Building Council. The design was done by Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. and Ira Baline. Construction was by Lee Kennedy Co., Inc.
Added along the brick entranceway only in the last few days was a two-dimensional sculpture by Boston artist John Tagiuri. It depicts a 19th-century steam fire apparatus pulled by firefighters in a day before horses were employed and housed on Eustis Street.
A restored sign over the front door, ?Torrent Six,? refers to the first Roxbury company housed there.
ABOUT HISTORIC BOSTON, INC.
Historic Boston Incorporated, founded in 1960, is a nonprofit organization that works with local partners to identify and invest in the redevelopment of historically significant buildings and cultural resources in order to catalyze neighborhood renewal. Historic Boston projects benefit from a full menu of high quality support including technical expertise, site acquisition, project financing and access to local, state and federal resources. For more, please go to www.historicboston.org.
For more information, please contact:
Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director of Historic Boston, Inc.
Tom Palmer Communication