September 1, 2023 Shirley Eustis Association purchases building connected to the estate’s history of enslavement
The Boston Globe released an exciting story today on the Shirley Eustis House Association’s (SEHA) acquisition of 42-44 Shirley Street, a building associated with the enslavement of the people who served colonial Governor William Shirley and his family in the 18th century. Encased within the 19th century two-family house on Shirley Street is the structure of the estate’s 18th century carriage barn where enslaved men are believed to have lived and worked.
Historic Boston Inc. has worked closely with SEHA over the last six months, assisting with its negotiations for the purchase of the historic structure from Michael Bavis, a developer who had purchased it in 2019 with the hope of replacing it with new housing.
The acquisition expands the Association’s museum and will help SEHA tell the larger story of colonial Massachusetts and the often overlooked role of enslaved men and women in the living circumstances of white Bostonians, and the economic growth of the colony.
The City of Boston provided great leadership on the path toward the purchase of 42-44 Shirley Street, first designating it a Boston Landmark along with the Shirley Eustis House in 2021, and then presenting the Association with a major grant toward the purchase.
The Shirley Eustis House Association needs to raise $450,000 immediately toward the acquisition price. You can contribute by visiting the Association’s website. They will also be designing a plan and major fundraising campaign for the property’s restoration and re-use for historic interpretation and community space in the coming months.
Congratulations to the Shirley Eustis House Association and everyone who worked toward the preservation of this important place and the stories it will tell.