HBI Finds a Photo of Alvah Kittredge

Alvah Kittredge is something of an enigma to local historians.  He was clearly enormously wealthy and a very prominent figure in local politics, but we don’t know much about him.  Historic Boston Inc., which is taking on the job of restoring what’s left of his mansion, has been diligently researching him in an effort to learn more about the man whose house they’re rebuilding.

It appears their efforts have paid off with quite the jackpot.  Kittredge, who helped found the Eliot Congregational Church on Walnut Street, has unearthed two photographs of Kittredge taken before his death in 1876.  Read more about their lucky find and Kittredge’s work establishing the church over at the HBI Blog.

Breaking out the hammers at the Kittredge House

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing Mayor Menino and a variety of other luminaries at the groundbreaking of the restoration of the Alvah Kittredge House.  After many years of neglect, this Greek Revival gem will finally be brought back to its former glory.

The important details are that hammers will start swinging soon after literally decades of planning, behind-the-scenes negotiations, and fundraising by members of Historic Boston, Inc.  Kathy Kottaridis of HBI had the honor of passing out the ceremonial hammers, used instead of shovels when HBI launches a new project to symbolize the renovation that will take place.  They have an ambitious timeline of work, with plans to have the work complete by this spring and have tenants for the 5 low-income rental units shortly after that.

Here are a few pictures from the event.  Congratulations to Kathy and the whole HBI team!  I can’t wait to see how the project develops.

Patriot’s Day in Fort Hill

I’ve been absent from the blog for quite some time while I work on Bartlett Events.  But fear not, we’re working to incorporate a visual history of the Bartlett Yard site into our programming in collaboration with the Roxbury Historical Society.

Meanwhile, it’s almost Patriot’s Day.  And while most Bostonians think of Patriot’s Day as Marathon Monday, some of us still remember that it is a celebration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

Every year, we commemorate Patriot’s Day in Roxbury at a number of locations including our own First Church, where William Dawes left on his ride to warn the Patriots of the impending attack.  Don’t miss it!  The event at the Church starts promptly at 9 AM.

Edit:  Link to Flier with full details

Our neighbor Allen Bush was lucky enough to get a look inside the standpipe this morning.  The tower will be getting some much-needed maintenance over the coming months, courtesy of Boston Parks, followed by a facelift to the park itself!  

The work on the Tower will include interior and exterior masonry and granite restoration; preparation and 100% exterior recoating of the Tower; window repair; glass and glazing replacement; preparation and painting of existing interior cast iron metal spiral stairs and large metal tank; and related repairs to the metal tank; and metal roof preparation and coating. Over the month of March, work undertaken by the hired Contractor, Chapman Waterproofing, will be focused on the interior of the Tower. Moving into the warmer months, you and your neighbors will see scaffolding go up to work on the exterior improvements. There will be no great visible change to the Tower only that it will be better suited/protected from the elements (rain/snow/etc.) The goal is to have this work completed by early summer.

The City of Boston Archives posted this photo on their photo page today.  I’m guessing that this is sometime in the 1940s, and that some of the folks in this picture were included in the 1940 census.  As some neighbors immediately noted, there used to be a thriving business district in Eliot Square and Fort Hill in general.  Here’s hoping we see that return in some fashion in the near future!

Announcing Bartlett Events!

Readers may have noticed that I have been posting less frequently about Fort Hill History.  It’s not that I’ve run out of interesting topics…quite the opposite, I have a long list of local history to write about.  

What’s been keeping me busy is the new project I am working on at the base of Fort Hill on the old Bartlett Yard bus site.  Since October, I’ve been working with Alliger Arts and the site owners to bring events, art, and community gatherings to the now-vacant space over this spring and summer.  We’re finally ready to announce our plans to the world!


This spring, summer, and fall, we hope you will join us on the site for Bartlett Events, a celebration of the community that will happen (almost) every weekend day!  We aim to fill the site with massive outdoor art, events, and community activities for all to enjoy every weekend day.  

You can get involved in a number of ways.  If you have pictures of the neighborhood that you are willing to share, we would like to blow them up and post them on the site.  If you are an artist, we want your local art!  If you make music, make it at Bartlett!  If you are a business, we want to involve you!  If you like to play games, have fun, meet your neighbors, or just be outside in an interesting new space, we hope you will join us!

Web:  http://www.bartlettevents.org

Tumblr: www.bartlettevents.tumblr.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BartlettEvents 

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/BartlettEvents

Marcella Street Reunion Details

I’ve written about the Marcella Street Reunion in the past.  Here are the details.  If you or someone you know lived in the area in the 1940s or 50s and want to see your childhood friends, you should join.

Note that I am NOT the organizer and can’t answer your questions.  Please get in touch with Barb instead.

Marcella Park Reunion

 Date:    Friday, May 3, 2013

 Time:   7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

 Place:   Boston Lodge of Elks

            1 Morrell Street

            West Roxbury, MA 02132

 $40 per person any additional guest will is the same price– Cold buffet, DJ, dancing, cash bar

 Your response with a check will be your RSVP Please respond by March 31,2013

 Send a check or money order to:     Robert Curtis

                                                          397-1 Foundry Street

                                                          North Easton, MA 02356

Make check or money order payable to:   Robert Curtis

Please include your name and a contact telephone number, and please add “Marcella Park Reunion” to the memo section of your check or money order.

If you have any question please call Bob (home is 508-297-0106 C 757-717-2477) or Midge is C 210-250-0140