URBAN RENEWED ROXBURY 1950 –2005
1987, May 4. Opening of Ruggles MBTA station opened. Stull & Lee architects. Charles Perez staff architect. $17.5 m station. Construction contract awarded Sept. 19, 1984. Removal of steel plate Ruggles sty bridge and granite viaduct walls begun in winter of 1979/1980. Barrel vault pedestrian concourse flanked by flat roof that spans commuter rail and bays for 8 connecting bus routes. June 1991 “Geom A Try” 27-foot long ceramic tile mural installed. Paul Goodnight, Elaine Sayoko Yoneska, Emmanuel Genovese and Stephanie Jackson artists.
1989, March –July. Demolition of Dudley Square elevated rail platforms and station. Canopy headhouse and signal tower preserved and moved to Guild Street yard.
1991 May 10. Groundbreaking for new station. Headhouse moved back to station area in August 1991 for reconstruction.
1992. Nov20, New Dudley Station opened. Domenich Hicks & Krockmalnic architects. reusing original 1901 canopy and adding covered bus-waiting platforms in the same style. Old signal tower reused as offices and all completed in May 1993. $9.2 million.
1969, Feb 5. Roxbury Cinema opened 270 Warren Street. Built from Glick’s Furniture store owned by Leon Glick. Burned out during riots in wake of assassination of ML King April 4-5 1968. Permit to renovate as a movie theater August 9, 1968. $75,000. Theater closed in June 1971. Built as a movie theater in 1926. Blackall Clapp & Whitemore architects.
2008, April 12. Charles J Beard Media Center opens. Boston Neighborhood Network News. Converted from 1909 MBTA power station. Scott Payette architect. Urban Edge developer. 3025 Washington Street, Egleston Square.
1970, April 16, $1 million expansion of Washington Park announced as a joint venture between the BRA (which paid for acquisition and site clearance) and Boston Parks Dept. for basketball courts, children’s playground, tennis court and baseball diamonds. Fay Spofford & Thorndike architects; Jerry Spencer landscape architect. Replaced 40 houses on Bainbridge and Kingsbury Streets ( taken up for MLK Blvd) also removed.
1971. Feb. Plans approved for the John A Shelburne recreation center 2730 Washington Street. William Nelson Jacobs architect. John Shelburne (b 1894) was the youth director at the Robert Gould Shaw House.
1965, May 16. Dedication by Mayor John Collins of Roxbury YMCA, 410 Warren Street. Architects Collaborative architects. $307,000. Gymnasium added and completed Jan 18, 1972. Architects Collaborative. Warren St building enlarged with $5 million new entrance; dedicated June 23, 2001. Primary Group architects.
1966.Nov. Groundbreaking for new Roxbury Boys & Girls Club. 115 Warren Street. First building built in the new Roxbury Civic Center where original Cliff Street met Warren St. Completed in 1968. The Architects Collaborative Architects. The Architectural Team designed an addition completed in 2006.
1970. Dec 11. Grove Hall branch library dedicated. 5 Crawford St. Peter McLaughlin architect. Built on parcel I -79 Washington Park Urban renewal plan.
In March 1973 an 11-foot tall concrete sculpture was placed on a pedestal facing Warren St side of the library. Created by the sculptor Fern Cunningham, it depicted a mother holding her child that she named “Save the Children” after the Marvin Gaye song. A BU graduate, she worked on it for 18 months while teaching sculpture at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts. Vandals destroyed the sculpture in 1974.
The Crawford street building was closed in 2009 and a new library at 27- 35 Geneva Avenue was dedicated April 4. 2009. Schwartz Silver architects. Robert Silver principal architect. Built as an addition to the Jeremiah Burke high school.
1978. April 3. Dudley Square branch library opened. 65 Warren. St. Kallman ,McKinnell and Wood architects. Included an auditorium and classrooms.
1969, September 4. William Monroe Trotter School opened. 135 Humboldt Avenue. Drummey Rosanne & Atwood architects. Adjacent playground was designed by Fay Spofford & Thorndike and built between 1973-1975. (Redesigned and rebuilt in 2005) Original mural painted on the auditorium plaza wall by Gary Rickson in 1971 (replaced by new mural 2004).
The playground was built on site of the Humboldt Theater 153 Humboldt Ave. Freedom House occupied upper story office space before it moved to Crawford St.
1968. April 17. Mishkan Tefila synagogue –216 Seaver St - and Hebrew School –122 Elm Hill Avenue - sold to the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts by Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Used since 1958 as the New England Hebrew Academy. The $200,000 purchase price was raised by private donations. Holy Ark and other religious items were removed on July 1, 1968. Former Hebrew School was converted into offices, library, art classrooms and studios and the auditorium was used for dance and concerts.
1969, Jan 16. $9 million federal grant received for 129-acre Campus High School Urban Renewal Area. School Committee voted to acquire land in 1966. Ernest Barry. Washington Park U/R project manager named CHS U/R project manager.
1971, June/ Model of proposed campus high school designed by Marcel Breuer displayed at a City Council hearing. Opened on Sept 1977. Originally named Madison Park High School, it was renamed after the late black school committee chair John D. O’Bryant in 1993. The school was built on New Dudley street completed in 1973, a 60 foot wide thoroughfare that followed the line of original Linden Park Street.
1971 – Crispus Attucks Children’s Center opened.105 Crawford St. $2 million building originally built as a multi purpose ecumenical community center designed by Goody Clancy Associates. Developed by the United Church of Christ. Constructed on the site of Beth Hamidrash Hagodol synagogue. In September 1967 the St Marks Social Center for Negro Boys & Girls ( formed in 1941) merged with the Ecumenical Center of the United Church of Christ that had recently opened at in a house at 25 Crawford St.
1980. Hubert H Humphrey Occupational Resource Center opened. 55 New Dudley Street. Shepley Bullfinch Richardson & Abbott architect. 365,00 sf building $31 million. (SBRA is a direct descendent of the HH Richardson architectural firm)
1985. August 27. Groundbreaking for Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Avenue. Four building campus. .Stull & Lee architects. Built on the site of the Roessle and Norfolk breweries razed for I 95 ca 1968.
2001. June 8. Groundbreaking for $30 million Orchard Gardens School. Albany St and Melnea Cass Blvd. Todd Lee and Carol Marsh architects of Todd-Lee- Clark &Rojas architects with Stull & Lee architects. Opened on Aug 22, 2003. Replaced 3 apartment buildings and administration building of 1942 Orchard Park public housing.
1969, May 30. St Marks Congregational Church dedicated 216 Townsend Street. Henry Boles architect of Associated Architects & Engineers. For decades the center of the black middle class of Roxbury, it opened in 1929 in a former Quaker meetinghouse on Townsend St and Hazelwood St built in 1889. Both the church and adjacent social center (built in 1941) were taken and razed for the widening of Townsend St and a new church was planned in 1968 located to face Humboldt Avenue at the corner of Elbert St.
1997. Sept. United House of Prayer bought the two buildings of the Elma Lewis School. 218 Seaver street and 122 Elm Hill Avenue The completely gutted and vandalized former synagogue was rebuilt –including a new roof and interior auditorium - and renovated as a church. David Perry architects. Rededicated on April 7.2001.
The adjacent fire damaged Hebrew school was restored originally for church classrooms. Later changed to 18 apartments in 2008. Preservation and restoration by David Perry. Apartment design by Susan Reatig architects.
2002 Nov 7 Groundbreaking for Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, New Dudley Street at Columbus Avenue. Steffian Bradley architects. Don Deng, principal architect in charge. $ 14 million. 1.5-acre site designated by the BRA in April 1989. Dedicated June 26, 2009.
1952, October. Urban renewal division of the Boston Housing Authority recommended the first Roxbury slum clearance program under Title I of the Omnibus Housing Act of 1949.The area included Guild Row, Dudley St, Hampden St and Ruggles St/ (RoxburyCitizen Oct 2, 1952).
1958 – City Planning Board approved a pilot urban renewal program for a 186-acre tract between Dudley St, Townsend St Warren and Washington St. Lloyd Sinclair appointed project manager.
1959,April. 1000 residents attend two public hearing s held at Roxbury memorial high School and unanimously approved the plan written by Lloyd Sinclair. Approved by the Federal housing Administration on Dec 15, 1960.
1961,Feb, Otto and Muriel Snowden invited BRA Director Edward Logue to the dedication ceremony of the new Freedom House building at 14 Crawford St.
1961, April. Freedom House was awarded a contract with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to organize the community for urban renewal in Washington Park. Citizens for Urban Renewal (CURE) formed.
1961, Fall In response to the Freedom House request, the boundaries of the urban renewal district extended to Seaver Street to include the Elm Hill district. Total acres now 500.
1962, June 25. 1100 residents attended the BRA hearing on Washington park renewal Plan and unanimously supported it. Mayor John Collins forwarded the application to the US Housing and Home Finance Agency.
1963, Jan 14, 1200 residents cheer BRA Director Logue at a public hearing at Roxbury Memorial High School when he predicted that Washington Park would be a “showplace neighborhood”. The HHFA approved the plan in April 1963. The BRA set up its first site office in the rabbi’s chambers at Beth Hamidrash Hagodol at 105 Crawford Street with a staff of 82.
1971, Oct 26, Roxbury District Court opened. 85 Warren Street. Kallman McKinnell & Wood architects Enlarged in 1994. Original 1902 courthouse razed for New Dudley Street. On Dec 10, 1989 the sculpture “The Judge” was dedicated at the Warren St entrance. Created by the late Vusumuzi Madona, it was slightly relocated after a new court entrance was built five years later,
1991, Dec 13. New Roxbury Post office opened Stull & Lee with Primary group architects. $6.5 million facility.
1997 Dec 13, Boston Police Headquarters, 1199 Tremont Street. Stull & Lee with Primary Group architects. Don Stull principal architect in charge. Built on 3.2 acre parcel 22 originally cleared for I 95. Land sold to the city for $1 by the MBTA.
2001. Feb. Boston Water & Sewer Hq. And garage completed. 980 Harrison Avenue. Domenich Hicks & Krockmalnic architects with BCS architects. Addition to, conversion and enlargement of the 1965 Stride Rite Shoe factory.
1963. May 10. Groundbreaking for Academy Homes I 1596 Columbus Avenue and Academy Road. Washington Park Urban Renewal. 202 mid priced apartments built in 11 3-story clusters on a 7.4 acre lot. Completed in late 1965. Carl Koch Associates architects. For Academy I Koch invented a process of pre stressed and precast plank and wall parts that were delivered in measured parts hoisted and notched in place with wood frame interior walls. Completely rehabilitated and renovated by new owner Urban Edge in 2000.
1967. Completion and renting of Academy Homes II, Washington Street, Codman Park + Dimock St. 315 low to mid income apartments. Washington Park Urban Renewal. 18 apartments on Washington and Dimock Streets in 3, 3 story clusters. Washington St and Codman Park series of clusters from 3 to 9 stories. All built in the precast plank and wall process. Carl Koch architects. All razed and replaced from 2001 – 2004 with 3 story woodframe clusters with 216 apartments by Mass Housing. Chia Ming Sze and Elton Associates architects.
1964, September. Marksdale Gardens phase I completed. 41 duplexes in 13 clusters on Crestwood Park. First housing in Washington Park Urban renewal district completed and the first of three faith based housing developments built. St Marks church developed 82 town homes built in clusters on 3,5 acres between Harold Humboldt and Townsend and Hazelwood Streets. Associated Architects and Engineers Henry C Boles architect.
1968, May 2 Groundbreaking for St Joseph’s Cooperative Housing Washington St, Circuit St Dale and Regent St. 137 attached cluster homes built over 5 acres around St Josephs Church (razed in 2003). Paul G. Feloney, architect. One of the oldest cooperative housing developments in the country, it was the last housing completed in Washington Park Urban Renewal in 1971. Developed by the Archdiocese of Boston Planning and Development Office designated by the BRA in 1965. Of the new streets built two were named for Catholic leaders- Bishop Benedict Fenwick 2nd Archbishop of Boston and Rev Patrick O’Beirne founding pastor of St Josephs Church.
The Archdiocese played a major role in the urban renewal era of Boston- Msgr /Francis J Lally was appointed to the first board of directors of the BRA in 1957 and later as its chair was involved in the planning of Washington Park Urban Renewal.
- Lower Roxbury Development Corporation designated to develop 40 units of housing for low and moderate-income residents on 15 acres of Campus High School urban renewal site. Vincent Haynes director (died July 2003. Globe July 9, 2003) Preliminary planning grant of $200,000 provided by Joseph Tuckerman Foundation. Planning architects John Sharratt and Samuel Glaser. (The Tuckerman Foundation developed Mandella Apartments, South End urban renewal – 1855 Washington St+150 160 Northampton St. in 1972). The LRDC led by Vincent Haynes, who was born and raised in the Madison Park neighborhood, demanded replacement homes for the 385 families displaced by land clearance for the schools.
They did not want a repeat of the West End.
See: Bay State Banner- Feb 12, 1970 p 16)
June 11, 1970 p 8
July 23. 1970
June 3, 1971.
The offices of LRDC was in the Salvation Army building at 85 Vernon St (originally the House of the Angel Guardian orphanage )
1973- 2000 Madison Park Village built by LRDC.
Behind the two schools built in Campus High U/R was a large athletic field that backed up against Ruggles St. LRDC was designated to develop four tracts between Ruggles –Shawmut and what would become Melnea Cass Blvd. (originally Sterling Street). And Vernon Street (which was discontinued at Shawmut Ave.) Five new residential streets were built; one of which was named Brooke -Marshall (in honor of Senator Edward Brooke and Justice Thurgood Marshall) that followed the lines of original Warwick Street. Madison Square faced Sterling Street and Sojourner Truth commons on Dewitt Drive is on the site today. Williams Street originally ended at Madison Square.
.1973. August. Smith House 757 Shawmut Ave at Ruggles St completed. First phase of the LRDC housing. 12 story senior housing for 132 residents. John Sharratt architect.
1974, Oct.7. Haynes House completed. 7 story 343-foot long apartment house for 131 residents. John Sharratt architect. Second phase.
1976. Aug 30. Building permits filed for 120 residential town houses adjacent to St Francis de Sales Church at Ruggles St, and new roads Raynor Circle and Brooke- Marshall Rd. John Sharatt with Samuel Glaser and de Castro Vitols architects. Phase II and the first of the residential sections built.
1981. Dec 8. Building permits filed for 15 attached cluster row houses on 12 acres. . 143 families. John Sharratt architect. Included two new streets: Kerr Way and DeWitt Drive. Kerr way was approximately on the line of the original Warwick St that extended from Hammond to Ruggles but was all but obliterated. This was Sharratt’s last development for LRDC. A pioneer in post war low-income housing, Sharratt concurrently designed Villa Victoria between 1974 and 1982; he paved the way for Fernando Domenich and Chia Ming Sze who took over as practitioners of affordable housing the 1980’s.
1996, Dec 19, Building permits filed for Beryl Gardens- 20 3 b/r limited equity cop homes built behind the new post office on what was once Vernon Street. Stull & Lee architects. DeWitt drive was extended to these homes and a short perpendicular street added named Estabrook. Developed by Madison Park CDC the successor to LRDC.
2000 Sept 9. Ribbon cutting for Shawmut Estates 758- 782 Shawmut Avenue at the corner of Ruggles St opposite Smith House. 15 row houses. Domenich Hicks and Krockmalnic, architects. Part of a joint venture of MPCDC and Northeastern University linked with the development of Davenport Commons on Columbus Avenue at Benton and Davenport Streets. 2003. Dec. Groundbreaking for Washington Commons. 49 mixed income town houses on Melina Cass Blvd and Elmore Street. China Ming Sze architect. Built on the largest undeveloped urban renewal parcels F 3a F 3b and S 12 originally designated to Eliot Congregational Church in 1971 for low-income homes. Thirty years later the BRA re advertised it for development. The $13 million project was completed in Dec 2006.
2004. September. Uva Douglas Estates completed. 100- 104 Homestead St., 210 224 Humboldt Ave and 123- 131 Ruthven St. 16 attached row house condominiums. Buck Smith and McAvoy architects. Built by Mass Housing and Franklin Park Development Tenants. Begun in August 2001. It was completely destroyed by an arsonist’s fire on Nov 3, 20002 that killed 79 y/o Uva Douglas when her adjacent home at 133 Ruthven St was also destroyed. Reconstruction began on May 30, 2003 and the development was renamed in memory of Ms Douglas.
2005 Jan 13. Dartmouth Hotel restoration and renovations ribbon cutting. 140- 146 Dudley street. Developed by Nuestra Communidad. $20 million project included a new 4 story rear addition at 35- 39 Warren Street. 45 apartments total and ground floor retail.. New wing built for 14 one bedroom and 6 artists studios. Restoration and new wing designed by Icon architects. Completed in Nov 2005. Acquired by Nuestra Communidad in 2001. Upper floors of old hotel vacant since early 1970’s
1967. August 17. Washington Park Mall completed . First three stores opened Sept 29, 1967. Warren St and MLK Blvd. Seventeen stores under one roof in a 400 X 230 building designed by Henry C Boles of Associated Architects and Engineers. $15 million suburban –style hopping center developed by the Roxbury supermarket Blairs Family Foodland. Originally planned in 1963 as a joint venture of Purity Supreme Supermarkets and Cambridge Seven Architects.
2001. Dec 14. Grove Hall’s Mecca shopping mall opened. 360- 466 Blue Hill Avenue. The $20 million, 5.5 acre mall was developed by NDC of Grove Hall. Architects were Stull and Lee urban design; Arrowstreet and Chisholm Washington designed the three buildings – a string of Blue Hill Avenue storefronts, a CVS and Stop & Shop. Built on site of the Grove Hall Street Railway later the Boston Elevated Railway waiting room, carbarns and train storage tracks.