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This blog is a place for dialogue on issues and actions relating to Boston's unique built environment and the preservation and continuing evolution of historic resources within it. My goal, as the Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, is to post timely, relevant and thought-provoking intelligence, ideas, and insights that will engage conversations, inform our actions, and broaden perspectives on preservation.

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Greg Galer, Executive Director, Boston Preservation Alliance

GREG GALER
Executive Director

AllianceViews Blog

Preservation Achievement Award Winner: The Verb Hotel

Preservation Achievement Award Winner: The Verb Hotel

October 3rd, 2016  |  Posted by: Greg Galer

In anticipation of our 28th annual Preservation Achievement Awards ceremony on October 24, we are profiling each of the eleven winning projects over the next several weeks. Follow this series to get a special look at projects that honor and update the character of Boston.


Situated just a block from Fenway Park in the heart of old Kenmore’s once vibrant car and music scenes, The Verb Hotel pays homage to not only mid-century design, but to 1950s-1960s Americana. The Verb Hotel is a tribute to the Fenway experience of decades past, when gas stations, car dealerships, music venues, radio stations and music magazines were the lifeblood of neighborhood’s energy, particularly on non-game days.

The Verb Hotel before restoration. Photo credit: Mike Diskin.

The Verb before restoration. Photo credit: Mike Diskin.

The Verb marks the rebirth of the former Fenway Motor Hotel originally designed by Irving Salsberg and Ralph Leblanc. Built in 1959, the motel was among the first in the city after World War II, and abutted not only Fenway Park, but Boston’s famed alternative rock station, WBCN. Eventually the original developer sold the building to Howard Johnsons, an emerging power in the motel business. As the popularity of motels declined, the site’s owner sold it in 2013 to Samuels and Associates. In partnership with Weiner Ventures and Spot-On Ventures, the firm hired Elkus Manfredi Architects to lead the restoration, interior design, and architecture of the new hotel. Elkus Manfredi elected to keep the building’s footprint and height, and retained and restored exposed brick original to the 1959 interior, school-house style blue brick, and the unique, irregular Mondrian-like pattern of solid color stained glass on the building’s façade.

The Verb’s decor includes archival records, Boston Phoenix covers and other ephemera curated by rock and roll memorabilia and former Phoenix Director of Special Projects David Bieber. Bieber, who started working WBCN in 1978, collected show posters, set lists, photographs, magazine articles surrounding Boston bands and shows for almost thirty years. Part of his archive is now housed at Northeastern University, while part of it rotates through The Verb. Beiber’s posters, magazines, and photographs, are alongside pieces such as a Modernica saucer light pendant and cigar table lamp, designed by George Nelson in 1947.

The Verb after restoration. Photo credit: Adrian Wilson.

The Verb after restoration. Photo credit: Adrian Wilson.

“I could tell right away that this was meant to be a celebration that came out of the community, and an opportunity to talk about Landsdowne Street, Allston and Central Square,” says Bieber about bringing his collection into The Verb. “I was always the intermediary, taking possession of posters and things before they went to the dumpster.”

This funky, boutique hotel, gushing with mid-century styling, a generous smattering of whimsy, and unsurpassed local music-scene memorabilia has been a huge hit. It demonstrates that unique historic character, even when it isn’t all that old, can be a winner.

The Verb lobby. Photo credit: Adrian Wilson.

The Verb lobby. Photo credit: Adrian Wilson.


Do you think The Verb is the best of the best? Then vote for it for this year’s Fan Favorite! Vote once per day until October 24. Join us that evening at the Paramount Theater to find out if your favorite won, and to celebrate the preservation of Boston’s vibrant built environment. Tickets on sale now!

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