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Doyle's Update

As an advocacy organization for historic preservation, the Alliance often advocates to save historic buildings because of their stunning architecture or articulated streetscape. But sometimes, the building in question is a vernacular brick commercial structure in a typical Boston neighborhood. So why save it? Because sometimes places like that matter. They’re meaningful gathering spaces for generations of Bostonians, where the big and the small moments in life happen. Where history is made at a local scale and memories are ingrained deep into the fabric of the building. This is the case for Doyle’s Café in Jamaica Plain, now slated for demolition and redevelopment.

The Alliance engaged early on in this project, in the fall of 2019, to make sure the stakeholders involved were aware of how meaningful Doyle’s Cafe is the to community and to guide a preservation discussion. We joined with other organizations, like the grassroots group called Save Doyle’s Café, to raise awareness about the unique history and importance of this site. Ultimately, the community and the developer talked through concerns and found a way to redevelop the site with new housing and retail opportunities as well as preservation of some of Doyle’s most meaningful aspects, like the wooden bar and a space for community events and gatherings. 

In June 2021, after careful consideration, the Alliance submitted a letter of support for the project. 

Though we join the community in feeling a sense of loss as the original Doyle’s Café structure comes down, we know that some of the best places in the city are where old and new come together. This area of Jamaica Plain is experiencing transition and it’s important that new residents are welcomed and that neighborhood needs are met, while simultaneously embracing and preserving the places and spaces that hold meaning to long-time residents. We are hopeful that the new restaurant will continue to serve the neighborhood in a similar spirit as the old Doyle’s did for over a century.

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