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Your Boston Guide to Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month which gives us a perfect excuse to show off our beloved historic city. We pulled together a list of cool things to see, do, taste, learn, or think about throughout the month of May. Thirty-one ways to honor, enjoy, and experience our city’s unique heritage at a safe distance or from the comfort of your couch.

Send us your pictures, tag us, keep us in the loop as you wind your way through our beautiful city safely in your mask. We can’t wait to see what you discover!  Think of this as our love letter to Boston. 

1. Share this list on social media. While you’re at it, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 

2. Don your mask and take a curious stroll through all nine of Boston’s Historic districts. Be sure to share your photos with #PreservationHub. This map will help you find them all.

  • Aberdeen Architectural Conservation District (in Brighton)
  • Back Bay Architectural District
  • Bay State Road / Back Bay West 
  • Bay Village
  • Beacon Hill
  • Fort Point Channel
  • Mission Hill Triangle
  • South End
  • St. Botolph 

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3. Bring the kids on an urban adventure with a Children’s Walking Tour developed by the Boston Society for Architecture. Google Street View links are provided at each location for a virtual experience. 

4. Take a moment to celebrate the genius and life of Michael McKinnell and Michael Sorkin by listening to this 99% Invisible episode. On your next daily stroll pay close attention to the smell of concrete after rain, the distance a shout carries in a city, the distance of whisper, what the planet can afford, and imagine the joy of experiencing the acoustic performance of Boston Symphony Hall once again.

5. A Tiny Activist doll is just the quarantine friend you need. The Tiny Activist Project seeks to highlight lesser known stories of people who fought to save cultural resources. Tiny I. M. Pei would make a great companion on a visit to the JFK Library, City Hall Plaza, or other Mid-century marvels. 

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Tiny I. M. Pei

6. Grab your mask and phone and take your out-of-town friend on a tour to your favorite Boston spot via Facetime, Zoom, etc. and let them know why you love Boston.

7. Tune into Tidbits of Preservation (TP). We will be adding short interviews to our Youtube channel sharing local voices in preservation. Did you know all the statues in the US Capitol building are maintained by Daedalus, a Watertown-based company?

8. Tour the virtual show the Vernacular and the Spectacular now on display at Old North Church. See how architecture, both big and small, shapes our streetscape.  

9. Show your support by helping us raise $10,000 for Preservation Month. Your support makes our voice stronger and together we make Boston better. If you support the Alliance in the month of May, you gift will enter you into a raffle to receive your very own art print and art book featuring a few Boston artists including:

10. Join in on the art-making fun and draw your favorite places. Share your creations with #SeeMyBoston. 

11. Sign-up for a free virtual program with Boston by Foot. We’re fans of the Neighborhood Walk Architecture Scavenger Hunt and the Virtual Tastings & Tales cocktail-making lesson

12. Visit any of the places on our #SaveMyBoston. These are neighborhood-defining establishments and we want to map them all. Is there something missing from our list? Tell us at admin@bostonpreservation.org. Be respectful and keep a safe distance during your visits.

13. Submit a tiny story to share on our blog. Is there a place in your neighborhood you want to share? Tell us! We have a series of Tiny Stories that document the joy of our neighborhoods like the history of the People’s Firehouse. Send your story of 300 words or less to mdickey@bostonpreservation.org. 

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The People’s Firehouse

14. Get out of downtown and roam East Boston’s Historic Eagle Hill then grab a slice of pizza from Santarpio’s Pizza, family operated in East Boston since 1903. Or scope out the neon signs adorning the East Boston Shipyard.

15. Lace up your shoes, grab your camera, and put on your mask, then go on an urban adventure and track down our previous Preservation Prize winners

16. Read our freshly-designed 2019 Annual Report. Together we make Boston better. 

17. Bring the culture and history of the Harvard Art Museums directly to your home. The museum aims to bring you stories that reflect the power of art to soothe the mind, inspire conversation, and bring people together.

18. Dive into history with a podcast:

  • Follow the true crime art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum with Last Seen
  • Enter the wild world of Boston history with Hub History
  • Learn How to be American with the Tenement Museum

19. Share your images of Boston with the tag #PreservationHub and #SeeMyBoston. What places do you visit on your daily escapes from the couch? What are you personal landmarks?

20. Support your local legacy restaurant by ordering take-out. Some suggestions:

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Simco’s

21. Read a book about buildings and places. We recommend:

22. Join our email list for year-round preservation updates and stories worth telling.

23. Historic House Museums are ofter credited with launching the historic preservation movement. While many are closed, their grounds are open.

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Loring-Greenough House

24. Sign-up for a preservation coffee hour Thursday, May 14, 10:00 AM. This virtual session is your chance to ask Alliance staff your preservation questions. Think of it as a Boston preservation Ask Me Anything. Email afrazee@bostonpreservation.org to register. 

25. Download the AIA Boston app and turn the city into a large scavenger hunt of architecture. The app also shares our previous award winners. It is perfect for the curious solo explorer. 

26. The Boston Common is the oldest public park in America. It’s also home to 23 monuments. Try and find them all. This map will help. 

27. Attend a free webinar like the Preservation Pep-talk (May 18) hosted by our peers the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance and expand your preservation tool-kit for the future of our communities. Or get crafty with a Zine Making Workshop hosted by Indow Window. (May 5)

28. Get lost in the winding roads of Charlestown. Several streets are linked by stairs. Can you find them? 

29. Did you know Boston has a Polish Triangle? Just south of the Andrew T station is a neighborhood filled with Polish delights. We recommend DJ’s Market & Deli. The paczki are an office favorite. Just wear a mask. 

30. Get crafty and send a home-made postcard to your City Councilor that shares why you believe preservation is important. Without our collective voices preserving our history, the voices of previous generations fall silent.

31. Cheers! You made it. You should reward yourself with a pint because #BeerSavesPlaces. These three breweries have adaptively reused their historic spaces are are open for delivery or curbside pickup.

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Dorchester Brewing Company

Show your love of Boston by helping us raise $10,000 for Preservation Month. Without our collective voices advocating for our historic city, the voices of the past will fall silent. Make your gift today because together we make Boston better.

 

Recent

32nd Annual Preservation Achievement Awards

6:00 pm. October 15, 2020. Virtual and open to all. 

Tiny Story: Elma Lewis and the NCAAA

Written by Mackenzie Barrall.

Tiny Story: Now + There

Written by Corinne Muller.

Photos by Matthew Dickey.

Fifteen Magical Places in Boston

Written by Mackenzie Barrall and Corinne Muller. Photos by Matthew Dickey.

An Interview with Boston Preservationist David Rodrigues

David Rodrigues is the Manager of Facilities and Preservation at

Tunney Lee's Chinatown Atlas

Written by Corinne Muller. Photos by Matthew Dickey.

 

The Boston Equality Trail

Written by Corinne Muller

Tiny Story: Elite's

Elite's Mural

 

Announcing our 2020 Preservation Achievement Award Winners

Preservation takes many forms and requires many hands.

Our Booklist for Pride Month

Written by Corinne Muller.

Dorchester Day

By Corinne Muller

Our Statement of Solidarity—Black Lives Matter

Boston Preservation Alliance stands united with the voices decrying the murder of George Floyd and the long-standing history of racism this tragedy demonstrates.

Meet Our Summer 2020 Interns

The Boston Preservation Alliance offers internships to graduate and undergraduate students to help train the next generation of preservationists by providing hands-on experience in the…

A Wave of Generosity

Let’s come together to create a wave of generosity for the organizations that help Boston thrive.

EVENT: The Tale of Two City Halls

When: May 16

Time: 2PM

Where: Live on Instagram!

EVENT: Preservation Coffee Hour AMA

Have a preservation question? Want to hear updates about any of the preservation projects we’re monitoring?

ENF Filed with MEPA for Northern Avenue Bridge

An Environment Notification Form (ENF) has been filed with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office.

AllianceAlert: Your voice needed to help the BLC

Historic places need your help!

Preservation Month in a Strange New World

Written by Greg Galer

How to choose which buildings to treasure, and which to trash

Written by Alison Frazee, Assistant Director, Boston Preservation Alliance.

Tiny Story: Pump Up the Music

We continue our series of tiny stories that uplift the soul.

2020 Preservation Award Nominations Now Open

2020 Preservation Award Nominations Now Open

POSTPONED EVENT: 2020 Annual Meeting of Members

Join us for our Annual Meeting of Members

When: Postponed. New date is TBD

Alliance Event Updates

In light of concerns with COVID-19, we have postponed several of our upcoming events.

EVENT: Heart Bombing

Heart Bombing

Feb. 15 | 1 — 4 pm | Amrheins, 80 W. Broadway, Boston

PLAN: Downtown Scenarios Workshop

Your Voice Needed to Preserve Downtown Boston  

Rudolph Spotted Around Boston

Rudolph is no stranger to Boston and New England. He’s been spotted in Dartmouth, New Haven, Wellesley, and three separate locations in Boston proper.

A Preservationist Gift Guide

Is there a preservationist in your life? Or maybe you love architecture, history, and unique Boston stories as much as we do. If either of these is the case, then this is THE gift guide…

Boston's Mid-Century Marvels

With the proposed redevelopment of the Hurley Building, we thought this is a good time to…

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

2019 Preservation Achievement Awards 

#SaveMyBoston

Detrimental: Preservation Advocates Ask MGH to Reconfigure Expansion Plans to Spare Three West End Buildings

Preservation advocates are imploring Massachusetts General Hospital to reconfigure its expansion plans to avoid demolition of three historic West End buildings, reports Dan Murphy of the…

Beer + Mortar: Another Round

BEER + MORTAR: A WALKING TOUR

Seven Magical Places in Boston

Written by Matthew Dickey.

6th Annual Libations for Preservation

The Boston Preservation Alliance Board of Young Advisors presents:

 

Libations for Preservation

When:

Wednesday, July 24, 2019…

An Interview with Boston Artist Karen McFeaters

Karen McFeaters is a Boston-based painter whose work features locations around the city that highlight…

Tracing Queer History in Boston

The architecture of a community goes far beyond buildings.

Roger Webb and the "Democratic Donkey"

Roger Webb was the founder of the Architectural Heritage Foundation and…

Beer + Mortar: A Walking Tour

Save the date for Beer + Mortar, a walking tour through Dorchester and Roxbury led by Matthew Dickey of the Alliance and HBI.…

EVENT: COMMUNITY MEETING ON THE NORTHERN AVENUE BRIDGE

The City of Boston invites you to a Community Meeting on the Northern Ave Bridge

Monday, June 3, 2019

Announcing our 2019 Preservation Achievement Award Winners

Neighborhoods are living things. They evolve to the changing needs of their inhabitants. Rural farms become streetcar suburbs. Carriage lanes become roads. Thriving businesses fade.

Use GE money to fix the bridge, says Leung at the Boston Globe

The state gets a $98M cut of GE’s sale of its property in Fort Point. Where should that money go?

31 Things to do for Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month which gives us a perfect excuse to show off our beloved historic city.

Advocacy ALERT: National Register Threatened

Advocacy needed to OPPOSE a rule change to undercut the National Register of Historic Places

EVENT: 2019 Annual Meeting of Members

Please join us for our Annual Meeting | Registration is closed, but walk-ins welcome! 

EVENT: The Restoration of The Mother Church

Boston Design Week Event
Boston Design Week March 27-April 7 2019

EVENT: YA Meet and Greet with Cocktails!

The Alliance’s Young Advisor’s Board is seeking new board members for 2019!

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Preservation Achievement Awards

The Boston Preservation Alliance is now accepting nominations for our 2019 Preservation Achievement Awards! 

 

Less than Boston

The closing of Durgin Park (1827) following upon Jacob Wirth (1868) last year reminds us that Boston’s unique character comes from more than just architecture.

Marty Misses the Mark With Citgo Veto, says Banker & Tradesman Editorial

“An icon of the Boston skyline was very nearly protected against the city’s current rapacious development culture- but then the mayor stepped in.”

Marty Misses the Mark With Citgo Veto, says Banker & Tradesman Editorial

“An icon of the Boston skyline was very nearly protected against the city’s current rapacious development culture- but then the mayor stepped in.”

Walsh vetoes Citgo Sign Landmark designation, Sign to be moved

Mayor Walsh, Citgo, Related Beal (the developer of the site), and Boston University release a statement: 

Walsh vetoes Citgo Sign Landmark designation, Sign to be moved

Mayor Walsh, Citgo, Related Beal (the developer of the site), and Boston University release a statement: 

EVENT: Community Meeting on the Northern Avenue Bridge

The City of Boston invites you to a

Community Meeting on the Northern Ave Bridge

Meet our newest Young Advisors

The Young Advisors is a board of developing professionals whose role is to expand and amplify the Alliance’s mission of protecting places, promoting vibrancy, and preserving character.

The Alliance Looks to the Future at Milestone Event

On Monday, October 22, the Boston Preservation Alliance hosted the 2018…

Opening Remarks at the 30th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards

Opening Remarks: Chris Scoville, Board Chair
Preservation Achievement Awards and 40 30 10 Celebration 

Announcing the Winners of the Preservation Bucket List!

To celebrate our 40th Anniversary year, the Alliance launched a special social media campaign: The Preservation Bucket List photo competition.

EVENT: Preservation Achievement Awards & 40 30 10 Celebration

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Alliance, the 30th Anniversary of the Awards, and the 10th Anniversary of our Young Advisors Board.

EVENT: Tour of Mount Auburn Cemetery

Join the Alliance Young Advisors for a stroll through Mount Auburn Cemetery, the oldest rural cemetery in the US.

It’s time to have your say on the Citgo sign’s future

The debate over the future of the Citgo sign is still quietly grinding on.

It’s time to have your say on the Citgo sign’s future

The debate over the future of the Citgo sign is still quietly grinding on.

The Preservation Bucket List + Photo Competition

The Alliance is turning 40 this year!

September 7: Deadline for eligibility forms for Fall 2018 Community Preservation Funds

Boston has an estimated $20 million in annual funds to support capital projects in historic preservation, affordable housing, and parks and green spaces.

Citgo sign here to stay, but maybe not surrounding buildings

Developer Related Beal on Tuesday went before the Boston Civic Design Commission to submit its updated plans to redevelop buildings on Commonwealth Avenue near Deerfield Street.

Citgo sign here to stay, but maybe not surrounding buildings

Developer Related Beal on Tuesday went before the Boston Civic Design Commission to submit its updated plans to redevelop buildings on Commonwealth Avenue near Deerfield Street.

Citgo sign here to stay, but maybe not surrounding buildings

Developer Related Beal on Tuesday went before the Boston Civic Design Commission to submit its updated plans to redevelop buildings on Commonwealth Avenue near Deerfield Street.

Boston, here's the chance to make Northern Avenue Bridge a real destination

Boston’s urban planners and placemakers have an opportunity to make the Northern Avenue Bridge, now a rusting relic in Fort Point Channel, a postcard-worthy destination that draws…

The Northern Avenue Bridge is being replaced, and the city is debating just who will be allowed to use it

It has been nearly four years since anyone could walk across the old Northern Avenue Bridge, and two decades since you could drive across it.

Alliance Included in National Best Practices Report

The Boston Preservation Alliance was included in a 2018 national report regarding best practices for public outreach and education to build a knowledgeable, engaged, and activated…

Defending Fenway’s Heritage

Emily Kahn, Boston Preservation Alliance Intern

Defending Fenway’s Heritage

Emily Kahn, Boston Preservation Alliance Intern

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it’s important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it’s important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it’s important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it’s important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it’s important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

Announcing the 2018 Preservation Achievement Award winners!

As neighborhoods change over generations, it’s important that touchpoints to their past both remain in place and sensitively evolve to maintain their relevance.

EVENT: Instagram Tour: Historic Breweries of Jamaica Plain

Boston was once home to 31 breweries, enough to bestow this storied city with the title of “most breweries per capita.” A majority of the city’s breweries are clustered around…

Meet Our 2018 Summer Interns

The Boston Preservation Alliance offers internships to graduate and undergraduate students to help train the next generation of preservationists by providing hands-on experience in the…

City Council Awards First Batch of Boston Community Preservation Funds

Boston City Council voted on Thursday, June 21, to approve the first batch of Boston Community Preservation funding requests.

City Council Awards First Batch of Boston Community Preservation Funds

Boston City Council voted on Thursday, June 21, to approve the first batch of Boston Community Preservation funding requests.

EVENT: Ladder Blocks Walking Tour

You’re invited to a special preview for Alliance and Boston By Foot members. The Ladder Blocks Walking Tour will take place on Sunday, May 20, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

EVENT: Preservation in Perpetuity: An Overview of Preservation Restrictions

Boston has a wonderful mix of historic buildings and sites, from stately row houses to 3-deckers, churches to commercial blocks.

EVENT: Preservation, Powered by PechaKucha

The Young Advisors of the Boston Preservation Alliance are hosting a PechaKucha night on Tuesday, May 15 at The Algonquin Club of Boston.

Director of Advocacy, Alison Frazee, recognized with highest honor at 2018 Tsongas Awards

The Alliance had an impressive showing at Preservation Massachusetts’s 30th Annual Paul & Niki Tsongas Awards Dinner held on May 9 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.

Alliance ED Guest Editor of Boston Architecture Diary

May is Preservation Month. To mark the occasion, Boston Architecture Diary tapped Greg Galer to share recommendations for preservation events happening around the city.

Does the three-decker have lessons for us today? 

Alliance Executive Director Greg Galer was a moderator for “Preserving Affordability, Affording Preservation,” an April 27th conference hosted by Historic New England.

The Alliance Appoints New Board Chair and Elects New Board Member

The Boston Preservation Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Scoville as a new Board Chairman and the election of Sean Geary to the Board of Directors.

Alliance Celebrates 40 years, Looks Forward at 2018 Annual Meeting

The Boston Preservation Alliance is hosting its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 21 at historic Old South Church at Copley Square.

Density Done Right: Examples from Boston and Barcelona

By David Nagahiro, AIA, LEED AP

7 Buildings Living Their Best Second Lives

From old fire departments to post offices that succumbed to the demise of snail mail, buildings across the country have fallen prey to shifting markets and the rise of technology.

Paramount Theatre and the Boston Opera House Honored for Their Remarkable Makeovers

Last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Thank you to all our corporate members, including: