Beacon Hill Historic District Expansion

Certified in 1962; period of significance expanded in 2007

Beacon Hill, the first local Historic District to be created outside of the South, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. At that time, only structures built before 1835 were considered to be contributing to the historic district, and Beacon Hill was described as a well-preserved “Early Republic or Federal Period Urban Area.”

In the 1980s, the district’s period of significance was extended to 1920 to include the Victorian, Colonial Revival and Neo-Federal styles, allowing buildings such as the Lincolnshire Hotel and Charles River Square to be designated as contributing to its historical significance. In addition, the growing understanding of the significant role that Beacon Hill’s African Meeting House and African American community had played during the abolition movement was also recognized as a nationally significant aspect of the district. Missing, however, was recognition of the significance of Beacon Hill’s architecture of the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, including important examples of the Colonial Revival and Federal Revival styles, and important to the history of the historic preservation movement in the United States.

In 2007, the Trust assisted with the preparation of a new historic district designation report for the district, expanding its period of significance to include buildings built or altered by 1955. The new designation report also recognized the ways in which social reforms and literature had been found to contribute to the national significance of the area.

This revision of Beacon Hill’s historic district designation report demonstrates the evolution of the study of history over time, for the past can be an open book – as long as we are willing to keep delving back into it, each time coming a little closer to the truth.

Breeds Hill Historic District

Listing is Pending

The Breed’s Hill Historic District is overwhelmingly residential in character, encompassing a wide range of notable residential architecture dating from the late 18th to mid 20th century. The district contains a number of ecclesiastical and institutional buildings dating from the later 1820s to early 1900s. These structures represent a variety of styles including Greek Revival, Georgian Revival, Federal, Italianate, Mansard, Romanesque Revival, Renaissance Revival, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival. The stability of the Breed’s Hill Historic District can perhaps be attributed to its planning, location and architecture, which made it attractive to relatively affluent occupants and also discouraged the changes suffered by neighboring residential areas.

Compton Building

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009

Boston’s Compton Building was designed in 1903 by Winslow and Bigelow, an architectural firm that designed many of Boston’s buildings in the wake of the Great Fire of 1872. Standing 11 stories in height, this granite-and-buff brick Classical Revival building featured several new engineering advances invented in the late-19th century, including steel-frame construction and the elevator. Since electric lighting was still a relatively new technology at the time of its construction, the building was designed with a large indentation at the rear of the building to ensure that interior rooms would receive natural lighting and fresh air. Today, the building houses the Club Quarters Hotel and the Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurant.

Eagleville Historic District

Listing is Pending

Encompassing a small textile mill village, Eagleville developed and prospered from the early 19th-century until the mid 20th-century. The district is anchored by a complex of brick mill buildings that operated for the greater part of its history as the Eagle Manufacturing Company and Jefferson Manufacturing Company. The Eagleville Historic District also includes an undisturbed collection of 19th century housing for mill employees, in the Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian architectural styles. This evolution of styles showcases the changing landscape of the mill village through the years. Eagleville is considered the only remaining intact mill village in Holden, Massachusetts.

XV Beacon Hotel

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007

The elegant 10-story building at 15 Beacon Street was designed in 1903 by leading Boston architect William Gibbons Preston, and completed in 1905. Its first occupant was the Boston Transit Commission, credited as the nation’s first public transportation agency, and the builder of the nation’s first subway system. The building was deeded to the City of Boston in 1920, and the Boston School Committee occupied the building until 1976. From 1976 to 1997, the Department of Public Facilities and its successor, the Department of Neighborhood Development, were housed in the building, after which it was conveyed to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and then purchased by a developer to become the XV Beacon boutique hotel.

A handsome ten-story commercial building, XV Beacon embodies the Classical Revival style of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, with characteristics such as a symmetrical facade, a hierarchy of spaces, and a heavy use of ornamental architectural details, including gilded shields and scrolls, a painted cast-iron storefront, and a commanding copper cornice. Inside, a grand marble staircase adds to its Beaux-Arts grandeur. The recent rehabilitation of its interior is sympathetic to these historic elements.