LMA historical survey completed, 2 buildings recommended for Landmarks designations

March 2, 2018
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LMA—The long-awaited survey of the Longwood Medical and Academic Area’s (LMA) historic buildings has been completed, with the survey finding 106 buildings at least 45 years of age and recommending two buildings for Boston Landmarks designations.

The Boston Preservation Alliance (BPA) received $40,000 to conduct the survey, as part of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Boston Landmark Commission and Boston Children’s Hospital over the hospital’s plan to tear down the century-old 55 Shattuck St. building. An MOA is a document formally describing a relationship. The survey is being used to update and expand existing records held by the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) and the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC).

The Friends of Historic Mission Hill had unsuccessfully petitioned the Boston Landmarks Commission to landmark the 55 Shattuck St. building. That would have prevented BCH from tearing the building down. According to the Friends of Historic Mission Hill, the building was originally a hospital for infants, starting in 1914, before being purchased in 1921 to become the headquarters for the Harvard School of Public Health, according to the statement. During the 1970s, it was purchased by BCH, becoming an administration building.

BCH has demolished 55 Shattuck St. building, along with the historic Prouty Garden, and is replacing them with a new clinical building. Site work has begun on the project.

According to the report on the LMA area surveyed, “A remarkable number of early and mid-20th century residential and institutional buildings survive, amid phenomenal growth and intensifying redevelopment in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

The survey, which was done by historical architects Kathleen Broomer and Wendy Frontiero, focused on the area roughly bounded by Huntington Avenue, Louis Prang Street, The Fenway, The Riverway, and Fenwood Road. According to the report, several areas within this zone were excluded, including historic buildings associated with the BCH’s core campus (those buildings were documented in a separate preservation plan) and several properties or areas already listed in the National Register of Historic Places or designated local landmarks (an example is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum).

According to the report, “MHC inventory forms were produced to document 106 buildings of at least 45 years of age at the time of survey, using eleven area forms and thirteen building forms. Approximately 74 buildings documented are new additions to the inventory for the LMA. Remaining resources have been updated with new architectural descriptions, expanded historical narratives, building construction dates, and/or photographs.”

The report recommended two buildings for Boston Landmark designations: the Jimmy Fund Building at 43 Binney St. and Angell Memorial Animal Hospital at 180-184 Longwood Ave. The survey also recommend three buildings receive more study for potential Boston Landmark designation: Boston Latin School at 78 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Temple Israel at 477 Longwood Ave., and the Simmons College Main Building at 300 The Fenway.