2006 Statewide Historic Preservation Conference

Serving Neighborhoods through Preservation

Wednesday, September  20, 2006


Campus Center, UMass Boston

Morrissey Boulevard



Session Descriptions

Tour Descriptions

Hotel Dartmouth and Palladio Hall, Roxbury; 1988 & 2006.

Photos © Peter Vanderwarker.

Registration: $35.00

Deadline extended!

All registration, including at the door, is $35.00. We encourage pre-registration to guarantee tour and session choices.

To register send check payable to "SEC/MHC - Preservation Conference" and completed registration form to MHC. No online payment or credit card payments accepted.

Who Should Attend:

  • Local historical commission & historic district commission members
  • Community activists & preservation advocates
  • Town planners
  • Historic preservation professionals
  • Curators, managers, & owners of historic buildings and landscapes

Conference Features:

  • Technical tools and programs for preservation.
  • Case studies of successful neighborhood and downtown revitalization.
  • Church adaptive reuse, stewardship, and funding.
  • Stewardship for historic buildings & landscapes.
  • Trolley/walking tours into Dorchester showcase this historic Boston neighborhood; a rich collection of 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century houses in suburban settings; and successful and ongoing commercial renovation and revitalization efforts.
  • A talk and exhibit by Peter Vanderwarker highlighting in photographs many historic preservation success stories.

Conference Location:

The Campus Center at UMass Boston is next door to the MHC's office and is easily accessible by public transportation (JFK/UMass Station) or car (Morrissey Boulevard Exits off I-93).

Complete directions and parking information are included in the registration brochure.


Parking fills quickly at UMass Boston, which is a commuter campus. MHC encourages all conference attendees to take public transportation when possible, arrive early (by 8:00am), and carpool.

The UMass parking garages are currenlty closed. The most convenient lot for conference attendees is the North Lot. If you arrive by 8:15 parking should be available in the North Lot. When the North Lot closes traffic is directed to a series of temporary lots. MHC will have a staff person available near the first fork in the Ring Road to answer questions for conference attendees and to help direct you to the nearest open lot. A parking map is available at the UMass Boston web site. Parking Map (PDF)


7:45 am Registration opens
8:40am – 9:20am

Welcoming Remarks,

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin

"Neighborhoods Revitalized: Then and Now," Peter Vanderwarker

9:30am – 11am Concurrent Sessions A
11:15am – 1:15pm Lunch Time Tours
1:30pm – 3:00pm Concurrent Sessions B
3:15pm – 4:45pm Concurrent Sessions C
5:00pm – 6:00pm Rececption

Conference Sessions

Session A: 9:30 am – 11:00 am

A1     The Challenge of Churches

Featured at MHC’s 2004 conference, the former church of the Blessed Sacrament parish complex in Jamaica Plain continues to provide a useful case study on the reuse of a surplused religious property. This five building complex is being redeveloped for affordable and market-rate housing, and retail and school use through a public/private/nonprofit partnership. Presenters discuss aspects of endangered church preservation and reuse, particularly the sensitive issue of adaptive reuse of the sanctuary.

Moderator: Wm. Eric Breitkreutz, Executive Director, Historic Boston Incorporated

  • Peter Roth, President, New Atlantic Development
  • Albert Rex, historic preservation consultant
  • Lizbeth Heyer, Associate Community Development Director, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation

A2     Implementing the Community Preservation Act for Historic

Preservation Projects

The Community Preservation Act provides significant new funding for historic preservation. Learn from Community Preservation Committee members and the Executive Director of the Community Preservation Coalition about the process and projects: what works and what doesn’t, how to build community support for controversial projects, and how to meet the requirements of the Department of Revenue and the MHC.

Moderator: Marilyn Fenollosa, preservation attorney & Lexington Community Preservation Committee

  • Stuart Saginor, Executive Director, Community Preservation Coalition
  • Jeffrey Scott Hoyland, former member, Bedford Community Preservation Committee
  • Claudia Sauermann Wu, preservation attorney & Newton Community Preservation Committee

A3     Effective Advocacy: Necessary Know-How

Successfully mobilizing a community for historic preservation depends upon effective communication with diverse constituencies. Citizens on local commissions and preservation advocates need to know how to present issues, pitch for public support, engage public and private partners, and educate public officials. Whether the goal is saving a building from the wrecking ball or passing legislation, effective advocacy is critical. This session offers insights, perspectives, and experiences from seasoned and successful players at national, state, and local levels.

Moderator: Jim Igoe, President, Preservation Massachusetts

  • Heather MacIntosh, Executive Director, Preservation Action
  • Larry Curtis, Managing Partner, Winn Development
  • Sarah Kelly, Executive Director, Boston Preservation Alliance
  • Lisa Sughrue, Executive Director, WHALE
  • Eric Dray, Chair, Provincetown Historical Commission

A4      Stewardship for Nonprofits

Managing physical issues in historic buildings owned by historical societies, museums, churches, and other nonprofit organizations is not an easy charge. Staff, board members, and congregations struggle to address the cost and complexity of dealing with decaying foundations and leaky roofs. A restoration, repair, and maintenance plan can help organizations make better choices. Preservation specialists discuss best treatment practices for historic buildings, assessing the building’s systems and structures, and developing priorities.

Moderator: Paul Holtz, Co-Director, Grants Division, MHC

  • Ben Haavik, Team Leader, Property Care, Historic New England
  • Jean Carroon AIA, Principal for Preservation, Goody Clancy & Associates
  • Donna Curtin, Executive Director, Plymouth Antiquarian Society
  • Abdiel Garcia, Clerk for the Board, Jamaica Plain Spanish
  •   Seventh Day Adventist Church

A5      Preservation 301: Introduction to the National Register of

Historic Places Program

This workshop provides an overview of the National Register program, the country’s primary means of recognizing and honoring places significant for their contributions to local, state, and national history. Learn how properties qualify for National Register listing, what it means to be listed in the National Register, the steps in the nomination process, and how to generate local interest in National Register designation. The Historic District/Historical Commission Committee of Preservation Mass has developed this workshop in collaboration with the MHC.

Moderator: Elsa Fitzgerald, Special Projects Manager, Preservation Massachusetts

  • Gretchen Schuler, preservation consultant
  • Betsy Friedberg, Director, National Register Program, MHC

Session B: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

B1     Revitalizing Downtowns

For many communities, regardless of size, preserving their aging historic commercial core involves adaptive reuse of buildings. It is often difficult to argue persuasively for the long-term cultural and economic benefits of preservation in the face of urgent short-term needs of municipalities, landlords, and developers. Advocates from Turners Falls, Lowell, Amesbury, Holyoke, and New Bedford discuss their successes.

Moderator: Ann Lattinville, Director of Architectural Review, MHC

  • Joanie Bernstein, Director of Development, Rural Development, Inc.
  • Taya Dixon, Senior Planner, Epsilon Associates
  • Peter Aucella, Assistant Superintendent for Development, Lowell National Historical Park, NPS
  • Heriberto Flores, New England Farm Workers’ Council
  • Lisa Sughrue, Executive Director, WHALE

B2     Serving Boston’s Neighborhoods

Boston is a city of neighborhoods, each with a distinctive history. Preserving each one’s local character is an ongoing challenge. This session explores the municipal programs that help protect Boston’s neighborhoods: neighborhood design overlay districts, the Main Streets Initiative, Boston HomeWorks, and the National Register program. Representatives from the City of Boston discuss efforts to enhance, preserve, revitalize, and ensure sensitive change within Boston’s neighborhoods.

Moderator: Ellen Lipsey, Executive Director, BLC

  • Elsie Petit-Frere, Senior Program Manager, Boston HomeWorks
  • Roysin Bennett Younkin, Architectural Historian, BLC
  • Emily Haber, Program Director, Boston Main Streets Initiative
  • Michael Cannizzo, Senior Architect/Urban Designer, Boston Redevelopment Authority

B3     Neighborhood Architectural Conservation Districts

Over two decades ago, the City of Cambridge enacted an innovative local ordinance designed to protect the architectural qualities of its neighborhoods. While the city’s neighborhood conservation districts have a long, successful track record, few other municipalities have adopted this tool. As communities struggle to keep new growth compatible with their existing architectural fabric and scale, many are again considering this approach. This session reviews neighborhood conservation districts in concept and practice.

Moderator: Chris Skelly, Director, Local Government, MHC

  • Charles Sullivan, Executive Director, Cambridge Historical Commission
  • Colleen Meagher, Preservation Planner, BLC

B4     Stewardship of Municipal Landscapes

Managing municipally owned historic landscapes—cemeteries, town commons, parks, and farmland—is challenging. Addressing the effects of increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic, setting policies for compatible usage, funding maintenance, and preserving fragile historic elements necessarily involves public debate. Case studies, including Hardwick Town Common, Boxborough’s Levi Wetherby/Steel Farm, and burial grounds in several municipalities, demonstrate myriad issues. A presentation on the care of mature trees on historic properties offers current best practices for these municipal landscapes.

Moderator: Bonnie Parsons, Principal Planner/Preservation, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

  • Joanna Doherty, Community Planner, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
  • Martha Lyon, ASLA, Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC

B5     Voluntary Protection Techniques

Some of the strongest protections available for historic properties and sites are those voluntarily engaged by the owner. The purchase, sale, or donation of protective covenants on a property’s significant historic, architectural, or archaeological features or of the land itself can provide an effective means to ensure long-term preservation in the public interest. Learn from the experts about federal and state legal frameworks, tax incentives, and organizational programs that promote voluntary owner stewardship.

Moderator: Michael Steinitz, Director of Preservation Planning, MHC

  • Stefan Nagel, Esq; Counsel to the Law Office of Stephen J. Small, Esq., P.C.
  • Valerie Talmage, Director of Projects, Trust for Public Land
  • Wendy Price, Team Leader, Historic Preservation, Historic New England

Session C:  3:15 pm – 4:45 pm

C1     Dudley and John Eliot Squares, Roxbury

Roxbury’s adjacent John Eliot and Dudley squares have been the scene of intense preservation-based restoration and rehabilitation projects over the past two decades. Public, private, and nonprofit entities have worked to revitalize these neighborhoods. Participants explain how a combination of historic preservation tools and strategic partnerships helped fuel the transformation of these historic Roxbury neighborhoods.

Moderator: Jeffrey T. Gonyeau, Senior Project Manager, Historic Boston Incorporated

  • Evelyn Friedman, Executive Director, Nuestra Comunidad      Development Corporation
  • Jeanne Pinado, Executive Director, Madison Park Development Corporation
  • Peter Roth, President, New Atlantic Development

C2     New Technologies for Surveys

New technologies and web-based information sources are changing the way we research historic properties. The availability of on-line deed, property, and census data, and the use of Geographic Information Systems and digital photography are providing new challenges and opportunities. This session introduces some of the more useful resources and provides guidelines for appropriate use.

Moderator: Michael Steinitz, Director of Preservation Planning, MHC

  • Rita Walsh, Senior Preservation Planner, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
  • Katherine Grover, independent researcher, writer, editor
  • Janet Thomas, GIS Analyst, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

C3      Round Table Discussions

Join colleagues and experts at discussion tables to ask questions and share experiences on specific preservation topics. Spend 40 minutes at one table, then rotate to another table for the second half of the session.

  • Demolition by Neglect: Techniques to Consider Before it’s too Late
    (Chris Skelly, Director, Local Government, MHC)
  • Initiating the Community Preservation Act: Procedural Advice
    (Jeffrey Scott Hoyland, former member, Bedford Community Preservation Committee)
  • Documenting, Evaluating, and Preserving Modern Buildings: Current Strategies
    (Gary Wolf, AIA, Vice President DOCOMOMO/US-New England)
  • Protecting Historic Landscapes: Proactive Tools
    (Jessica Rowcroft, Planner, Department of Conservation & Recreation)

C4      Stewardship for Homeowners

Thousands of owners of historic houses manage a significant part of our cultural landscape. Much of the misinformation they receive on how to maintain, care for, and maximize energy efficiency in their homes comes from contractors, manufacturers, and retailers. This guidance often results in incremental changes that diminish the historic integrity of the house. This session offers information for local historical commissions and other advocates to use to encourage home owners to make appropriate preservation choices in the maintenance and renovation of their property.

Moderator: Sally Zimmerman, Preservation Planner, Historic New England

  • Greer Hardwicke, Preservation Planner, Brookline Historic Commission
  • Susan Maycock, Survey Director, Cambridge Historical Commission
  • Rebecca Williams, Northeast Field Representative, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Carol DiNinno, Preservation Planner, MHC

C5      Beyond the Collection Plate: Funding Historic Church Buildings

This session offers specific information on funding sources that can assist congregations in their stewardship of historic church buildings. Case studies highlight MHC’s MPPF grants program, using telecommunications installations for the development of an income stream, and HBI’s Steeples Program. The Presbyterian Church of Roxbury has developed multiple funding sources and innovative space use programs. The Philadelphia-based Partners for Sacred Places shares their research and tips for training congregations in leadership and planning.

Moderator: Jan da Silva, Preservation Planner, MHC

  • Ann Lattinville, Director of Architectural Review, MHC
  • Jillian Adams, Project Manager, Historic Boston Incorporated
  • Elizabeth Terry, Senior Project Manager, Partners for Sacred Places
  • Reverend Hamilton, Roxbury Presbyterian Church


Lunch Time Tours

Walter Baker's Mill. Postcard from the collection of Earl Taylor

T1     Codman Square/Ashmont Hill/Peabody Square

Bill Walczak, CEO, Codman Square Health Center

Codman Square is the geographical, political, and business center of Dorchester. Thriving now, this area suffered greatly in the 1970s, including riots in 1978 that burned many commercial buildings. Spurring the revitalization process is the Codman Square Health Center, established in the former Boston Public Library branch building. The tour begins in the Great Hall of the former library, then continues on Codman Square, through the residential neighborhood around Ashmont Hill, and finishes at Peabody Square, where the current reconstruction of the Ashmont MBTA station signals the revitalization of this transportation center. Highlights include Ralph Adam Cram’s All Saints Church and many Edwin Lewis-designed homes and the Peabody Apartment building.

T2     Melville-Park Neighborhood

Edward W. Gordon, President, Victorian Society in America, New England Chapter

When the streetcar system reached Dorchester in the 1870s, the pastoral landscape was quickly converted to a suburban setting for homes built in the popular Queen Anne, Shingle, Colonial Revival, and Italianate styles. The homes in the Melville-Park neighborhood represent first class construction of these late 19th- and early 20th-century styles, characterized by high-quality design, excellent craftsmanship, and detailed finishes. Homes designed by architects including Arthur Vinal, E. B. Blaisdale, and A. B. Pinkham will be seen as the tour moves up Lyndhurst St., along Allston and Tremont streets, and around the Wellesley Park green.

T3     Historic House Museums

Earl Taylor, President, Dorchester Historical Society

Boston’s oldest house, the First Period James Blake House (ca. 1648) is the earliest of only two known West-of-England-derived, timber-framed houses to survive in Massachusetts, distinct in its construction style from the more typical East Anglian construction. The Dorchester Historical Society (DHS) undertook the preservation of the Blake House as its first major project. It is operated as a museum of early American home construction. In 1945 DHS purchased the Lemuel Clapp House (ca. 1633, rebuilt 1767) and the neighboring William Clapp House (1806), which now serves as headquarters for the DHS. Interpretation of Clapp family history and stewardship of these architecturally significant houses is an ongoing effort. Tour goers will learn about the history of these three buildings and the challenges of maintaining them.

T4      Upham’s Corner/Jones Hill

Jeffrey C. Gonyeau, Senior Project Manager, Historic Boston Incorporated

In 1802 Amos Upham opened a general store in his Federal-style house at the juncture of Columbia, Dudley, and Stoughton streets. Operated by three generations of Uphams, the store became a Dorchester institution. Today, the landmark 1884 Columbia Square Building stands on the site. While several historic rehabilitation projects have been successful, Upham’s Corner still faces many challenges. A walk around this neighborhood reveals many buildings that remain largely unchanged since the 1970s. These historic buildings are endangered, underused, and in need of preservation. Tour highlights include the Upham’s Square Market Building, Dorchester North Burying Ground, the splendid Strand Theatre, and many architecturally distinctive, lovingly restored residences on Cushing Avenue and Jones Hill.

T5      Lower Mills/Lower Neponset River, Dorchester/Milton

Cathy Garnett, Project Manager/Neponset Area, DCR

Renovation and redevelopment of this largely intact, 19th-century, industrial complex began in the 1970s and is today perfectly adapted to the 21st century. The preservation project retained most of the historic buildings and their original industrial setting. Now a National Register Historic District, featured buildings include the Baker Chocolate Factory (artist live and work space, moderate and market-rate housing, grocery, visual arts center), the Mason Regulator Company (senior housing), and Webb Mill (a gym). Reviving the Lower Neponset River is the focus of several initiatives.

T6      Massachusetts Archives

Michael Comeau, Assistant Archivist of the Commonwealth & Martha Clark, Curator, Massachusetts Archives

The Massachusetts Archives holds many resources of particular interest to preservationists. The collections contain records of archival value created since the Colonial Period by the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government. Maps and plans from 1642 on include two detailed town map series created in 1794 and 1830. Tour goers are introduced to the range, complexity, and value of these holdings. A selection of historic maps and drawings will be available for study. Following the Archives presentation, MHC staff introduces tour goers to the MHC’s public research area, including the National Register and inventory files.

T7      Archaeology of the Boston Harbor Islands

Ellen Berkland, City Archaeologist, Boston Landmarks Commission

A brief geological and environmental history of the area serves as an introduction to this guided cruise of the Boston Harbor Islands. Departing from the Fox Point dock at UMass Boston, the MV Columbia Point will head out to President Roads Channel, passing Thompson, Castle, Spectacle, and Deer islands along the way. Heading through the Narrows, see Lovell, Gallops, and Georges islands before we enter Nantasket Roads for a view of Peddocks, Rainsford, and Moon islands. This cruise provides a spectacular backdrop for learning about the first people of the area, more recent communities, and the land use history of the islands.