Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2008 Preservation Award Winners
Egleston Power Station /
BNN Charles J. Beard II Media Center • Boston (Roxbury)
 
Egleston Power Station / 
BNN Charles J. Beard II Media Center  Boston (Roxbury)

Adaptive Reuse

The Egleston Power Station was built in 1909 by the Boston Elevated Railway Company (later the MBTA) to convert AC electricity to DC power for trains running on the elevated line above Washington Street. When the power station closed in 1987, it was among the oldest operating transit substations in the United States. Although its design, with Classical Revival style, tapestry brick, and basilican plan has been variously attributed to different architects (among them A.W. Longfellow and Frederic Low), it remains the most significant historic structure in Egleston Square.

After 20 years of vacancy, Urban Edge and the Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) undertook the project of adapting Egleston Station into a facility for use by the BNN, a community cable TV network. A new second story was inserted sensitively to preserve the feeling of the vast open space that once characterized the building. Also notable is the project’s use of green technology, using sustainable design and construction practices that promote environmental and occupant health. This project has provided the BNN with a central location in Roxbury, which allows for them to better develop educational programs for at-risk youth, workforce development programs for adults, and partnerships with the Boston Public Schools. The building has been renamed the BNN Charles J. Beard II Media Center in honor of attorney Charles Beard, who helped create the Boston Community Access and Programming Foundation, which today is known as the Boston Neighborhood Network.

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