Calvin Swallow House • Boston (South End)
Rehabilitation & Restoration
Located in the South End Landmark District and the South End National Register Historic District, the Calvin Swallow House was constructed in 1874 and designed in the Second Empire style. Calvin Swallow, the first owner of the property, lived here from 1874 to 1890, when the second, third, and fourth floors served as a single-family residence. In 1874, the property showed three addresses, indicating that the building originally housed two commercial spaces on the first floor. In 1908, residential floors of the building were occupied by the Home for Aged Men. The property served in this capacity until at least 1938. City records suggest that the building and surrounding area fell into decline in the 1970s. Prior to restoration, the building was in a state of disrepair, having been abandoned for at least a decade. Residential units on the upper floors had been gutted. At the exterior, the street-level bricks had been painted, and storefront windows were infilled and grated. Dormers and cornice elements were deteriorated, and the roof framing had been damaged by fire.
After a comprehensive rehabilitation project that utilized state historic rehabilitation tax credits, the Calvin Swallow House now accommodates three active businesses and six residential units. The masonry was repaired and repointed, and paint was removed from first-floor bricks. Roof shingles were repaired or replaced as needed, and gutters and downspouts were installed. New 2/2 and 1/1 windows have been installed, along with new storefront windows. Original Italianate doors and the second-floor Italianate oriel were repaired. On the interior, the original main staircase, balusters, carved railings, and newel posts were restored and repaired. New oak flooring and bathroom tiles were installed throughout the building, and mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems were replaced to meet code. After many years of vacancy and deterioration, the rehabilitated Calvin Swallow House has helped to revitalize and restore the aesthetic character of this highly visible corner of Bostonís South End neighborhood.