Sunday, July 14, 2019

UPDATE: Misfit Garage

From Dave Brigham:

When last I visited this location in downtown Boston, the Winthrop Square Garage was here. Owned by the City of Boston, it had been closed for a while when I snapped my photo (see August 19, 2015, "Misfit Garage"). Last fall, the developer's construction partner, Suffolk Construction, began work on the massive project that will replace what was a fairly modest structure. The first step was to tear down the old garage.

So what's replacing the sad old garage? Winthrop Center, a massive building with perhaps even larger hopes and aspirations. The building will rise 53 stories, 691 feet, and house more than 400 luxury condos on its top 26 floors. Winthrop Center will cost around $1.4 Billion to build and will also have 750,000 square feet of commercial office space on 20 floors below the luxury residences. There will also be a "grand hall," three floors containing 12,000 square feet of public space, connecting Winthrop Square and Federal Street. The connection will be lined with 31,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space as well as 21,000 square feet of shared meeting space, according to both the Elevated Boston and the North End Waterfront web sites.

The developer, Millennium Partners, is well known in Boston, having developed Millennium Tower, Millennium Place, the Ritz-Carlton Towers, 10 St. James Avenue and many other properties in the Hub. Millennium paid the city $163 million, which will be spread across budgets for the nearby Boston Common, as well as Franklin Park in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Roxbury; completing the Emerald Necklace series of parks; and public housing in South Boston, Chinatown and East Boston, according to this BisNow article.

As for the building itself, Millennium claims it will be the largest passive house office project in the world, using 65% less energy than the average office building in Boston, according to the developer. Watch the video at this link to learn about all the wonderful things Winthrop Center will bring to its residents, office mates, ordinary Bostonians and the world at large. Seriously.

Directly across Devonshire Street from the construction site is 1 Winthrop Square, which was built in 1873 as either a J.M. Beebe & Co. store or the headquarters of the New England Press, depending on which account online you believe.

The building's entryway has "NEW ENGLAND PRESS" chiseled into the stone, so my money's on that. Subsequent to New England Press, the building was home to the Record American, according to this history of the building on the web site of a marketing agency called Brafton, which I don't believe is at this location anymore. The building is home to several businesses, but appears to be undergoing renovation.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Boring Plaque to America the Beautiful

From Dave Brigham:

Located in Boston's Back Bay Fens, just off Agassiz Road, is this somewhat boring memorial to Katharine Lee Bates, a writer, professor, scholar and activist known best for writing "America the Beautiful." "Bates originally wrote the words as a poem, 'Pikes Peak', first published in the Fourth of July edition of the church periodical The Congregationalist in 1895," according to Wikipedia. "At that time, the poem was titled 'America' for publication. [Church organist and choirmaster Samuel A.] Ward had originally written the music, 'Materna', for the hymn 'O Mother dear, Jerusalem' in 1882, though it was not first published until 1892. Ward's music combined with the Bates poem was first published in 1910 and titled 'America the Beautiful'. The song is one of the most popular of the many U.S. patriotic songs."

While Bates was born in Falmouth, Mass., in 1859 and lived and worked in Wellesley, Natick, Needham and Newton during her life, I haven't found any information about her living in Boston. So I'm not sure why this plaque was placed here. She died in Wellesley in 1929.

The plaque reads:

"Scholar patriot poet who gave enduring speech to the love of Americans for America."

O beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain

America America

God shed his grace on thee

And crown they good

With brotherhood

From sea to shining sea

This memorial is located directly across the street from the Agassiz Road Duck House, which I wrote about a few years ago (see January 14, 2017, "Beautiful Duckling").

Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Shrine Lost as Development Looms

From That Same Old Guy:

This is one of the saddest sights I've seen in Boston. Not because anything tragic happened here, but because I can tell that there used to be something beautiful here, something peaceful. Picture in your mind: firefighters and police officers from the stations in the background, on a lovely spring day, walking over here, mixing with area residents. They take a moment to remember loved ones, and perhaps fellow first responders, in what I imagine was a splendid garden. The site, hemmed in by Cambria, Scotia and St. Cecilia streets near the Berklee Performance Center, was owned by St. Cecilia Parish, whose church is steps away. So surely parishioners tarried here as well.

The church sold this property more than a decade ago to an outfit called ADG Scotia LLC for $13.85 million. ADG Scotia is a joint venture between Suffolk Ventures, an affiliate of local heavyweight Suffolk Construction, and Weiner Ventures, another well-known real estate developer in Boston. I'll come back to that part of the story.

I wrote my above imagined scene before even looking for photos of what used to be on this site. I gotta tell you, I was spot on.

I found this postcard of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, St. Cecilia's Church, Boston, on Digital Commonwealth, a great resource for history buffs. I mean, just look at how wonderful that shrine was! The flowers, the statue, the bench, the green grass and shrubs -- all designed to bring comfort and serenity. I really wish it was still there. I have no idea how long ago the shrine was desecrated by way of being torn down and ripped apart.

The patroness of musicians, St. Cecilia is one of seven women commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass, per Wikipedia.

Now, back to the developers who acquired this land many years ago.

I'm not sure whether Suffolk is still involved, but Weiner Ventures has published a web site for the development it plans to build on a property that includes the former shrine site. Called 1000 Boylston, the complex will include a residential tower featuring upwards of 108 condominiums, seated on top of two floors of retail and parking, resting on new decking over the Mass Pike.

Obviously I'm not happy that the shrine was wiped off the face of the earth. But I can get over it, because I never saw it in person and it's been gone for quite a while. Plus, Boston has some pretty great green spaces. And I don't have a problem with Weiner covering up a hole where you can currently see the eastbound lanes of the Pike, as well as commuter/Amtrak train tracks. Boston would be a much less interesting city if developers weren't allowed to build on air rights over the highway.

Where I do have a problem is with the look, feel and height of 1000 Boylston. Is this proposed skyscraper the only one like it in this part of Boston? No. A few blocks away, One Dalton, which recently debuted with a Four Seasons hotel and a restaurant (condos to follow), is taller. The Prudential Tower and neighboring 111 Huntington Avenue are like skyscraper power forwards. But 1000 Boylston will loom over the Berklee College of Music campus next door, and Newbury Street across the Pike, like Shaquille O'Neal towers over Peter Dinklage.

And there is a shadow problem.

“While we support the goals of eliminating a hole in the urban fabric caused by the turnpike, linking neighborhoods, and activating Boylston Street, we have a number of concerns about the shadows from 1000 Boylston,” said Liz Vizza, executive director of Friends of the Public Garden, in this March 2018 Beacon Hill Times article. “Shadows cast by the proposed project will impact Commonwealth Avenue Mall, public parkland which is enjoyed by many throughout the year. We hope that the project can provide value for the community while being well integrated into its surroundings and causing no adverse impact to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.”

I'm not sure whether the project has received all approvals from the City and State. Even once Weiner gets the "go" sign, this development will take quite a while to reach completion, what with construction of decking over the Pike and a building that will rise nearly 500 feet.

The new building will abut an edifice that currently houses Bukowski Tavern -- named for the late postal worker turned writer Charles Bukowski, chronicler of the everyday man, the alcoholic, the wretch, whose fictionalized life can be seen in the movie "Barfly" -- and Kings, a bowling, eating and drinking destination.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Good Kind of Plaque

From Dave Brigham:

Downtown Boston offers a treasure trove of plaques marking historic events, people and locations. Here are two I recently spotted....

Located on the outer wall of 26 Court Street, a plot of land near Boston City Hall with a rich history that I'll get to in a moment, this plaque recognizes John Augustus, considered the "Father of Probation." It reads, in part:

"Moved by the plight of the unfortunate in the jails and prisons of his day, a humbled Boston shoemaker began a great movement in the reformation of offenders when in 1841 he took from the court for a period of probation one who under his care and with his friendship became a man again."

To read more about Augustus, who was born in Woburn, Mass., in 1785, read this article about the history of probation.

Now, back to 26 Court Street. The City of Boston has owned that plot longer than any other in the Hub, according to this WBUR article. In the 1600's, it was the site of Boston's first jail. "It was there that the pirate Captain Kidd was held before being sent back to London where he was tried and hanged in 1701," according to the WBUR article.

In 1836, the City built a courthouse on this location. "That courthouse is where the federal government encroached upon Massachusetts," said Beverly Morgan-Welch, executive director of the Museum of African American History and the African Meeting House, in the article. "In 1851, abolitionists stormed the courthouse and came to the rescue of fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins. But it was a different story for Thomas Sims, when an attempt to rescue him from the courthouse failed," the article continues.

The courthouse was torn down in 1909, replaced in 1912 by the building that now stands there. That structure was originally the City Hall Annex, and it featured columns from the original courthouse. In 1969, 26 Court Street became home to the Boston School Department. That group vacated the building four or five years ago. The City has been looking to sell it since that time.

Just a musket shot away on State Street I found this memorial:

It reads: "Near this site was the first house in Boston of John Winthrop. Born 1588 - died 1649. Governor of Massachusetts for twelve years. First elected October 20, 1629. Brought the charter from England, June 12, 1630. This tablet placed by the City of Boston 1930."

The plaque doesn't make it clear, but Winthrop was the first governor of Massachusetts. The nearby town of Winthrop was named after him. I poked around that town a lot a few years ago when my son was really into checking out planes flying into Logan Airport. For a little flavor of that town, see "Working Our Way Around Winthrop" from March 14, 2017.

This plaque is located on the outer wall of Exchange Place, a building that I recently featured (see June 17, 2019, "Stairs Exchanging Places").

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Back Streets, Oh Boy

From Dave Brigham:

Boston's South End is a hot market right now, with developers working on or proposing large new projects all across the neighborhood, as I alluded to in a recent post (see February 23, 2019, "Exchanging Flowers for Life Science"). While some of these projects involve rehabbing existing warehouse and factory buildings, others call for demolition and replacement with taller structures.

City officials have been surprised by some of this action. “We didn’t think we would see so much development here,” said Marie Mercurio of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) in this 2018 article from the Boston Sun. She was referring to the Harrison-Albany Corridor, which "is bounded by the Massachusetts Turnpike to the east, Albany Street/Southeast Expressway/Massachusetts Avenue Connector to the south; generally Massachusetts Avenue to the west; and generally Washington Street/Harrison Avenue to the north," per the BPDA's Harrison-Albany Corridor web site.

From 2009 to 2012 the BPDA worked with various groups in the South End -- property owners, business owners, residents, institutions -- to develop a strategic plan for the corridor. Four sub-areas were created, along with draft vision statements for each, per the BPDA web site. Then the group developed an open space plan, analyzed existing and future land uses, studied transportation and infrastructure, envisioned potential development scenarios, identified economic development potential, and developed an implementation plan that included recommendations for new zoning text and map amendments. The plan was adopted and spurred various developments and future projects.

I have to say I was shocked at how much development was going on in the Back Streets area of the South End. I'd never stepped foot in this section of Boston before, and I immediately wished I had done so much, much sooner in my nearly three decades of living in Greater Boston. My only previous ventures into the South End had been minimal: Drinks at Clery's on Dartmouth Street a few times when my wife was in law school in the mid-'90s; dropping in at kids' clothing and toy store Tadpole to see if they would consider selling my children's book (they never got back to me); a family jaunt to the SoWa Market; a photo-snapping trek for this very blog that you're reading (see April 8, 2018, "Tom Cruise Slept Here...Well, Maybe").

None of those explorations touched on the Back Streets district, which is bounded by Albany, Malden and East Brookline streets, and Harrison Avenue. This area is filled with beautiful old warehouses and factory buildings that once housed furniture and piano-making companies. The South End has long been known as a diverse community, home to white and African-American middle class residents, particularly immigrants during the 20th century. During the middle part of last century, the South End was a jazz Mecca. Sadly only Wally's is left from that heyday. The neighborhood began to attract a population of gay residents in the 1940's, per Wikipedia. In the 1970s and '80s, the South End saw many artists move into the warehouse and factory spaces. This population is still going strong in the South End, but it has dwindled in recent years as younger, more affluent residents move in to new and rehabbed developments.

Just off the Southeast Expressway, the Back Streets is undergoing major changes, just like so many other areas of Boston. I spent some time in this area late last year. Here's what I found. Note: things have obviously changed in some of these locations since I was there....

I parked on Wareham Street, across from a nice row of old warehouse/loft buildings that now house, among other businesses, two fashion companies, a massage school, an antique lighting outfit and an interior design firm. With so many new developments popping up around here, and the former Flower Exchange project on tap (see linked article in first paragraph), buildings like this that mix small businesses with artist lofts may go the way of the dodo.

On the opposite side of Wareham Street, near its intersection with Albany Street, is the condo building known as 88 Wareham. With 27 high-end condos and an automated, underground parking system, this place caters to, you guessed it, rich young people. When I took the shot above several months ago, the building (on the left) wasn't completed; I believe it is now. I don't know what 88 Wareham replaced. On the right of the photo is the back of 90 Wareham/519 Albany Street, also home to condos, in addition to M. Miller Furs, something called Ecologic Entomology and Visiting Angels, among other businesses. That building was once a piano factory, one of many that filled this area with the sounds of, well, whatever tools and machines were once used to build pianos.

On the opposite corner from 90 Wareham/519 Albany is 535-543 Albany, home to Marc Hall Design, Hunter Gallery Design, Hidden Kitchen restaurant and advertising agency Proverb, among other businesses. I'm guessing this place was once home to a piano factory or warehouse or related business. The Boston Globe profiled the building and its many small, creative businesses several years ago, and indicated the building dates to 1896. There are several artists working here. I hope they are able to remain here as rents rise in the Back Streets neighborhood.

The biggest project going on in this area right now was known initially as the Harrison Albany Block; the development is now called The Smith. It is fronted by 575 Albany Street (below), and when it's completed, will feature two new apartment buildings that will include retail, restaurant and cultural space, according to the project's official web site.

Here's a view of the side of 575 Albany (below), with heavy equipment rising behind on the massive project.

"The Smith, which is named for the artisan history in the area south of Washington Street, is a 650,000 SF mixed use development that will bring residential housing, including an onsite affordable component and artist live/work units, to Boston’s South End," according to the web site for developer Leggat McCall. "In addition, there will be retail and cultural space on the ground floors of the building and surface parking will be replaced with an underground 650-car parking garage."

I'm glad that the developer is at least paying lip service to the current reality of this area, by offering artist live/work units. I'm curious to see how that works out.

Above is a photo of the rear of 575 Albany Street from East Canton Street. This view is surely much different now. Below, a shot taken further up East Canton, heading toward Harrison Avenue. This area was previously comprised of small buildings and parking lots owned by Boston Medical Center.

Next door to 575 Albany is Boston Wholesale Flowers, in the middle of the photo below.

I love this combination of buildings, and wish that none of them would ever change in any way. But that's not realistic, is it? I'm not sure whether Boston Flower Market, at the left edge of the picture, is part of the same company. Squeezed in between these two floral businesses is Panagea Soumela, also known as the Pontian Society, a Greek cultural organization.

Continuing southwest to the corner of Albany and East Canton Street, I found the Baha'i Center.

The Baha'i faith puts an "emphasis on the unity of all people, openly rejecting notions of racism and nationalism," per Wikipedia. "At the heart of Bahá'í teachings is the goal of a unified world order that ensures the prosperity of all nations, races, creeds, and classes."

I have serious doubts about the ability of the flower shops, the Greek club and the Baha'i gathering spot to continue here in the face of development pressure.

I pivoted at the corner of Albany and East Brookline streets, but not before snapping a photo of this amazing sign.

The Naval Blood Research Laboratory is part of Boston University and Boston Medical Center. That is all.

The beauty in the photo above is The Groton, one of four former Lawrence Model Lodging Houses dating to 1874 on East Canton Street. These places have been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983, per Wikipedia. They were built with funds from industrialist and financier Abbott Lawrence, the founder of Lawrence, Mass., who left a $50,000 bequest to provide housing for the poor, Wikipedia says.

On the other side of The Smith development, I found this ghost sign along East Dedham Street.

I believe this place at 72-74 East Dedham, also seen below, was once a police station. There is a newer police facility along nearby Harrison Avenue. This building, which sits right across from the new mega-development, is now home to Wediko Children's Services.

There wasn't a heck of a lot more to see along East Dedham, but I really liked the look of Plympton Street. Below is what I believe is the former location of landscape architecture firm Foliaire, which is now situated in South Boston. Or perhaps it's a storage facility for the company. I haven't been able to find out the history of this little building, but I assume it was a warehouse for a piano or furniture company back in the day.

Next is 34 Plympton, below. In the background we see the backs of the buildings on Wareham Street that started our tour. Again, I don't know what this building was at birth; it's now condos.

One more building away is 40 Plympton, home to Boston Sign. While the company appears to be hanging on here, its days could be numbered. In an article in My South End nearly five years ago, the company owners are quoted: "If you guys decide to make Back Streets a residential neighborhood it will force us out of the City. Our light industrial use is not compatible with residents...we make signs here."

I don't know what this used to be, but I'm guessing storage or machine shop for a factory.

Below is the backside of 71-73 Wareham, home to....I have no idea.

Below is 52 Plympton, which looks like it was once a garage. Maybe a fire or police station? Or perhaps related to a factory, with worker housing above? Now it appears to be condos/apartments.

The last building along Plympton, below, is actually the back of 541 Albany Street, home to Proverb, and profiled above.

Finally, a little something different.

This plaque on Special Unit, Engine Co. 3 on the corner of Wareham Street and Harrison Avenue, recognizes the completion in 1940 of this fire house. In the top left corner you can see (I hope) a relief of a firefighter helmet, axes and a hose. The Back Streets district of the South End was a much different place 79 years ago when this first responder building went up. Unlike the artists, small businesses and lower-income folks who've needed to find new neighborhoods in recent years of gentrification in the South End, at least the fire station is sure to remain for decades to come.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Wool-d You Like to Join Me For a Walk?

From Dave Brigham:

(Plaque at the corner of Summer and Melcher streets recognizing the century from 1900 to 2000 as the time when Boston was the wool capital of the United States.)

I never tire of walking around Boston. I can always find new and interesting photo subjects, even in places that I've walked by and driven past before. Recently I strolled along the section of Boston's Summer Street once known as the center of the nation's wool trade. From the summary of a 2008 Boston Landmarks Commission report covering the Fort Point Channel Landmark District: "Boston became the nation’s most important wool marketplace, and the center of the wool trade was Summer Street." These buildings were used as warehouses by other industries over the years as well.

Located just slightly southeast of the South Station train terminal, across the Fort Point Channel, this area of Summer Street is notable for the uniformity of the beautiful old warehouses and manufacturing buildings erected by the Boston Wharf Company, which developed the Fort Point Channel neighborhood between 1836 and 1882, per Wikipedia. You'll know you've arrived when you see the Boston Wharf Company sign (see photo below), which has lit up this South Boston neighborhood for more than 100 years, I believe. For a nice history of this area, check out this Boston.com article.

"The Boston Wharf Company parceled out all of the lots and laid out all of the streets from scratch, naming the streets after officers in the company and principal tenants in the buildings: Binford, Farnsworth, Melcher, Midway, Sleeper and Stillings streets, Necco Court, Thomson Place," per Wikipedia. "The Boston Wharf Company constructed most of the buildings for the manufacture and storage of a wide variety of goods, beginning with sugar and molasses and branching out into the wool trade by the end of the 19th century. Concurrently, the company enlarged its operations to become a chief developer of warehouse and industrial facilities for local railroads and shipping companies. This district made Boston the main production and marketing center for wool for clothing and fabrics during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the wool trade declined, the district's buildings were abandoned. Artists gradually moved into the large, well-lit warehouse loft spaces, thus creating New England's largest enclave of artists, the Fort Point Arts Community."

Fort Point is still home to more than 300 artists, per the arts community web site, including painters, photographers, sculptors, designers, ceramicists, performance artists, jewelers, book artists and digital media artists. The neighborhood, like so many others in Boston, has seen development encroach in recent years, what with the massive projects that have taken over the adjacent Seaport District.

But this small stretch of historic buildings, part of the Fort Point Channel Landmark District, and others in the vicinity, remind residents and visitors alike of times gone by, and will most likely stay pretty much intact for the foreseeable future. Let's see what's there, starting with the south side of the street.

In the photo above we're looking at the same buildings in the previous photo, from the other side. This is 263 Summer (left) and 253 Summer (right). 253 was built in 1902 as part of the New England Confectionary Company factory. For more on Necco's buildings in this area, see April 22, 2018, "Fort Point Channel -- It's Electric!"; for more on the company history, see January 5, 2019, "There Was No Way-fer to Necco To Carry On." Tenants at this building include Amazon.com.

As for 263, I haven't found anything about its history, or list of current tenants.

Built in 1910 of yellow brick, 273 Summer, above, is home to a showroom for Knoll, Inc., a furniture and interior design company. The company lists its address as 281 Summer, so I'm not sure if it has moved since I took this photo, or if the preferred address is 281, since the buildings are adjacent, and perhaps connected internally. Below is 281 Summer:

Businesses at 281, which dates to 1904, include TIBCO Software, publisher McGraw-Hill and architecture firm Dimella Shaffer.

Walking along this side of Summer Street, amid all the beautifully restored and maintained warehouse and factory buildings, I was pleasantly surprised to get this view.

This is the side of 326 A Street, which passes below Summer at this point. I wasn't able to determine what this word salad of old painted ads said, but somebody else was: Terkelsen Building and Terkelsen Machine Co., which, according to a Flickr user I found, manufactured "spiral washing machines."

Next is 311 Summer, built in 1904 by Morton Safford, who designed and constructed many buildings in this district, for the Dwinell-Wright Coffee Company.

This building was sold last year to a Qatar-based investor for $38.5 million. It is home to Stantec, an architecture and interior design firm.

Next is 321 Summer Street, built in 1911 for the Howes Brothers Leather Company.

The leather company went out of business in 1994, I believe. There was a For Lease sign on the building when I snapped the picture. Not sure what might have moved in since then.

Next is 327-333 Summer Street, below.

This one was built in 1911 by the Boston Wharf Company and was at one point occupied by Joseph Middleby Jr., Inc., a bakery supply company. I'm not sure what, if anything, is currently located here. The building suffered from a major fire in December 2013.

This is the extent of these wonderful buildings on the south side. Let's check out the north side of Summer Street.

The first one on the north side is #320, below, built in 1888 by Morton Safford for J.S. Williams Stores. The space is now home to software company LogMeIn.

Right next next door is 312 Summer, below, which was built in 1904 as a wool warehouse.

I'm not sure what's in here now.

The next building on our tour is a little more grand than the others: 300 Summer Street, aka The Artist Building.

Built in 1898, this beauty is so special it even has its own web site. According to the site, "The southern sides of the lower levels of the building feature an exposed seawall from the early days of filling the 'South Boston Flats.' The steel-reinforced concrete beams include iron fasteners from which once hung bales of wool. The modest arching stairwell tiles are by architect and builder Rafael Guastavino.

The Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) acquired the building in 1992 and converted it to 48 primary residence live/work studios and seven arts-related commercial condominiums, per the web site. I featured this building in a previous post about Somerville and Charlestown, as 300 Summer was once home to Acme Bookbinding (see March 16, 2019, "Where Am I? Somertown? Charlesville?").

Our penultimate stop is 280 Summer Street.

Built in 1898 by Boston Wharf, this place is now home to workout supplements company Force Factor, among others.

Finally, we reach 274-278 Summer. I'll admit, there are a few more buildings on the north side of the street; I don't recall why I didn't snap their pictures.

This is another Boston Wharf building designed by Morton Safford and built in 1898. Current tenants include Vanderweil Engineers.

To read more -- a LOT more -- about this historic district, check out the Boston Landmarks Commission's study report on the Fort Point Channel Landmark District.

For more about the spoils (and losses) of the local wool trade, see December 18, 2018, "Checking Out America's First Condo Complex," about Beaconsfield Terraces in Brookline, Mass., which was developed by wool importer Eugene Knapp.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Readin', Writin' and Wreckin'

From Dave Brigham:

This is the former North Branch Library in Waltham, Mass., about which I know one thing, and about which I have one guess: the city has been trying to lease it out for the past seven years, and, most likely, some of the very kids who once borrowed books from this fine little institution have trashed the inside of this place.

Located next to the complex on Lexington Street where both a middle school and high school are located, the old library was most recently a teen center, and sits adjacent to the Chester Brook Corridor, which "consists of a sequence of properties under the ownership and control of various public and private entities," per the Waltham Land Trust. "Taken together, these properties form a continuous, though sometimes narrow, green space connecting the former Middlesex County Hospital lands with the Storer Conservation Lands surrounding [the Robert Treat Paine Estate]."

For more about this area of Waltham (and other parts), see March 20, 2017, "Brigham in Waltham, Part III."

The City of Waltham indicates that allowable uses for the property include a rooming house, a family day care, medical offices and a church, among others.