Friday, January 26, 2018

Jamaica Plain Has Plenty of Flair

From That Same Old Guy:

Driving around Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood searching for the Boston Beer Company (see December 9, 2017, "Artist Thinks: I HAF to Fix That Smokestack"), I cruised past this place and knew I had to make my way back. And so I will, but first I want to share some other sights from around the Egleston Square neighborhood near the brewery.

The neighborhood, like much of Jamaica Plain, is a mix of hipster gentrifiers (with their fitness clubs, tea bars and architecture firms) and long-time residents, many of them black and Hispanic (with their barber shops, small markets and nail salons). Per Wikipedia, the population in 2010 was 38% Non-Hispanic White, 33% Hispanic or Latino, 20% Non-Hispanic Black or African-American, 6% Asian-American and 3% Other.

There are a lot of cool old houses tucked in off Washington Street, alongside apartment complexes, low-slung restaurants, shops and businesses, and imposing old brick buildings. The neighborhood is in the beginning stages of transforming into a more upscale place, like much of the rest of Boston in recent years. I walked past the future home of 3200 Washington Street, a 73-unit apartment development that will have ground-floor retail. The pile-driving was constant and unpleasant.

There are at least six other housing developments in the works for Washington Street, according to this two-year-old WBUR article. Those in the neighborhood on the lower end of the economic scale are naturally worried that eventually they will be priced out of their longtime homes.

Rita Alcaráz, an Egleston Square resident, says in the article that the new developments will force out people of color. She said Latinos will have to commute to maintenance and restaurant jobs at places like 3200 Washington. "And who's going to work here? Us,” Alcaráz said in Spanish. “Because white people aren't going to work here for 9, 10, 11 dollars an hour. So we'll have to commute from far away to come and work in Egleston."

Gentrification is a complicated matter that I'm not qualified to get into further.

One of the most striking houses I saw on my stroll around the neighborhood was at 9 Germania Street.

I've been unable to find out anything about this three-story home with the fading blue paint, other than that it was built in 1880. The mansard roof and top three windows look relatively new, but the rest of the house has missing and damaged details.

Another cool, if somewhat odd-looking, house is the yellow building on Amory Street, below, which is the former German Club, according to a Boston Landmarks Commission brochure. This area of Jamaica Plain was once known as Boylston Station, named after a nearby train station (now the Stony Brook station on the MBTA's Orange line), and was home to many German immigrants and businesses such as breweries.

Built in 1890, this building became known as Boylston Hall. In 1919 the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association (formerly known as the Helen Weld House) purchased Boylston Hall and began offering vocational classes, social services, a kindergarten program and social events. The JPNHA ended services in 1997, and the building is now apartments. For more on the house and the neighborhood, read this blog post.

The old Haffenreffer facility now used by Boston Beer Co., which I profiled last month, was one of two dozen breweries in Jamaica Plain and nearby Roxbury in the early 20th century. I walked past the imposing former Franklin Brewery on Washington Street and took this shot.

Like many of the other area breweries, Franklin shuttered with the onset of Prohibition in 1918. The building has been home to various moving and storage companies for much of the last 100 years. For more on the various breweries that once populated this area, read this really great article.

There's such a great stock of old brick buildings in Jamaica Plain. Can I start calling it JP now? Thanks. I had limited time so I didn't get to shoot too many of them. One of my favorites is this one.

Green Supermarket is located in the former Papineau's Livery Stable, which is right next to the one-time Patrick Meehan's Carriage factory, per some brochures I found online from the Boston Landmarks Commission and Historic Boston. I can't make out the ghost signs. If anybody can, leave a comment below.

The cool old buildings and ghost signs in the neighborhood are really great, but I was most impressed by the public art on display. I shouldn't have been surprised, as JP is a known artist enclave.

Located outside Stonybrook Fine Arts, Morris Norvin's Recycled David of course echoes Michelangelo's world-famous David sculpture.

On the outer walls of buildings in the Boston Beer complex I spied these beauties:

(There's a lot here. From the top: farming, the Haffenreffer brewery, an Egleston Square trolley and horse-drawn wagon, Hatoff's gas station, Doyle's pub (a great place), Compadres Meat Market, hippie protesters ("Bikes Not Bombs"), a nod to Clover restaurant/food truck and Crop Circle Kitchen incubator, a farmers' market and Samuel Adams beer.)

(Here we see a lovely domestic scene. A message in Spanish is along the left border. The woman is literally radiating, and perhaps is meant to suggest the Virgin Mary.)

This mural of an Orange line train is one of many adorning the outside walls of the CityPOP Egleston and Boston Makers building on Washington Street. Located in a former glass factory, the pop-up art space and maker space are only temporary, however, as the building waits for redevelopment, according to the CityPOP web site.

OK, now I've come full circle. The house in the photo at the top of this post is amazing.

Purchased in the latter half of 2016 by City Realty Group, which also owns the CityPop/Boston Makers site, this house got a make-over from the Avenue of Arts collaborative of street artists, according to this Boston magazine article.

The house was abandoned, and City Realty plans to redevelop the site. But in the meantime, "the little house on Green Street" shines as a testament to folks from different walks of life working together to improve a neighborhood.

According to Zillow, the house was built in 1835.

I definitely need to get back to Jamaica Plain, and to start exploring other Boston neighborhoods.

No comments:

Post a Comment