|Existing Conditions and Proposed Restoration|
1299 Massachusetts, located in Edward Everett
Square, was purchased by Living Stream Ministry for
joint use with a local Christian congregation, "Church in Boston." Construction / restoration work has been underway for several
Architect William (Buddy) Christopher states that the
church has been working with the BRA to restore the building
authentically, consistent with its original look and complimentary to
the existing artistic presentation in EE Square. While there are
subtle differences in windows, for example, and a new third floor, the
overall appearance hearkens back to the building's original appearance
close to 100 years ago.
Photos below were taken at the site on December 21, 2010. Roche-Christopher
Architecture, LLC had placed printed visual renderings in the windows.
Apparently these were damaged by condensation which is why the image on the
right appears "a bit streaky." Still the comparison of the two images
is striking especially with the backdrop of the Boston skyline.
Road Changes at Turn of the Century Created 1299 Mass Ave
Massachusetts Avenue, Columbia Road and Boston Street are the primary streets
associated with the intersection known as "Edward Everett Square." Today, Cottage Street is rarely mentioned, and
most traffic is unaware that this street even exists on both sides of
Columbia Road. Yet historic maps of Boston from 1874 through 1933
show that Cottage Street was once the dominant N/S crossroad of the
By 1904, Edward Everett Square had come into existence along with a
major change to the road system including a new extension of
Massachusetts Avenue terminating there. Out of this new road grid
was created a triangular-shaped plot of land where Mass Ave and Cottage
Street intersected. In 1917, the owner, John
Gillespie, built a garage on the site and as of 1929, the new owner was issued an
official occupancy of "Garage Repair Shop and Show Room." Two
addresses were used interchangeably for the garage - 708 Columbia Rd and 1299 Massachusetts
Since then, the building has seen multiple uses, most of them related
to car repair and car sales but it was also used as an employment agency and a fruit
stand. Note the photos below and the photo captions.
Even as late of 2010, the Newmarket Employment sign can be seen clearly in the second floor
window while the New Market Farm Stand is advertising "Oranges - 4/$4.00"
Notice that the original building had two
stories at the curve but only one story back along both sides.
In the new design, all of that has been filled in to create a full three floors for the entire building.
The Dorchester Historical Society presents a nice historic summary of
the building as part of their DIOTD - Dorchester Illustration of the
Day. Click here.
Was the Original Building (Garage) Built in 1917 or 1929?
The Living Stream Ministry website states that the garage was built in
the late 1920's. Others have suggested the garage existed at the turn of the century.
Boston Inspectional Services documents and historic maps provide
helpful information that pinpoints a construction date of 1917 for the first
building and that it was a garage.
|April 12, 1929
Gillespie, owner, applies for a building permit with current and future
uses "garage." Note: Map shows owner is M Wilber Gillespie.
|June 18, 1929
||M Wilbur Gillespie, owner, applies for building permit. He
states a current use of "garage, repair shop, stores" and a future
occupancy of "Garage - Repair Shop - Show Room."
|May 16, 1947
||The building owner is Walter McDonough Co, the address is 708 Columbia
Rd and the permit applicant sites a "garage permit" issued
6/28/1917. McDonough Co is owned by Walter M. McDonough who lived
at 21 Melbourne Rd in Dorchester. At that time, he stated that
the building is currently used as a garage.
|June 9, 2003
||Permit requests that five lots (# 3597,
3598, 3599, 3600 and 3601) be combined into one lot. This permit
cites a legal occupancy of "Garage repair shop and show room" Doc
# 236 / 1929.
permit was issued June 28, 1917 to owner John Gillespie and a new brick
building appears on the 1918 map covering the entire plot of land but
does not label the building as "garage." An April 1929 permit
indicated "current use" as garage.
- In June, 1929 the new building owner, M. Wilbur
Gillespie, took out a permit that also upgraded occupancy to "Garage - Repair Shop - Show Room." A
does show on the 1933 map.
Click here to view 1299 Mass Ave website
Note: The Dorchester Historical Society's blog suggests an
original construction date in the range 1910 to 1918. According
to Earl Taylor, they used that range because the 1910 map did not show
a brick building while the 1918 one did. Historical Society Blog
"The original building,
built between 1910 and 1918 as a garage, had two stories at the curve
but only one story back along both sides."
History of 1299 Massachusetts Avenue through Maps
Beginning with 1874
In 1874 Stoughton Street served as the northerly route from Pleasant
Street through Uphams Corner, still retaining the name Stoughton Street
until past Brook Ave where the name changed to Dudley
Street ran east / west through Uphams Corner but as it intersected
Stoughton Street, the name changed to Boston Street because it ran
directly to South Boston.
Further east and parallel to Stoughton Street was Cottage Street. Starting at Dorchester Ave, Cottage Street
north/south crossroad. At its intersection with Pleasant Street, Cottage Street continued north on the
side of a parcel of land, most of which was owned by John Richardson (from whence
the name, Richardson Park), while Pond Street, a lesser road, ran on
the east side.
Sumner Street, both Cottage and Pond Streets intersected with Boston
Street. Pond Street terminated there while Cottage Street continued north through the
intersection into Boston.
Bringing it current:
- The name "Stoughton Street" stops at Columbia Road, changing to "Dudley Street" as it crosses the intersection.
- Columbia Street is now Columbia Road
Road continues east through the Uphams Corner intersection while Boston
Street doesn't start until Edward Everett Square
Closeup of Intersection in 1874 A closeup of the intersection of Boston and Cottage
Streets shows that it is already "busy." While Cottage Street is the major
street on the west side of the Richardson parcel, Pond Street is adding to the
complexity of the intersection.
Notice the large parcel of land at the intersection of Cottage and Boston Streets on the east side. (Where is Mass Ave?)
Bringing it current:
- The large parcel of land at Cottage and Boston Streets on the
east side was reconfigured when the road that became Massachusetts
Avenue dissected the parcel into two separate parcels, one of which
became 1299 Massachusetts Avenue. See map of 1889.
1889 Saw the Beginnings of Massachusetts Avenue in EE Square
East Chester Park, as shown on the map of 1889, is the
first iteration of what eventually became Massachusetts Avenue. The
triangular plot of land that now remains at the intersection of East
Chester Park and Cottage Street is owned by Hrs. (Heirs of) Ellen
Gillespie, likely the original owner of the land in that form.
The intersection has grown more complex:
- Boston and Cottage Streets are cross streets, each continuing through the intersection
- East Chester Park and Pond Street terminate at the intersection
By 1904 Significant Changes had taken place Including the Naming of EE SquareThe 1904 map shows
significant changes. Edward Everett Square has been named and
East Chester Park has been renamed to Massachusetts Avenue.
of Ellen Gillespie are still the owner(s) of the property though it
appear that a second building has been constructed on the site.
According to the Index map, the color yellow indicates a building of
1910 - Property Changes Hands but Stays in the Family
The property appears the same six years later in 1910 but the owner has changed to John Y Gillespie.
Boston Map of 1918By
the time of the 1918 map, the owner(s) had
constructed a brick building (color red indicates brick) covering the
entire plot of land. The map indicates that M Wilber Gillespie is
the owner but a building permit in April 1929 indicates that John still
is. At a minimum the property remains within the Gillespie family.
1933 Map Shows Property as GarageThe
property is still owned by the same person but his name has changed in
spelling from "M. Wilber Gillespie" to "M Milbur Gillespie." The
same building still exists, but has been updated to indicate the
building is a "garage."
Compare the two maps from 1918 and 1933. The newer map has many
small "brown boxes." While the Index map does not provide an explanation, these likely are garages.
2012 Map - EE Square Intersection Redesigned
A major redesign of
Edward Everett Square in the late 1900's isolated Cottage Street so
that neither side terminates in the intersection. Outside of
that, Edward Everett Square remains pretty much the same in 2012 as it
looked in 1933.
Note: Map images are from various issues of The Bromley Atlas and may be found at the Dorchester Atheneum
as well as HistoricMapWorks.com
Your comments will be posted here and in the Letters to the Editor after processing.
Posted: November 28, 2012
Nancy J Conrad