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Advocates break ground on Alvah Kittredge House rehabilitation

Posted by Patrick Rosso  June 19, 2013 01:01 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

A view of the structure from the front.

A bit of deteriorating history will be preserved in Roxbury after Historic Boston Inc. broke ground on the rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House Tuesday afternoon.

Located on Linwood Street, the Greek revival mansion boasts more than 6,000-square-feet of living space with its towering columns, elegant façade, and winding staircases.

It was constructed in 1836 by Alvah Kittredge, a Roxbury alderman, famed furniture maker, and deacon at the Eliot Congregational Church. It has also been called home by a number of famous figures including Nathaniel Bradlee, a prominent Boston architect.

On Tuesday, representatives from Historic Boston, a real-estate development nonprofit, and city leaders, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino, announced the $3.8 million effort to remake the property.

“It gives the community an anchor and a sense of where it came from,” said Kathy Kottaridis, executive director of Historic Boston. “It tells the whole story of the neighborhood and represents a type of building you don’t find in Boston.”

The Boston Redevelopment Authority, which turned over ownership of the property to Historic Boston, took control of the house by eminent domain in 2011 to save it from further decay.

The city has contributed several hundred thousand dollars to the project to help preserve the landmark and aid in the construction of affordable housing. Money was also raised through fundraising and Historic Boston’s Trilogy Fund.

“Kittredge House is a special building in a special neighborhood,” Mayor Menino said in a statement. “It is a great example of the magic that historic Boston works with our old treasures in the City of Boston. We are happy to have helped them get to a groundbreaking and in sight of a ribbon-cutting for new homes for Boston residents.”

Eventually, five two-bedroom units will be constructed in the building.

Because both state and federal historic tax credits are being used for the project, two of the units will be affordable rentals for five years and will eventually be sold as condos. The other three units, once completed, will be sold as condos at a market rate price.

Tuesday’s ground breaking was an important moment in the building’s long history. It serves as a symbol of both Boston’s architectural history and a reminder of the mansions that populated Roxbury before it became a Boston neighborhood.

“This is what our kids in the neighborhood need to see,” said Kai Grant, 43, president of the John Eliot Square Neighborhood Association. “I haven’t seen this house active since I was five; it’s a sign of resurgence and of our rich history.”

The fifth-generation Roxbury resident added that although it is a special day for Roxbury, it’s also an important day city-wide.

“It’s part of our foot print, it’s part of our legacy," added Grant.

The project is expected to begin immediately, with heavy work starting in July. Officials with Historic Boston said they hope to have the rehab, which includes extensive structural repair, completed by February.

“This is a terrific investment for the city,” said Sheila Dillon, director of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development. “Not only do we get to preserve a historic building, but we get to provide housing as well. It’s a win-win for us.”

For a tour inside the house, via, click here.

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

A view of the structure from the rear.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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