Spotlight on DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program for Preservation Month

May is Preservation Month! The National Trust for Historic Preservation has set this year’s theme as “People Saving Places” and for us, there is no better way to do that than to put the spotlight on DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. 

Within the Commonwealth’s 450,000 acres of state parks and forests are a number of unused, historically significant buildings. Established in 1994, the Historic Curatorship Program partners DCR with Curators who rehabilitate, manage and maintain unused, historic properties in return for a long-term lease. In doing so, DCR secures the long-term preservation of threatened historic sites for the public’s benefit, and Curators exchange an investment and their hard work and unique skills for the opportunity to live or work in a one-of-a-kind location. 

Curatorship properties are preserved through a wide range of reuses – residential, non-profit, for profit, hospitality and museums, and must be compatible with the historic and natural character of the setting. You can learn more by watching this engaging video about the program. 

Here at AHF, we salute all the Curators and we thank DCR for spearheading such an effective and ground-breaking program. As the National Trust says: “historic place-savers pour their time, energy, resources (and sometimes a great deal of sweat and tears) into protecting places they care about.” And for the Curators that have invested and preserved these unique and historic properties across the Commonwealth, that definitely describes you! Throughout the month, we will highlight a few of our favorite properties to shed a bit of light on this ground-breaking historic preservation program. 

We’d love to see the Historic Curatorship Program continue to expand and for more properties to benefit from the attention and dedication provided by this public-private partnership. Interested? There are properties open for proposals in Monterey, Shutesbury, and Milton right now! Learn more here.

Want to learn more about becoming a resident curator? The curators of the Dodge House in the Bradley Palmer State Park in Hamilton have recorded their fascinating journey on their blog. Read more here.

Speedway Administration Building, Charles River Reservation, Brighton

Yes, we had to start with this one. The Charles River Speedway is near and dear to our hearts, as AHF is the Curator of this property!

One of the first structures built by the fledgling Metropolitan Parks Commission in 1899, the Speedway represents the earliest history of the nation’s first metropolitan park system. Architect William D. Austin’s dramatic shingle style masterpiece served as the headquarters for the Speedway – a horse racing track hugging the Charles River. 

In 2019,  Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF)  began a 40-year lease to rehabilitate the property as a mixed-use community space. After years of vacancy, this landmark started its new life and opened to the public in 2021. Today, the Charles River Speedway is home to Notch Brewery and several small businesses, including The Koji Club, Super Bien, Pizza Project, Birds of Paradise, Bellwether Salon, and flexible event spaces at Garage B and The Annex. 

Learn more about the history of The Speedway and its current role as a vibrant community hub here. 

Walter Baker Chocolate Factory, Dorchester 

Built in 1919 as the Administration Building for the sprawling Baker Chocolate Factory, this Classic Revival style office building serves as the centerpiece of one of Greater Boston’s most successful historic preservation projects. 

In November, 2000, Keen Development Corporation, in conjunction with Preservation Mass, became the Curator of the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory Administration Building, signing a 50-year lease. Keen Development finished the restoration of the building in 2002, which includes 13 artist live/work lofts, gallery space, and meeting rooms arranged around a three-story central atrium. Today, the historic building also hosts Dot Art, a non-profit offering art education for neighborhood youth. 

Bascom Lodge, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, Adams 

Opened in 1937, the Civilian Conservation Corps built Bascom Lodge during the depths of the Great Depression. Perched on top of Mt. Greylock, the state’s highest mountain, the iconic property was designed in an architectural style that would later influence a generation of America’s National Park buildings. Constructed of local stone quarried from the mountain, and old growth red spruce timbers, the mountaintop lodge is the centerpiece of a 12,500 acre wilderness park. 

In May 2009, DCR selected a Curator to operate, rehabilitate and maintain Bascom Lodge. The Curators continue the decades-long tradition of providing quality food, lodging and programs for visitors to Mt. Greylock State Reservation. 

Learn more about Bascom Lodge here. 

Wachusett Superintendent’s House, Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, Princeton

Built as an office and residence for Wachusett Mountain State Reservation’s first Superintendent, Guy Chase, this is one of the first buildings built by the fledgling state park agency in 1903. Without a core use, the building sat vacant for 30+ years. DCR continued to invest in the stabilization of the house, but an active reuse was needed to reconnect the property with the public. 

In 2018, the Curators signed a 40-year lease to fully rehabilitate, maintain, and manage the house and garage as a bakery, cafe, and community gathering place. Today, Mountainside Bakery and Cafe serves as a destination for hikers and day trippers looking for a good meal and a place to rest. 

Visit to learn more about the project.

The Dodge House, Bradley Palmer State Park, Hamilton

So far, we have highlighted properties that are being used for mostly commercial purposes. But what about the resident curators out there, putting their time, energy and money into historic state properties that will become their homes? For an insider’s look at the challenges, obstacles, and ultimate huge reward, take a look at the fascinating journey of the curators of the Dodge House in the Bradley Palmer State Park. Read more here.

AHF Announces Underutilized Property Program Consulting Services

Do you have a stuck project? The Massachusetts Underutilized Properties Program could be a great opportunity to move planning, feasibility studies, or construction projects forward. 

AHF has extensive experience with this state program, and has successfully supported several projects to gain funding. Wondering if your project might be a good fit, and looking for grant writing support or project consulting? Reach out to AHF today – email

Learn more about AHF’s past UPP consulting projects here.

The Massachusetts Underutilized Properties Program (via Community One Stop for Growth) is now accepting letters of interest for FY2025. In the last round of funding, the program generated $16.5 million for 39 projects across the state. 

For FY2025, Expressions of Interest are being accepted now through April 30, 2024, and full project submissions are due on June 5, 2024. 

Community One Stop for Growth is the Executive Office of Economic Development’s application portal that provides a streamlined process for municipalities and organizations to apply for 13 state grant programs that fund economic development projects related to planning and zoning, site preparation, building construction, infrastructure, and housing development.

Underutilized Properties Program, administered by MassDevelopment, for the purpose of funding “projects that will improve, rehabilitate or redevelop blighted, abandoned, vacant or underutilized properties to achieve the public purposes of eliminating blight, increasing housing production, supporting economic development projects, increasing the number of commercial buildings accessible to persons with disabilities.”

2023 Year in Review

It’s been another productive and exciting year at AHF. As we look out of our office windows at the Charles River Speedway, we can see the historic marketplace’s central courtyard trimmed with festive trees and lights. The small business community here is making merry with holiday events and special gifts. Our newest tenants, Rite Tea & Espresso and Pizza Project, have quickly become an integral part of this community, and have made our days even more delicious. The event space at Garage B has been bustling with weddings, end-of-year parties and holiday markets, and the new flexible event space in the upper courtyard, The Annex, has become a great addition to the Speedway’s offerings.  The Speedway is definitely worth a visit this holiday season and beyond! 

Beyond Brighton, AHF is involved with projects and preservation efforts across the Commonwealth. As 2023 draws to a close, we are happy to share a few highlights.

20 Years of Massachusetts State Tax Credit 

2023 brought us the 20th anniversary of the Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (MHRTC), a powerful preservation incentive program that has unlocked over 700 projects across the Commonwealth since its inception. Without this program, AHF projects at Washington Mills and Charles River Speedway would never have been possible, and we are grateful to all of those who helped craft and implement what has become a model program for states all over the country.  Continued advocacy for the MHRTC has been ongoing through the years, including increasing the cap to meet demand and extending the program’s sunset date, with partners at Massachusetts Historical Commission and Preservation Massachusetts leading the way. We look forward to continuing to access the tax credit for projects of our own and for others that we are helping in our consulting work.

Underutilized Properties Program 

Since the program’s inception three years ago, we have worked with various project partners to apply for UPP grant funding to support a range of development activity at their respective sites. This year, we were pleased to support Alander Group’s successful submission for the next phase of their project located at 343 Main Street in Great Barrington. This grant will be used to renovate and convert a historic 22,504-square-foot building in Great Barrington into two retail spaces and 13 units of mixed-income housing. A big congratulations to all the awardees!  

Wright Building, Pittsfield

Another project that has benefited from UPP funding is the Wright Building, a long vacant three story former commercial building on North Street in Pittsfield. Following their successful neighboring downtown market rate housing projects at the Onota and Howard Buildings, Allegrone Companies is planning the residential conversion of this long vacant building. Allegrone and AHF are now going through the historic approvals process for the addition of a new construction infill building next to and eventually connecting to the Wright Building which will add 14 more much needed units to the overall project.  Awarded $525,000 in UPP funding from FY2023 for life safety improvements, there is great momentum going into the new year.  AHF looks forward to continuing to support the project, including helping the Allegrone’s apply for and secure Housing Development Initiative Program Tax Credits, in addition to continuing to shepherd the project through MHC and NPS historic tax credit programs. 

Worcester Memorial Auditorium

The Auditorium project reached new levels of credibility in 2023, turning AHF’s vision into a concrete set of goals and objectives. The Auditorium is closer to redevelopment than it has been at any point in the past 25 years. With the support of CSL International, the project has a realistic operating pro forma and a market analysis for multiple types of entertainment offerings. With the support of DBVW Architects, the design of a modern, tech-forward, entertainment and economic development facility is underway. 

In 2024, AHF will unveil new project partners for the Auditorium redevelopment with hopes to begin construction on infrastructure upgrades this year.

Paul Bruhn Grant comes to Massachusetts

We were happy to support the Pioneer Valley Regional Ventures Center’s (PVRVC) application for Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant funds and were thrilled when they were awarded funding this year. AHF has worked behind the scenes for several years to galvanize engagement statewide to bring this resource to Massachusetts’ rural communities. The grant will support the creation of the Preservation Works in Western Mass subgrant program under the direction of PVRVC.

PVRVC’s new program will begin to close the funding gap for historic properties in rural communities and produce examples of the opportunity that exists to galvanize economic development by restoring and re-using National Register-listed community anchor buildings. The idea is to support economic development through the preservation of historic buildings in towns with fewer than 12,500 residents in Hampshire County, as well as small communities in Hampden and west central and southwest central Worcester counties. We look forward to supporting this endeavor across the western part of our state!

Comfort Kitchen, Boston 

This year, we saw the completion and the launch of the award-winning preservation project and new restaurant, Comfort Kitchen, in the Upham’s Corner neighborhood of Dorchester. AHF played a role in this project by providing a loan to Historic Boston, Inc., secured at a below-market fixed rate, to refinance a construction loan following the successful completion of work.

The former trolley system comfort station, a stucco 940-square-foot facility with full basement, underwent a $1.9 million historic rehabilitation with improvements that created Comfort Kitchen, a full-service café with dinner operations. AHF was proud to  support community-based development and fund historic preservation projects in Boston’s neighborhoods.

North Schoolhouse, Mount Washington

The Mount Washington Historical Society (MWHS) and the Town of Mount Washington have begun to advance construction plans amidst on-going fundraising efforts. Their goal is to move the historic single room North Schoolhouse to a new and safer location and to restore it for community use as soon as it is financially feasible to do so. 

In 2023, AHF supported the town’s applications to two state grant programs. AHF also helped to connect proponents to Mount Washington’s State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, to expand awareness of the project and help identify additional funding sources. Increased awareness of the project has put it on the radar of two private foundations devoted to Berkshire County projects. MWHS applied to both funders in 2023 and have already received promising news. AHF will continue to work alongside the MWHS and the town of Mount Washington in 2024 to advocate for the  project and to help close the gap in the construction budget to get this shovel-ready project underway.

Marriner Mill, Lawrence

Lastly, we were thrilled to see our friends at Trinity Financial officially launch 87 beautiful new units of mixed income housing the Fabrica Lofts in Lawrence. Historically known as Marriner Mill, AHF began working with Trinity on this mill conversion shortly after wrapping up work at Arlington Point, Trinity’s adjacent 100 unit project that anchors the eastern portion of the Arlington Mills Historic District. Helping to meet severe housing needs in the Merrimack Valley, Fabrica Lofts is already 100% leased up, and AHF was pleased to provide tax credit consulting to the project team to help bring this important resource back to active use.

Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Comes to Western Massachusetts

We are thrilled to share that Pioneer Valley Regional Ventures Center’s (PVRVC) has been awarded the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant to support the creation of the Preservation Works in Western Mass subgrant program.

This is the fifth year of the program, honoring the late Paul Bruhn, beloved executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont for nearly 40 years. This also marks the fifth year that AHF has actively tracked the grant, working behind the scenes to bring it to Massachusetts’s rural communities that so acutely need this type of support. In our experience, successful historic preservation requires vision, patience, creativity, collaborative partnerships – and importantly, financial resources.

Time and time again, we find that in our rural communities, historic properties are typically smaller in scale, which is a challenge when paired against high construction costs. The small communities in Western Massachusetts have a limited ability to raise a grant match, placing most state grant opportunities out of reach. With limited grant and philanthropic assistance, investing in the town’s historic assets places an extraordinary financial burden on these small communities, disincentivizing them from utilizing their historic properties as a tool for cultural and economic growth. 

The $750,000 grant will allow the state-designated regional planning agency to work with the Ventures Center to develop a subgrant program and select individual projects in rural communities for physical preservation projects that will contribute to economic vitality.

PVRVC’s new program will begin to close the funding gap for historic properties in rural communities and produce examples of the opportunity that exists to galvanize economic development by restoring and re-using National Register-listed community anchor buildings. The idea is to support economic development through the preservation of historic buildings in towns with fewer than 12,500 residents in Hampshire County, as well as small communities in Hampden and west central and southwest central Worcester counties.

It is the first time a Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant has been awarded to a Massachusetts organization. We look forward to supporting this endeavor across the western part of our state!

Learn more about the grant here. 

March 2024 update: the grant application process is now open!

Welcome to Summer at The Speedway

Photo by Christian Phillips

With summer just around the corner, it’s time for an update on the Charles River Speedway!

It can be tough to point to  anything anniversary-related around the Speedway, because we never had a “grand opening” moment. (Actually, we had several “grand openings”!) Part of that is because construction schedules are always tricky, but also because COVID brought big delays. The realities of small businesses going through a global pandemic translated to a very staggered start. Notch Brewing opened in July of 2021, Bellwether Salon and House of Art & Craft opened that fall, Koji Club opened in February of 2022, Super Bien in August and so on…

So, instead of focusing on one particular day, let’s say this: we are approaching a new summer season at the Charles River Speedway and we have a lot of really interesting things going on here. With a few new small businesses joining our community this spring, there is a feeling around these parts that we are entering into a new, exciting phase of vitality and creativity here at the Speedway. 

We invite everyone to join in the fun!

Learn all about our Speedway community or – check us out on Dining Playbook!

Notch Brewing/Notch Provisions

Named Boston’s Best Brewery in 2022 by Boston Magazine, Notch Brewing’s Brighton taproom and biergarten is their take on a traditional Czech and German-style beer hall. Notch Brewing is well known for their classic session style beers from the Czech Republic, Germany, England, and Belgium. Notch Provisions has its own storefront facing the courtyard, and provides beer-friendly foods like sausages, cheese plates, pretzels and more. 

Bellwether Salon

The Speedway is lucky to be home to Master Stylist Melinda Brandt. This inclusive one-chair salon studio provides a one-on-one experience in a welcoming environment, amidst the backdrop of all the buzzing Speedway central courtyard.

New! Pizza Project

Just opened! Long-time Speedway friend, collaborator, and maker of delicious things, Dan and Allie Spinale have just opened their first brick and mortar location here at The Speedway. The focus of their menu here will be on Sicilian slices and sandwiches, with inventive salads and specials coming soon. 

House of Art & Craft

Filled with soothing scents, beautiful hand-poured soy wax candles and aromatherapy products, this is the first permanent brick + mortar location for Steysy Clark.  As well as being a resource for sustainable goods, Steysy also hosts regular workshops where participants learn to craft their own candles and soap. 

The Koji Club

THE place in Boston to enjoy all things sake. At award-winning Koji Club, guests can enjoy sake while also learning about its culture and history from industry leader and tastemaker Alyssa Mikkiko Dipasquale.  A beautiful jewel box of a space, the experience here is immersive and intimate. The Koji Club was recently named to Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List – Top 20 restaurants in the world and Esquire’s Best Bars in America, 2023.

Super Bien

This sparkling gem of a Latin American grocery store-meets-wine bar from the Buenas team features empanadas, sauces, and snacks galore. The food is fun and incredibly tasty, the South American natural wine list is one of a kind, and there are a ton of great food finds to bring home to keep the party going. 

Birds of Paradise

From Ran Duan and the award-winning team behind Blossom Bar, Baldwin Bar and Ivory Pearl, Birds of Paradise features thoughtfully-made cocktails and “airline snacks” inspired by the golden age of travel.

New! Boston Women’s Market Incubator Shop 

BWM is bringing a new concept to The Speedway this summer – an incubator shop with a rotating slate of local women-founded small businesses, makers, and artists. The Incubator Shop is open Thursday-Sunday.

Opening soon: Rite Tea & Espresso (opening June 2023)

The first dedicated bricks and mortar location for the Wicked Thrawl, which has been popping up inside The Koji Club for the past six months. Rite will feature a very special tea program, espresso drinks, pour over coffee and a really exciting rotating slate of seasonal drinks. 

Photo by Adam Parshall

Garage B

A former Garage building, today it is the flexible events space located within The Speedway complex. Garage B hosts weddings, corporate events and meetings, family celebrations, and frequent markets and community events. 


The Speedway is a vibrant, dynamic marketplace in Brighton. Once the headquarters for the Charles River Reservation parkland, today the revitalized historic buildings and central courtyard are home to a unique collection of small businesses – including bars, restaurants, shops, a hair salon and a flexible event space. 

Built between 1899 and 1940, the Charles River Speedway is considered one of DCR’s “origin properties.”  Arranged around an interior courtyard, the buildings once served as police headquarters, Superintendent’s residence, horse stables, and maintenance garages for the Charles River Reservation, formerly under the authority of the Metropolitan District Commission. The complex was also a companion facility for the Speedway trotting park, a horse and bicycle racecourse that curved for a mile along present-day Soldiers Field Road.

Long underutilized, and then vacant for over a decade, the buildings fell into disrepair.

Through a unique public/private partnership called the Historic Curatorship Program, Architectural Heritage Foundation and DCR set forth on the redevelopment of the historic property in 2019, with the first tenant, Notch Brewing, opening their doors in July of 2021. 

Read more about the redevelopment of The Speedway.

Historic Boston Gets $250K AHF Loan For Upham’s Corner Rehabilitation Project


May 23, 2033


Abandoned Trolley System Building Now Houses ‘Comfort Kitchen’

BOSTON — Historic Boston Inc., the active nonprofit preservation organization, has secured a $250,000 loan from the Architectural Heritage Foundation for the Upham’s Corner Comfort Station in Dorchester, home to the new Comfort Kitchen restaurant.

The loan is to support the rehabilitation of the historic building, furthering an objective of Historic Boston, which is to help support local businesses in the neighborhood.

Historic Boston, which purchased, re-envisioned, and oversaw redevelopment of the abandoned structure at 611 Columbia Rd. in Dorchester into a restaurant, secured the loan from the Brighton-based lender.

Comfort Kitchen, serving customers since it opened for breakfast and lunch and dinner in January, is one of several Boston-based projects benefiting from proceeds of AHF’s sale of Boston’s Old City Hall. 

“Historic Boston’s objective was to preserve and reuse a local historic building, support an entrepreneur, and help to strengthen the Upham’s Corner commercial district,” said Tony Lopes, Director of Real Estate of HBI. “This project checks all those boxes besides just being a great new place to eat.”

The loan from AHF was secured at a below-market fixed rate, refinancing a construction loan following the successful completion of work on the building earlier this year.

“When we sold Old City Hall, we knew we wanted to use a portion of the proceeds to fund the historic preservation projects in Boston’s neighborhoods,” said AHF President Sean McDonnell. “The chance to support community-based development made it an even more attractive opportunity for AHF’s board of directors and staff. We are proud to play a role in this exciting project and thrilled to support the good work of Historic Boston and Comfort Kitchen.” 

Since 1966, AHF has been at the forefront of preserving and reactivating historic properties to stimulate community growth. AHF partners with public entities, nonprofit organizations, and private developers to find solutions for complicated historic preservation projects. 

Cameron S. Merrill of the law firm Merrill & McGeary of Boston and Jason A. Panos of The Panos Law Group of Peabody were legal advisors on the transaction.


The former trolley system comfort station, a stucco 940-square-foot facility with full basement, underwent a $1.9 million historic rehabilitation with improvements that created Comfort Kitchen, a full-service café with dinner operations. The architect for Phase One of the development was Utile, Inc. Architecture + Planning of Boston. Phase Two, including the restaurant design, was by Supernormal of Cambridge. The contractor was  MJ Mawn, Inc.

The Upham’s Corner Comfort Station served Boston’s streetcar system and is near the MBTA’s Fairmount commuter rail line, as well as being within the City of Boston’s Upham’s Corner Main Street District. The building is a one-story stucco and tile “mission style” building built as a convenience station in 1912 to support the expanding streetcar system in Boston. It was designed by Dorchester architect William H. Besarick, who also designed the nearby municipal building at the corner of Columbia Road and Bird Street, as well as many triple-decker residences in the area.

The building is located on what was once part of the Dorchester North Burying Ground, which is listed in the State and National Register of Historic Places and within the cemetery’s Boston Landmark designation.


HBI is a nonprofit preservation and real estate organization that rehabilitates historic and culturally significant properties in Boston’s neighborhoods so they are a usable part of the city’s present and future.

HBI works with local partners to identify and invest in historic buildings and cultural resources whose reuse will catalyze neighborhood renewal. HBI acquires and redevelops historic structures and provides technical expertise, planning services and financing for rehabilitation projects. HBI projects demonstrate that preserving historic properties is economically viable and that they can be usable and functioning assets in a community.

Please visit HBI at .

Preservation Month Spotlight: 2 Ionic Avenue, Worcester

This Preservation Month, we want to put the spotlight on a particularly exciting project: 2 Ionic Avenue, the future home of Creative Hub Worcester.

The former Worcester Boys Club, now vacant and desperately in need of rehabilitation, is preparing for a complete transformation into the Creative Hub Community Arts Center—a dynamic space for artists, creative entrepreneurs, and community members to work, make, collaborate, perform, and attend events in a vibrant, multi-purpose environment. This project will preserve an architecturally significant building while also preserving its core use: to provide a safe place for the city’s children to grow, learn, and thrive.

Tapping into the expertise of architects from Studio Enée and Studio G, the complete restoration of the 30,000-square-foot building will include artist studios, an art gallery, a performing arts space, youth arts education programs, and two event spaces. When complete, the Creative Hub Community Arts Center will provide arts education for 250 to 350 individuals each day. The project will also include a new infant toddler and childcare facility for the Guild of St. Agnes, a longtime provider serving greater Worcester County.

AHF is providing development and project management services alongside development partner Arts & Business Council of Boston and their Creative Campus initiative. We are thrilled to support Creative Hub Worcester’s mission to provide affordable and accessible opportunities in the arts for all Worcester community members through the restoration and re-use of this historic property.

Creative Hub Worcesterecently launched a new website filled with incredible historic images they found with the help of the Worcester Historical Museum.  We just had to share a few here! Visit their new site to see more.

The Charles River Speedway wins Kuehn Award from Preservation Massachusetts

AHF is so pleased to share that Preservation Massachusetts has named The Charles River Speedway a 2022 Robert H. Kuehn award winner. This award is particularly meaningful as it recognizes extraordinary projects that meld collaborative partnerships with creative and cutting-edge ideas for the rehabilitation and active reuse of historic buildings. We could not be more thankful for our partnership with DCR and the Commonwealth, and Bob Kuehn’s legacy in historic preservation and creative adaptive reuse projects continue to inspire us today.

We are honored to be award winners this year, and we are in great company – other award winners include extraordinary examples of great historic preservation projects like the Roslindale Branch of the Boston Public Library, the Courthouse Lofts in Worcester, the Knitting Mill Apartments in Fall River, and Swartz Hall at the Harvard Divinity School. We look forward to celebrating them all on May 11 at the annual Preservation Massachusetts Preservation Awards.

But that’s not all! The Charles River Speedway has also been nominated as a People’s Preservation Choice award, and we are asking for the support of the community to help us get to the top of the list. If you know and love the revitalized Speedway, we’d love to get your vote – click here to support The Speedway today!

Among a really great list of fellow nominees (this is going to be TOUGH), we put forth that the Charles River Speedway project has connected the public to historic preservation in a truly impactful and tangible way. Anchored by a biergarten and taproom (Notch Brewing) and a host of incredibly creative and talented vendors and retailers, including Boston’s first sake bar (The Koji Club) and a new location for mixologist Ran Duan of Blossom Bar (Birds of Paradise), the Speedway welcomes all to eat, drink, shop, and connect with neighbors every day. It is a place that invites you to practice yoga in the courtyard, buy local art, catch a concert in the flexible events space in Garage B (or perhaps hold your teen’s bar mitzvah?!), get the perfect haircut, and to grab a beer with your co-worker after work – all in the midst of a redeveloped historic complex that was once home to park administration offices, horse stables, snow removal equipment, and a police station.

Built in 1899 as the headquarters for a mile-long racetrack along the Charles River, the Speedway complex is a fascinating mix of building types across a 2-acre campus in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood. Designed by William D. Austin in the Shingle Style with Colonial Revival influences, the architecture mimics the styles often found in luxurious seaside escapes like Newport, used here to reinforce the premise that outdoor recreation and the enjoyment of leisure time is meant for all. Over time, the rise of the popularity of automobiles affected the complex in various ways, ultimately the racetrack was razed mid-century to make way for Soldiers Field Road. The Speedway Headquarters buildings were used for different purposes until the 1990s, slowly falling into disuse.

Owned by the Commonwealth and part of DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program, the redevelopment of the Speedway was made possible through a public and private partnership between DCR and the nonprofit Architectural Heritage Foundation. But the successful redevelopment of the Speedway was not accomplished by AHF and DCR alone.

Let’s work together.