Secretary of the Commonwealth William F.Galvin has announced that the Massachusetts Historical Commission approved the Boston Police Station Number One/Traffic Tunnel Administration Building and the Boston Printing Department Building in Boston in the North End for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places at its December10, 2014, meeting. The nomination will be submitted to the National Register of Historic Places at the National Park Service in Washington, DC, for final consideration and designation.
“The Massachusetts Historical Commission is dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s rich historic, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources,” Secretary Galvin said. “Inclusion of these buildings will help to protect well-preserved examples of early 20th-century civic architecture.”
Located on the edge of Boston’s North End neighborhood, the buildings in this nomination occupy a full block between Cross Street to the south and Richmond Street to the north.
As its name suggests, the Police Station/Traffic Tunnel Administration Building was designed to accommodate two municipal functions. The Boston Printing Department Building was attached to the Police Station/Traffic Tunnel Building via a two-bay masonry garage.
Mayor James Michael Curley initiated construction of the prominently positioned buildings, which took place between 1931 and 1933. The local architectural firm John M. Gray Co. designed both buildings in the Classical Revival style.
Police Station Number One remained in this building until July of 1968, when it was relocated to 40 New Sudbury Street, while MassDOT owns and operates the Traffic Tunnel Administration portion of the building for administrative offices. Established in 1897, the Boston Printing Department was the first municipally operated printing department in the United States. The department moved into the new Printing Department Building in 1932, and occupied the space until June of 2010.
This National Register nomination was prepared in connection with a rehabilitation project of the Police Station and Printing Department Building by the North Bennet Street School. The project, completed in 2013, utilized state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits and provided additional space for the school, allowing its eight full-time educational programs to be under one roof for the first time in decades. The buildings’ red-brick exteriors were restored, and deteriorated steel windows were replaced with historically appropriate replicas.
The project also preserved key interior architectural features, including the distinctive, glazed-tiled and brick interiors of the Police Station, the exposed brick walls of the Printing Building, and the marble-clad entrance lobbies of both buildings. The two-bay connecting garage was repurposed to serve as the new primary entrance while preserving the structure’s distinctive waffle ceiling and exposed masonry walls. A new glass connector, set back from the garage’s parapet, links the upper floors of the two buildings while maintaining the original exterior walls.
The Boston Police Station Number One/Traffic Tunnel Administration Building and the Boston Printing Department Building together comprise one of 6 historic resources around the Commonwealth approved for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places by the Massachusetts Historical Commission at this meeting.
Secretary Galvin serves as Chairman of the 17-member board, which meets regularly and considers historic resources eligible for the National Register four times a year.
The National Register is the nation’s official listing of significant historic resources. In Massachusetts, there are over 70,000 properties listed in the National Register. The Massachusetts Historical Commission has been administering the National Register of Historic Places program in Massachusetts since 1966.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission is the office of the State Historic Preservation Officer and the State Archaeologist. It was established in 1963 to identify, evaluate, and protect important historical and archaeological assets of the Commonwealth. Visit our website to learn more about the Commission’s programs (www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc).