the restored 1859 Eustis Street Firehouse, designed by Roxbury architect John Roulestone Hall, is distinguished by its arched windows, Italianate brackets and cornices, and rounded firehouse doors. The rear wooden stables, added in 1869, were long gone but were rebuilt from scratch as offices for Historic Boston Incorporated.
Historic Boston Incorporated steps in to save the old Eustis Street station and assist
in the revitalization of a Roxbury neighborhood
written by bruce irving • photographed by peter vanderwarker
FOR A STRUCTURE BUILT TO HELP OTHERS IN THE midst of bad luck, the old firehouse on Eustis Street in the Roxbury section of Boston was deep in a large helping of its own. After many years of faithful fire ser- vice, it had gone from use as a local post for veterans of the Spanish-American War to storage space for the
City of Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department to a proposed teardown in the 1960s, saved only by being listed on the National Register
of Historic Places. Throughout, it suffered from neglect. By 2008, the
once handsome 1859 Italianate building was listing precariously, its
brick walls kept from toppling by wooden bracing, the old stables at its
rear collapsed and gone, the slate roof falling in pieces to the ground.
That’s when Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development
put the city-owned property out for proposals. Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI), a nonprofit that aims to rehabilitate significant properties in the city, put forward the winning concept. It leased the building