Throughout Boston, early frame buildings, built long before the city became a densely populated urban center are scattered amid more modern single and multi-family structures. These buildings, many threatened by new development and benign neglect, are important reminders of the city's evolution and change.
Handmade Houses, a partnership of Historic Boston and the North Bennet Street School, was created to preserve these irreplaceable historic resources. They are distinctive for their hand-hewn construction materials and methods, most of which changed with mechanization and mass production in the mid-19th century.
Using Traditional Methods for Preservation
North Bennet Street School's Preservation Carpentry Department trains students to preserve early buildings using the same skills that were deployed to build them. This program provides a real-life training ground that allows students to learn to restore and repair early buildings through first hand experience. At the same time, important places in Boston are saved in a cost-effective manner.
Historic Boston Inc. identifies the target properties for this program and serves as project coordinator, handling all real estate transactions and overseeing work on non-carpentry related projects, such as masonry repairs, interior fit-outs, systems installation, and landscape preservation.
The Partnership purchases control of a threatened historic resource, carries out the improvements necessary to preserve the building, and sells the improved project, revolving the investment into another at-risk property.
The Handmade Houses project is generously supported by the 1772 Foundation.