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Bellingham Square Historic District

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Bellingham Sq.
  • Bellingham Square Historic District

A central feature of the postfire plan for Chelsea was that the Bellingham Square area was chosen as the location for the principal public buildings. The Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns won the competition for the new City Hall (1910, 500 Broadway), a red brick with terra-cotta-trimmed Georgian Revival design with gilded-domed cupola that influenced much of the new development. Facing City Hall is the Civil War monument, originally constructed in 1867–1869, a granite column surmounted by Franklin Simmons's sculpture of a Union soldier, which was moved here from Union Park (SE7) after the fire. Guy Lowell designed the Classical Revival Public Library (1910, 569 Broadway), built of buff brick with terra-cotta trim, a gift to the city from the Carnegie Foundation. Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury James Knox Taylor enriched the civic core with his 1909 design for the U.S. Post Office (175 Hawthorn Street), a red brick Mediterranean Revival structure with tile roof and arcaded windows, which has been used since 1998 as the Chelsea Campus of Bunker Hill Community College (CH11). Other institutional structures reinforce the area. The red brick Gothic Revival St. Rose Roman Catholic Church (580 Broadway) was designed by Patrick C. Keely in 1866; it was remodeled after the fire by Edward J. P. Graham in 1908. The red brick Georgian Revival YMCA (1910, 207 Shurtleff Street) was an early project by Boston architect Walter Atherton, who designed other Y's and schools throughout the area. And the red brick Classical Revival Chelsea Hebrew Free School (48 Washington Street) was by local architect Samuel S. Eisenberg in 1923.

Chelsea experienced rapid immigration of Eastern European Jews at the turn of the twentieth century. The prominence of the Jewish community is symbolized not only by the Hebrew Free School but also by the role of Jewish real estate developers and architects in the rebuilding of Chelsea. Architect Samuel Levy designed and carpenter Jacob Maltzman constructed the curving, mirror-image brick apartment buildings at 131–134 Shawmut Avenue and 27–31 Chester Street. These buildings document both the contribution of the Jewish community and the role of city planning in the new residential zones around Bellingham Square.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Bellingham Square Historic District", [Chelsea, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-CL2.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 362-363.

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