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Haffenreffer Brewery Complex

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1877, M. W. FitzSimmons; 1885, Pierce and Lamb; 1987; 1989; 1995 Building P, Bill Hollands. Germania and Bismark sts.

The former Haffenreffer complex remains an unusually intact quadrangle of several late-nineteenth-century breweries. Begun as Boylston Brewery, the brick hipped-roof structure with cupola facing Germania Street was here by 1880, when German émigré Rudolph Haffenreffer acquired and enlarged it with a cross wing (1890). Adjoining stands a small brick brewmaster's house at the corner of Bismark, originally a one-story octagonal building built in 1880 by James McMorrow, but later given a second story and its plan made rectangular.

In 1884 Michael Meehan built a second brewmaster's house and office across Germania Street and facing Bismark Street. Square in plan with a hipped roof and five gable dormers, it now sits behind a huge twenty-foot-high single-story trapezoid (1900–1914, with additions 1962 and 1977). On this north side of Bismark Street, at the corner of Porter Street, Meehan constructed a four-story brick brewery (1884) with two rows of four vents rising from its steeply canted roof.

Across Bismark Street stand a row of three-and four-story breweries and ice houses, many designed in 1877 by M. W. FitzSimmons for several owners, reflecting the vertical brewing process of the day. Although many Boston breweries were consolidated, Haffenreffer remained independent until 1933, one of only fourteen breweries in the state to survive Prohibition (1918–1933) by shifting production to soft drinks. Closed in 1964, it is now a commercial and light industrial complex, operated by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Haffenreffer Brewery Complex", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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, 271-272.

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