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Best Western Hotel (Roxbury Gas Light Company Gasholder)

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Roxbury Gas Light Company Gasholder
Mid-1800s; 1906; 2000–2001, Group One. 865 Massachusetts Ave.
  • Best Western Hotel (Roxbury Gas Light Company Gasholder) (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

One of the very few gasholders remaining in New England, this curious brick cylinder was built during the mid-1800s as part of an industrial plant for converting coal to gas. The brick gasholder contained an iron frame supporting a metal tank, which telescoped down to maintain pressure in the gas mains. The surrounding plant was demolished in 1906 and the metal tank was removed. Three floors were inserted and lit by twenty-four new windows. Since these additions, the gasholder has been used for a motion picture theater in the 1920s, a light manufacturing and storage plant in the 1930s, and a warehouse in the 1980s. Group One's imaginative plan for redevelopment of the gasholder as a hotel called for four floors of hotel suites, with a number of new windows set off by decorative metalwork balconies around the exterior of the brick cylinder. The slightly domed gasholder building provides an interesting counterpoint to the much smaller former Colonial Filling Station of the early 1920s across the street at 850 Massachusetts Avenue. Built as one of the company's first three filling stations in Boston, the domed, hexagonal concrete structure originally housed an enclosed office in one half and an open drive-through in the other. Different businesses have altered the building several times and stripped away some of its original detailing.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Best Western Hotel (Roxbury Gas Light Company Gasholder)", [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, 249-249.

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