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Pinebank - now a memory Brochure (.pdf) Comments?

A sad day - Boston has forsaken its history and betrayed its citizens.

Timeline of a flawed public process:
 ·          1997 – Pinebank Strategy Report recommended public uses, a non-profit development and management structure, seek initial support from a combination of city stabilization funds and private investment (NOT DONE)
·          1997 - Structural engineer recommended “…undertaking now the permanent repair of the exterior” (NOT DONE)
·          1997 – funds appropriated in City of Boston Operating Budget to “Restore burned out roof section and rafter. Secure building and limit other sources of weather infiltration” $750,000. Funds remain in the FY07 budget now and now to be used for demolition. (NOT SPENT)
·          1997 – Pinebank Strategy Report emphasized need to stabilize the building. Recommended building be secured. (NOT DONE)
·          2001 - Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR Coordinator, Historic Landscape Initiative, National Park Service, Preservation Initiatives “it is without question, worthy of preservation and rehabilitation.” “what sort of message are we sending to our constituents that a pre-existing feature, fully integrated into the overall scheme by Olmsted is today, disposable?”
·          2006 – Support at public workshops is overwhelming for reconstruction. (Ignored)
·          2006 - Boston Landmarks Commission sub-committee meets repeatedly without keeping minutes in violation of state Open Meeting Law.
·          2006 - Boston Parks Department design for site after demolition ignores public support for reconstruction
2007 - Demolition plan ignores preserving “pristine” interior wall recommended by Structures North report
·          2007 Removal of exterior veneer brick shows a structurally sound wall
·         2007 - Structural engineers CBI Consulting finds Pinebank can be saved in total or in part

The Experts Speak (new)
Cynthia Zaitzevsky, author of Frederick Law Olmsted and the Boston Park System, states: "Pinebank and the Hancock steps predate the park; nevertheless, Olmsted decided to retain them, and, for that reason, they should be considered part of his design in the same sense as the natural features that he preserved: the pond itself with its surrounding glacial topography." and "the sole survivor of the estates that bordered the pond in the late eighteenth century." (more)

Different Visions of Pinebank
Emerald Necklace Conservancy supports demolition! - "We cannot help but to recommend that the Boston Parks Department be granted permission to remove the remains of Pinebank". [see ENC letter]
National Association of Olmsted Parks (NAOP) supports our vision  "Destruction...would result in the permanent loss of the central cultural landscape element of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.'s original design for the Emerald Necklace." [see NAOP letter]

Our Vision:
* Reconstruction as a sustainable Green building for community use as a cultural center for music and the arts
* Capital funding from both public and private sources
* Financially self-sustaining program

Quote of the day: "The task of buildings isn't just to shelter us; it's also to speak to us, and to remind us of who and where we are". (John Ruskin)

This grand old mansion showed more strength in demolition than Boston has shown in character.  The question to be asked is why was a building this sound condemned; or is it really Boston itself that should be condemned? 

This website will continue to document the history of Pinebank; the goal is to learn from this willful action by Boston officials.

The Plea Unheeded 
Mr. Menino:
In your State of the City Address,  "We must be a city that values its cultural assets".  The people of Greater Boston wanted Pinebank. 

Before demolition, we asked on this website and in letters hand-delivered to your City Hall office and your Readville home, "Will your legacy be the destruction of the only remaining pre-Olmsted cultural landscape in the Emerald Necklace?"

Apparently, the answer is "YES". Your words are empty, Mr. Mayor.  

Veneer brick has been removed. Note that the interior brickwork is sound, and the wall shows no sign of weakness. As one workman said to a Friend, "they don't build them like that anymore". (photo dated 1/7/07)
Who are we? Meet the Pinebank Team
Hugh Mattison, President, founder of Friends of Pinebank and environmental activist
Anne Lusk, PhD
, Vice President, founding member of Historic Stowe (Vermont) Read about the heroic - and successful - effort to save the Old Stowe High School (Stowe Guide & Magazine, Summer / Fall 2006, - more)
Bill Powell, Director, Architect and Brookline elected Town Meeting Member
Dorothy Clark, Director, writer, singer, instrumentalist and recording artist

DeMolition Watch (SAT. 02/04/2007)
Watch the sequence below for a summary of Pinebank's III life and death 
Brookline TAB - 1/25/2007 - Can Pinebank Be Saved? (.pdf) (Written before this week)

See more demolition images

Vision for a future:
"Tanglewood in Boston"

Pinebank Center for the Arts
serve could have served a diverse population of over 170,000 who live within a one-mile radius. 

Overlooking Jamaica Pond, this former Victorian Queen Anne Style mansion provides provided both interior space for a main performance center, and a landscape of slopes, fields, and dells which achieve could have achieved a natural intimacy with the Park. On summer evenings and weekends, visitors enjoy could have enjoyed concerts and performances by local artists (see letter from New England Conservatory) on the south terrace, or view could have viewed the pond through the stately pines just as Boston society of former generations. A magical area of the Emerald Necklace provides respite to its visitors.

A flexible floor arrangement allows could have allowed (more)

Friends Hugh Mattison, Anne Lusk, and restoration expert Rob Daves (left to right) discuss apparent solid condition of structure on Jan. 13, 2007.

Memories from local residents:
Sharon writes: "She still has the music in her. I can feel it." (more)

Voice of the People:
a meeting place like Pinebank could help restore the threads that keep us together. (more)

We've added this new page - we encourage you to send us your memories of Pinebank.

Also, see our photos page

Saving a Jewel of the Emerald Necklace (Boston Globe, 9/11/06)
In a letter to the Boston Landmarks Commission, Jane Holtz Kay
, noted art historian and author of Lost Boston "Not only is this a fine work of architecture reminiscent of Boston's pre-eminent position...."(more)
City of Boston Considers Razing Emerald Necklace's Last Building (Preservation Online, National Trust for Historic Preservation article, February 6, 2006) See structural analysis report.

Trenton NJ recognized the value in 
Ellarslie Mansion
, an Italianate villa built in 1848, which serves as the city museum. It's located in Cadwalader Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and has served as the home of several prominent Trenton families, a restaurant, ice cream parlor, and monkey house.

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Last changed 04/08/2007