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Old 03-07-2016, 09:35 PM   #1
ratslab
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85 Essex St.

Hello,
I'm an architecture student in Maine and my studio class is designing a high rise for a site in Chinatown - 85 Essex St., between Edinboro St. and Ping On Alley. This site has been a parking lot for as long as anyone can seem to remember, but I'm trying to find out what was on the site previously. I found an aerial photo from the 1940's that has a building footprint on it.
Does anyone have any information?

Much appreciated.


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Old 03-08-2016, 06:46 AM   #2
BostonZest
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Re: 85 Essex St.

It was the Edinboro Building on the 1938 Bromley Atlas. I found this write up in this BRA document

https://archive.org/stream/onelincol...0king_djvu.txt

"85-91 ESSEX, THE EDINBORO BUILDING, GEO. POPE, 1890

The Edinboro Building is a dignified 6xl0-bay brick and sandstone
conroercial structure with a cast-iron storefront and some classical
detailing. Pope designed a number of commercial structures and
residences during the late nineteenth century. From 1901-1910 the
Boston Dry Goods Co., "the leading dress and silk house of New England,"
was on the premises; an old sign for the "Progressive Clothing Co." is
still on the building."
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:56 AM   #3
ratslab
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Re: 85 Essex St.

Wow, this is really helpful. Now I just need to find a photo. Thanks so much!
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:48 AM   #4
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Re: 85 Essex St.

It burned in October 1989. CBS 48 Hours happened to be in Boston at the time, and was on the scene early.

https://youtu.be/Xm3RugCJxlE

1012 36033 9 1432 04 11:52
85 Essex St (91) (1-9 Edinboro St) 6 Sty Brk Part Vac 110 35 2,000,000 Marston D3 Christian Stapleton Mult Occ Comm under Renovation "Edinboro Bldg"

81 Essex St (83) 9 Sty Concr "Pelham Building" 110 93 Mult Occ Comm Bldg 1st Fl Stores
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:05 PM   #5
JohnAKeith
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Re: 85 Essex St.

I'm intrigued. Designing a high-rise - this is just for class, right? Is that common, for architecture students, to pick a random space for a project like this?

PS. Building next door is the one proposed for a new tower, right? Anyone remember? Came out just last year. I think a tear down-replacement?

LOVE that there's tape of the fire.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:29 PM   #6
datadyne007
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Re: 85 Essex St.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnAKeith View Post
I'm intrigued. Designing a high-rise - this is just for class, right? Is that common, for architecture students, to pick a random space for a project like this?

PS. Building next door is the one proposed for a new tower, right? Anyone remember? Came out just last year. I think a tear down-replacement?

LOVE that there's tape of the fire.
It is very common to use real-world sites for studio projects. While in school, I designed buildings for Dartmouth/Newbury lot, the Tremont Crossing parcel, the Roxbury Crossing T air-rights, the grassy swale at Jamaica Pond, as well as a vacant lot in Davis Sq. Heck, one project was to design an addition to add onto the front of our school's very own Beatty Hall to make it suck less.

It's important to have real life sites (opposed to fictional - we had a couple of those) in order to be able to respond to site context, uses, forces, feelings, materials, etc. You can also get some insight in upper level studios by talking to the locals, once you are comfortable leading a discussion about architecture with strangers.
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Last edited by datadyne007; 03-08-2016 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 03-08-2016, 02:32 PM   #7
JohnAKeith
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Re: 85 Essex St.

I love that idea.

Not going to derail this conversation but that 48 Hours video reminded me of that ABC series that taped an episode with Mayor Menino but never aired. Remember? Maybe 7-8 years back. Was it even called "The Mayor"?

I wish someone could find that and leak it online.
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:09 PM   #8
BeeLine
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Re: 85 Essex St.

Interesting historic plaque on the building across the alley from the 85 Essex Street parking lot.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:22 PM   #9
ratslab
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Re: 85 Essex St.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellarfun View Post
It burned in October 1989. CBS 48 Hours happened to be in Boston at the time, and was on the scene early.

https://youtu.be/Xm3RugCJxlE

1012 36033 9 1432 04 11:52
85 Essex St (91) (1-9 Edinboro St) 6 Sty Brk Part Vac 110 35 2,000,000 Marston D3 Christian Stapleton Mult Occ Comm under Renovation "Edinboro Bldg"

81 Essex St (83) 9 Sty Concr "Pelham Building" 110 93 Mult Occ Comm Bldg 1st Fl Stores

At 4:50 you can hear someone in the background say "it'll be a beautiful parking lot someday"
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