Citizen complaint of the day: Think of the tourists

Boarded up

A concerned citizen complains about some boarded up windows at the Old State House:

This building is visited and photographed by 100s of tourists every month, we should fix asap, reflects badly on boston.



Free tagging: 


Good point. How much effort

Good point. How much effort would it take to paint a matching faux window on the plywood?

Now that I think of it, it would probably be $100,000 for a feasibility study, and $300,000 for the work. Think of the years of community hearings! Never mind. I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong.

Not quite

Actually, the Old State House is owned by the City of Boston and operated on behalf of its citizens by The Bostonian Society. They work with the city govt and the National Park Service wrt renovation and restoration, but they have primary authority for capital projects.

So telling the city is probably not completely futile, but emailing The Bostonian Society directly with concerns is probably better.

And John, I don't think the citizen who filed that CC entry was whining - s/he clearly is proud to be a Bostonian, had a good point about one of the city's most famous landmarks, and took the time to ping someone who might do something about it.

Your cynical slam about someone you never met is a bit closer to whining, methinks.

Hurricane Sandy

This window was a casualty of Hurricane Sandy. Given the need to craft a new, historically-accurate window sash, it may take a while. But I believe that work is underway.

The building celebrates its 300th anniversary this May. The cupola is a little newer, erected after a 1740s fire destroyed the original, octagonal tower. The Old State House is technically still owned by the City of Boston, so, yes, it is appropriate to use the Citizen Connect service to file a complaint. But for over 130 years it's been leased to and operated by the Bostonian Society, which is responsible for its maintenance. And yes, it is part of Boston National Historical Park, so the feds do (from time to time, and less frequently these days) chip in sometimes with the costs of upkeep.

Thank you, Mr. Bahne

Thank you, Mr. Bahne, for the clarification. I'm glad that this problem was posted here.

We receive lots of international visitors in Boston and broken windows in historic sites do not leave good impressions. Neither do snarky comments, but then the people who make them are forgettable anyway.

Would it hurt them to use a

Would it hurt them to use a can of black or white spray paint to make the plywood less obvious? It's trivial, but shows a certain inattention to detail and laziness. Plus, you'd think someone higher up in city government, a councilor, the mayor, etc., would have noticed and asked it be taken care of.

will black or white plywood

will black or white plywood really look better? I'm not convinced it would. This is going to to be temporary, and frankly the tourists are thin on the ground in the winter anyway.

Mark my words, it'll be fixed by the time the tourist season starts.

Landmark Preserved for Public by Nonprofit, not Govt

Charles Bahne is correct in stating that the windows in the Old State House tower were damaged in Hurricane Sandy, and that repairs were begun within days by a skilled preservation craftsman, who has saved as much original material as possible, and has otherwise precisely reproduced original designs in historically-appropriate materials. He has now completed this(at a reasonable cost; preservation work is not terribly lucrative), and the restored window is scheduled to be re-installed within a week or so.
Mr Bahne is also correct in pointing out that the building is being maintained for the public, without any regular sources of government support, by the nonprofit Bostonian Society, not by the City of Boston, which owns the building, nor by the National Park Service, which had formerly taken responsibility for its care. Over the past half dozen years, the Bostonian Society has raised and carefully spent more than $3.7 million on the preservation and repairs of the national landmark,including more than $1 million on the restoration of the building's tower in 2008. To do so, the Society relies on the public for donations and admissions revenues, although these do not begin to cover the building’s operating costs.
The Old State House is the oldest public building surviving from our founding era, and is one of the country's most historically-significant sites, where many of the fundamental principles of the nation were worked out by patriots such as John Adams, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. In many ways, this landmark, in the center of Revolutionary Boston, was where our country began. In 2013, the Bostonian Society will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Old State House, with a number of special programs, and with the first phase in an overall reinterpretation and restoration of the interior and adjacent spaces, providing a proper explanation for the first time of why this place is so important for Bostonians and for all Americans.
- Brian LeMay, President and Director, Bostonian Society