Home for Little Wanderers comes down

Tearing down the Home for Little Wanderers

DR captured the demolition action at the old Home for Little Wanderers on South Huntington Avenue in Jamaica Plain today. It's being replaced with luxury housing.

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    Too Bad

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    I had to take my stepfather to an appointment at the VA, right across the street, and I watched some of the demolition the other day. It certainly looked like a solid building and I've always enjoyed the aesthetic feel of it.

    The section on the left, the front of which is razed in the photo above, was still there the other day. It contained some truly interesting balcony space. It must have been pleasant for some of the occupants, in a simpler/quieter time, to enjoy fresh air and sunshine on one of those balconies, while watching the city/world go by on South Huntington.

    Suldog
    http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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    No no no, the site is over

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    No no no, the site is over the line into JP--mere blocks from the world's most contentious Whole Foods! City regs therefore say they'll have to put in a City Feed, an offleash dog park, a nanobrewery, and a coffee shop that only serves those $800/lb beans that have been pooped out by a cat. Pending approval of the JPNDC, of course, but I'm sure that's just a rubber stamp.

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    I don't know what constitutes

    I don't know what constitutes "luxury" housing, but I do believe luxury is a term often misused by developers & realtors to attract self-important types to crappy over-priced condos, AND also misused by JPNDC/JPNC types to scare people that these dreaded yuppies are coming for their crappy 3-decker apartment and lousy on-street parking.

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    Dammit!

    I saw part of the roof was smashed in last week. I was hoping it was an accident or they need to crudely do some work. I didn't think they would actually knock this building down! I was hoping they would just retrofit it and keep the outside the same...

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    Too many rooms

    I think it was structurally difficult to reconfigure the interior, based on lots of small rooms with load bearing walls, into something people would want as living space.

    As for luxury housing, if a 'yuppie' buys a condo in a new building, then they aren't going to buy a fixed up triple decker, leaving that inventory for someone else.

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    So weird.

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    I mean...I know that JP like everywhere else is now overrun with "luxury housing." But this area still seems like a bit of a no man's land to me. Not much in the way of neighborhood amenities or atmosphere. Then again, I suppose most of these places are designed for people who drive everywhere so maybe they don't care. And it is close to the hospitals. Still...ugh.

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    It's not THAT bad...

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    I wouldn't want to buy a "luxury condo" (whatever THAT means, in the context of a renovated family-services building) here, but it's actually not a bad neighborhood. You're an easy walk to the E line, and a not-awful walk to Jackson Square if you want to get onto a real train. It's a quick walk to two grocery stores and a handful of restaurants (some of which are quite good), and on a bus route that takes you straight to Longwood, because let's be honest, these are all going to be $900K 2-bedrooms occupied by doctors.

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    No, not bad

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    Just a little bleak. I like a little more bustle. But then again I am not the market audience for an $800k condo.

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    Sad

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    it is sad that a lot of these majestic buildings are being leveled for more cookie cutter condos.

    But, as far as difficulty re-configuring the building... Avalon Danvers did not have much of an issue when they remodeled the Danvers State Hospital's "Kirkbride building". Of course they only kept the main building and the immediate two wings, and leveled the rest. And of course, they 100% gutted the interior so only the exterior walls were the only original thing left standing. But it can be done. Sometimes it's just a cost thing.

    Still sad tho.

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    Cost

    Right, so if they had kept the building and gone the more expensive route, then the apartments would have cost even more, leading to more anguish from the JPNDC types.

    Boston has so many historic buildings that I think people get too hung up on saving the old ones vs. pushing for more interesting and varied building to replace them. It would be great if the old factory on Heath St. could be preserved and turned into living space for example as that is (IMO) something more worth saving. Similarly, I don't get the passion to save the Rosi substation. There's one in Eggleston which was preserved already, to no great effect in that neighborhood. I bet we'd already have a new building in the place of the funeral home and substation already if the preservationists weren't involved. However, the challenge is to get something built which is actually more than a cookie cutter box like that SSA building next to the library. That's terrible, although I'm glad to see the office stay in the village.

    Kenmore Sq. is another example of preservationism run amok- the new hotel is terrible, but apes the lines of the older, charming buildings in the area.

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    I think you answered your own question

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    this is roslindale - either you keep the substation or you get banal crap like the SSA building (or some awkwardly-scaled faux victorian thing made out of vinyl and fypon). This neighborhood isn't sophisticated enough to attract developers who have both taste and money. The city isn't pumping any money into the neighborhood either - they spent the bare minimum on the adam's park redesign.

    maybe in another decade once we start getting things other than hair and nail places moving into the square...

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    If I had a nickel for each

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    If I had a nickel for each time my mother threatened to drop me off here if I didn't do x, y, or z...

    This is the first time I'm seeing it and the building is not, in fact, the monstrosity my young self imagined it would be!

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    I seem to recall my mom (or

    I seem to recall my mom (or grandmother?) saying "I'm not running a New England Home for Little Wanderers" in days of yore. I didn't know it was a real place until many years later.

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    Ha, it must certainly have

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    Ha, it must certainly have been a S.O.P for parents of our day because it was said in my home as well. As a kid, I imagined the Home for Little Wanderers to be straight out of a Dickens story.

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    Plot complication

    That was a plot complication, actually. The wife was cheating and physically engaged with her lover in his car in the driveway when Garp roared his car into it and rear ended it.

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    Ha!

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    I remember--I think. I was probably 12 when I read that book--wasn't there something though about a guy who gets into a cab screaming "hospital!" and the cabbie says "Peter Bent?" And the guy says "no, but I think Molly almost bit it off!" I think it was a foreshadowing joke...

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    Luxury in JP?

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    Where are the luxury condos in JP? You mean triple deckers with new aluminum siding? Roxbury adjacent?

    I don't think building a two family house with granite counter tops is considering luxury by people that have money. Also, that building looks kinda creepy to me...the bigger question is, who would want to live on the spot of a children's prison?

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    Dude...

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    I'm sure you know where to find the MLS listings--see for yourself. Not a lot of vinyl siding in JP actually--and most of the most expensive places are either new construction or Victorians that have been done up to the nines.

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    Home for Little Wanderers still exists

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    They moved to Walpole and used the money from the sale of their JP land to support their services - same basic idea as Old North South Church selling that bible psalter or the Unitarian Universalists moving from Beacon Hill to South Boston.

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    Ahh, okay..

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    That makes me feel a little better.

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    Sad

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    As a former resident at the Italian Home (back when there where still lots of nuns running shit) this makes me sad, but perhaps it could be a sign of progress? Maybe we need less housing for abandoned children.

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    My grandfather spent some

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    My grandfather spent some time there as a child, between his father's death and his aunt taking custody of him. Bittersweet.

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