At the intersection of Southampton Street and Massachusetts Avenue are two unusual round buildings. The smaller is the New Market Pizza and Grill, which is perhaps the most ornate pizza place in the city. And the other is a solid six-story brick hotel, formerly the Roundhouse Suites, now the Best Western Plus Boston Hotel.
Its history is a real gas - and its existence an example of the creative re-use of old industrial structures that Boston sometimes excels at.
The Roxbury Gas Light Co. put up a round structure between 1868 and 1873 on Gerard Street, at what was then the southern end of South Bay, to store coal gas, according to a brief history by the Library of Congress. Coal gas was the 19th century equivalent of natural gas - produced by heating coal, it was stored in large round "gasholders" to be pumped through pipes to heat homes and power gas lamps.
In 1905, the company and several other Boston-area gas companies were merged into a new conglomeration called Boston Consolidated Gas, which begat Boston Gas, Keyspan and now National Grid, and which stopped using the gasholder. In the 1920s, somebody started using the building for a movie house. But that didn't last long and after a spell as a storage facility, eventually the building became an abandoned hulk.
For 60 years, the thing stood there, unused, until Werber Management bought it and hired a local architectural firm, Group One, to turn it into a hotel.
In 2001, Hotel Business chronicled the transformation, which included replacing the three original floors inside with six new floors - and which meant cutting 24 windows for each new floor through 20-to-24-inch thick layers of brick. The company also had to find new bricks that would match the coloring of the old ones.
Unlike the Liberty Hotel, which pays homage to its original role as a jail - its restaurant is called Clink - the hotel does little publicly to play up the building's history.
After eight days of deliberation, a Suffolk Superior Court jury today convicted Dartanyan and Niccokawan Pledger of second-degree murder for the March 21, 2016 shooting that killed Allex Bryant on Humboldt Avenue, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
The verdict means a life sentence, but with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
The jury also convicted Lisa Lewis, Niccokawan Pledger's girlfriend, of two counts of being an accessory after the fact for the shooting, which left a second victim wounded, the DA's office reports. Both she and Niccokawan, 28, are from Quincy; Dartanyan Pledger is 26, and from Dorchester.
According to the DA's office, Niccokwan Pledger, 28, of Quincy, attended a party on Humboldt Avenue, but left after 15 minutes and before Bryant got there. Bryant stayed until 3 a.m., then was killed shortly after:
Bryant made his way to a vehicle parked on Humboldt Avenue, where he was struck by gunfire as he sat inside, the evidence proved. He was later pronounced dead of a single gunshot wound to the torso.
Following the shooting, a security camera captured Dartanyan Pledger running on Munroe Street and entering a 2006 Nissan Maxima registered to and driven by Lewis, Niccokawon Pledger’s girlfriend. Niccokawon Pledger was captured on camera at the same time as he tossed an object – later found to be a Sig Sauer .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun – into a 2010 Toyota Camry registered to Dartanyan Pledger. He then entered Lewis’ Nissan, the evidence proved.
Cell phone records place both Pledger brothers and Lewis in the area at the time of Bryant’s murder. Call records indicate that Dartanyan Pledger and Niccokawon Pledger were on a 19-minute phone call with one another that ended at 3:06 a.m. – one minute before Boston Police were notified to the gunfire by a ShotSpotter activation at 3:07 a.m.
Cambridge officials announced today the city has hired Roderick Ireland, retired chief justice of the state Supreme Judicial Court, to conduct an independent review of how Cambridge police officers arrested a 21-year-old Harvard student standing naked on a Massachusetts Avenue traffic island on April 13.
Chief Justice Ireland will have access to the evidence related to the arrest, including police reports, witness statements and video, as well as the personnel, policies and trainings related to the arrest, and will then conduct an independent review of the findings determined by the Cambridge Police Department’s Professional Standards Unit.
Separately, the Middlesex County District Attorney's office has dropped all charges against the student, the Crimson reports.