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Durgin Garage Listed as Endangered

A historic Brookline locale, with several empty storefronts, is deteriorating and now listed as an endangered resource.

A Coolidge Corner landmark was recently listed alongside the Worcester Palladium and Fitchburg City hall as historic, important to the community, and endangered.

This year's Preservation Massachusetts list of "Most endangered historic resources" includes the Durgin Garage, built in 1926. Of the seven storefronts, today only a handful are occupied by Tiny Hanger, Jerusalem Pita and Brookline Superette. This placement should encourage future developers to give preservation a place at the table as new plans go forward. 

Two Brookline locals concerned about the future of the garage were pleased with the press release issued at the end of last week.

Eunice White and Jean Stringham, were quoted in the release saying, “Preservation Massachusetts’ recognition of the Durgin Garage as one of Massachusetts’ Most Endangered Historic Resources for 2012 is most gratifying. It is our hope that public recognition such as this will bring attention to the plight of this elegant building which has suffered from neglect for many decades and that it will help our community in its efforts to preserve the building for future generations to enjoy.”

A town committee has been examining the Durgin and neighboring Waldo Street garages, with the aim of solving the puzzle of the languishing business space in Coolidge Corner. The meeting focused on neighbor feedback, and interest in the study committee.

The PDF of the January Presentation is available to the right.

The following is a press release from Preservation Massachusetts:

Durgin Garage in Brookline listed amongst Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources

1926 architecturally significant garage deteriorating in Coolidge Corner

The Durgin Garage in Brookline has been named one of Massachusetts’ “Most Endangered Historic Resources”. Since 1993, this list is compiled annually by Preservation Massachusetts, thestate’s historic preservation advocacy organization.

In 1926, Charles Durgin hired Harold Field Kellog, who designed Boston’s Batterymarch Building and Brookline’s Longwood Towers, to design this ornate Neo-classical garage. It was built with seven storefronts and the capacity to hold 225 cars, and is considered one of the most distinguished and most intact of early 20th century garages in the city. At well over 80-years-old, the garage continues to deteriorate and several of the storefronts are vacant.

The garage’s location in the heart of Coolidge Corner makes it very valuable real estate and the potential for demolition for development is considered a real threat. A study committeefor the area around the garage has been recommended, and their findings will hopefullyfacilitate in the preservation of this unique piece of Brookline’s history.

Jim Igoe, President of Preservation Massachusetts feels strongly about the future of the Durgin Garage, “Designating the Durgin Garage to this year’s endangered list allows us to support the positive efforts of concerned citizens of a landmark building in their town in an effort to amicably reach an appropriate development resolution while giving preservation a place at the table during discussion.”

Eunice White and Jean Stringham, concerned citizens who nominated the Durgin Garage add, “Preservation Massachusetts’ recognition of the Durgin Garage as one of Massachusetts’ Most Endangered Historic Resources for 2012 is most gratifying. It is our hope that public recognition such as this will bring attention to the plight of this elegant building which has suffered from neglect for many decades and that it will help our community in its efforts to preserve the building for future generations to enjoy.”

Orchard House, at 197 Belmont Street in Watertown was also listed.
The other endangered resources for 2012 are: Fitchburg City Hall, Mechanics Hall (Princeton), North Brookfield Town House, Elm Hill Farm (Brookfield), the Methodist Episcopal Church (Ware), Herbert M. Farr Residence (Holyoke), Quinsigamond Firehouse (Worcester), Plymouth Theatre – The Palladium (Worcester), the Charles Bowker House (Worcester).

The 2012 Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources list will be publicly recognized at the annual “Believe in Preservation” event, hosted this year at Tuckerman Hall in Worcester on November 8. For more event details,and more information on the Massachusetts Most Endangered program, visit www.preservationmass.org or call 617-723-3383.

About the ‘Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources’ List

Now in its 19th year, the list of most endangered historic resources has become an effective tool for preservationists to focus statewide attention on the condition of individual historic properties and their importance to communities. Of the more than 140 historic sites designated as endangered since the list’s inception in 1993, less than twenty have been lost.

This year’s list was chosen from nominations submitted by groups and individuals concerned with local preservation issues throughout the state. Submissions are judged by several criteria, including their historic significance, the extent of the threat and the community’s commitment to preserving the resource.

Founded in 1985, Preservation Massachusetts is the statewide non-profit organization that actively promotes the preservation of historic buildings and landscapes as a positive force foreconomic development and the retention of community character.

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