We are excited to presenting an update of the Speedway HQ project at an event sponsored by the Brighton Allston Historical Society. The event is part of Preservation Month activities in Boston and will be held at the Presentation School in Brighton on May 10 at 7 pm. For more information see www.bahistory.org/BAHS2017SpringCalendar.pdf
We have been continuing to work out the details of the Speedway project and over the past few months we have met with Brighton Allston Improvement Association and Allston Civic Association. The feedback we received was postive, and we are excited to making progress!
Stay tuned for renderings and site plans!
The Speedway Headquarters team has been hard at work over the winter working on the development details of the project. We still have more to do but wanted to share our excitement about the neighborhood and the projects that are happening around us. Barry’s Corner Zone 3. 530 Western Avenue. Boston Landing. Arsenal on the Charles. Lots happening, we feel privileged to be a part of the fabric of this community, and we look forward to sharing more news as we progress. Stay tuned!
On Sunday, September 20th, AHF hosted a great community event at the Speedway Headquarters - a free Pop Up Yoga session held in the courtyard of the soon to be renovated complex. The event was held in partnership with Jenna Hill and Kristin Khederian of PopUpAsana. VitaCoco and Essentia water provided complimentary refreshments to participants that were energized by the Sunday morning class. Although the courtyard is paved with asphalt and the buildings are very much in a 'before' state, the yogis who attended braved the hard surface for a fantastic 50 minute workout. Pop Up Yoga at the Speedway Headquarters marks the first time that the courtyard has been used for something other than stabling horses or vehicle maintenance in the history of this 116 year old building. It was a great way to activate the Speedway now as AHF works towards delivering to the community a fully renovated, engaging and publically accessible project. This will be the first of many more community driven events and programs in the future.
Stay tuned for more events in the Spring!
Check out this great video of their construction progress!
Use of the Speedway declined throughout the 1940’s as the automobile gained in popularity. While still used by the Metropolitan Driving Club into the 1950s, fewer and fewer people maintained horses and buggies for recreational racing. The Speedway was razed in the late 1950s or early 1960s and the land subsumed by Soldiers Field Road, which became divided highway with a parallel service road at its south side. The busy roadway effectively separated the Charles River Speedway Administration Building from the rest of the reservation, removing the building from its historic and landscape context.
In 1970, the Metropolitan District Commission altered the administrative structure for reservations, separating the police from the administration and maintenance functions. Between 1970 and 1991, the primary function of the MDC Police was law enforcement, with administrative and maintenance activities taken over by parks and recreation supervisors and a new maintenance support unit. The MDC police was merged into the State Police in 1991.
The Charles River Speedway Administration Building was occupied by the Metropolitan District Commission until c.1990, when its offices were moved to the nearby Almy’s building at 1400 Soldiers Field Road, which had been purchased by the Commonwealth in 1987. Although all MDC functions had been removed from the building, the Administration Building remained under the agency’s administrative control. The Superintendent’s Residence housed a residential tenant until the mid-2000s. The MPC Police Headquarters building was occupied by offices of the Massachusetts Access Board and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game.
The Metropolitan District Commission was merged with the Department of Environmental Management in 2003 to create the Department of Conservation and Recreation. DCR’s Division of Urban Parks and Recreation managed the Charles River Speedway Administration Building. Now that it is part of DCR’s curatorship program and Architectural Heritage Foundation is working on plans to rehabilitate the site, there is a new wave of use coming to the Speedway Building
In 2011 Caitlin Gianniny, a Boston based artist and researcher, took a fantastic set of photos of the interior of Speedway Headquarters. Her photos document the uniqueness of the building as well as the eerie feeling the space had at the time of vacancy. We look forward to working with her again to document more of the Speedway before big changes come.
Be sure to check out her website to see the full set of photographs: www.caitlingianniny.com
In the spirit of the first day of Spring today, we want to highlight some beautiful photos of the Charles River. These wonderful photos were taken by Fran Gardino, a Boston Based photographer who has previously done a photoshoot at Speedway Headquarters (if you haven't seen the photos, click here to check it out). www.frangardino.com
You can see more of Fran's work here: www.frangardino.com