Boston Preservation Alliance Shows Its Appreciation for the Neighborhood

The Boston Preservation Alliance is showing its appreciation for Beacon Hill by not only recognizing Carl R. Nold of Historic New England with this year’s Codman Award for Lifetime Achievement, but also by bestowing one of its 2020 Preservation Achievement Awards upon The Whitney Hotel Boston.

Nold stepped down this spring after serving for 17 years as the sixth leader of Historic New England, the nation’s oldest and largest regional heritage organization. During his tenure as president and CEO of the nonprofit,  which was rebranded Historic New England from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities in 2004, its historic site attendance grew substantially and its membership was increased by 50 percent while the number of school children it served each year nearly tripled.

Nold oversaw the acquisition of four historic sites and increased the number of privately owned historic properties protected through the Historic New England Preservation Easement Program from 64 to 113. Historic New England also acquired its Collections Center and Regional Office in Haverhill, Mass.,  to advance the care of the its object and archival collections in 2006 and launched its online collections access portal,  which made its collections accessible globally, four years later, according to the organization.

Nold also served for four years on the board of directors of the American Association of Museums (AAM), then as its vice chairman (2007), chairman (2008-2010) and immediate past chairman.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by the Boston Preservation Alliance because it is made up of dozens of preservation groups from all around the city,” Nold wrote of receiving the award, which recognizes outstanding and career-long contributions to preservation in Boston, and was named for John Codman, who established the city’s first historic district in Beacon Hill in 1955. “To be recognized by these dedicated preservationists for leadership toward our mutual vision of preserving our built heritage reflects my belief that preservation could not succeed in Boston without community collaboration and support, so this is truly a meaningful honor for me.  I will add that I appreciate that The Beacon Hill Times has reported on and been a much-needed voice for preservation throughout my [17] years at Historic New England. “

According to a statement from the organization: “The Alliance recognizes Carl not just for [17] years leading Historic New England—a tenure marked by building a skilled professional team that has greatly enhanced the strength and engagement of that storied New England organization. We also award Carl for his leadership and counsel in the thoughtful evolution of the public history field and preservation movement. His positive influence in New England is only surpassed by his impact nationally and internationally, including as past chairman of US-ICOM, the International Council of Museums.”

The Preservation Alliance also recognizes The Whitney Hotel Boston with one of this year’s nine Preservation Achievement Awards, which “are presented to projects that demonstrate excellence and commitment to preserving Boston’s distinctive architectural heritage,” according to a statement from the organization.

The 65-room, luxury boutique hotel, which was developed by Boston-based Related Beal and is operated by Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM) of Harrisburg, Pa., opened at the location of  the former John Jeffries House on Charles Street last July. It’s named for Henry Melville Whitney, a local industrialist who once owned the site and died at age 83 in 1923 in Brookline.

David J. Hacin, the project’s architect, was honored not only that the hotel is receiving such a coveted award, but also that his deign now graces the neighborhood.

“I’ve always thought that the Beacon Hill Historic District is one of America’s great cultural and architectural treasures,” Hacin wrote. “It was a privilege to be able to build a new building in the District and this honor from the BPA is a humbling acknowledgment of our efforts to mark our own era appropriately and with respect for all that came before.”

Greg Galer, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, lauded the hotel’s design as both forward looking, as well as respectful of the neighborhood and its past.

“Striking a balance between the extremes of bold contemporary design and blatant historicism is tricky, and particularly challenging in the iconic Beacon Hill Landmark District,” Galer said in a statement. “The Whitney Hotel is both richly modern and elegantly contextual. The Whitney approaches its historic setting with a reserved confidence and high style, revealing layers of thoughtful detail as the eye lingers.”

The Preservation Alliance will honor each of the nine projects at a virtual event held on Thursday, Oct. 15. 

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