This year’s reception for members of the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s Founders Circle will take place May 4, at the Nichols House Museum, 55 Mt. Vernon Street. It is the former home of Marion Nichols, who co-founded the neighborhood association 100 years ago.
The reception is entitled ‘1922: Remembering the Nichols House 100 years ago’ and will enable visitors in small groups to explore the highlights of the house’s history and collections around the early 1920s as well as its relationship to the BHCA. Wine and hors d’oeuvres, along with small doses of history, will be served between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 pm.
The reception is part of a series of events to be held this year to celebrate BHCA’s centennial anniversary, which will culminate on September 10 with a formal catered dinner for up to 300 neighbors to be held outside on lower Mt. Vernon Street.
One hundred years ago, the Beacon Hill Civic Association – which author and resident Moying-Li Marcus called one of the oldest and most tenacious neighborhood associations in American history – was founded after the first notorious ‘Battle of the Bricks’. At that time, residents objected to the city’s intent to repave historic Mt. Vernon Street with shale paving blocks, deeming them too slippery for humans and horses, and arguing that the city had no right to foist upon them a street pavement they all detested.
The neighbors’ wishes prevailed and, rightfully concerned that such skirmishes with the city would continue in the years to come, they decided to form a permanent neighborhood association. Its mission would be to protect Beacon Hill’s residential and historic character, and to plan for the community’s future. One of its leaders was Marian Nichols, a reformer and activist who was raised with her two sisters at 55 Mount Vernon Street.
Nichols invited 77 Beacon Hillers and guests to a large room on the fifth floor of 3 Joy Street and proposed the formation of such an organization. And so it was that the Battle of the Bricks led to the founding of the Beacon Hill Association in December 1922. Nichols served as its secretary until 1939. When the association was incorporated in January 1955, its name was changed to the Beacon Hill Civic Association.
In 1930, Marion’s sister Rose Standish Nichols inherited the property at 55 Mt. Vernon Street and began laying the plans for its establishment as a museum. Soon after her death in 1960, the Nichols House Museum opened to the public and to this day welcomes virtual and in-person visitors for tours, programs, and special events. It maintains and preserves an original collection that reflects the Nichols family’s cultural values and changing tastes across two generations.
The Founders Circle is the highest level of BHCA’s membership. It provides vital support to sustain the association’s ongoing operations and the fulfillment of its mission. Its generous members contribute from $500 to $5000 annually.
To become a Founders Circle member and/or to attend the May 4 Reception, go to www.bhcivic.org or call the office at 617-227-1922.