At its 92nd annual meeting on Monday, the Beacon Hill Civic Center (BHCA) honored the late Frederick A. “Tad” Stahl with the 18th annual Beacon Award for his “significant and sustained” contribution to the community.
“It’s unusual for me to be speaking for Tad, but I have no hesitation in saying that he would have been profoundly moved by receiving the Beacon Award, especially because it comes from fellow Hill residents and neighbors,” Jane Stahl, Tad’s wife, told the Times after learning that he would receive the accolade. “He lived, breathed and cherished Beacon Hill for 52 years from our first address at 94 Beacon St. to his last at the corner of Hancock and Myrtle, and he counted himself fortunate to have served as a [BHCA] board member in the early and the last decades of that time span.”
Stahl, who died on July 26 of last year at age 82, founded the architectural firm F.A. Stahl & Associates in 1961 and later served as executive architect of Burt Hill in Boston. He designed many city landmarks, including the State Street Bank building at 225 Franklin St., the Park Street Church Ministries building and, his personal favorite, 70 Federal St. He was also responsible for the restorations of Quincy Market, Old South Meeting House and the Talbot Building at Boston University, as well as the designs of more than 25 community libraries throughout Massachusetts.
Stahl received an honorary Doctorate of Collaborative Practice from Boston Architectural College in 2009, among other recognition for his career achievements.
Stahl served on the BHCA board of directors from 1963 to 1973, founding and chairing the organization’s Planning Committee in 1965. He returned to the board more than five years ago and served as co-chair of the Civic Association Planning and Research Committee, which oversees institutional development and expansion plans in and around Beacon Hill.
Stahl’s other civic contributions included his work with Historic New England and the Boston Architectural College, where he served as a faculty member and on countless committees.
Joan Berndt, a longtime neighbor of Stahl’s and a fellow BHCA director who served on this year’s Beacon Award Nominating Committee, described him as a “generous, talented and dedicated” community member who skillfully combined his architectural expertise with a long-term vision for the growth of a historic neighborhood in the city.
Berndt cited making Temple Street into a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare and saving the adjoining Ralph Adams Cram Chapel/Richard Upjohn Double house from demolition among Stahl’s many significant efforts on Beacon Hill.
“He was thoughtful, insightful—an activist with a gentle demeanor who was well respected by all,” Berndt wrote in email to the Times. “He was a mentor to many, and truly a senior-statesman-like presence whose myriad contributions were given generously.”
Pel Stockwell, chair of the award nominating committee, wrote in an email, “With the pool of nominations for the incredibly deserving people and groups that are submitted, it can be difficult to select a winner. Tad stood out not for any one act, but for 50 years of his commitment to preserving, promoting and planning our neighborhood. Always thoughtful and insightful, he was a mentor to many of his Beacon Hill neighbors.”
BHCA Executive Director MaryLee Halpin added, “It is heartwarming to see this prestigious award go to Tad, who gave so generously of himself to the causes that were dear to him.”