Beacon Hill Civic Association Community Corner

Holiday Decorating – An annual tradition on Beacon Hill

The Garland and Greens cocktail party, to be held at the Hampshire House on Nov. 14, annually raises funds for the 2,680 yards of garlands and 2,400 red bows needed for the community to decorate Beacon Hill’s 1,100 historic gas lamps.

This year will mark the 23rd year the gas lamps on Beacon Hill have been dressed in such holiday finery. The idea was born in 1995 when Tom Kershaw, Ivy Turner and Chris Quigley of the Charles Street Merchants (now the Beacon Hill Business Association) lamented that the dwindling Merchants group could no longer afford to decorate the street. The three, along with a local floral arranger, decided to spearhead the effort and the first fundraiser was held at the Hampshire House.

For the first few years, only Charles Street was decorated but soon after the Beacon Hill Civic Association joined the team and gas lamps all over the Hill were swathed in greenery and ribbons. The BHCA gradually assumed the reins as the program switched from a business to a residential focus.

To this day, Kershaw still throws the party that raises the funds and Turner still directs the hundreds of volunteers who decorate the lampposts. Under her leadership, what once took almost a week is now accomplished in two days on the first weekend of December.

This year the holiday decorating will take place on Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2. The BHCA is again in need of many helpers and encourages all neighbors to save the date and join the fun. BHCA members and past volunteers will be receiving more details in the mail this week.

Please contact the BHCA at 617-227-1922 if you’d like to volunteer.


Beacon Hill Gala

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

Omni Parker House

What better way to enjoy friends and neighbors than spending a cool winter’s eve together socializing, dining and dancing – all while supporting the preservation of the historic and residential character of Beacon Hill? For the 47th year, the Beacon Hill Civic Association invites the entire neighborhood to come together at its 2019 Winter Gala on February 9. The black tie affair, which is the BHCA’s major fundraiser, will be held this year at the Omni Parker House. Early Bird tickets are available until November 30, so buy yours today at

A Piece of the Past – Parking and Traffic issues

Despite the excitement brought by the mass production of automobiles, by the early 1920s Beacon Hillers suffered from an increase in accidents, a parking nightmare and traffic congestion. The neighborhood had quickly become a speeding thoroughfare for cars driving in and out of Boston every day. As the traffic and parking problems escalated, the BHCA generated ideas to resolve it; one such idea was to build an underground garage at the Common, which didn’t become a reality until the 1950s.

Another early idea was to establish residential parking for Beacon Hillers who even then objected to commuters and legislators usurping their spaces; that, too, happened years later. When speaking of the association’s achievements at its tenth anniversary in 1932, the BHCA president mentioned the widening and redesign of Charles and Cambridge streets, the elevated train station, increased parking spaces, the conversion of seven streets into one-way roads and the installation of traffic signals on Charles Street. But even those accomplishments were not enough. She correctly predicted that the battle against traffic problems would go on and on.

[Source: The Life and Times of a Neighborhood]


Permits 101: Moving Permits

A standard moving permit reserves two parking spaces for one day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can only apply online if their moving dates are at least two weeks but no more than a month away. Otherwise they must visit the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) at City Hall at least three days before moving. The fees for these permits are based on the number and location of spaces required.

Signs need to be posted on the street at least two days before the move. BTD provides flyers to be distributed to neighbors at least two days prior so that they are aware of the move and remove their cars from the assigned spaces.

Residents should clean any debris left behind and remove any signs or flyers after their move. Neighbors can remove any posted permits that have expired. For further information, visit


Come join us!

If you haven’t yet become a member of the BHCA, we invite you to join. Your input in quality of life issues on the Hill is important to us, and we rely on you our neighbors to bring your comments and concerns to our attention. By joining our membership, you add to the collective voice of the neighborhood and support our work in historic preservation, community development and civic engagement. Please call our office at 617-227-1922 or email the BHCA Executive Director at [email protected] with any questions, comments or concerns, or to become a member.


Upcoming BHCA Meetings

Tuesday, November 13: Board of Directors Meeting. 7 p.m. 74 Joy Street.

BHCA Traffic & Parking Committee

Thursday, November 15, 2018

6-7:30 p.m.


(1) Follow up discussion on the city’s slow pace on solving for amplified traffic on the interior of Beacon Hill due to Waze and other mapping apps.

(2) Dockless bikes/scooters.

(3) Cambridge Street safety issues for cyclists and pedestrians.

(4) Construction parking permits.

(5) Early problems with short term parking test at Joy & Mt Vernon.


Other upcoming BHCA Events

Evening at Friends House – Thursday, November 9, at Beacon Hill Friends House (6 Chestnut)

Garlands & Greens – Wednesday, November 14, at Hampshire House (84 Beacon)

Decorating Days – December 1 and 2

47th Annual Beacon Hill Gala – February 9, at the Omni Parker House


Visit the Beacon Hill Civic Association website or call the office (617-227-1922) for more information on any of these events.

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