Looking Back on ‘19

As the clock counted down on 2019, we looked back at some of the neighborhood’s most memorable events and biggest newsmakers of the last year while looking ahead optimistically at 2020.

Olivia Dorrance photo
From left to right: DCR Commissioner Leo Roy; State Rep. Livingstone; Mike Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association; Alexi Conine, EA board chair; Lucy Salwen, special projects and community assistant for the Charles River Conservancy; Lauren Hoops-Schmeig, executive director of Hill House; and Charlie Zechel, executive director of Community Boating, Inc., celebrated the commencement of demolition on the Lee Pool complex on the Charles River Esplanade on jan. 19 of last year.

• On Jan. 19, the Department Conservation and Recreation began demolition on the long-neglected Lee Pool complex for a project that promises to create more green space and open space on the Charles River Esplanade.

• In January, Massachusetts General Hospital formally announced its plans to build a $1 billion, state-of-the art addition consisting of two connected, 12-story towers located entirely within the MGH campus, with its facade facing Cambridge Street.

• On March 28, the Beacon Hill Business Association held its annual meeting at Hampshire House.

• In March, the Boston Athenæum unveiled its expansion plans after entering into a long-term lease that will allow it to expand by 19,400 square feet into the adjacent 14 Beacon St. while restoring its existing space at 10½ Beacon St.

• On April 2, Beacon Hill resident and internationally renowned bridge designer Miguel Rosales compared and contrasted the longstanding and iconic Longfellow Bridge with the contemporary Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge as the keynote speaker during the Esplanade Association’s annual meeting at the Park Plaza Hotel.

• On May 20, Ivy A. Turner was awarded he 23rd annual Beacon Award for her “significant and sustained” contribution to the neighborhood” during the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s 97th annual meeting at the Union Club. Chris Osgood, the city’s chief of streets, transportation and sanitation, served as the keynote speaker at the event.

• On June 2, the Beacon Hill Art Walk transformed the nooks and crannies of the North Slope for the afternoon into gallery space where local artist sold and displayed their work, as well as performance space for the many musicians who donated their time to the event.

• On June 10, Hampshire House – the  Beacon Hill landmark whose basement pub inspired the classic TV sitcom “Cheers” – celebrated its 50th anniversary.

• On July 17, the Friends of the Public Garden held its annual meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel due to inclement weather.

• In July, The Whitney Hotel – a 66-room, luxury, boutique hotel – opened at the former location of the John Jeffries House at 170 Charles St. after months of anticipation.

• In July, Devonia Antiques closed its doors at 15 Charles St. after 20 years in the neighborhood.

• On Sept. 14, The Hungry I at 71 Charles St. served its last meal after four decades in business.

• On Sept. 19, Mayor Martin J. Walsh proclaimed Mary Ann Vincent Day in honor of the 19th-centrury actress who is the namesake of the Vincent Club, a Boston-based, self-described “women’s organization dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of women,” as well as the Massachusetts General Hospital Vincent Department of OB/GYN.

• On Nov. 5, Kenzie Bok claimed victory in the municipal election for the District 8 city council seat to represent Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway-Kenmore, Mission Hill and the West End after Josh Zakim, chose to step down after three terms.

• On Nov. 13, more than 140 neighborhood residents were on hand for the 24th annual “Garlands & Green” fundraiser at Hampshire House.

The event, hosted by Tom Kershaw, owner of the Hampshire House Corporation, helps the Beacon Hill Civic Association defray the cost of decorating the neighborhood’s 1,089 lamp-posts with laurel garlands and red bows for the holiday season.

• On Dec. 5, the Beacon Hill Business Association sponsored the Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll, which featured performances by the Back Bay Ringers, the Apollo Club Brass Quartet and King Carolers, as well as complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides.

•        On Dec. 9, the Beacon Hill Civic Association board of directors awarded its first round of Community Grant funds totaling $22,500 to support community projects and programs during their monthly meeting at the Boston Athenæum.

• On Dec. 24, the Beacon Hill Bell Ringers performed traditional Christmas favorites using original handbells on the steps of 13 Louisburg Square.

The neighborhood tradition dates back 95 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.