SpencerBANK in Worchester, MA (Formerly the Worchester Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building, c. 1925)
MHA congratulates our client SpencerBANK as the winner of a 2015 Silver Hammer Award from the Worcester Chamber of Commerce for its rehabilitation of the former Worcester Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building on Park Avenue in Worcester, MA. The former Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and had been listed on Preservation Worcester’s “Most Endangered Structures” list.
SpencerBANK renovated the historic structure to create its new Elm Park branch location, along with a community meeting room open to the public. MHA helped the bank navigate the state and federal historic tax credit processes, working closely with project architect Gregory J. O’Connor Associates and contractor F. W. Madigan Company on this important project.
“I think this is a great example of how a small project can be impactful,” stated Albert Rex, Partner and Director of MHA Northeast. “The combination of its use as a bank along with public meeting space will bring many people to this long vacant building."
The Fire Alarm and Telegraph Building was constructed in 1925 for the Worcester Fire Department. Local architect, Lucius W. Briggs, designed the picturesque English Tudor Revival Style building with a domestic appearance to fit within the surrounding Elm Park's 60 acres of parkland. Briggs was a prominent New England architect whose local works included Memorial Auditorium, Worcester Boys Trade School, South High School, and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The building was, according to Briggs' obituary, a special favorite of his and one of the best examples of his work in the city. It was said that he took "immense joy" from the project, designing and supervising every minute detail.
The original building design, completed for $126,000, included a garage, machine shop, coal room, and boiler room on the first floor, and an operating room, battery room, office, and dormitory on the second floor. The building was later converted to the Grounds, Equipment & Repairs Building for the Worcester School Department at an unknown date.
The Bank’s new Elm Park branch features a contemporary, cutting-edge banking environment that maintains the historic integrity of the building’s façade, including the retention of the main facade's historic steel windows. In addition, SpencerBANK constructed a state-of-the-art community meeting room and activity center. Overseen by Preservation Worcester, the room is available to organizations that promote the public use, preservation and stewardship of Elm Park.
Silver Hammer Awards, given by the Chamber at its Annual Awards Ceremony, acknowledge construction or rehabilitation projects that have an extraordinary visual and aesthetic impact on our physical landscape and that have brought new life to some of the region’s most historic assets.
“SpencerBANK is honored to accept this Silver Hammer Award. It symbolizes a unique community effort to restore this historic structure and provide a forum for the preservation and enjoyment of Elm Park. Our new Elm Park branch is up and running and we’re very excited to share it with the community,” said SpencerBANK President & CEO K. Michael Robbins.
post by Megan Lydon