2019 Preservation Massachusetts Awards Honor Two MHA Projects

In May, Preservation Massachusetts honored two MHA projects as 2019 Preservation Award recipients at their annual awards ceremony. The Sewall Building at the Dimock Center in Roxbury won a Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award and the Bethany Apartments in Hanover won a Robert H. Kuehn Award. The ceremony on May 8th celebrated the theme “Preservation Is...” in a continuing effort on the part of Preservation Massachusetts to bring greater understanding of the historic preservation movement to a wider audience and to recognize projects that exemplify the mission.  


The Sewall Building at the Dimock Center | Roxbury, MA 

The rehabilitation of the Sewall Building brought an important community resource up-to-date for the twenty-first century so that the Dimock Community Health Center could continue their work with modern amenities. The Dimock Center provides a wide variety of health care services at affordable costs to the greater Boston area, with the Sewall Building focused on supporting those dealing with the opioid crisis. The Sewall Building sits on the historic campus of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The building was built in 1892 and was first used as a maternity ward. The building now serves as a forty-bed inpatient detoxification program.  

Funds for the rehabilitation of the structure were raised through the Dimock Center’s Building the Road to Recovery campaign. The work included repairing the exterior brick and mortar and the slate roof, new windows and doors, and new mechanical systems. Non-historic features were removed, and the courtyard was made accessible to patients. The number of patient beds was increased as well by adding a new addition. The important historic features were retained and restored as necessary, including the main staircase and entrance lobby and the handsomely appointed offices. The newly rehabilitated building can now better serve its patients and continue the legacy of the Dimock Community Health Center for years to come.  


Bethany Apartments | Hanover, MA 

The Bethany Apartments repurposed the historic Kennedy Building on the Cardinal Cushing Center’s campus into 37 affordable housing units. First founded as St. Coletta’s by the Sea in the 1947, the Cardinal Cushing Center, Inc. was created by Richard Cardinal Cushing and the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi to provide exceptional care to children with intellectual disabilities. In the following decades, their mission and campus grew to provide a wide variety of care to a diverse community. The Bethany Apartments building was first constructed in 1957 in the Colonial Revival style with a donation from the Kennedy family, who had a long-running connection with Cardinal Cushing and were involved with many of his efforts in support of special needs. The building includes a chapel with stained glass windows.  

The rehabilitation of the building took the historic dormitory and turned it into thirty-seven apartments units, four of which are reserved for clients of the Department of Mental Health, continuing the mission of the Cardinal Cushing Center to aid those with development disabilities. Preservation of the building was paramount in the rehabilitation efforts. The exterior was repaired, and all windows were replaced with new windows that matched historic precedents. The stained-glass windows were fitted with exterior storm windows. The historic interior features were retained where possible, with the chapel serving as the new community space while the former classrooms and offices were reconfigured into apartments and updated with modern mechanical systems. A large team made the rehabilitation possible, and the Bethany Apartments brought much-needed affordable housing to the community.