Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Curtis Hall Rebuilt - Problem Solved
Curtis Hall, 2007
Last month, I posted an article from 1901 describing community complaints regarding dances and parties held at Curtis Hall. The auditorium in the building was being rented out at relatively low cost, resulting in almost nightly use by groups as far away as Roxbury and the South end. An assault on a streetcar conductor brought things to a head, and neighbors of the building wrote a letter to the Mayor demanding an end to the practice.
A few years later, a fire broke out above the hall where the dances were held, and the building had to be closed and rebuilt. The new building - surprise - was rebuilt with no hall in it, and the problem was eliminated. Hmmm... is anyone else suspicious? A problem building, no help from the city, and a fire, in that order. I can't help but speculate that maybe someone took things into his own hands. Coincidence is always a possibility, but....
On another topic: in my younger years, I spent many afternoons swimming at the "tank" in Curtis Hall. When I've told friends in recent years that we boys were required to swim in the nude, the reaction has been stunned disbelief. Apparently, times have changed so much that such a thing is now unbelievable.
Boston Daily Globe October 2, 1911
Will Have Modern Municipal Building.
Residents of Jamaica Plain Expect to Occupy Remodelled Structure This Week.
Residents of Jamaica Plain are eagerly looking forward to the opening to the new Municipal Building on South st, near Soldier's Monument, which, according to the Public Buildings Department, is likely to take place late this week. Some minor things remain to be finished inside the structure and the building is yet to be accepted by the city, but these matters are expected to require but a few days more.
The building, which for many years was known as Curtis Hall and which was partly burned about three years ago, has undergone a great transformation in the last year, during which time it has been under reconstruction. The work has been carried on under the direction of architect Lewis H. Bacon of Boston.
A feature which hundreds of man and boys of the district have been eagerly awaiting is the swimming tank in the basement. It was filled with water about a fortnight ago and was found to be all right. The tank is 75 feet long, 24 feet wide and varies in depth from three to seven feet.
The first floor contains general offices on each side of the main entrance and a long gallery overlooking the swimming tank. The second floor provides a gymnasium 128 feet by 72 feet and 30 feet high. An abundance of shower baths and lockers is furnished.
When provision was made for the remodelling of the building there was a strong expression among the citizens for the devotion of a large part of the new structure to athletic purposes and it was decided by the city officials to carry out this idea, which has been done with the $60,000 provided for work on the building.
The exterior presents quite a different and much more modern aspect than the building before the fire of Dec 15, 1908, which damaged the structure about $25,000.