The Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) partnered with Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England (CCBA) to register the first site connected to Chinese in Boston to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2016, consultants wrote the application to nominate CCBA’s Old Quincy School building, and an overview about the Chinese in Boston context-study. These two documents are now public record and allow future researchers/generations the opportunity to know about the experience of our ancestors and community.
The public comment period for this nomination closed on May 31st.
The Old Quincy School was officially accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in August 2017! Click here to read a recap of the announcement at the CCBA’s 48th Annual Celebration of the Boston August Moon Festival.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
Listing of this property provides recognition of the community’s important historic resources and assures protective review of Federal properties that might adversely affect the character of the property. If the property is listed in the National Register, certain Federal investment tax credits for rehabilitation and other provisions may apply.
Listing in the National Register does not mean that limitations will be placed on the property by the Federal government. Public visitation rights are not required of property owners. The Federal government will not attach restrictive covenants to the property or seek to acquire it. If a property is listed in the National Register, the owner may do anything with it that s/he wishes, unless state or federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, funds, permits, or licensing are used, or unless some other region and/or local ordinance of policy is in effect.
The Context Study is a detailed account of Boston’s Chinatown’s history, urban development, and and the importance of the Chinese community in these spaces. Its divided into four historical sections: South Cove Before Chinese Immigration, 1805‐1875; Buildings and Spaces of the Chinese Settlement Era, 1875‐1900; Boston’s Chinese Community Develops, 1900‐1943; and Chinatown After Exclusion, 1943‐1985. The study also includes brief information on present-day Chinatown (1985-2017) as well as images, maps, and geographical data.
The Context Summary is a condensed overview of the Context Study. Due to its shortened length, it does not contain the full detail of the Context Study. However, it does provide an overview of the nomination and historical attributes of the original Josiah Quincy School building and its place in the history of the American education system and Boston’s Chinese community.
The first individual property being nominated for listing in the National Register under this context is the Old Quincy School, located 88-90 Tyler Street, and home of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. The brick building was completed in 1859, built in the same manner and on the foundation of a four-story gable-roofed building built in 1848 and destroyed by fire ten years later. In 1938 the gable roof of the main building collapsed during a hurricane, after which the roof and fourth floor were removed and the existing flat roof was created. Stair towers attached to the north and south walls also were lowered from four to three stories at that time; they are distinguished by front and rear Greek Revival-style entrances that reflect the design of the leading Boston architect of the time, Gridley J.S. Bryant, known for his many civic and commercial buildings in Boston and the region.
The brick exterior of the building is supported on a granite basement, and includes a decorative band of granite above the first-story windows and marble window lintels and sills. There are four classrooms on each of the three stories, two on either side of a hallway connecting to stair towers. The original wood wainscot, doors, window and door trim and blackboards from 1859 all remain largely intact. Two rooms on the first story have been consolidated into one. In 1913, a two-story, technical training annex was added to the north side of the building. After the 1938 renovations, the Quincy Grammar School remained unchanged until its closing in 1976, when students were relocated to the Josiah Quincy Elementary School on Washington Street. In 1983, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England (CCBA) acquired the former school from the City of Boston. CCBA rehabilitated and repurposed the building to serve a variety of Chinese American civic and cultural groups and activities.
The Quincy Grammar School is significant as a distinctive example of mid-19th century progressive school architecture that served as the model of educational reforms introduced by Horace Mann and other educators in Boston and beyond. It also is significant as a historic institutional property associated with Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans in the City of Boston.
The school was the first “graded” grammar school in Massachusetts and possibly in the United States. Built in 1848 during a wave of reform in schoolhouse architecture and construction, the Quincy Grammar School was the first to reflect the educational model promoted by Horace Mann, the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. It followed the Prussian practice of grouping students according to age and achievement. Prior to this, American students were typically taught in large, mixed-age classes run by two teachers. The Quincy School was organized into multiple graded classes grouped by age and ability, each headed by one teacher. Later in its history, the Quincy Grammar School was also the location in 1913 of one of the first classes in the United States taught following the educational theories of Maria Montessori.
With the changing population of the South Cove neighborhood, students at the Quincy School by the early 20th century represented a diversity of immigrant groups, and by the 1940s when many families in Chinatown were relocating south of Kneeland Street, over a third of the School’s students were Chinese or Chinese American. By the time it closed in 1976, over 90% of the school’s population was Chinese American. The Quincy School played a pivotal role in the education of Boston’s Chinese community, as well as teaching English as a second language and other immigrant skills during a period when large numbers of new Chinese families were arriving in Boston. Even though the school closed in 1976, it found renewed life in 1983 when it was acquired by the CCBA, a vitally important community organization, composed of many charitable and cultural Chinese groups, that operates a multifaceted program in the building. Under CCBA’s ownership, the significant era of preserving and presenting Chinese culture for the benefit of Boston’s Chinese American community has continued strongly into the present. Despite the loss of its upper story and roof, the Quincy School still represents an architectural and historic landmark dating from the mid-19th century and a significant educational and community institution historically serving the Chinese immigrant and Chinese American community of Boston.
CHSNE will present updates on the nomination at the following community meetings:
The Chinatown Coalition (TCC): Thursday, May 11th, 9:30am @ Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, 38 Ash St, Boston
Chinatown/South Cove Neighborhood Council (CNC): Monday, May 15th, 6:00pm @ Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 90 Tyler St, Boston
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA): Tuesday, May 30th, 7:00pm @ 90 Tyler St, Boston
Links to handouts
Q: What is the National Register of Historic Places?
A: The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
問：什麼是“國家史蹟名錄” National Register of Historic Places”？
答：國家史蹟名錄是美國國家認為值得保護的史蹟的官方名单。根據1996年國家史蹟保護法案 (National Historic Preservation Act of 1966) 美國國家公園管理局 (National Park Service) 國家史蹟名錄是聯絡，支持，列舉，評估，保護國家公共，私人史蹟地產/工程/資源的聯邦项目。
Q: What are the implications of owning a building on the National Register?
A: Listing in the National Register does not mean that limitations will be placed on the property. The Federal government will not attach restrictive covenants to the property or seek to acquire it. If a property is listed in the National Register, the owner may do anything with it that s/he wishes, unless state or federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, funds, permits, or licensing are used, or unless some other regional and/or local ordinance or policy is in effect. Public visitation rights are not required of property owners. National Register listing places no restrictions on using or selling the property.
NOTE: Some properties on the National Register are also within local historic districts or have been designated as local landmarks. These are completely different local designations that involve completely separate processes. We’re applying for National Register designation by the Federal government, NOT a local designation by the Boston Landmarks Commission.
附注：有些列入國家史蹟名錄的地產，隸屬地方歷史區域 (local historic district) 或列入地方地標 (designated as local landmarks) 。它們入選是透過不同程序。我們是向聯邦政府申請列入國家史蹟名錄，並非向波士頓地標局 (Boston Landmarks Commission)。
Q: What are the benefits of owning a building on the National Register?
A: National Register listing officially recognizes and celebrates our history. It means that the property has been designated on a national list as historically and/or architecturally significant. National Register listing provides limited opportunities for grants and tax credits. Properties owned by municipalities or nonprofit organizations may be eligible for grants from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund, a state-funded competitive program supporting preservation and maintenance projects. Income-producing properties may be eligible for federal and state tax credits for substantial rehabilitation that meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
答：列入國家史蹟名錄是認可，慶祝我們的社區、州及國家具有重大意義的歷史性地產。獨一無二、不可替代的歷史資源，给我們的城市、社區赋予時代感与地方感，共同塑造社區的風貌。并且有資格申請获得某些州的修復補助金，例如麻塞諸塞州保護项目基金 Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund 提供的補助金，及經证實修復项目的某些税收優惠。
Q: What is the nomination process like?
A: Before the nomination process can begin, the property being proposed is evaluated by preservation staff of the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) to see whether in their opinion it meets the criteria for listing in the National Register. The preservation staff of the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) also participates in evaluation and reviewing nominations because they have been certified by the National Park Service as a “certified local government” due to their experience with historic preservation programs, and the National Register program in particular.
The nomination process includes the preparation of a formal document that records the property’s present appearance and places its story into historical context. The nomination describes the nominated property inside and out and assesses its historical significance over time, from construction to the present day. The nomination discusses the themes under which the property is significant. The nomination includes current and historic photographs and maps. As part of the nomination’s preparation, it is reviewed in draft form by the MHC staff.
答：提名程序進行之前，麻薩諸塞州歷史委員會 (Massachusetts Historical Commission) 的保護史蹟地產專家先評估，提名地產是不是符合列入國家史蹟名錄資格。美國國家公園管理局委派波士頓地標局(BLC)為地方代表，因為BLC 專家有保護史蹟地產經驗，也參與評估。
Q: What is the Context Study, and what does it cover?
A: The Context Study is a detailed 145-page account of Boston’s Chinatown’s history, urban development, and the importance of the Chinese community in these spaces. It is divided into four historical sections: South Cove Before Chinese Immigration, 1805‐1875; Buildings and Spaces of the Chinese Settlement Era, 1875‐1900; Boston’s Chinese Community Develops, 1900‐1943; and Chinatown After Exclusion, 1943‐1985. The study also includes brief information on present-day Chinatown (1985-2017) as well as images, maps, and geographical data.
答：相關研究文件145頁，詳述有關波士頓華人資料：華埠歷史，都市計劃，社區貢獻。，有4個歷史部分：1805-1875 華人移民前的南灣 (South Cove) ；1875-1900 華人移民的樓宇住宅；1900-1943 波士頓華人社區發展；1943-1985 停止排斥華人後的華埠。研究文件簡介當今 (1985-2017) 華埠的風貌，圖文，地理資料。
Q: Who wrote the Context Study?
A: The Context Study and National Register nomination were both written by historic preservation consultants, with additional input and editing from MHC staff (Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer and Register Director). In addition, documentary materials and editorial support were provided by CHSNE, Chinatown Atlas, Institute for Asian American Studies at UMASS Boston, and CCBA.
答：史蹟專家撰寫相關研究文件及國家史蹟名錄提名申請案。麻薩諸塞州歷史委員會專家提供意見/修正。紐英崙華人歷史協會，華埠地圖 (Chinatown Atlas) ，麻薩諸塞州大學波士頓分校亞美研究中心，紐英崙中華公所提供文件及協助。
Q: Where can I find a copy of the context study and nomination?
A: The context study can be found at tinyurl.com/NRcontext
The nomination can be found at tinyurl.com/NRnomination
A printed copy of the full context and nomination are available to read at CCBA’s library.
Q: Where can I find more information?
A: On CHSNE’s website: chsne.org/NR
Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC)
Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE)
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England (CCBA)
Jessica Wong Camhi
Shauna Lo, Institute for Asian American Studies
Tunney Lee, Boston Chinatown Atlas
Wing-kai To, Bridgewater State University
Representative Michael Capuano
Helen Chin Schlichte
The Chinatown Coalition
Chinatown Residents Association
Chinatown/South Cove Neighborhood Council