City Landmarks Dorchester Home
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For Immediate Release
January 30, 2007
Released By:
Mayor's Office
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press office

City Landmarks Dorchester Home

Landmark Designation Ends Anxiety

On Tuesday, January 23rd, neighbors let out a cheer as the Boston Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to Landmark the George Milliken House, 44 Virginia Street, near Uphams Corner.

"This is a winning outcome for a historic neighborhood and residents who have worked hard to reinvest in their Victorian homes and in the Upham's Corner commercial district," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. "The Archdiocese deserves credit for selling the house to home buyers for rehabilitation. They did the right thing."

Concern for protection of this vacant but stately Victorian house surfaced in 2004 in response to a plan by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to demolish the house for wider driveway access to a parking lot serving a school and a Catholic Charities building. Members of the Upham's Corner Westside Neighborhood Association and others rallied with a petition for Landmark status which the Commission accepted for further study, and negotiations with the Archdiocese began a long process to both widen the driveway and save the house.

According to Ellen Lipsey, Executive Director of the Boston Landmarks Commission, "Concern escalated as the roof deteriorated and as Commission staff findings confirmed that 44 Virginia Street was erected by George Milliken, an inventor associated with advancements in telegraph technology. Milliken built the house at the height of his career, in this emerging fashionable neighborhood of middle and upper class Bostonians choosing a suburban over an urban environment."

Prolific architect John H. Besarick designed the Milliken's house as a handsome melding of Queen Anne and Stick styles, topped with a belvedere, an open-sided tower-like structure. J.H. Besarick's buildings include numerous row houses in the Bay Bay and Mission Hill and detached houses in Roxbury and Dorchester -- with his own also on Virginia St -- St. John's Seminary in Brighton, and Windemere, a summer estate on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The future of the house has been secured," added Susan Pranger, chair of the Commission. "It took three years and many people and it was worth it. Congratulations to all," added Pranger, "especially the Archdiocese; City Councilors Chuck Turner and Maureen Feeney; the Mayor's Office; the Boston Transportation Department, James Hunt, Chief of Energy and Environmental Services; the Uphams Corner Westside Neighborhood Association; the Dorchester Historical Society and the Boston Preservation Alliance."

New owner, John Barros remarked, "We want everyone to know how excited we are to own this house and to work with the Landmarks Commission. We look forward to moving in."



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