Apollos Field House Hearing Scheduled for Later This Month

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

The process of designating the Apollos Field House, a home located at 30 Union Street in Charlestown, as an individual landmark will continue with a Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) public hearing on March 26th.

In 2021, residents and the Charlestown Preservation Society spearheaded a campaign to designate 30 Union Street and 8 Lawrence Street as an architectural conservation district to prevent a historic building at the latter property from being demolished as part of a proposed development project.

However, a past report from the Patriot-Bridge identified that the building at 8 Lawrence Street was demolished in 2022 due to the “already lengthy delay of the designation process” and the inability to “forecast when the time frame to complete the landmark designation process would occur.”

Even with the demolition at 8 Lawrence Street, a study report published by the BLC in February indicated that a new proposal would designate the Apollos Field House as an “individual Boston Landmark.”

The abovementioned study “contains Standards and Criteria that have been prepared to guide future physical changes to the property in order to protect its integrity and character,” per a webpage on the city’s website.

The Apollos Field House, now under the ownership of Marianne Gibbons and Ronald Kulich, has origins dating back to the early 1800s.

According to the study report, the lot at 30 Union Street was sold to a painter named Apollos Field in 1813, and a structure was built on the property between 1813 and 1815.

“It was originally built as a two-story or two-and-one-half-story, brick-end, hip-roofed house with a two-story rear ell,” reads the report.

The study suggests that the house was designed by a local housewright and carpenter named William Wiley, who was influenced by the work of a designer and builder named Asher Benjamin.

After the construction of the house, ownership changed several times, and it was altered between 1843 and 1868, including increasing the building to three stories, per the report.

Moreover, the study suggests that the house underwent several changes and improvements throughout the 1900s, including changes and repairs to windows, the roof, brick side walls, and more.

“The Apollos Field House is significant as a well-preserved, sophisticated example of a Federal-style, brick-ender, oblong-form type dwelling, in the Union/Washington Streets neighborhood and the Charlestown area of Boston,” reads the study report.

As to why the potential landmark designation at the property would be substantial, it would protect from threats of demolition and redevelopment.

While the study report indicates that the building is not “under any direct threats or risk of demolition,” it says, “development pressure in Charlestown poses a potential and continued threat to the building if it is not designated as a Landmark.”

Specifically, the study emphasizes the underlying threat by pointing to the demolition of the historic building at 8 Lawrence Street, which dates back to the early 1800s.

In addition to providing photographs, historical background, and more about the property, the study report also contains recommendations from BLC staff.

For example, BLC staff recommends that the Apollos Field House be designated as an individual Landmark.

Further, the study report outlines standards and criteria that “both identify and establish guidelines for those features which must be preserved and/or enhanced to maintain the viability of the Designation,” which BLC staff also recommended to be accepted.

To get more information about the property and upcoming hearing, read the study report, and make comments, visit https://www.boston.gov/news/apollos-field-house-study-report.

It should be noted that in a February letter from Dorothy Clark, an Assistant Survey Director at the BLC, notifying folks of a change in the hearing date from March 12th to March 26th, she wrote, “No vote will be taken at this time.”

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