Free and open to the public
Don’t Toss out the Bath House…! The Campaign to Save the Historic Nazzaro Community Center
Sponsored by Mayor “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, designed by award-winning architectural firm Maginnis, Walsh and Sullivan in an ornate Italian Renaissance style influenced by Rome’s Villa Medici, the 1910 North End Bath House and Gymnasium remains a crown jewel of North End culture and public life. Heavily used, it survives as the last early 20th century public building in Boston’s North Bennet Street “Public Service Corridor” that hasn’t been lost or converted into private condominiums, and the adjacent Polcari Playground has also been in continual use as a central gathering space for over one hundred years. Converted to a community center in 1985, the facility was named for Michael A. Nazzaro Jr., who gave up a promising job in Washington DC in the 1950s to come home to Boston to rescue his neighborhood from destruction by the “New Boston Committee” and the BRA.
It was recently revealed that city officials have been working for months to sell the Nazzaro Center to a private developer for residential condominiums and to build a large new facility on the waterfront; the fate of both the building and its playground setting remain uncertain. In response, a grass-roots coalition has been formed to develop and advocate for viable community-recreation options that retain selected programs in the current building, possibly in tandem with construction of a separate gymnasium on other city property.
Ellen Hume and Marie Simboli, co-chairs, Save the Nazzaro Campaign (www.savethenazzaro.org)
For those who qualify, 1.5 LU/HSWs are available.
To learn more about the Historic Resources Committee, visit architects.org/committees/historic-resources-committee
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