Originally built as the elegant St. James Hotel in 1868, the Franklin Square House was once host to Ulysses S. Grant, Johann Straus and Diamond Jim Brady. After closing in 1888, the building served subsequent uses as a women’s dormitory for the New England Conservatory and later, in 1904, as a residential hotel for young working women. The building incorporated several innovations of the time including hybrid steel frame/wood joist construction and steam elevators. The firm’s conversion of the building to senior housing was ground-breaking work at the time and a vanguard of the Boston’s South End renaissance of the 1980s and 1990s. A regal presence on Franklin Square, the firm restored the Second Empire roof and dormers, as well as repairing or reproducing the cast stone corbels, quoins and window headers of the main façade. The artful interior layout preserved and incorporated significant interior spaces and details including the main entry foyer with its curved period staircase and, most significantly, Sleeper Memorial Hall, the former ballroom. The firm first completed the historic conversion in 1974 and concluded additional building renovations in 2012.
Historic Preservation | Restoration + Adaptive Reuse
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