History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spiritual Amenities on Fort Hill: I

Some on Fort Hill have bemoaned its lack of "urban amenities." A Highland Parking vision process seems to be just beginning, so those seeking a greater number or variety of urban amenities have not had a chance to elaborate what they mean by these words in a broad public forum.

Given recent controversy, certainly a neighborhood place to get a drink of alcohol, hear some nice jazz, and be able to break bread with friends was central to these desires. Or, perhaps, the dark horse chance of a jazz-tavern only rushed in from the margins of possibility with talk of Mr. Settles's Centre Street club.

Some folk have expressed simple desires: to be able to purchase a gallon of milk, to get a take-out sandwich, or to do laundry without having to walk off the hill. Sometimes the fabled dry cleaners on Alvah Kittredge Square gets a mention in the litany of wouldn't it be nice if....

Given the concentration of artists on the hill, it would be natural to yearn for well-lighted gallery or studio space, or for an intimate performance venue for music or drama.

Art, drama, and music provoke challenge and provide comfort to the spirit and soul. So, too, does religion.

The proposed use at 85 Centre Street has veered recently from nothing to church to bar to something unknown. Since the controversy has provoked a Highland Park vision process and since a recent proposed use for #85 was spiritual—and may yet be—it seems topical to consider current religious uses on the hill: the churches, mosques, and other spiritual amenities.

It would be too easy and too obvious to start with the landmarks. So, instead, the next posts will briefly examine the less obvious houses for the spirit.

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