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, February 20, 2011

The nuns to decamp from Roxbury to Duxbury

It was late January when we first learned that the Sisters of St. Margaret were selling their property to the Bridge Boston Charter School.

Then, representatives of the sisters and of the charter school attended the 8 February meeting of the Fort Hill Civic Association.

Concerns of neighbors were recorded in the minutes of the FHCA meeting.  Those concerns were traffic, lost privacy and potential for property damage for abutters, increased noise, decreased property value of the neighborhood, and unknown changes to the identity of the community.

A Boston Globe article from 13 February also announced the news and gave some history on the sisters, described their long involvement in Haiti, and recounted the reasons for their move from Fort Hill to Duxbury.  The sale is apparently dependent on the Bridge School receiving its charter and on approval from the Zoning Board of Appeal.

The Boston Globe reported three days ago that "Massachusetts education commissioner Mitchell Chester today endorsed 17 out 23 applications to launch new charter schools," among which is the Bridge Charter School.  The full Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to vote on Commissioner Chester's recommendation at its meeting on 28 February.  Commissioner Chester recommended nine other Boston charter schools in addition to Bridge Charter School.

Here is a letter of 23 January from Sister Superior Carolyn and Sister Assistant Superior Adele Marie prepared for the SSM web site in which they announce the sale of the convent and the society's move to Duxbury.

The convent website gives the street address of the convent as 17 Highland Park Street, but the City of Boston Assessing Department lists 125 Highland Street.  The assessed value of the land and buildings at #125 is $1,630,800.00, of which $511,400.00 is for the land.  The plot is large, 66,668 sq ft.  The year 2008 saw the land and buildings assessed for $2,360,900.00, but the assessed value has decreased each year since.

The convent's conference center is sited on an adjacent, 5,298 sq ft lot at 18 Cedar Park, which is assessed only for the land at $86.000.00, with a zero dollar assessment for buildings.  The owners for #125 are given as ST MARGARET SOC OF and ST MONICAS HOME, while the owner for 18 Cedar Park is SOCIETY OF ST MARGARET MASS CORP.

It is of historical note that the convent's property includes the home of William Lloyd Garrison, where he lived from 1864 to his death fifteen years later.

We will make several more posts over the next few days discussing neighborhood reaction to the announced sale.

Flikr source for the photograph of the William Lloyd Garrison House

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