Clark & Green to Prepare Study for Powder Magazine at Magazine Beach

24 Sep

Gunpowder from vessels in Boston harbor and for militia use was once stored in this 1818 granite block building at Magazine Beach–named for the gun powder magazine–in Cambridge. DCR has just contracted Clark & Green to do an historic structure report that will document the building’s physical condition and history and recommend how best to stabilize, restore, rehabilitate and reuse it.

Since November 2010, the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association has been working to revitalize Magazine Beach with several partners: Charles River Conservancy, Riverside Boat Club, Cambridge Historical Commission, and DCR.  ”The structure is deteriorating and I’ve long wanted it to be restored,” noted Charles Sullivan, Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission. “This ancient granite block building is historically and architecturally significant, and adds character to Cambridge’s second largest park.”

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has awarded a contract to Clark & Green Architecture Design of Great Barrington, Mass., to produce an Historic Structure Report for the 1818 powder magazine at Magazine Beach. Steve McCalister will serve as lead architect for this project, working in association with the structural engineer John Wathne, William Finch, an architectural conservator, and Nina Cohen, a historian. The report will document the physical condition of the building; its history and use; assess the building’s structural integrity; determine preservation priorities; recommend how best to stabilize, restore, and rehabilitate the structure; and propose reuse options.

Clark & Green have worked successfully with DCR on several projects, including the Charles River Reservation Speedway Building in Brighton, Mass. and the Mt. Greylock Visitors’ Center and Summit House at Joseph Skinner State Park.

This study will build on the 2011-2012 historic research undertaken by Marilyn Wellons and Nina Cohen, the 2012 CNA survey results (forthcoming), and the 2009 report, “Powder House Revitalization: An Integrated Approach” by Harvard graduate students Masako Ikegami and Paul Laszlo.

The study will be funded by a $25,000 Community Preservation Act grant from the City of Cambridge matched 2:1 by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the guardians of the park.  Remaining funds will be used in 2013 to help stabilize and reroof the powder magazine. For more information about revitalization efforts, contact Cathie Zusy at or Patrice Kish at

[For further information about the history of Magazine Beach and about our efforts there, go to the Boston Globe’s recent article:]

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