Building Wreckers at Work on the Old Home of the Perkins Institution, South Boston, 1915

Clip of an article from the Boston Globe

View from Broadway Street in South Boston of the Old Perkins Institute building, in process of demolition. The roof has been removed and the sky is visible through the upper windows.

November 5, 2013

The Boston Globe-- Wednesday, August 11, 1915.

Building Wreckers at Work. On the Old Home of the Perkins Institution for the Blind in South Boston.

[image caption] View from Broadway of the Old Perkins Institute Building, In Process of Demolition.

Gradually but surely the work of demolition of the old Perkins Institution for the Blind, one of the oldest landmarks in South Boston, located on the top of the hill on East Broadway between G and H sts, in Revolutionary times known as the Middle Hill, is proceeding, and in a few weeks it will be no more. Already the two upper floors have been torn away from front to back.

The Swift, McNutt Company, building wreckers, have been at work for two months, having purchased the building as it stood.

All this old Perkins Institution property has recently changed hands, having been purchased by J. F. O'Brien and brother for investment, and it is said that they intend to build thereon, although it is not known whether they will build apartment houses or a business block. The location is one of the best in South Boston, but the handicap in building new structures is that there is an elevation above the street level fully 40 feet on Broadway, and extending back to East 4th st.

It was in 1838 that the Perkins building was erected. It was built as the Mt Washington Hotel, and opened by several wealthy men of the city who thought they foresaw in South Boston the aristocratic section of the city. John Ford was the manager. The Warren Association, as the syndicate was called, commenced running a line of coaches from the old State House to the hotel, charging 25 cents fare, which was soon reduced to six cents. but the hotel did not pay, and the building at last became the property of the Perkins Institution for the Blind. 

In May, 1839, the Perkins Institution was located in the great building on top of the hill. Five years ago the building was abandoned by the school, and the handsome new buildings in Watertown have since been used.

The old main building has remained idle ever since, and many have been the conjectures as to what use it would be put. All conjectures ceased, however, early in June, when it was announced that the O'Brien brothers had bought it, and soon afterward the work of razing it commenced. In various letters and books bearing the name Mt Washington Hotel have been found with interesting data.

The building was very substantially built, and the workmen have had a task in tearing out the walls and ceilings. It was a six-story structure, 150 feet square, and the entrance from East Broadway was reached by stone steps 40 Feet high.