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Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters facts for kids

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Charles River Reservation – Upper Basin Headquarters
View of the headquarters, c. 1900
Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters is located in Greater Boston area
Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters
Location in Greater Boston area
Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters is located in Massachusetts
Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters
Location in Massachusetts
Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters is located in the United States
Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters
Location in the United States
Location 1420–40 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, Massachusetts
Built 1899-1940
Architect William D. Austin
Architectural style Shingle and Colonial Revival
NRHP reference No. 10000506
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 19, 2010

The Charles River Reservation (Speedway)-Upper Basin Headquarters (Speedway Headquarters) is located at 1420–1440 Soldiers Field Road and 525 Western Avenue in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It is a complex of seven buildings designed by architect William D. Austin in the Shingle and Colonial Revival styles and built between 1899 and 1940. The site served as the headquarters of the State-managed Charles River Reservation and as horse stables for the Charles River Speedway, a harness and bicycle racing track along present-day Soldiers Field Road. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) maintains the Speedway Headquarters and considers it to be one of its origin properties.

Vacant since 2005, the property is currently being redeveloped under DCR's Historic Curatorship Program by the Boston-based Architectural Heritage Foundation as a mixed-use commercial and cultural facility.


The Speedway Headquarters was designed by local architect William D. Austin, known for his work on public buildings throughout Massachusetts, particularly in state parks and reservations. The complex consists of seven contiguous buildings arranged in a triangle around a courtyard. The buildings exhibit many features common to Shingle-style structures - wood shingle siding, an irregular roofline with cross-gables, turrets, and wide eaves - but also includes windows, shutters, and a portico with columns characteristic of Colonial Revival architecture.


The Speedway and its surrounding area were designed by landscape architect Charles Eliot shortly before his death in 1897, and its construction was overseen by the Olmsted Brothers. The Speedway operated until at least the 1950s, and was eventually absorbed by the expansion of Soldiers Field Road into a limited-access parkway. The buildings of the Speedway headquarters continued to be used by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for administrative and logistical purposes, through at least 2001.

The buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 19, 2010, and as a Boston Landmark in 2014. The complex was vacant at that time.

In April 2013 the Boston Landmarks Commission voted to designate the Charles River Speedway Administration Building, 1440 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton, as a Boston Landmark, under the provisions of Chapter 772 of the Acts of 1975, as amended. The designation was subsequently approved by the Mayor and by City Council.


In May 2013 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, acting by and through the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), announced a request for proposals from outside parties to rehabilitate, reuse, and maintain the Charles River Reservation Speedway Administration Building. The project was to be undertaken under the purview of the Historic Curatorship Program.

In August 2014, the DCR announced that a proposal submitted by the non-profit Architectural Heritage Foundation and its for-profit partner, 243 Dutton Interests LLC, had been selected for a forty-year lease of the property. The chosen proposal will turn the run-down complex into a brewery/taproom, restaurant, maker space and retail shops for local artisans, and office space for a Brighton-based nonprofit. Initially, the proposal also included the construction of a multi-family housing unit in place of the adjacent 501-507 Western Ave. However, that plan has since been cancelled; the property has been demolished and will become a car and bicycle parking lot for Speedway Headquarters users. Today, 243 Dutton Interests is no longer participating in the project, and AHF is the exclusive redeveloper.

Rehabilitation of the complex is expected to begin in Summer 2019, with an opening date scheduled for May 2020.

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