BLC Votes to Approve a Preservation Restriction on the Howell Matson House in Bay Village

The Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) on February 9 approved a proposal to protect the Howell Matson House at 41 Melrose St. in Bay Village through Historic New England’s Preservation Easement program.

The preservation restriction agreement is “pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 184 Section 32,” and will be “held by Historic New England,” according to the BLC agenda.

Dylan Peacock, Senior Manager of Preservation Services Historic New England explained that the preservation restriction currently applies to 116 properties across New England, including three in Boston.

Peacock explained that under the restriction, the building is protected against things like alteration and neglect, among other things. The restriction protects features on both the interior and exterior fo the building, he added.

He said that the Howell Matson House was completed in 1841 and used as rental housing. He called it a “well-preserved example of an urban Greek-revival…from the 19th century.” He went through some of the historic features of the building that would be protected should this be approved.

He also explained that the “entire neighborhood was raised in 1868” as the Back Bay and other adjacent areas were being developed, and someone “can still read that in the house today.”

The protection of this building “requires approval at the state and local levels,” Peacock said, and the state has already provided preliminary approval, so he was looking for BLC approval for the local level.

“It’s a wonderful house and it’s wonderful that it’s being protected in this way,” said BLC Chair Lynn Smiledge.

The BLC unanimously voted to approve the preservation restriction.

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