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Foreword Countless narratives have been written about the Old Corner Bookstore building’s rich and storied past. Less has been told of its quiet but extraordinary contributions to historic preservation and economic development throughout the city of Boston. The founders of the non-profit Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) established the organization in 1960 to save the Old Corner Bookstore from the wrecking ball. Their decision to restore it and put it back into commercial use is their lasting contribution to the building’s survival and to historic preservation in Boston. It also set the stage for the HBI we know today. What started with one building has become a national model of urban investment and renewal through historic preservation. Since 1979, HBI has been acquiring and rehabilitating endangered historic buildings throughout Boston’s neighborhoods. Beginning in the 1980s with historic buildings on Main Street in Charlestown, and spreading to every neighborhood of Boston, HBI has been applying the lessons learned from the Old Corner Bookstore to dozens of at-risk buildings. And by doing so, the organization has proven over-and-over again that direct intervention in the fate of endangered historic buildings and their re-use for contemporary needs is one of the most effective ways of preserving the unique character of Boston while also strengthening the social fabric of the city.

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To mark the Old Corner Bookstore building’s 300th year, HBI is pleased to introduce Susan Wilson’s new history of the site. This very special place is a physical expression of Boston over time and, as it continues to inspire us, it is likely to make more history in the centuries to come.

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HISTORIC BOSTON INCORPORATED


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