Historic Structures

Building Description Boston Beer Company (Original), Boston Massachusetts

The Boston Beer Company Building is a red brick structure, rectangular in plan, ranging from 1 to 5 stones with a flat roof. The building footprint covers the entire site bounded to the north by West Second Street, to the east by D Street and to the south by Bolton Street. It measures approximately 100 feet by 312 feet. To the west, the remainder of the block is densely developed with wood frame single-family and multi-family dwellings and row houses. The building facade is oriented to the north facing West Second Street and the building actually consists of several structures, which sit on a granite foundation and were built between 1851 and 1882. The complex is composed of a central five-story section flanked by four-story structures. A one-story structure is attached to the west and a one-story section (1969) was built to fill a gap between the one-story and the four-story section at the rear. The dominant feature of the facade is the five-story central pavilion trimmed with rusticated granite quoins. A carved granite sign set into the facade between the third and fourth stories reads: "The Boston Beer Company, Chartered 1828." The red brick walls are relieved by segmental brick arches, granite and wood sills, and a brick corbel table and dentil course at the eaves. The masonry openings are relatively sparse on all elevations and are generally small. Windows are 2/2 or 6/6 wood sash.

Building 1, presumably the original structure, is located at the southeast corner of the site. It is rectangular in plan, approximately 56 feet by 182 feet and sits at the sidewalk along Bolton and D. Streets. A brick dentil course is visible on the west and south elevations. Round and star shaped tie rods are irregularly spaced on the exterior. The east elevation has two bays of small 616 sash. A central recessed entrance with recent metal and glass entry doors and two rectangular windows were installed at the basement story of this elevation. Rand & Co. listed their address as 300 C Street in 1969, so it is likely they installed the entrance at about that time. The south elevation has small masonry openings at the 1st through 3rd stories, and larger openings at the fourth story. At the west bay, there are five tiers of small window openings. The window openings in the west wall are splayed like those found elsewhere in this building, and the lintels are wood. Most of the basement and first story window openings have been filled with brick. A large rectangular loading bay has been cut into the south elevation at the first story. The metal vents that are visible above the third story windows would suggest that this had originally been the attic space, which provided ventilation and that the present fourth story was added. Attic windows above the fourth story have been partially filled with brick. This building is identified on the 1874 atlas as the Malt House, on the 1899 Sanborn as the Malt House, with the Patent Kiln Ho. in the southeast corner, and as Cold Storage House, Storage House (center) and Malt House on the 1922 plan. The 1935 plan shows this as the brewery. There is also a note on the 1935 map indicating the building was in constant operation.

The interior structure is cast iron columns supporting I-beams, the plaster ceiling is coffered. The floors are typically concrete and asphalt. The floor between the first and second floor in the center section of the building has been removed creating a two-story space. The first and third floors were 8'-6", the second floor was 8'-8", with a clearance of approximately 6' to the underside of the beam, but the fourth floor has a particularly high ceiling (14'-5") compared to the lower floors. The southeast corner has a different construction with approximately 20' ceiling heights at the basement and first floor and the top floor is approximately 15'. There is a large rectangular opening in the floor between the second and third floors. The walls in the east and center sections are brick covered with 4" of insulation consisting of three layers of plaster separated by two layers of thick cork. Window openings are splayed on the interior. There is a 6' ventilation space with a concrete floor above these two sections of this building. At the west end is the malt house where the brewing vats were located. There are four floors, although the top floor has three large open holes where the brewing tanks were supported. Intermediate supports between the third and top floors are 18" and 12" I-beams, the floors are wood. In the northwest corner there is a wrought iron spiral stair leading from the first to the second floor. At the second floor, a steep open metal straight run stair runs to the top floor along the west wall. The framing under the third floor shows large round holes tike those above indicating that the round brewing vats had been at this lower level at one time, but a floor has since been built over the framing. A metal clad door in the north wall leading from the fourth floor of Building 4 into the fourth floor of Building 1 is labeled "Malt Storage."

Building 2 was built to expand the original building to West Second Street. It appears that a new roof was installed over Buildings 1 & 2 . The east elevation has a shallow stepped gable and the new extension is four stories, three bays deep, and five bays in width. It measures approximately 44 feet by 103 feet. On both elevations star anchors are regularly spaced between bays. At the north elevation, the first story has additional windows between bays. There are eight original masonry openings for windows, one entrance door at grade and a large segmental brick arch for a loading entrance or carriage entrance in the west bay. The opening is filled with a metal overhead door. Windows are typically 6/6, many have been replaced or filled. Some of the first story windows are 2/2. Since this was the office area, they may be original. Four of the first story masonry openings have been blocked down with brick. Of these, three have smaller sash installed and one has had a larger rectangular opening cut for a loading dock. Masonry openings are typically framed with brick segmental arches and granite sills. Two masonry openings have been added for windows. At the east elevation, one large segmental arched opening at the first story has been blocked down with brick and a 2/2 window installed. Two of the third story window openings have also been filled with brick.

The interior structure consists of bracketed cast iron columns supporting wood beams. The floors and ceilings are wood. The northeast corner, which was part of the office area, is finished with plaster and wood bead board wainscoting. Recent 20th century finishes and partitions have been installed at the first floor and some of the second floor. At the fourth floor, there are chamfered, square, wood columns. Most of this building has exposed brick walls, columns and floors. At the third floor, east end there is a room that had been used more recently as a woodworking shop, its former use is not known (see photo no. 18). It has horizontal bead board on the east and west walls and horizontal flushboard panels on the wall outside this room. A 5 1/2" thick wood door on heavy strap hinges leads into this space. A plate on the door says "Stevenson's door, fastens and tightens itself.

On the 1874 atlas, there was a smaller detached structure on the site of Building 2. On the 1899 map this building had beer storage in the basement, offices along the north wall at the first floor and barrel storage at the rear, granary above with ventilating openings 20' x 20'. One bay at the west end was an interior loading area integral to the building with a hoist at the center. The 1922 plan indicates the offices remained at the front of the first floor and the rear and upper floors of this building were designated as Malt Storage Ho.

Building 3 is five stories, two bays in width with brick parapets on the east and west elevations. It is approximately 37 feet wide by 44 feet deep. The cornice at the facade continues the brick corbelling and dentil course. A tall wood penthouse enclosure sheathed with vertical planks sits atop the roof. This is the one building that has no basement. Two interior loading bays are at grade and floor heights range from 15'-2" to ll'-6". The fourth floor of Buildings 2, 3 and 4 are the only floors that line up. The interior structure is wood columns, wood beams and floors and exposed brick walls. The third floor of this building has a grooved floor. A 1924 photograph taken from W. 1st Street shows only the top story of this building and a large clerestory skylight atop the building. A smaller skylight remains today. There was also a sign B.B.Co. at the roof.

The interior has square wood columns, wood beams, wood floors and exposed brick walls. There was a building on the site of this structure on the 1874 atlas, however the present structure appears to have been built later at the same time as the two adjacent four story structures. It seems the earlier building was demolished to build the present structure, however it is possible that the structure of the former building was incorporated into the present building. On the 1899 map, this building was designated the Brew House. The 1899 map indicates there was an engine room, probably at the lowest level, a cooler was on the 2nd, mash was on the 3rd and a brewery tank was on the 4th. In 1922 it was still called the Brew House.

Building 4 is rectangular in plan, approximately 102' along West Second Street by 44' deep. The facade is 7 bays in width, with typical segmental brick arches and granite sills. Most of the windows have been filled, some have been replaced with 1/1 sash. An oversized brick segmental arched opening in the 2nd and 7th bays at the 1st story appear to be original and may have been used as loading bays. The second bay contains a metal overhead door, the other (7th bay) has been tilled with brick. There is a stepped parapet on the west elevation and six windows at the fourth story have been filled with brick.

At the east end of Building 4, the first floor ceiling is 17'-6" high, the ceiling and a portion of the west wall are sheathed in pressed metal. A large metal shaft with large wheels is suspended from the ceiling. Two long metal rods with eye holes at the bottom penetrate through the metal ceiling and are suspended near the front (north) of the space. At the west portion of Building 4, the first floor is brick, with tall bracketed cast iron columns similar to those found in Building 1, the walls are insulated with cork. In one section the ceiling is 16'-3' high and in the remainder there was a hur% floor bisecting the space. Although they are currently filled with brick, the window openings at the first floor were originally tall, comparable to the height of a door. On the second floor there are square and round columns. The upper floors have square wood chamfered columns, wood beams and floors, and exposed brick walls.

A building appeared on the east end of this lot on the 1874 atlas and it seems that building was demolished to build the present building, however it is possible that the structure of the former building was incorporated into the present building. There is a brick wall between the east and west ends of this building from the basement through the fourth floor. On the 1899 map the east end of this building held the malt mill at the 1st floor, and storage at the second. The west section had the Tun Room at the first floor, Hop Room at the second, Worm Cooler 3rd and Surface Cooler 4th. In 1922 Building 4 was shown as the Cooling and Fermenting House. According to the 1922 section, the Pump Room was approximately at grade in the front of the east section of the building, where the shaft and mechanical equipment is still in place.

At the west end of the complex is a one-story structure, L-shaped in plan, which was built as the Wash House (Building 5). In June 1878, Edward A. Kinney, superintendent, applied for a permit to build a one-story brick structure at 225-229 West Second Street, the location of the Wash House. The measurements ofthe proposed building were 69 feet fronting on West Second Street and 43 feet deep, which is less than half the depth of the lot. This measurement does correspond to the depth of the buildings on the front of the lot. The building was to be 22 feet at its highest point and 19 XA feet to the eaves. This would have been the north section of the Wash House. The 1884 atlas shows the footprint of the present structure with two small differences. The rear section of the Wash House still appeared as a wood frame structure and the rectangular interior courtyard offof Bolton Street was still open. Company letterhead dated 1885 has an engraving of the building, which shows the West Second Street facade, with all of the present facades visible. Documentation suggests that it was built in two sections, the front was built in 1878 and the rear was completed by 1899. The West Second Street facade has been altered by the installation of three flat arched loading entries, two of which are filled with concrete block. Judging from the 1885 letterhead and the existing facade, it was originally six bays with one oversized carriage entrance in the fourth bay. A projecting denticulated cornice on West Second Street is slightly different from that found at the main block. The Wash House is 11 bays on Bolton Street. It measures 100 feet deep, 69 feet on West Second Street and 94 feet on Bolton Street. The cornice on the Bolton Street facade has a brick dentil course and several rows of brick coursing at the eaves, which almost matches the facade of this building. The tall brick segmental arched openings have granite sills and have been filled with concrete block. Original windows inside the building (on the east elevation of the Wash House facing the loading area) contain 9/9 sash with 6 light transoms. The framing for a long rectangular skylight set toward the northeast corner is visible on the interior of the building, although the skylight has been removed. This building is approximately 20 feet high supported on chamfered wood columns with no capitals. The exposed underside of the roof deck is wood, and the floor is concrete. On the 1874 atlas, the west portion of this lot was occupied by stables or outbuildings owned by the Boston Beer Company and the east portion of the lot was open. This was designated the Wash House in 1899 and in 1922. On both plans, the cooper shop occupied the southwest corner, but no evidence remains of it today. The 1922 section shows a nine-foot-high structure labeled Yeast Rm in the northeast corner. The 1935 map indicates that the north portion of Building 5 was bottling & shipping and labels for the beer bottles were found here. The rear of this building was still designated the wash house.

The loading area (Building 6) was filled in 1969. The south elevation is brick and concrete block with a steel lintel and enframement, which has been partially filled with brick. The roof deck is corrugated metal on metal joists. On the 1899 map, this area contained an open elevator at the rear of Building 4 and an artesian well. On the 1922 plan, a round dotted line indicates that there was a reservoir and well centered in this space, a pump house in the northwest corner and the elevator still remained. A tunnel is indicated between the basement of the Wash House and Building 1 on the 1922 plan along the south edge of the foot print for Building 6. In 1922 this was an open yard, stone paved.

The 1874 Boston Atlas shows the site of the Boston Beer Company as a lot containing 24,300 square feet of land improved with three attached structures and one free standing building. The company also owned a cluster offour stables immediately west of that site. Two additional parcels located across West Second Street were part of the complex. One parcel owned by Dennis H. Tully and Ed. A Kinney contained stables and a second owned by the Boston Beer Company contained stables and other outbuildings and ran through to West First Street. Kinney also owned two small, vacant house lots directly behind the brewery at 129-133 Bolton Street.

The 1874 footprint covers the area of Building No. 1, Building No. 3 and the eastern section of Building No. 4. It is evident that Building No. 1 was retained and incorporated into the later structure, it is not clear whether any part of the two buildings fronting on West Second Street were incorporated into the present structure, or whether they had been demolished for construction of the present buildings.

Across West Second Street to the north was a second parcel of land that had been part of the Boston Beer Company property. It was part of the original 1828 purchase of parcels, but it may have been sold subsequently since in 1871 Dennis Tulley and Edward A. Kinney purchased a 6,600 square foot parcel of land directly across from the entrance to the Boston Beer Company. They held it in trust and conveyed this parcel to the Boston Beer Company in 1875. This contained a U-shaped complex with two one-story wagon shed/carriage house wings and at the top of the U was a three-story brick stable which had a gambrel roof and dormers. A lot to the east of this was acquired later that ran from Second to First Street. It contained a boiler house and tall chimney stack, a gate house on First Street, a wood wagon shed and scales. There was a brick wall along Second Street with two gates, one leading to the scales and wagon shed, one leading into the stone paved stable yard.