Hotel Buckminster Study Report
The first hotel built on a grand scale at Kenmore Square, the Hotel Buckminster is a red Roman brick and limestone Beaux-Arts/Renaissance Revival-style building with a prominent rounded corner that has anchored and defined the square since the turn of the 20th century. Built for occupancy as a luxury family or apartment hotel, the Buckminster for much of its history also catered to a commercial or transient clientele as its owners adapted to changing market conditions.
The hotel is significant for its association with the growth of New England’s radio broadcasting industry from 1930 to 1968, when radio station WNAC Boston maintained its studios here, establishing the Yankee Network to broadcast throughout New England and adding a television station by 1953.
The building possesses further significance for its occupation and operation, during World War II, by the U. S. Army Service Forces First Service Command, serving the six New England states from headquarters in Boston. As the location, from 1951 to 1953, of Storyville, a widely known Boston jazz club operated by George Wein, the Buckminster hosted celebrated artists and became associated with the pioneer of jazz music promotion in New England. After serving as dormitory and classroom space (1966 to 1977) for the Cambridge School of Business, later renamed Grahm Junior College, and as Boston’s largest lodging house by the late 1980s, the Buckminster was returned to hotel use by the turn of the 21st century.
The Buckminster has been vacant since its closure in March 2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is at risk for demolition and redevelopment. Despite some limited exterior alterations, the Hotel Buckminster retains a high degree of integrity of location, setting, design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.
(Report amended as of July 24, 2023)
The proposed designation will be discussed and voted upon at a public hearing on August 22, 2023. Please look for the meeting notice in the public notices section of our website.