Pinebank is missed

I was greatly saddened to learn of the demolition of the Pinebank mansion in Jamaica Plain. The historical significance of its original residents and its prominence in Boston’s Emerald Necklace alone should have made it worthy of preservation.

Because of its history—from its relationship to the founding of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, to its importance as Boston’s first Children’s Museum, to its vital role in Boston’s Arts in the Parks community program in the 1970s—the building deserved a better fate. It is the third Pinebank mansion to rest on the site and by far the longest surviving, having been built in 1870. Pinebank was abandoned in 1976.

As a child in the early 1970s, I was enrolled in a ceramics workshop and debuted in a performance of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” there.

Willful neglect by Boston officials has encouraged damage from vandalism and the elements. Friends of Pinebank ( is to be applauded for its valiant, though futile, efforts to save the structure. What remains is a pile of rubble that used to be a grand old mansion.

Christopher Dionisio

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