To the Editor:
The tower and the police station.
Created 4 miles apart, they are about the same age, yet these two structures’ paths have taken different turns over the past 119 years. The Tower on Telegraph Hill was erected in 1905 while the old police station opened its doors in January 1902.
The tower represents the military’s historical presence in Hull through the years. The station symbolizes the law and order necessitated to tame the lawlessness and rampant crime in the late 1800s that resulted in the use of eminent domain and the state’s takeover of the Nantasket Reservation.
Today they are both prominently in the news. The old police station is being resurrected to become an arts center and is on the brink of becoming part of the state’s Historic Curatorship Program under the aegis of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. This program promotes private investment in historic, public properties that are currently empty and in various states of disrepair. The Fort Revere Officers Quarters is being rebuilt through this program.
In the late 1940s, when the Fort Revere Reservation was considered surplus by the War Department, the 77 acres of that military site were reallocated. The state was bequeathed the site of the old fort, and the rest went out to bid and was subdivided into lots. The town acquired an assortment of land for various purposes: a cemetery, a school, and some parkland. While the old police station stands on state land, the ill-luck of the draw finds the tower on town land.
The police station’s exterior has been maintained on an as-needed and minimal basis through the years per state standards on inventoried public historic properties. The tower, being on town land, has not had that ongoing care and minimal external maintenance. If it had, perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today.
While the refurbishing of both to meet codes and standards needs an infusion of serious capital, in one case that process is being ameliorated by the state and the other needs infusion from the town coffers – always a challenging task.
In both cases, these upgrades must and will be accomplished, not without some hiccups, angst, and doubts.
The tower and the police station are symbols of Hull’s interesting and historic past and will become the beacons of our future and a legacy for our children, their children, and their children’s children for years to come.
– Bill Smyth