At the dawn of the 19th Century, Dudley Square was a thriving retail hub in the prosperous neighborhood of Roxbury. As the City’s alternate “downtown”, Dudley was linked to the central business district by Boston’s first elevated railway. The terminus of that railway is historic Dudley Station, a steel and copper gem that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But by the early 1990’s prosperity had vanished from Roxbury and Dudley Square had endured decades of neglect and disinvestment. The rehabilitation of Dudley Station by the MBTA was the first injection of development capital in this neighborhood in over half a century.
This project required both historic restoration and adaptive reuse of the beautiful steel and copper station building that dates from 1901. It involved the demolition of the old elevated railway, the relocation of the original building and its adaptation to serve two bus transit systems. The new Silver Line electric bus system replaced the rail link to downtown, and a network of conventional busses provided access to the surrounding neighborhoods.
To accomplish this program, the former elevated station was relocated on the site and lowered down to street level. One half of the station that had been demolished to accommodate an elevated bus ramp had to be reconstructed from historic documentation. A new building was designed for the Silver Line bus system, new bus shelters and a new service building were added and extensive site improvements were made.
The site was transformed into a pedestrian friendly, landscaped public space. The historic restoration of the station building to its former glory was accomplished through creative reconstruction of copper roofing and wall panels that included the use of fiberglass replicas. An elevated signal tower was preserved as an enduring symbol of the original turn of the century transit hub.