Abbotsford, the historic mansion that houses the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) and its museum, is getting a much-needed new roof that will return it to slate and copper, the original material when it was first occupied circa 1872. Already, the magnificent old structure is being ringed with scaffolds that will allow the actual work of replacing its crown to begin in early July. By the turn of 2022, it should be completed. During this period of renovation, the museum will not be open to the public for reasons of safety.
Preliminary work on the renovation at Abbotsford was begun in 2020 when its ancient brick and stone chimney were repaired, and masonry on the west and a portion of the north façades was pointed as needed. These repairs were essential and anticipated the construction which now focuses on the main roof and lantern tower.
Support for the roof replacement has come from CPA (Community Preservation Act) in the City of Boston,
George B. Henderson Fund, Joan Pearson Watkins Trust, Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund/Massachusetts Historical Commission, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and private contributions.
Additional funds are needed, and we urge you to contribute to the Abbotsford Building Fund.
As required by the National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks Commission of the City of Boston, the replacement is overseen by preservation specialists and executed by contractors approved for such specialized work .
Though Abbotsford is its name on the National Register of Historic Places, when Aaron Davis Williams, Jr. occupied the house in 1872 it was known as OakBend. Designed by Alden Frink, it was the most expensive house ever built in Roxbury and arguably the best example of neo-Gothic Victorian domestic architecture in Boston.
Stay tuned for further announcements as the roof replacement progresses.