Formerly known as "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts".

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hoffman Building, Boston

Hoffman Building, Lovejoy Wharf, Submarine Signal Building, Schrafft's Candy Factory Quincy Cold Storage... I don't know which name rings a bell to you, but it's that abandoned loft just before you go deep under the Big Dig. When you are on I-93 south, maybe you are preoccupied by being on the Zakim Bridge or by the sight of TD Bank Garden on your right. If you turn your head opposite from the Bruins... that's the one I'm talking about. If you still don't get it, forget about it. Just drive safe.   

TD Bank Garden and Zakim Bridge

The way you can get to this loft as close as possible is from a foot path under the Charleston Bridge. On a weekend day, the ducky amphibious mobile and the green-orange trolley bus with happy tourists constantly pass on the Charleston Bridge. No one would be talking about this abandoned loft. You cannot beat the magnificent sight of the bridge and the Bruins, I understand. 

The jetty has been left to collapse. How long has it been abandoned? From the billboard on top of the roof, there seems to be a plan to convert this wharf to a condo or something. But I don't think this will happen any time soon.

Am I the only one thinking the walkway is "temporarily" closed due to "repairs"?

The sign on North Washington Street entrance says this is "Submarine Signal Building". The Submarine Signal Company was founded in 1901, and later acquired by the American Appliance Company (which became a guided missile company Raytheon) in 1945.

The building itself is constructed in 1907, so it is relatively safe to assume the building had been occupied by the Submarine Signal first. Later the building became a storage for the local candy company, Scrafft's ice cream division. The last major occupant seems to be the DMV under the name of the Hoffman Building. I know, the list of occupants sounds totally random.

Now the jetty that must have loaded or unloaded mechanical instruments for the Submarine Signal Company or the ice cream (yummy!) for Schrafft's is left abandoned.

After the Big Dig was finally dug in 2007, the area that had been isolated by the elevated I-93 became the prime target for redevelopment. The Hoffman Building was no exception; in the summer of 2007, a plan to convert "Lovejoy Wharf" into a residential complex with an automated garage and retail stores was launched. But the conversion was blocked by the residents at a nearby condo who showed a concern that the Lovejoy's plan with a partial 14-story unit would block their view of the Charles. Things came to a halt here.

So the brief history of that abandoned wharf ends here. But I still don't know why the developer named the building as "Lovejoy Wharf". Is this Mr. or Ms. Lovejoy's property? To be honest, it does sound like this is the wharf where the Love Boat docks.

Locate Hoffman Building @ Google Map


  1. I was here today (17-mar-2012), not much has changed. Would love to be able to get into this building somehow.

    1. Hi!

      I feel nothing will change for a long time. Yes, I'd love to get into this building in a legit way...


    2. i was here last june and they've started demolition on it. such a shame.