After nomination by the Fenway Civic Association, the Johnson Memorial Gates were selected as a Most Endangered Resource for 2014 by Preservation Massachusetts.
For background and history of the Gates and FCA’s work in restoring them, see here.
The following text from Preservation Massachusetts describes the listing:
Johnson Memorial Gates in Boston’s Fenway area has been named one of Massachusetts’ “Most Endangered Historic Resources”. Since 1993, this list is compiled annually by Preservation Massachusetts, the state’s historic preservation advocacy organization.
In 1902, The Johnson Memorial Gates, designed by Guy Lowell, were dedicated to the City of Boston. The handsome public monument was a bequest of Ellen C. John, known for her advocacy for prison reform for women, to memorialize her husband, Jesse Johnson. The Johnson Memorial Gates monument is a three part structure comprised of two tall piers made of pink Tennessee Marble, which is no longer quarried, and Milford Pink Granite. “The Gates” display decorative bronze ornamentation, lions heads on each pier, two toughs originally designed for horses, and marble benches. “The Gates” are the grand entrance to the Back Bay Fens, which is a historically landmarked Olmstead park under the oversight of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The Back Bay Fens is the oldest of the linked parks in the Emerald Necklace Parks system.
Although under the protection and jurisdiction of the Historic Parks of the Parks Department, with approval by Boston Landmarks Commission and its care’s authorized and administered by the Boston Arts Commission, “The Gates” suffer from deferred maintenance. An ongoing, costly need for repair is often the case for public works of art. “The Gates” need substantial restoration to repair structural issues caused by water infiltration which is causing the monument to deteriorate. The time is now to secure funding to proactively stabilize monument. Without treatment, the conditions will continue to worsen and so will the cost of restoration.
The Fenway Civic Association, a wonderful example of a civic group taking a strong stewardship role in their neighborhood. They have endeavored for the past two years to secure “The Gates” by seeking and gaining support from abutting neighbors, institutions and business, likeminded non-profits like the Massachusetts Historical Society and Emerald Necklace Conservancy as well as the city entities which govern “The Gates”. Their work has included extensive conditions reviews and treatments recommendations report as well as conserving the bronze elements of the Johnson Memorial Gates. The Fenway Civic Association hopes to conduct direly needed repairs in next 8 months, but they need to secure avenues of funding in order to do so.
Marie Fukuda of the Fenway Civic Association, who nominated the Johnson Memorial Gates feels, “The visibility provided by the Most Endangered Listing will elicit much needed support for resources including grant funding and city capital funds.”