A 23-room Victorian at 10 Melville Ave. in Dorchester, the boyhood home of Jonathan and Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block, was put up for sale a few weeks ago for an asking price of $1.7 million.
But no matter how much it sells for (or if it does sell at all), its possible that the former home of two of the Hangin Tough hitmakers may soon be given a special designation. The sprawling abode built in 1880, purchased by the Knight family in 1972, and sold to the Salvation Army in 1996 -- is currently in a step by step process to become recognizable to Boston as 'a landmark of national significance'.
According to an article in the Dorchester Reporter, neighbors in Dorset, led by John Amodeo, the Boston Landmark Commission's commissioner, have come together to submit the house for landmark status.
According to the BLCs website, the commission approved the petition in a preliminary hearing on Oct. 12 and moved it to preparing 'the study report phase,' which details the building's historic or architectural significance.
Earl Taylor, the Dorchester Historical Societys president and a staunch opponent of the landmark designation, told the Daily Dorset Reporter that it 'is an interesting building that should be designated'. The boy band connection is certainly a connection worth celebrating in the recent past, says Ms.
The three-story property has long been a mecca for NKOTB superfans. Back in the bands heyday in late 80s and 90s, dozens of them flocked to the residence even after the members of the group left.
Sharon Knight, a sibling of the musical brothers, wrote in he 2008 Globe article that people were camped out there all the time and coming to the door. We had to put up a big wrought-iron fence, he added.
The house, a nine-bedroom, five-bath mansion near Dorchester Center, sits on opulent 35,000-square-foot land. According to the real estate listing by Michael Dorion of The Residential Group at William Raveis Real Estate, the pad has a porte-cochre entrance, 10 parking spaces, and revolving carriage house, which was featured in the NKOTB Games music video.
The carriage house, however, is in need of extensive repair, and a frozen pipe last year caused some damage to the interior of the home, where some of its rooms have been gutted to studs, according to an listing.
According to the real estate listing, the house was sold to The Salvation Army and it became known as The Jubilee House, which was used for religious and community functions. In September 2020, the organization announced that the Jubilee House would merge with Kroc Center of Boston in Uphams Corner, and that it would be moving out of the former boy band residence.
The landmark petition cited several of the home's architectural features as reasons to preserve it, such as its asymmetrical Queen Anne/Stick Style construction, the intersecting gable roof, and the Palladian window.
The house's historical background is also important the petition states that it was originally owned by John Worcester Field, a leather merchant, and designed by architect George Meacham, who also designed the Boston Public Garden.
Andrew Saxe, another petitioner, told the Dorchester Reporter he fears the building will be torn down by developers if it is not preserved.
If Boston cannot preserve 10 Melville, then just throw in the towel, he said. Does it have an important architect? The Public Garden was designed by the same architect who designed the Public Gardens. Is it architecturally significant? Its twin house in Newton, which is now protected, is an iconic house. Is it associated with a famous person? Well, Mr. Fields was a well-known merchant. Eventually, these young people who were born there became a national phenomenon ten years later. For goodness sakes, it checks every box.
Dana Gerber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org