The Boston City Archives posted this latest mystery photo. Can you ID its place and time? You can take a look at a much larger version for clues.
Not sure where, Downtown Crossing area I'm assuming. Guessing somewhere around 1910 based on the woman's dress in the bottom right.
You can see the street sign in the lower right on the post.
(These are fun to look at. Keep posting them)
The curve of Summer St is pretty evident at the background.
Summer Street and Hawley Street
Intersection of Chauncy, Summer, and Arch. And the Smith Patterson Co. building goes all the way to the left to the next cross street, Hawley St.
According to a picture of the building posted on Wikimedia. Smith Patterson (S P Co.) was a silversmith and apparently clock/watchmaker of some regard.
Date? - from the dearth and style of cars I'd say about the time of Menino's first term in office - 1910?
Found an old ad in a book here: http://tinyurl.com/8sntjrf
So, we're looking east on Summer Street, from the corner of Arch Street.
52 Summer Street
It's a sin what was done to this corner.
Chauncy @ Summer. Chauncy St sign is in lower right.
Without the street sign blown-up, I would've never guessed.
The intersection today:
There's Spare Change Guy's great grandfather!
Except for the woman in the lower right, it appears that every discernable person in this photo is male. And they all have hats on.
There's 2 women below the Wear Congress Shirts sign, too.
I count at least 11 more for certain, and probably more in the background.
That's no woman, that's my grandmother!
The building just beyond the "J. B. Hunter" sign is now the Conservation Law Foundation, which has beautifully restored it. The building to the left of the J. B. Hunter sign is also still there, but the lower two floors have been remodeled. If you look at the upper floors, though, you can see it's the same building.
The building now on the site of Smith Patterson Co. strongly resembles the old building in its massing, so it may well be the same structure, just grossly remodeled.
Likewise the buildings on the north side of Summer, between Otis and Devonshire, are still there; but the buildings just beyond Devonshire have been removed for the 100 Summer St. high-rise.
On the right side of Summer, beyond the bend, several of the facades that are visible in this picture have been retained and incorporated into the 125 Summer St. high-rise.
The building at extreme right, with the large awning, is gone; the site is now a plaza in front of a CVS store.
Since I got beaten to the punch on the location, I'll venture a guess on the date.
The cut of her dress puts this somewhere between 1900 and 1915 or so ... the blouse indicates earlier in that era.
The license plate of the car in the foreground appears to have been issued in 1904 or 1905 (depending on whether the first of the four numbers is a 6 or an 8): http://www.mass.gov/rmv/history/
OMG how did any of these people survive?! There are cars, streetcars, and horse drawn wagons all sharing the roads without any marked lanes, let alone separate lanes for each vehicle type. Pedestrians are crossing streets without crosswalks and walk signals to aid them. Oh, yeah, there don't seem to be any traffic signals at all.
Cobblestones provide traffic calming and drainage for horse urine, but not so popular with bicyclists.
Because there are no bicycles.
Sigh. OK, let me begin my year-long atonement by saying it was meant as a joke ...
I failed to note how "excessively" wide the roads are, making them not "sustainable", "livable", or "complete" streets. Where are the linear parks and "parklets" to take up all that space? MassDOT hearing tonight to turn a half mile of road lane into a "linear park" for $1.5M borrowed dollars - just what we don't need when bridges and the MBTA is falling apart.
I really appreciate this aspect of the photo.
You can mix cars, streetcars, horses and pedestrians quite safely. Children can even play in the street...
...if nobody is going too fast. And in those days, nobody could really go too fast. Cars weren't capable of it. The street surface (either unpaved or cobblestones) made it difficult. The wide road right-of-way wasn't an issue because nobody could conceive of highway speeds on them. When cars did eventually start going faster, it raised a great deal of alarm. But what could you do? The wide right-of-way was already there, and couldn't be changed. Thus, cities became less friendly to people, and they began dying.
Sometimes all of the signalization and segregation does serve to make the streets less safe. See the work of Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman.
Today's urban driving speeds are the same now as in 1911. So much for progress. Just about all the parkways built 80 years ago as shovel-ready, right of way already owned, great depression recovery act projects are still at 1930's (or less) lane counts. BU, Longfellow, Anderson, and others join the ranks of less than 1930s capacities. We need some of granny Warren's support for INcreasing infrastructure.
Adding more cars won't improve the situation, because too many cars is the problem.