History can be so mooving sometimes


The Boston City Archives asks: When and where was this udderly enchanting photo taken?

Cow on the Common.



Free tagging: 


    Yup, Children's

    Once upon a time, the Hospital kept cows so that their patients would have access to safe milk. Milk from infected cows was a big source of disease among infants and small children. The field where the cows used to graze is now either a parking garage, or that big glass research building - I can't remember which. The domed building in the background of the photo is the Hunnewell Building.

    Swill milk

    The Swill Is Gone:

    Some of the cows were so diseased from their alcoholic diet that their teeth rotted and their tails fell off. Their udders were frequently ulcerated, but they would be milked regardless.

    Finally, in 1858, Tammany Hall sent Alderman Michael Tuomey to "investigate" a notorious swill milk dairy on West 16th Street. Tuomey sat down with the dairy owners and drank a glass or two of whiskey. He concluded that swill milk was just as good for children as ordinary milk, and anyone who refused to drink it simply had a "prejudice."

    The Walker Gordon building on

    The Walker Gordon building on Boylston Street near Mass Ave was originally a milk pasteurization facility/laboratory that delivered to local nurseries and residential clients up through the 1960s before relocating to the suburbs.

    Nope, I'm familiar with the

    Nope, I'm familiar with the building and anon is correct. It was purpose built for this in the days before large-scale pasteurization and refrigeration vehicles. It even had an ice pit in the sub-basement and an elevator serving all floors. 1106-1110 Boylston, now owned by Berklee. It replaced circa 1890s Victorian townouses.

    Children's history trail brochure

    Can be found here: http://www.childrenshospital.org/about/Site1394/Do... The front page looks like a cropped version of the cow picture.

    A few years ago, Children's employed an archivist to document and preserve all the historical photos and such that were being left to moulder in the basement. She did a wonderful job, and eventually began giving tours. I remember seeing the cottage wards around the Prouty Garden for the first time, what used to be the swimming pool and a whole bunch of other historical features. I believe there's a book about it, but I never did pick up a copy.