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: 


    Longwood. Children's Hospital

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    Longwood. Children's Hospital was located there precisely because there were dairy farms nearby. The presence of wiring indicates some time after 1880.

    In front of Children's

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    In front of Children's hospital 'new' building on Longwood Avenue some time after 1912 and before the 1930s.

    Correct. I'd say the cars on

    Correct. I'd say the cars on Longwood st. date it close to 1912-1915. The house on the far left was there in the early 1880s - probably built in the mid-1870s.

    Prior to 1912 Children's

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    Prior to 1912 Children's Hospital was on Huntington Avenue next to symphony hall where the two story concrete retail block now stands.


    It looked similar Victorian style to the New England Conservatory owned building on the corner of Gainsborough and Huntington, itself original was a women's hospital and medical/dry goods block.


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    Longwood Avenue!


    The old Mass General Hospital Building? Maybe 1840-50?

    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

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    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

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    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.

    Are you sure that wasn't an

    Are you sure that wasn't an office? It's hard to imagine milk trucks parked on Boylston st around the clock. The dairy farm in Needham closed around 1955.

    Nope, I'm familiar with the

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    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.

    The Answer!

    Thanks for playing everyone! You are right that is the Hunnewell Building at Children's Hospital. The photo was taken in 1914.