When trolleys roamed the earth

Old street scene in Boston

Can you figure out where and when this photo was taken? See it much larger. From the Boston City Archives, natch.



Free tagging: 



    The signs are for Colonial Theatre (which is on Boylston on the Common) and for something on Tremont, so I would guess it was taken somewhere near the Common... but I can't place it more specifically. Was there an above-ground trolley between Park St and Boylston?

    The Colonial Theatre sign is talking about a July performance of "The Pearl and the Pumpkin" which took place July 17, 1905, so at least I have the when! Date from Google Books:


    There is a round building in the distance that could be the cyclorama - so I'm guessing maybe Tremont from the theater district looking toward it or South end cross street looking toward Back Bay? Having a hard time figuring out the angle though best guess is looking south on East Berkeley if that's the cyclorama - there is a hill in the back left over those theater and beer signs - could be mission hill - but that seems to be too close.

    There is another building kind of center left that has a tall white cupola - but other than that not very distinctive - probably not there today?

    Doesn't the expanse look too small?

    The bridge from East Boston to Chelsea is much longer than the one in this picture though. Buuut you can make out an EAS (short for East Boston?) on the side of one of the lower buildings on the right.

    Why would the bridge have been so much shorter back then? Was this entrance to the Chelsea River greatly expanded to accommodate larger modern freighters?

    Every time I take the bus

    Every time I take the bus down Meridian I think of how nice it must have been 50+ years ago. The further away from the square the better the street gets IMO, but you're right, vinyl siding may have been the death-knell to Eastie architecture. So many historical brownstones and triple-deckers. I lived in one on Jeffries Point for a year and loved the neighborhood. Everyone always forgets Eastie. Ugh.

    Now I gotcha...

    I see that on Google Street View as well. The triple decker on the right that presently has the faux-brick, asbestos shingling is shaped differently than in the older picture. They have squared off the rounded corners facing Meridian Street for some reason.

    Changed building

    So I can recognize the building on the immediate right, but is that a different building on the other side of the street now? (The triple decker one with the red facade). Zillow claims it was built in 1910

    The Answer

    This is Meridian Street at Condor Street, taken June 5, 1905. We think it was likely taken by the city's Wire Dept. Thanks for guessing, everyone!