Like a bird in a ...

Gilded Cage

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you know where and when this was taken. See it larger.



Free tagging: 


    Location of Photo

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    It is on Boylston Street in the Combat Zone sometime between 1960 (age of Rambler car on right) and January 1966 when the Paramount Hotel (visible through the truck window at left) exploded with some loss of life, (+/-) 9 people. I can't read the year on the license plate.

    Amazingly, the Plymouth Hotel next door was not damaged.

    These appear to have been SRO hotels with permanent occupants as well, perhaps,as the kind of short term guests on might expect in the Combat Zone.

    It was reported in national newspapers at the time.

    The block between Washington and Tremont

    The building on the left in that photo appears to be the one that's now Saint Francis House. In the 70s, that block was also home to the Carnival Lounge (amirite?), a gay bar where I once had the dubious honor of seeing Sylvia Sidney perform. It may have been in the space where the Gilded Cage was.

    Two gay bars

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    There were two gay bars on that block. Aside from the Carnival there was Playland. Those were the days.

    The Gilded Cage was still

    The Gilded Cage was still hosting touring music acts in the early 1960s. That wasn't the Combat Zone when the photo was taken, and really wasn't when the building burned in 1966. I'd call it adjacent to the Zone.

    Origin of the name "combat zone"

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    A series of articles in the Globe in 1995 debated the origin of the term "combat zone" as used to describe this area. They ultimately determined that it "got its name from a 1964 series of articles in the former Boston Record-American, detailing rampant prostitution and crime."