Does Allston need an Allston Square?

Seems there's a push to rename Barry's Corner - where Western Avenue and North Harvard Street intersect, and where Harvard once had visions of a urban village - as Allston Square.

Proponents say the renaming would honor a famous American artist - the guy the entire neighborhood is named for - and remove the icky stain of a barely remembered battle in which a neighborhood was replaced by a low-income housing project.

As you might expect, that argument doesn't sit well with people who have always called the area Barry's Corner and who say the area has a unique history worth recalling by keeping the same exact name. Besides, Allston already has Union Square and Allston Village.

Online debate over the issue.

Via This Is Harvard, which asks:

Should Barry’s Corner go the way of Scollay Square and the West End? It has in the sense that privately owned single and multi-family homes are gone and will likely never be replaced, but is the name so offensive that it needs to go too?



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    Sad that politicians really have nothing better

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    to do than worry about renaming public streets and intersections for no good reason. Sadder still that the general public seems to have no objections to our politicians wasting their time (and out tax dollars) in such efforts.

    There already IS an "Allston Square"

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    Historically the name "Allston Square" referred to the intersection of Cambridge Street and Harvard Avenue in front of the Allston Depot railroad station.

    I keep a file of these things, though, and I found a reference that in 2001 Harvard University proposed changing Barry's Corner to a new "Allston Square". I assume the present controversy is a new version of the Harvard proposal, now that all the residents have been removed.

    (And at one time there was also a dead-end street off of Allston Street, leading into Ringer Park, that was named "Allston Square".)

    The 66

    Can you image how much more smoothly the 66 would run if it could just go straight down Harvard and then Franklin through North Allston?

    Just a pedestrian tunnel?

    It's hard for me to tell for sure from that map, but I think that was just a pedestrian tunnel under the B&A, not a street the full width of Franklin St/Harvard Ave.

    Subway tunnel / Google is amazing

    The subway under the tracks is about 120 feet long and is 9 feet wide and 7 feet 9 inches high.

    Repairs to the tunnel's drainage were to be made in 1910 because "the condition is so bad a man has to hold his nose"

    The 66 has a lot of problems,

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    The 66 has a lot of problems, and that 1/4 mile diversion is pretty low on the list.

    Bang for buck: A much easier way to speed up the 66 would be installing traffic detectors on the left turn arrows on Cambridge Street. How much time is wasted on green arrows which lead only to a locked fence at the closed secondary entrance to the abandoned rail yard?

    History of Barry's corner

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    I work near Barry's corner so I did some Googling on a slow day and discovered the Barry in Barry's corner is an Inn keeper of a hotel of ill repute on the corner of Western and North Harvard in the 1860's.

    In 1900, a city councilor tried to change the name to "Stadium Square", because of what he knew to be the origin of the name and how
    the neighborhood had changed since the days of the brothel and the residents didn't want thats sigma anymore.

    But it never passed because another alderman convinced the council that it was actually named after Commodore Barry, the Father of the American Navy.

    A ruse, I believe, perpetrated by the very tight nit Irish immigrant community that had settled in Barry's Corner and had no such shame about the origin of the name…. Also in the more recent past there is this:

    One person on that list said:

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    One person on that list said:

    No one will know where Barry's Corner is without a lot of explanation. This is not good if you want people to find it on their own. However, Allston Square is readily understood, especially when one says it's a mile south of Harvard Square.

    That person is crazy. How can you not just say that Barry's corner is a mile south of Harvard Square? And who would use that to explain where the intersection is? I would just say it is the big intersection with the triangle between the library and Harvard Stadium. I'm a newbie to Allston, but I know where Barry's Corner is. Anyone who pays attention knows where it is as there's $150MM development going in there. Pretty hard not to notice.

    What'll happen

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    is realtors will start listing apartments up there as "Allston Square 9/1! Near BC BU Harvard Northeastern Emerson Wheelock Simmons MassArt Berklee MIT" and they'll end up with a lot of very lost and confused students who thought they were moving to Allston Village.

    Sample conversation I have had...

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    "Where's Barry Corner?"
    "It's at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Ave, You know, where there used to be the two gas stations, and now one of them is a pizza place..."
    "That intersection has a name?"

    I say we keep the name as it is.... especially since someone else has pointed out that we already HAVE an Allston Square.

    I hope I'm the only dummy....

    who read "Barry's Corner" and pictured "Packard's Corner" until reading almost the entire thread...whoops.

    And especially we already have an Allston Square, c'mon already leave it be.

    If Harvard University owns the property around there they'll probably rename it again later after a future benefactor or something like Facebook Corner right?

    what's wrong with a Corner?

    Would the people who want to get rid of Barry's Corner also rename Packard's Corner, Coolidge Corner, Uphams Corner, and Fields Corner?

    I think it's the "Barry" part

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    I think it's the "Barry" part which annoys people, not the "corner" part. Since it's a first name as well as a last name it has a certain amount of emotional baggage, and since Barry's Corner isn't a particularly well-known name for the area they don't think of the intersection of Harvard and Western, they just think of all the people named Barry they know, who might not be the best representatives. Names like Upham and Packard have barely any emotional connection. Coolidge Corner has to deal with the association of our thirtieth president, (or if you prefer, Stifler's Mom) but it has enough personality to distract from that. Barry's Corner on the other hand is just weird.

    But on the other hand, what all those corners have going for them is that they all have train stations (in varying degrees of capacity) associated with them, which gives their regional identity a real boost. So obviously the best solution is for a train line to be built along the route of the 66 bus and to build a station there. That would just be awesome.

    They should just misspell it

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    They should just misspell it to Berry's Corner. It'll stick by the time anyone notices the mistake, and no one will have to think of that one weird kid they knew at elementary school.

    Dear Harvard PR, I accept cash and six packs as payment.

    It would be confusing to name it Allston Square

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    I used to live near Barry's Corner (on Sorrento Street, if you must know.) We always referred to that part of Allston as Lower Allston or "LA". If someone said, "Meet me in Allston Square" I would assume that they meant either Comm Ave @ Harvard Ave or Brighton Ave @ Harvard Ave. While of course Barry's Corner is in Allston, it's neither the geographic nor business center of Allston, so calling it Allston Square is highly misleading.

    Follow the money?

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    This sounds more like a simple marketing ploy as a previous writer mentioned. Change the name of the area to bring attention to it. Replace an "old and fussy name" with something shiny and having zero historical connection. Create that sense of NEW NEW NEW and send down the sewers any sense of an area's history or culture.

    The realtors who wanted to stick the farcical name of SoMo to the JP South St area south of the monument was an earlier example of the same silliness. Although it should be noted that a name such as SoMo might make people think of Sumo wrestlers. That would be an interesting addition to the eclecticism of JP.

    But changing the name to Allston Square has a white washing feel. It has the impact of beige or putty as colors. The name change tries to erase the history of the area and leave the neighborhood's identity as a cypher. It white washes the history; gets rid of the smudge of any past, sordid or not. This is about creating an illusion of something that is bright and shiny by jettisoning the past.

    The advertising could (though its not trite and happy enough) read as:

    "Live in the newest neighborhood is Boston: Allston Square. Forget the dirty past, ignore useless history. Leave the meaningless academic pedantry to the pedants. Move to the NEW Allston Square where you can pretend to be new frontiersmen (and women) in creating a brand new urban neighborhood."


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    Why is there a push to name every intersection in the city? I had never heard the area of Lower Allston being called that until the hipsters moved into the run down properties in the area.

    It took me all of 2 minutes

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    It took me all of 2 minutes to find an article from 1912 in the Boston Globe calling that area "Barry's Corner". Not everything is the fault of hipsters. Maybe it is actually the fault of the people in the city that drove out all the residents of Barry's Corner in the 60's, leaving behind no one with memories of the area.