What the el?

Elevated in Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can figure out when and where this el photo was taken. See it larger.



Free tagging: 


Harrison Ave. approaching

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Harrison Ave. approaching Kneeland St. on the Atlantic Ave. El. The line closed in 1938 and photo looks like it may have been taken near the end of service.


Atlantic Avenue El?

Too many tall buildings for Charlestown, South End, Roxbury, or JP, so I'm going to guess this is somewhere on the former Atlantic Avenue Elevated branch.



This is the Atlantic Avenue El on Harrison just south of St. James' Church, before the Beach Street Turn.

From Wikipedia:

The El south of South Station was closed following a fatal wreck at the tight curve at Harrison and Beach in July 1928, and all service became a shuttle between there and North Station on the Charlestown Elevated.

I'm going to guess 1920.



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Harrison Ave by the corner of Kneeland Street, now Tufts Medical area.

That would be my guess

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Looking north on Harrison Ave to the hard right corner at Beach Street. Of the right angle turns on the Atlantic Ave El, I think this would be the best candidate. As far as when...late 20s/early 30s?


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Harvard Street should be crossing Harrison right under the El below where the photographer was standing. As to the date, I'm going to say 1942. Although service ended in 1938, the structure remained in place until scrapped for the war effort. A small section remained in place from Tower C (Causeway/Commercial/North Washington) to Copp's Hill Terrace until c. 1955.



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I have heard that that building is the former street-level entrance to Beach Street Station. I'm sure beneath all the remodeling there are a few original features. It was the second El station to permanently close. Due to very low ridership (~750 pax/day) trains stopped serving it on January 4, 1919.

Right near Boston Garden...

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The old elevated green line tracks between North Station and Lechmere, along Causway Street. I'd guess late 1940s.

The Answer!

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Those of you who guess Harrison Ave are correct! The date is March 27, 1942, so we suspect this is when it was being torn down, but we can't be totally sure.