When the bales just piled up on one Boston street

Lots of bales on an old Boston street

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this photo - and figure out what the deal was with all those bales. See it larger.



Free tagging: 


    Fire Salvage?

    These are filthy bales of cotton. They look like they were thrown out of that building with all the windows open, possibly after a fire or found in a derelict space (after Bain shipped the jobs overseas ... ;) )

    Men's clothing is late 1920s to early 1930s, as are the ads.

    3-9-1913 0300 . 4 40, 42,

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    3-9-1913 0300 . 4 40, 42, 44 Summer Street, Downtown. Fire damaged a 5-story stone/brick building wholesale clothing distributors.

    Maybe this , Swirls ?

    You're wrong

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    Not even close. I'd say, more like 1905.

    Milk and Atlantic

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    There's a Milk St sign on the building and the Atlantic Avenue Elevated is just after that.


    Milk and Atlantic. Long Wharf viewed underneath the elevated Atlantic Ave railroad.

    It is a park now

    It is a park now, with the Harbor Garage to the photographer's back. Present day, this is the corner of Milk & Old Atlantic.


    Walked down at lunch

    I agree - this is probably on the harbor side of the Atlantic Ave. el, which would explain the continuation of the numbers. There is a parklet here, and then the next building a short block over (a rather tall post-fire building) is the one with Emack and Bolios.

    Yes, gone

    Corner of Milk & Old Atlantic today. It is now that park between that garage and Legal Seafood.

    A street was the cotton

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    A street was the wool sheds, past the G. ,

    1-9-1906 0910 162 4 Wormwood Street, South Boston Fire heavily damaged a 6-story cotton and wool warehouse.
    I remember cotton scrap near Southampton street,

    6-17-1882 0514 236 3 60 Hampshire Street, Roxbury Cotton Waste Factory Fire in Roxbury, with collapse injuring firemen.

    Romney's first campaign HQ?

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    On the site of Bain Capital's first offices when they were known as Bain Bros.?

    As for the bales - this was the first case of Storrowing ever - except they used to call it Elevating when a too tall truck went under the elevated railway.

    Anyway - that's my guess :-)

    Tough biz

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    Lots of competition. Amazing the amount of money some people throw at it.


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    Maybe the bales contain rags, "scrap" cloth being delivered to a business?

    I thought

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    the Bain guy was against bale-outs.



    1916 ?

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    That section of Milk Street is gone. Milk ends around #152 now. It used to extend to the Atlantic Ave El. Not to be confused with the Eisenhower era elevated highway. If you look at the larger version you see several horses…some a re blurred.Wagons have all wood wheels. There are no cars to be seen. So I am guessing it's before 1920. Also, there are dozens of boxers of the circa 1915 "Post Toasties" cereal box in the window of Bain. A girl and a cat sitting in front of fireplace:


    The Great Cotton Bale

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    flood of 1925. No injuries reported but bales of cotton smashed up against the local buildings. Cause was determined to be sabotage from the Fruit of the Loom factory workers who were protesting work conditions.


    Coat hook

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    I like the way there is a hook on the OUTSIDE of the building to hang a coat on. They thought of everything in those days. Though I can't figure out why there are newspapers hanging like towels in the window.

    The Answer!

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    Thanks for playing folks! Those of you who guessed Milk Street at Atlantic Ave are correct. The date is June 22 1908. The bundles are "cotton bales" but we're not sure why they were on the street.


    That brown sticky-looking substance...

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    leads me to believe the cotton bales are soaking up MOLASSES from the Great Molasses flood. I'm quite sure the tank that exploded was located close to Milk St.

    I can't remember the exact year without looking it up, but when I was a kid, on very hot summer days, you could actually smell the molasses (if you were in the North End area)


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    Click on the larger image. It

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    Click on the larger image. It's the intersection of Milk and Atlantic. Look above the door and you'll see a street sign for Milk St. The presence of the elevated rails indicates it has to be Milk at Atlantic.