When scally caps ruled the street

Guys on a Boston corner

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can figure out when and where these corner dudes were hanging around in their scally caps. See it larger.



Free tagging: 


Blackstone Street?

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The only clue I could find was the sign on the market that said "Blackstone Market" - so guessing Blackstone Street near the North End?? Great photo!


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But googling for "Boston" and "Blackstone Market" turns up a paleo-Yelp from 1883 for the Blackstone Market:

JOSEPH W TUTTLE 18 Clinton street Commission business meats poultry butter cheese
Consignments from different parts of New England and the West. Don t know all consignors. Have all kinds of meat sent to us. Have no diseased meat that I know of. Sometimes receive meat of animals killed on the railroad or perhaps that have died by choking. We sell that for what we can get It is not diseased. The animals were killed by the cars running off the track or something of that kind and the railroad corporation sold them for what they could get to make up the loss Receive small calves. Can't tell how old the calves are. Should say that some were not more than a week old. Have had a good many small calves within a week consigned to me. Within a fortnight have notified my consignors not to send me any more small calves. The occupants of Blackstone market all or nearly all of them have bought small calves of me. Can tell from the meat after it has been dressed whether the animal of which it formed a part was trampled to death or died of disease. Have been a butcher all my life and can tell from the stains from the inwards how the meat was dressed and whether there was an interval between the death and the bleeding and dressing. Before I starved I should eat veal five days old. Should say that veal about six weeks old was about right. It ought not to be eaten when less than four weeks old. The poor meats are sold in the poor markets. Blackstone market sells more poor meat than any other market in my opinion. They have poultry sometimes in Faneuil Hall market in the summer that is pretty bad


proto snark

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Before I starved I should eat veal five days old.


Cambridge Street

Might be Cambridge Street looking easterly from say where the firehouse is now. It's after 1904 based on the condition of the tracks in the road.

I see a lot of Noodles, David, Popeye, and the rest of the Once Upon A Time In America crew across the street.

Cambridge Street was widened in the 20s or soon thereafter.

Solar Powered Clothes Dryers!

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Another couple of buildings in this picture are sporting those rooftop barricades again. This time though, clotheslines are clearly visible and laundry is hanging on some of them. Apparently, they really are solar/wind powered clothes dryers!


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One of the few really legible shop signs is M. O'Keeffe Inc. grocery store, but the 1918 Boston Register and Business Directory (cited earlier by another commenter) reveals that was a chain with more than 80 stores in the city! The same directory, unfortunately, reveals no results for Walter Whitmore or Everybody's Shoe Store. It cites a Blackstone Market at 1951 Washington St. on the South End-Roxbury border, but I don't think that's it, since there's no elevated line in the photo, and the types of buildings (wood vs. brick) don't match the 1895 Bromley Atlas

The 1870 directory reference for Walter Whitmore (also cited above) is irrelevant because that Tremont Street neighborhood was destroyed by fire in 1894 -- and this photo, with electric trolley wires, is almost certainly after 1894.

But based on the building types and the fact that the street is straight, not curved, I'd venture a good guess that it is somewhere in that Tremont Street area between Roxbury Crossing and say Lenox Street, sometime in the 1890s.

The Answer

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Thanks for playing! This photo shows the north side of Cambridge St. between North Russell and Chambers Streets. The date is November 6, 1912.

I was wrong!

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All of the buildings in that block on the left were demolished shortly after the photo was taken, to make way for a subway portal (what's now the Blue Line). That's why none of the stores showed up in the 1918 business directory that was cited here. The brick buildings in the background lasted until 1925, when they were removed for another street widening project. The Harrison Gray Otis House and Old West Church would be behind some of those brick structures.

Just a guess but. . .

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I'd have to guess Tremont Street just past Cunard Street but I could be wrong. its hard to tell from this photo