You just never know what curves life - and Boston roads - will throw you

Curved Boston road

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

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

That's Scolly Square, what's

By on

That's Scolly Square, what's now govt center, about where the T station is. To the right is the Sears Crescent Building, which still stands today.

up
12

Court

By on

Court St and Tremont St looking South

up
10

That one was easy

By on

The Sears block (Cornhill and Brattle) next to City Hall plaza - near court Street per the sign on the top corner of the building.

Similar pic from 1905 - so guessing similar era - maybe a bit earlier - say 1895 or so.

up
13

I defer to others on

By on

I defer to others on geography….but have to say that, "Say! Want your face took? 12 for $1.00" is advertising gold.

up
27

Cornhill Street

By on

outbound from Scollay Square ~1905

The left side of the street is now gone. They used many of the bricks to pave City Hall Plaza. The right side contained the Sears Crescent and the building in the foreground, the Sears Block.

up
12

It's not Cornhill Street, it

By on

It's not Cornhill Street, it's just Cornhill. Like how Broadway isn't Broadway Street.

Although apparently according to the city records, what's now Cornhill wasn't the first street by that name, and it was sometimes called New Cornhill, much like we'd later have area streets like New Chardon St. and New Sudbury St.

up
11

CORNHILL!

Easy: Cornhill St.

This is easy because it was one of the coolest looking streets ever in all of Boston's history.

Ah, if only it still existed. :/ All least half of the right side still exists in the present.

up
13

When?

By on

The where is easy. I'm going with 1903 and that the photo was taken in connection with the construction of the East Boston Tunnel.

Nay

It appears there's some sort of construction staging or debris along the length of the street visible to us. Underneath Cornhill is an abandoned Green Line tunnel, and perhaps this was taken either during the early stages of or the finishing stages of the completion of said tunnel. I'm going to bet the former, as I don't know if the streetcar tracks were still around by the time the tunnel was wrapped up.

up
13

Likely Date...

By on

The streetcar was built in May 1890 and retired in 1919. It appears to be signed for Route 48, which started on August 1, 1896. So I'm gonna say the photo was taken between August 1896 and October 1898. Tracks in Cornhill were kept active well after the subway opened; there was regular service as late as 1917, not including the Night Cars running to/from Adams Square.

up
14

Carbon Arc Street Lamps Are A Clue To The Date

By on

Take a look at the street light:
IMAGE(http://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/scollayarclamp.jpg)
It's a carbon arc lamp; the were the first and only form of electric street lighting, starting around the 1870's. Arc lamps had many problems, not the least of which was the constant maintenance they required. Notice in the picture, the ladder steps built onto the light pole; attendants needed to continuously climb up to adjust and replace the carbon rods as the light burned.

Incandescent street lamps were much practical and were quickly adopted, but not for another twenty years. That makes it most likely that the picture was taken before the turn of the twentieth century. It's also helpful to know that the Green Line subway at Scollay Square didn't open until 1898. I'm not sure exactly where it was, but there's no sign of it or any of the major construction its cut-and-cover tunnel would entail. My guess is the 1880's or early 1890's.

up
16

The Answer!

By on

Thanks for playing folks! Those of you who guessed Cornhill (near current City Hall) are correct. This photo was taken by the Transit Commission on June 16, 1897.

up
11