Mystery subway station in old Boston

Subway station in old Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this station - and what its name was then and now. See it larger.




Milk and State were different platforms

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Since street names generally changed at Washington Street, and since Washington Street was narrow enough that several platforms were offset, the station names were assigned based on the streets nearest to the station platforms. So Milk and State were nearest to those streets, Friend and Union similarly except for parallel streets. Winter/Summer were for the platforms on either side of Washington at what is now Downtown Crossing, Boylston/Essex where the street names changed crossing Washington at what is now Chinatown.

So State was Milk/State/Devonshire and Downtown Crossing was Winter/Summer/Washington. Not confusing at all.


To make that clearer

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Haymarket was the Green Line stop.
Union was the northbound Orange Line.
Friend was the southbound Orange Line.

Devonshire was the Blue Line stop.
State was the northbound Orange Line.
Milk was the southbound Orange Line.

Washington was the Red Line stop.
Summer was the northbound Orange Line.
Winter was the southbound Orange Line.

Essex was the northbound Orange Line.
Boylston was the southbound Orange Line.



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Back when it was still Devonshire and serving streetcars. The ceiling looks familiar.


State Street

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Its State street before it became rapid rail and the platforms were raised.

The arch'd ceiling gives it away.

EDIT: This is the outbound (to wonderland) platform. The floor to ceiling height gives it away, as it gets shorter toward the end of the platform:


Good Call

The platforms were all raised over a weekend (!) in 1924 to accommodate trains. Most likely wood at first then concrete later.


Green Line HRV conversion

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I read someplace many years ago (unfortunately I can no longer find it) that the green line between Arlington and Kenmore was built with higher-than-required ceilings to accommodate future heavy rail conversion. From what I recall, there was once a proposal for a branch of the Washington St subway to run under Commonwealth Ave until Packard’s corner. This was also incorporated into the track layout around Kenmore, as streetcars coming from Beacon would use the flying junction and loop for cross-platform transfers. Anyone know anything else about this plan?


2nd Vote for State

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I agree with State Street and the arched ceilings. When the station was last renovated that brick work was exposed. This would be when it was still streetcars (trolleys to us locals) before they converted to the raised-platform cars like you have today.

And to be specific... this is a Blue Line platform as indicated earlier


The Answer

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Thanks for playing, folks!

Those of you who guessed State Street Station are correct. The photo was taken in 1904 when it was Devonshire Station. This one was tricky, since the current State Street Station has a raised platform - and in 1904 the station served streetcars.