By - 1/16/18 - 11:24 am
Madison Pants in old Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this scene.

By - 1/15/18 - 6:19 pm

Fallout Five Zero, compiled on the 50th anniversary of public fallout shelters, in 2011, lists the locations of former fallout shelters in Boston and Quincy - some of which still have those fading yellow-and-black signs alerting the public where to take shelter in the event of an actual emergency.

Most would, of course, be fairly useless these days.

By - 1/15/18 - 6:07 pm


This film, by New England Telephone and Telegraph and the Massachusetts Commission on Public Safety, was released a couple months before Pearl Harbor.

By - 1/15/18 - 10:19 am
Theodore Parker in 1856

Theodore Parker lecturing in 1856.

Martin Luther King's connections to Boston are well known: He got his PhD in religion at Boston University while living on Mass. Ave. in the South End, met his wife here, later returned for a march from Roxbury to downtown.

But King's connections go further, back into Boston's history as a center of the abolition movement before the Civil War. Read more.

By - 1/13/18 - 12:27 pm
Boston's Fan Pier back in the day

In 1903, when Walker & Co. published this bird's eye view of the area around Fort Point Channel, trains were still king and Boston was full of freight yards, such as the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad's yard on the South Boston side of the channel, where it met Boston Harbor. Read more.

By - 1/4/18 - 9:45 am
Old building in old Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this scene. See it larger.

By - 12/27/17 - 12:36 pm
Skating on Jamaica Pond

The Library of Congress has this drawing of people skating in Jamaica Plain (and some who have plunged to the ice) in 1859 or thereabouts.

By - 12/25/17 - 9:44 am

Thomas Lawson, a native of Charlestown, was not well liked on Wall Street back in the day. Lawson, who started working as a bank clerk after he ran away from home at 12, became rich as a speculator in copper stocks, but later tried to reform Wall Street, which, as you can see from this 1905 cover of Puck magazine, did not much appreciate the attention. Read more.

By - 12/18/17 - 10:41 am

Atlas Obscura reports on a Harvard economics major who figured out new meanings for khipus - the knotted strings used by the Inca for record keeping that had long eluded detailed understanding by scholars.

By - 12/18/17 - 10:18 am

Mayor Walsh today announced the beginning of a competition for an artist to design and build a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., who lived on Mass. Ave. in the South End while earning his doctorate at Boston University and preaching at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury and who returned to the city in 1965 to lead a civil-rights march from Roxbury to Boston Common. Read more.

By - 12/5/17 - 10:55 am
Old class in Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this photo. See it larger.

By - 11/23/17 - 9:22 am
Over the river and through the woods, to grandfather's house we go ...

The first page of the song, from 1845.


If you really want to recreate the famous song, you'll have to cross over the Mystic River in Medford and head for the house that still stands at 114 South St. When Lydia Maria Child wrote the song, as part of the book, Flowers for Children, in 1845, she was recalling her childhood visits to her grandfather's house there. Read more.

By - 11/22/17 - 9:15 am

As we all know, Bostonians rushed to Halifax, NS in 1917 after a massive explosion. Among them: Edward Allen, director of the Perkins School for the Blind. A number of the survivors were blinded.

The Perkins School has set up an online exhibit about the work by Allen and others to help newly blinded Haligonians. First, he had to overcome opposition from local eye specialists who resented "outsiders."

By - 11/18/17 - 11:15 am

Walter Baker in Dorchester is normally the only chocolate guy people think of in Boston, but it turns out the North End had a chocolate maker of its own. The Old North Church reports it's won a $13,000 Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant from, yes, the maker of Mars Bars, to study the life of Capt. Newark Jackson, a parishioner who owned a chocolate mill and store in the North End back in Colonial days.

The church will also use the money to research colonial cacao trade routes.

Via J.L. Bell.

By - 11/14/17 - 9:21 pm

The Boston Preservation Alliance reports the Boston Landmark Commission tonight ordered a developer to hold off on tearing down two adjacent townhouses on Maverick Street built in the 1870s, for at least two years. Read more.

By - 11/13/17 - 11:39 am
Scene in old Boston with horses and trolley tracks

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this scene. See it larger.

By - 11/9/17 - 8:31 pm
Poster showing the Great Fire of 1872

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Great Fire of 1872, which destroyed 776 buildings over 65 acres in downtown Boston (and which spread quickly in part because of the flu - which had stricken many of the horses that would otherwise have pulled fire engines to the scene).

The Boston Architectural College Library posted this drawing of the fire tonight (the fire started around 7 p.m.).

By - 11/7/17 - 9:50 am
Old support beams for Orange Line tracks at Forest Hills

Liam photographs a couple of the beams that workers on the new residential complex on Hyde Park Avenue near the Forest Hills T stop have dug up.

Before 1987, when the new Orange Line alignment opened up ... Read more.

By - 11/7/17 - 8:38 am
No smoking or liquor in Boston polling places

Back in the day, Boston voters had to be reminded not to drink. Also, lady voters needed their own instructions.

Image from the Boston City Archives used under this Creative Commons license.

By - 11/6/17 - 10:33 am

Ron Newman took in the opening of Waltham's new Telephone Museum over the weekend. Read more.