History

By - 2/3/16 - 6:26 pm

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society recently purchased some 1,000 negatives chronicling the life of James Michael Curley between 1934 and his death in 1958. They turned them into photos, digitized them all and posted them on Digital Commonwealth.

Photo posted under this Creative Commons license.

By - 2/2/16 - 7:58 am
$3,000 reward for information on whereabouts of Dr. George Parkman

The Massachusetts Historical Society is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year with, among other things, an online exhibit of 225 items from its collections, from colonial days to the Revolution and Civil War. Don't click on the link unless you have some time to spare!

Among the items: This poster seeking information on the whereabouts of prominent local physician George Parkman - he donated land for Harvard Medical School (we know the site today as the home of Mass. General Hospital), and, yes, the Parkman House on Beacon Hill was his home. Read more.

By - 2/1/16 - 11:03 am
El, trolley tracks and horse-drawn carriages in old Boston

If you thought today's first mystery photo was just a little too easy (like, if you couldn't figure it out, hide your Boston ID in shame), you were right - the folks at the Boston City Archives posted the wrong photo.

Here's the correct mystery photo, showing your basic Boston street back when we had els running over trolley tracks and horse-drawn carriages were more than just a tourist attractions. Can you tell where and when the photo was taken? See it larger.

By - 2/1/16 - 10:25 am
When and where is this?

One probably wouldn't be going too far out on a limb to say that many people will immediately know where this is. But the folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can figure out when. See it larger (or see it even larger).

By - 1/25/16 - 11:38 pm
Trolley in front of the old Circle Cinema in Cleveland Circle

Tim Murphy captured the beginning of demolition at the old theater (and the old Applebee's), which will make way for apartments for senior citizens and a hotel.

But Murphy also forwarded the above photo from the theater's better days, when the restaurant next door was a Howard Johnson's and the T still ran 1940s-era trolleys.

By - 1/25/16 - 10:14 am

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

By - 1/22/16 - 3:56 pm
Northern Avenue Bridge over Fort Point Channel in 1919

The bridge and downtown Boston in 1919. Photo by Leslie Jones. See larger.

The Globe reports Boston officials have decided to tear down the old Northern Avenue Bridge starting in March - although a spokeswoman for the mayor said today that "there will still be an opportunity to preserve the bridge, but it cannot stay where it is because of its current condition." Read more.

By - 1/22/16 - 1:16 pm

It was a full house last night at the Fenway Community Center at 1282 Boylston Street where Burning Greed was screened. A second screening will be held tonight at the Capitol Theatre, in Arlington.

Burning Greed is a documentary produced by Sonia Weinhaus covering the arson-for-profit ring operating in The Fenway in the late-1970s. Read more.

By - 1/19/16 - 6:13 pm

Local filmmakers Richard Hawke and Paul Villanova created this 3 1/2-minute video of Boston in Flux to show Boston changing over the decades.

We wanted the film to be more than simply a photographic effect," says Villanova. "We wanted to visually demonstrate the paradox of Boston - how it is constantly changing, and yet, in many ways looks the same as it did 100 years ago. There is a tension we wanted to capture."

Earlier:
Then and now: Some Boston scenes.

By - 1/17/16 - 6:07 pm
Women exercising in Boston

Boston high school students exercising in early 1890s (from BPL). See larger.

The Massachusetts Historical Society fills us in on the movement to get women moving, starting in the 1860s: Read more.

By - 1/16/16 - 9:07 pm
Special issue of the East Boston Community News

The Northeastern University library has started digitizing copies of the East Boston Community News. They recently uploaded copies from 1971. You can look at individual copies of the newspaper or search for specific topics.

By - 1/15/16 - 8:02 am
Twisted subway tracks after Great Molasses Flood of 1919

Among other things, the Great Molasses Flood took out the elevated subway tracks that ran over Commercial Street, as shown in this photo by news photographer Leslie Jones.

At 12:30 p.m., take a moment to remember the 21 people killed by a gooey, bittersweet flood of more than 2 million gallons of molasses, just moments after the machine-gun-like sound of rivets giving way echoed across the North End and the tank burst on an unseasonably warm January day in 1919, thanks to shoddy construction by the tank's owner. Read more.

By - 1/6/16 - 11:13 am
Old block in old Boston

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

By - 1/3/16 - 12:54 pm
Globe newsies

Photographer - and social reformer - Lewis Hine spent a fair amount of time in Boston in the early part of the 20th century capturing the often horrible condition of children. Among the kids he photographed were newsies, including this group of Globe hawkers with Sunday papers at 5 a.m. one Sunday in 1909.

From the Library of Congress's Lewis Hine collection.

By - 12/31/15 - 11:03 am
Boston trolley in 1943

As 1943 turned into 1944, Boston trolleys ran every 10 minute, all night, the folks at the Boston City Archives inform us. The BAC Library identifies the station as today's Prudential stop.

By - 12/30/15 - 10:34 am
Patriots and a kid

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can figure out what's happening in this photo, and when.

By - 12/28/15 - 11:50 am

A travelogue of sorts from 1970, narrated by Edwin Land himself, that concludes with him walking us around the plans for a new Polaroid factory in Norwood. Around 12:00, he discusses the future of photography, including cameras that would fit in a pocket, "something like a telephone, that you would use all day long. ... a camera that you would use as often as a pencil, or your eyeglasses" (but still one that spits out everything on film).

Via Boston Reddit.

By - 12/27/15 - 7:18 pm

The Ladd Observatory takes some time to tell us about how clocks in the Boston area used to be calibrated with the dropping of the daily noon time-ball from the roof of a downtown building, first a long-gone building at Devonshire and Milk and later from what is now the Ames Hotel at Washington and Court streets.

By - 12/27/15 - 1:09 pm

J.L. Bell ponders who might have been taking notes during discussions of patriots leading up to the Boston Tea Party and forwarding them to His Majesty's Government.

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