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Leaning tower of Boston

Leaning tower

Greg MacKay braved aftershocks to take this photo of 111 Devonshire St., the building that alarmed citizens reported was leaning and to which firefighters rushed - only to learn that it had always looked like that.

Copyright Greg MacKay. Posted in the Universal Hub pool on Flickr.

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From before today:


The landlord says that the "tilt" has been there for 40 years, ever since the mid-rise first went up.

Beneath the ground, somewhere, are remnants of old Spring Lane, which follows the path of the original spring that supplied the needs of the Puritans when they first arrived in Boston in 1630.


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Love the alert Adam
Looks like you better keep it up for Irene!

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Boston sits on/near a fault line - and even though the last major earthquake was over 250 years ago, it could happen again.

Earthquakes are NOT covered in your homeowners policies - a) get a rider that covers earthquakes for your house or condo - it's not an expensive coverage because the likelihood is low - but the consequences are huge (I'm guessing you can get some coverage in your renters insurance for belongings etc. as well). b) if you live in a condo - your building's master policy needs coverage as well - make sure your board gets the coverage.

This goes double if you live in a fill area - which is most of downtown - because of the high groundwater level the ground will effectively turn to quicksand and the buildings, especially the older and smaller ones that have wood pilings or shallower foundations, have a very high probability of collapse.

While you are at it, you may want to look into coverage against acts of terrorism as well - again, cheap coverage for an unlikely event, but especially if you are downtown every year 9/11 is a sad reminder that this is a real threat against any populated area in the US.

If this post doesn't convince you - this might:


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But most of the large buildings are also anchored to bedrock. The real problem areas are going to be the North End, Back Bay and South End (and parts of Southie on fill) where there's old brick and timber buildings.

Liquification is no fun

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It's the original part of the city, before any serious landfilling began.

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Most would be surprised how much of it is fill. Cool sequencing site here - not superprofessional -but a great illustration.


Check out numbers 2 and 4 particularly for North End fill areas.

And even if you are not on fill - those 19th and early 20th century buildings weren't exactly built to any quake standards. For a few hundred bucks a year, personally even if I lived near the burial ground or in a modern tower I'd probably invest in the insurance and make sure the trustees had it for the building. I think the article I linked to said the 17th century earthquake was over a 7.0.

We get hit with a 7.0 given our geology it sounds like a lot of the city will take a beating.

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