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Roslindale substation project actually happening; Square could get restaurant by chef at Tavolo in Dorchester

Wicked Local Roslindale reports on progress to turn the hulking old trolley substation at Washington and Cummins into a restaurant wrapped with new housing.

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but thank goodness we don't live in a neighborhood where JPNC has "jurisdiction." Although - maybe if they get wind they'd try to make a power grab in Rozzie too.

It's Cummins Hwy, btw...

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Cummins Highway is named after Father John Cummins, first pastor of the Sacred Heart Parish. Before that it was Ashland Street.

Cummins is buried in Old Calvary Cemetery near the chapel.

The power sub-station provided a boost for the 600 volt DC power needed to operate the streetcars that plied Roslindale all the way to the Dedham Line and to the Charles River.

The end of the line on Washington Street was where Rockland Towers now stands. That was the original trolley yard. At Charles River it is the big paved "loop" behind the restaurant at Spring and VFW.

After the streetcars ended in the early 50s they were replaced for a period with "trackless trolleys" (electric buses) similar to those that operate out of Harvard Sq. Station to Watertown and Belmont.

After the electric bus era ended in the region it continued to provide power via underground cable to the Boston Elevated Railway, by then called the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) (before it was the MBTA and Orange Line) at Forest hills. It generated power on demand and infrequently through the early 1960s.

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I understand a study was done to determine if the F.J. Higgins funeral home bore any historical significance, and it did not.

Fred Higgins, the founder, lived there with his family. They occupied the second floor and raised their children there, hence the term "funeral home" as it was commonplace in those days for the funeral director to live with his family on the premises. Two of the sons eventually went into the business as did the present Higgins, a grandson.

My mother, approaching 90, tells stories of being hushed when playing with her peers there when a wake was in progress downstairs.

As with many funeral businesses these days, the current Mr. Higgins consolidated with PE Murray-Doherty in West Roxbury. The building has been vacant for quite some time.

Locally, the only real historical significance would be to those generations that grew up with it as a fixture in Roslindale Square. It was often referred-to as a landmark and directions were often given to travelers with it as a point of reference.

Few of Roslindale's residents these would even know that there were two more funeral homes just around the corner on Cummins Highway; Walls and Hearns. The buildings have long been re-purposed. The cluster of funeral homes accommodated the similar cluster of churches that stretched from Sacred Heart down the hill representing Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Congregational denominations. Not far away was the Episcopal, Unitarian, and Lutheran churches surrounding the business district. Those structures are gone, re-purposed, or serve other denominations these days.

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It looks like St. Anna's was once the Unitarian Church. But what was St. Mark's (next door to St. Anna's) before it was St. Mark's?

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...is a local hero! His two restaurants at Ashmont have done wonders to revitalize the area.

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but I hope it doesn't hurt Redd's, Delfino, Sophia's, Birch St. or Village Fish. I guess we'll find out how many restaurants the Village can support.

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There's a well documented phenomenon of similar type businesses locating in close proximity to the benefit of both consumers and producers. Think Asian restaurants in Chinatown, the Piano Row or the Leather District in Boston, Printer's Row in Chicago, etc. (Of course, all except Chinatown are now more historical phenomena, but the point is that having so many piano stores on one block actually helped them all for many years.) Heck, consider even Faneuil Hall in terms of restaurants!

There is lots of academic literature on the subject--here's a somewhat recent BC paper I just pulled at random with a complete mathematical model http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC-P/wp447.pdf . The shorter version is having a cluster of many similar stores, each with their own distinctive identity, attracts more consumers looking for variety.

There may be a point where a market could be truly oversaturated, or price competition starts becoming destructive, but in my view we aren't even remotely near either point in Roslindale.

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Having a place like the excellent Tavolo would only boost traffic out here, I know I would go to it, and still have room in my rotation for the other restaurants mentioned....all are good, and the more the merrier!

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I may be wrong, but Chris owns Ashmont Grill (along with a cadre of local investors) and Trinity Financial, owners of the Carruth Bldg are the actual owners of Tavalo. Chris runs both.

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Fixed the headline.

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This is great news! Another restaurant would be great. I hope they do saturday brunch.

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