Hey, there! Log in / Register

Old Boston cobblestones never die; they just get covered with asphalt

Old cobblestones

Spotted today on Batterymarch Street. MFS McCourt, you ask? It's a long gone telecom company started by a local guy named McCourt - but not the one you're probably thinking of - who also started RCN.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Free tagging: 
Ad:

Comments

If you go to the old quarries on the North Shore (for example, Halibut Point) there are exhibits on the making of cobblestones. Done by hand, piecework, but if you were good at it you achieved about the same economic status as a doctor.

up
Voting closed 7

I always thought this was because of McCourt construction

Now I Know.

up
Voting closed 13

Until I looked it up today :-).

up
Voting closed 23

David McCourt began his career working for Richard McCourt at McCourt construction. They built McCourt Cable/MFS McCourt and then later that became RCN.

MFS McCourt was McCourt construction at one point but no longer is.

up
Voting closed 14

The trick is to size them right so that they’re easy enough to pry up and throw in the midst of rioting, but also have enough size and mass that they make an impact. We’ve lost so much by moving to modern pavement.

up
Voting closed 56

Those old roads often have better 'bases' to them, so it's to our advantage to use the old base and pave over it, rather than ripping up the stones and starting over.

up
Voting closed 19

up
Voting closed 19

They're "setts", not "cobblestones"

up
Voting closed 11

Thank you! One of my pet peeves is people calling any kind of stone paving material cobblestone. Cobblestones are round. If it ain’t round, it’s not cobblestone.

up
Voting closed 30

Not to get too telco nerdy, but while MFS sold off a business unit to RCN, MFS isn't exactly a predecessor of RCN.

It's confused by the fact that the owner and founder of MFS, Peter Kiewit, was a cofounder of RCN.

(MFS ended up as part of Worldcom, which ended up as MCI Worldcom when those companies merged. That company eventually went bankrupt, and I believe the zombie remnants ended up as part of Verizon)

up
Voting closed 7

Fixing.

up
Voting closed 13

That makes better sense about MFS. I mean RCN barely had a cable presence in Boston when I moved here in 1998. It was a big deal when they started expanding their cable precense, as they were a dial up provider back then.

MFS McCourt just was a fiber company that bought up UUNET then merged with WorldCom.

It makes sense that there is fiber run under these now.

up
Voting closed 7

It's surprising how many streets in greater Boston still have cobblestone underneath the asphalt (and yes I know people will argue they're not technically cobblestones, but that's what we call them on construction plans, so I'm sticking with it). It's a real pain sometimes when reconstructing streets, especially when you're working on utilities underneath them, because it's expensive to remove them.

up
Voting closed 15

Good for fill though, they have second and third lives all over the place, shout out to Hughie Nawn

up
Voting closed 7

up
Voting closed 29

Thank you for sharing the photo of the trolley tracks on Summer Street! Love the photograph - taken from a great angle. An elderly relative (in her late 90's) tells us stories of taking the trolley from City Point in South Boston to South Station - those must be the tracks. Will share the photo with her. Trolleys also went from City Point to other parts of the city and were heavily used by those who didn't own automobiles (which was a high number of people back in those days).

up
Voting closed 13

In the Seaport, it could just as easily be a freight railroad in the street rather than a trolley line.

up
Voting closed 14

Anon - please see my comment. We have proof from a living relative of passenger trolleys that ran from South Boston to South Station along Summer Street. Also, here is an article about a 1916 trolley (also called streetcars) disaster on the Summer Street Bridge over Fort Point Channel -

http://www.celebrateboston.com/disasters/summer-street-bridge-disaster.htm

up
Voting closed 15

http://www.mccourtconstruction.com/

That manhole cover was most likely installed long before David was born.

up
Voting closed 27