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Found: The secret tennis-ball burial grounds

Tennis balls in a West Roxbury swamp

Mary Ellen discovered yesterday that the swamp between the old West Roxbury High School and VFW Parkway in West Roxbury is full of dead tennis balls - with some dead baseballs for variety.


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Dog: Throw the ball! Throw the ball!
Human: Get the ball! Get the ball!
Dog: Dude, it's disgusing down there.
Human: Huh? I've watched you *eat* worse stuff.
Dog: All in the mind of the beholder.
Human: So, you're not going to get the ball?
Dog: You've got a can of fresh ones in the car.
Human: But those are for tennis.
Dog: Who's Tennis? Do you have another dog?
Human: No no no. It's a game people play.
Dog: With my balls?
Human: Remember at the park when you ran onto the paved place with the net?
Dog: Yes! Lots of balls!!!
Human: And you freaked out?
Dog: Yes! Lots of balls!!!
Human: And all the people freaked out?
Dog: What was their problem?
Human: They were playing tennis.
Dog: So?
Human: So, clean balls are for tennis.
Dog: [to self: your slippers are mine, punishment be damned]

Voting closed 32

Aww, Mary Ellen! Not one of your usual positive does toward my emotional wellness! Yet I must say it speaks a thousand words!

Voting closed 15

I remember as a kid hearing that the school was actually slowly sinking into the swamp (cue the Monty Python jokes) and there was nothing they could do to fix it.

Was that an urban legend? Was it true? If so is it still true?

Voting closed 27

Alewife Station is built on a swamp and is sinking an inch every few years.

Voting closed 20

It was designed by the same architect and went up around the same time as English High School, yet English is still open while West Roxbury was shut a couple years ago, allegedly as an imminent threat to the people who studied and worked there. The question would be is that because it was sinking or settling, because it had other unique issues or because of uneven BPS attention to the maintenance of its schools (or could it be all three)?

Voting closed 18

The one in JP? That building is over 100 years old.

It was a rehab of a Boston Gas Building.

If you are talking about the former building in the Fenway, that building had many many millions put into it 2004 when it was taken over.

Voting closed 15

Are you saying this building is over 100 years old?

Voting closed 5

Over 100 years old? Really? It looks like a building from the 1980s to me.

Voting closed 15

Yes, the city took over a Boston Gas building on McBride Street, but unlike most other such renovations (like, oh, this charter school in Hyde Park), there's little left to show its original use or design.

What is now English High School was designed in tandem with an all new West Roxbury High (on the grounds of the former city dump), with planning that started in the early 1970s.

The latter was at first called Southwest I and the former Southwest II. The same architect designed both of the resulting structures. Originally, Jamaica Plain High School moved into the new Southwest II, then the city shut that school and moved English High into the space (and sold off the old English High on Avenue Louis Pasteur for today's shiny biotech research labs).

Voting closed 4

Is there actually anything left of the old Commerce/English High that sits across from BLS? Or was it a complete tear down?

See the 1931 map transposed on the modern city at BPL's Atlascope:

Voting closed 5

A substantial amount of the land on which the old high school was built was a part of the Gardner Street Dump. That was the city's trash dump until it reached capacity.

All of Millennium Park is in fact a capped version of the dump and that is why you see those occasional J tubes here and there. That is to vent the methane gas from decomposing trash and what ever else. That is not a natural hill. It is totally man-made.

The school has been slipping tiny amounts due to the high water table and swamp-like conditions surrounding it.

Voting closed 10