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Downtown Crossing doesn't have nearly enough hurdy-gurdy men these days

1858 image of the intersection of Washington with Summer and Winter

Winslow Homer sketched the intersection of Washington Street with Winter and Summer streets in 1857, for Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, a Boston-based publication.

We thought at first this was a view up Winter Street towards Tremont (with the church tower being Park Street Church), but some more astute folks in the comments say, no, based on the address of the jewelry store, it's the view up Summer Street towards the future home of South Station - via which one would have seen the New South Church where Summer and Bedford Streets converge, next to Lincoln St. and opposite the end of Devonshire. That church came down in 1867.

From the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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We're going to assume that's Park Street Church near the top

My guess would be the Old South Meeting House if you're looking north on Washington.

Edit: Confirmed. Jones, Shreve, Brown & Co. was at 226 Washington and 1 Summer.

Edit 2: I neglected to zoom in Google Maps for the street numbers. Odd numbers for Summer are on the south side of the street so I have to agree that the view is down Summer St.


The 1867 Sanborn atlas shows that 226 Washington was indeed at the corner of Summer, but on the southeast corner where Jordan Marsh/Macy's is today. (The street numbers on Washington St. were changed in 1872.) So we are looking up Summer St. towards where South Station is today.

The New South Church was then located at the point where Summer and Bedford Streets converge, next to Lincoln St. and opposite the end of Devonshire. It was taken down in 1868. If it had remained, it would have been destroyed in the 1872 Great Boston Fire, as was the rest of Summer Street.

"New South" is not to be confused with "New Old South", which was later erected in Copley Square.


Post updated.

The 1867 Sanborn atlas

Thanks! It's my first time checking this out so I wanted to post these resources for anyone else who likes old maps.

Atlascope Boston
Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library

Winslow Home?


Ahhh Magoo ‘members those days. As an alleged vampire (that feasts on the life juice of small various and nefarious mammals, mind you, and not human sapiens) Magoo has lived a long and varied life. Those times in the afore picture were winsome and whimsical and also full of terror and stinkiness. Magoo recalls a good lady friend that Magoo tried to convince to join Magoo in the realm of the immortals. Alas she refused and Magoo wept. But Magoo found Mrs. Magoo this century and she has joined Magoo in this travel though life-time. Magoo calls it life-time because Magoo is having the time of Magoo’s life. Magoo wonders what life will look like centuries from now. Shall there be flying cars? Lunar or Martian bases? If there is one thing for sure, Magoo will be there for Magoo is a life live-er that lives Magoo’s life. Magoo ‘members ago but yearns for fago, which Magoo calls future ago. Meaning when Magoo is in the far future the near future will be ago. Magoo.


Coming soon to Hulu. I'm all in.


I used to see a busker with a hurdy gurdy and a scruffy dog downtown all the time. Haven't seen him in a while, but I also don't make it downtown very often anymore.


He was still there at the end of the summer. Can't remember if I've seen him since.


At least that's his favorite hangout when it gets super hot - he's usually in the shade on the pedestrian thoroughfare.

I like him, because his dog is nice and I can't hear him in my office like I can hear the bucket drummer and the annoying short repeated 500dB tape clips of the tumbling groups by Quincy Market.

There are a few left in Amsterdam.

I do always appreciate hearing Bach from the speakers at The Corner entrances, as I did about 45 min ago. In Winslow Homer’s time apparently it was Jones Ball and Company.

…The Corner pipes out classical music, not for cultural enrichment, but to discourage vagrants. Seems there was some study that said classical music can be irritating to loiterers- https://www.wqxr.org/story/classical-music-actually-effective-fighting-c...



That was a fascinating read.

It where the Corner Mall is, sometime between 1855 and 1860.

Came singing songs of love

I was just about to look for that.

"sidemen" indeed.

how many of the Zeps were on this track.

The consensus seems to be : Jones, yes; Page, probably; Bonham - ?

Kids, run away if he asks if you'd like to see it, and stay clear of that monkey.

The address numbers on Washington Street changed sometime after 1872. The reason for the change was the extension of the northern end of Washington from Dock Square (Adams Square) to Haymarket Square. The street extension, which cut through many buildings in that area, officially opened in November 1872. An 1874 atlas still shows the old numbers (and no numbered addresses in the extension area); the 1883 atlas shows the new numbers.

This is a hurdy gurdy:


A hurdy gurdy is a kind of mechanically-assisted violin; it's not just a music box, though, the player has to play it, fingering the strings.

What that fellow is playing is a street organ or barrel organ of some sort. An all together more disreputable instrument.

If that was Washington St. at Winter, than that's not where 226 Washington or 226 Winter would be.

226 Washington is near the Old State House.

I really enjoy looking at pictures of "Old Boston" -- especially when you can determine exactly where that is today. Thanks!