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If the naptha cleansing was too expensive, you could always pawn something downstairs

Cleanser, pawn shop and employment office in old Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this scene. See it larger (also note the use of "cleansing," from which we no doubt got cleansas).



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The New York Clothing Co. was at 24 Shawmut Ave.(The Money to Loan place was a pawnbroker, judging from the three gold balls installed above the Warrenton-facing doorway), while Miss M. Melody's South End Employment Office was at 39 Warrenton. The site today is the parking lot between the Tufts Medical Garage and the Double Tree hotel, itself the former Brandeis High School, later the Catholic Don Bosco technical high school until its redevelopment into the hotel.


Google says 24 Shawmut Ave is more where Mass Pike Towers is.

But after looking at some Leventhal Maps (Seen here).. I think at some point after urban renewal, Shawmut was re-numbered to re-align when Tremont was during renewal.

Here's a map of the area.


The Yellow line represents Oak Street and That weird right hand turn Tremont makes to continue down into the South End.

The Red box is where the Church of All nations (the round building) and the park are today (the site of the old Pleasant Street incline) In fact, on this map the only part of Pleasant that exists today is called "Broadway Street" in Bay Village between Melrose and Piedmont.

Because the Blue Line represents the current "Charles Street South" and the orange line is Warrenton today. Looks like they straightended out "Pleasant" and renamed it Charles Street.

Brown/Gold box is where Mass Pike Towers sits today.

And the red X is where this picture is.. or should be.

Interesting stuff.


Is the BPDA Mapping tool. You can pick any of the Bromley Atlases from the menu on either side of the map and use a slider to compare it to other maps they have on file (choosing from the list on the other side of the map). For this, I compared the 1917 Bromley Map with a recent Google Map. Linking the map tool here resets the default, so you'll have to enter them per use.

Neal is right. This would be on the east side of Tremont/Shawmut, the northeast corner of Shawmut and Warrenton. Warrenton St. used to run across the Tremont/Shawmut intersection and through to Washington.

The site of the brick building at far right -- 4 stories, with a peaked roof and shutters -- is today the corner of the old Don Bosco building, now the Doubletree. In the 1928 and '38 Bromley atlases it's called the "Boys Unit" of the "Continuation School", a Boston Public School.

The street at right, with the Employment Office, was Warrenton. The street at left, with the Restaurant and Lunch Room, was Shawmut Avenue. But a few doors to the left of the Lunch Room, and you'd be on Tremont.

The street numbers back then were very tricky. You're on the odd-numbered side of Warrenton (north/east side of that street), and the numbers on that street started at Washington. Thus the Employment Office was at 39 Warrenton. The address for Don Bosco used to be 29 Warrenton. The current Charles Playhouse (originally a church, then a synagogue), is on the other side of Tremont, and on the opposite side of Warrenton, at 74 Warrenton.

The New York Clothing Company, on the other hand, was at 24 Shawmut Avenue. The numbers for Shawmut started just a few doors to the left, where Shawmut branched off of Tremont. Number 2 Shawmut Ave. was right next to 286 Tremont.

As for what happened to Pleasant Street -- in the 1930s it was widened and became an extension of Broadway, which then ran all the way through to Park Square. With wide bridges over the Old Colony Division RR tracks, across the Fort Point Channel, and then over the Boston & Albany tracks, Broadway was a major through street connecting South Boston with Park Square.

In the 1970s the north end of Broadway was closed off just south of Stuart St., and a hotel was built there -- now the Revere Hotel, originally the 57 Hotel, and for many years in between it was a Howard Johnson's.

Also in the 1970s, Carver Street was widened between Broadway and Stuart St., and renamed Charles Street South. The newly-opened Found Hotel building used to be 78 Carver Street, and is now 78 Charles Street South. It started out as the Stuart Hotel and was for many years part of the Milner chain.

In other words, this part of Broadway ceased to be a major thoroughfare and Carver/Charles South was turned into the main traffic carrier in this area.

And yes, where Tremont St. used to make a single 45-degree angle to go into today's South End neighborhood, it was turned into a dogleg, with a 90-degree angle to the right and then 45 degrees to the left.

Photo probably taken about 1895, just before construction of the Tremont Street Subway. The subway used to have a portal where Eliot Norton Park is now, just across the street from these buildings.

Thanks for playing, folks! 24 Shawmut Ave is correct - though Cyabah is also correct that Shawmut Ave may have been numbered since this photo was taken in about 1895. High res image is here: https://cityofboston.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/IO_fcd615cc-984...