Daniel Steiner comes up to Boston and talks to a couple of local experts on the way roads in olde Boston got laid out.
Also on Youtube GBH has a 6 episode series on the Big Dig.
Its SOOOO good!
Here is episode 1
1. Blake House in Dot is 40 years older than the Revere House. The Revere House is not the oldest house in the City.
2. You can't rent a paddle boat in the Public Garden.
3. The West End was about as Irish as Revere is now. It was a Jewish, Italian, and nascent African American neighborhood.
4. Omission - The Back Bay naming pattern isn't just A-H but A - K (Ipswich, Jersey, and Kilmarnock).
Lansdowne, Marlborough, Newbury.
Maybe even Q if you include Peterborough and Queensberry but I don't know what the "O" street would be.
Are the old names for Washington Street. The street would change names every few blocks until it was renamed Washington Street after the Revolutionary War.
Also, all streets that cross Washington between the Old State House and the Pike change names.
19th century UK was all the rage for new placenames here besides the old ones which were just named for English towns. Some new railroad / streetcar communities (i.e. real estate schemes of the mid 1800's) grabbed English / Scottish names: Roslyn(dale), Aberdeen, Melrose, and Belmont to name a few.
A hypothetical question: Perhaps the West End was too diverse? How can you run a city like Boston if you can't set one group up against another? That's how politics worked back before the razing of this neighborhood and that is what politics appears to be returning to now.
This history from the West End Place apartment complex is pretty darn informative.
How did such a diverse group of people manage to get along so well that it had to be stopped?
The West End was bulldozed (this is only my thought) to keep it from becoming an African American neighborhood.
The North End was fairly homogenous and had political representation high up in city and state government. The BRA ran into a buzz saw in Charlestown politically and backed off from their plans to pancake most of the neighborhood for housing projects.
The West End was smaller and like many older Jewish working class neighborhoods (Chelsea, Lynn, Malden), was seeing white flight. Remember, the largest ethnic group to leave Boston for the Burbs by far were the Jews, maybe not in whole numbers but absolutely as a percentage of the area's ethnic makeup.
Mattapan / Roxbury / Dorchester in 1950 had a Jewish population of around 90,000 to a handful of families by 1980. Think about that. It would be like every single person in Cambridge today left in the course of 30 years. That's unreal.
The South End was a mostly African American area and Beacon Hill (the neighborhood) saw the West End was the next neighborhood which would become African American and in turn Bay Village. The rich panicked and out came the bulldozers. You may not find this written down anywhere, but the demo of the West End reeks of behind the scenes class control from up on high.
Same thing with the New York Streets. That demo reeks of being a fire break for people.
Does anybody know where they were, looking at the outline of the old shoreline on the pavement? I never noticed it before and would like to take a look.
If the Okies watching the breakdance crew aren't crowding around and blocking it, look down.
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