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Then and now: Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Washington Street

Sometime in the mid-1950s, Nishan Bichajian snapped the Washington Street el passing the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Washington at what is now Washington and Msgr. Reynolds Way.

The el-less view in 2022:

The el ran from 1901 until April 30, 1987, when it was shut down a few days before the opening of the new semi-submerged Orange Line along the Northeast Corridor train tracks - in what was originally planned as the right of way for the extension of I-95 to meet a new I-695 about where Ruggles station is today (Melnea Cass Boulevard was going to be part of 695, connecting I-93 with I-95, but then Gov. Sargent halted the work in 1972).

Orange Line elevated photos.

You can see the old el in action in the intro to St. Elsewhere, the 1980s medical drama. The "hospital" building at the beginning and end of the intro still stands - the Franklin Square Apartments, a short walk from the cathedral.

Top photo taken as part of MIT's five-year Perpetual Form of the City study. Posted under this Creative Commons license.

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Comments

I totaled a car because of that demolition. They had taken down the traffic lights on Washington and put up a stop sign on a one-way crossing it. A woman on the one-way blew right through the stop and into the intersection.

The last thing I saw before contact was her shocked expression when she turned and saw me about to t-bone her car. When I got out and went over to see if they were okay she screamed at me, "You ran a red light!!!"

I pointed to where the lights were gone and said, "You had a stop sign, I had nothing. I'll be in my car writing down my information" then walked away and did just that until the cops came.

Ruled no-fault because of the construction but it should've been on her.

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Voting closed 24

Although technically on Washington Street I consider the Cathedral of the Holy Cross the last Catholic church on Harrison Avenue.

Down from three in the 1960s. There was St. Phillips (My parish church which burned down in 1981, never rebuilt), Church of the Immaculate Conception (converted to condos in 2020) and of course Cathedral (where I was confirmed).

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Voting closed 16