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Some Boston neighborhoods used to be a bit less crowded

Old house and tree in Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this scene. See it larger.

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What information is available about an attempt way back when to establish a world class new Opera House at Boston?

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Thank you! Imagine a 21st century world class new Opera House and opera company!... between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Square http://lowellhouseopera.com/about/

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But since I don't have any clue, your guess might be better than mine.

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P Street between East Broadway and East Fourth Street, could also be on what is now East Fourth Street.

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I think this is correct - that's the Collins Mansion in the background.

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Not the Collins Mansion. That's got 1-2-1 across the top, not 1-1-1.

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Roxbury?

Southie was far more built out by the time photography arrived.

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Oakton Ave, Dot.

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Taking a shot, but the oldest house in Roslindale down on Poplar Street?

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Near the tedeschis in Everett sq?

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Near the pond?

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Well it IS JP.

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before they built all the condos, Starbucks and the L Street Speedway.

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Is this the Pierce House in Dorchester?
https://www.historicnewengland.org/property/pierce-house

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That was my first guess, having gone to high school
with one of the Pierce-Shaughnessy children. Great memories of the place.

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Usually there's five windows or three windows across the top of the south face of a saltbox. This one is asymmetrical, with a center window, two on one side of the entry, and one on the other side. If it's still around, that should be a giveaway.

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The Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan, maybe?

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The Pierce Farmstead in Dorchester is a saltbox https://www.historicnewengland.org/property/pierce-house/

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Somewhere along the base of the Jones Hill-Meeting House Hill-Ronan Park spine. Foreground house very Dot vernacular (see James Blake House).

That's all I got . . .

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Looks identical to the Cooper Austin Frost House, though a common style for the period. If so, that would be Avon Hill in the background.

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The Boston City Archives doesn't post pictures of Cambridge.

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Looks like the same style as the Pierce House in Dorchester.

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yes, that's what I thought.

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Curtis house, approximately Lamartine st just north of Stony Brook station. Torn down in the 1880s. The Curtises owned everything from there to Jamaica Pond - the Curley school was built on the old Curtis farm.

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It does look like the Pierce House in Dorchester.....

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I think it's the original Curtis Homestead near Stony Brook.

When the house was still there, Centre Street was called Austin Street, and didn't turn into Centre until you crossed into Roxbury at Perkins. Curtises had properties all along Boylston St. I am certain the homestead faced South, so that the view would have been north-westerly towards the hill around where Cranston Street is now. I don't think the house in the distance is there anymore either.

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The back house looks like the house on the hill in JP down off of Seaverns Ave.

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Adam, where do we go to get the answer? Forgive me, as I'm new at this. Do we go to Boston City Archives website?

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Either later today or tomorrow morning.

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I gave the answer above - this is the Curtis house in Jamaica Plain.

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Thanks for playing, folks!

Those of you who guessed the Curtis House in Jamaica Plain are correct. We're dating the photo to the mid-1870s. The photo was taken from (present day) Centre Street facing Paul Gore Street.

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After some investigation, we've realized that this photo was mislabeled. It is a Curtis House, but its the Curtis House located on Lamartine Street near Boylston - not Centre at Paul Gore, as we previously stated. We still date it to the mid-late 1870s

Thanks to those who realized the mistake - We've corrected the error in our catalog!

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To say that it was the "Curtis house" unfortunately doesn't tell us much since the Curtis family built many houses in Jamaica Plain.

According to the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, https://www.jphs.org/people/2005/4/14/curtis-family-and-curtis-hall.html:

"The Old Curtis Homestead [William Curtis house] was conveniently located near Stony Brook on Lamartine and Paul Gore Streets, a stone's throw from the Boylston Street railroad depot, where it stood from 1638 to 1887 as Jamaica Plain's oldest home for 250 years.

"On the huge block of Curtis land bounded by Centre, Sheridan, Curtis, and Boylston Streets nearest the Old Homestead stood the home of George Curtis at 4 Boylston Street. Built before 1720, it was the oldest home standing on Jamaica Plain's Old Home Comers' Day on July 13, 1907, but was demolished soon afterwards.

"Across Centre Street, at number 429, stood the 1722 house of Samuel Curtis, again the oldest standing dwelling in JP at the time of the Boston Tercentenary (1930) before it made room for the Connolly Branch Library."

The photo doesn't appear to match the Samuel Curtis house of 1722 [429 Centre St.], which is portrayed in these 2 images:
https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:f7623h38c
https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:f7623f46n

Real estate atlases from 1884 and 1905 show that both the Samuel Curtis house and the George Curtis house of ca. 1720 [4 Boylston St.] had irregular outlines with several ells and outbuildings, that we don't see in this photo.

So my bet is that this photo is the Curtis Homestead or William Curtis house of 1638, at roughly 157 Lamartine Street, demolished in 1887 shortly after this picture was taken. The 1884 real estate atlas confirms that it had a regular rectangular shape with no ells.

The building in the background may have been part of the Massachusetts Infant Asylum, on Chestnut Avenue opposite Forbes Street.

And that guess is in fact confirmed by the caption of this photo, posted on the JPHS website:
http://jphs.squarespace.com/display/ShowPicture?moduleId=96230&galleryId...

Or for a larger image:
http://jphs.squarespace.com/display/ShowPicture?moduleId=96230&galleryId...

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