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The end of the line - for now

Workers extending a trolley line in old Boston

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can place this scene of workers extending a trolley line in old Boston. See it larger.


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The trolley shown is a "snake car" made by splicing two older, smaller cars into a new articulated unit. If you zoom in you can make out the Hunter sign box; but the route number is still a bit fuzzy. Nevertheless, this looks to be a Division One car very likely operating out of Lotus Place Carhouse. {Lotus Place opened about 1896 and would be replaced by the modern Arborway Carhouse July 1926.} The last of the snake cars a.k.a. "two-rooms-and-a-bath" ran about 1923.

The trackage here was also shared by a "foreign car" line serving several towns southwest of Boston. The MBTA currently operates both the "local" and "suburban" routes, sorta coordinated, from Forest Hills Station.

Unlike routes in Cambridge and Roxbury, which can be traced back to the omnibus lines of the 1840s and 1850s, this line and others in the area date purely from the era of 1890s electric traction. They mainly served to connect the several towns and villages with Milton Lower Mills and Forest Hills.

A final note: Mount Bellevue Carhouse was a country-style facility that would seem more at home in Sunderland than within Boston city limits. Built by the West Roxbury & Roslindale Street Railway in 1896 it ultimately saw its final days as a storage barn; summertime found it full of snow plows and closed electrics, wintertime full of open electrics. Burger King now occupies the site.

Voting closed 37

You've just described the High Point Village area in the last hint, and that "two rooms and a bath" trolley is going to the Dedham Line; it's likely near West Roxbury Parkway or West Boundary Road.

On the Hunter box, the route # would be 129, 137 or 157. 129 was the full route to Dedham Line; 137 and 157 ended either at Grove Street or Lagrange Street and was a rush hour route. From what I could make, it's Route 137 to Grove Street.

EDIT: It's Route 157 to Washington and Grove Street.

Voting closed 15

Why Washington Street south of West Roxbury Parkway has such wide medians - that's where the trolleys used to run (they also had a car barn just before the parkway, where the Domino's and that Dunkin' Donuts kiosk are now).

Voting closed 17

Hyde Park Avenue, Blue Hill Avenue, and Cummins Highway also had wide medians to accommodate the trolleys.

Voting closed 11

We are looking north at the valley before Bellevue Hill. The houses are still there, though Washington Street in the background was widened. I assume the narrow portion is at LaGrange.

Voting closed 8

Jamaica Plain. Near the site of the future Angell Memorial

Voting closed 8

Thanks for playing, folks! This photo shows Washington St, south of Lagrange St, in #WestRoxbury. It was taken on August 21, 1918. You can see a high res view here:https://cityofboston.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/io_fef5a033-458...

Voting closed 10