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Brighton used to be full of cattle, sheep and poker players

The Boston City Archives has posted a transcript of an interview with John J. McClane, who started working as a Boston firefighter in 1901 and who recalled the transition from horse-drawn engines to motor-driven ones, in the days when Brighton was still home to abatoirs and cattle yards, where farmers from around the area would bring their cattle and sheep to be prepared for shipment to England - and then retire to the Faneuil House for some high-stakes poker.

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Comments

And I feel old telling the youngin's about how Allston used to be "rock city".

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yippie-ki-yay

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Congrats on being first to reach Nakatomi Plaza.

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Its Ki-yay Blanche.

Oh whatever.

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to be fair I always think of you as our Blanche, cybah

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"Mrs. Jack Gardner's Italian palace" is both a marvelously quaint descriptor for what is now the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and a reminder of how deeply entrenched patriarchy was at that time--she still was merely "Mrs. Jack Gardner," why bother with acknowledging her autonomous identity, as a woman?

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its interesting that he's calling out places we all know today, roads, the river, etc.. But with the context none of us know.. "where old john's italian restaurant is". I imagine i'll be saying the same thing.. "where urban renewal used to be on brighton ave". Anyway, would be a trip to have him see what it looks like now.

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The accepted spelling appears to be "abattoir". Though the ward map at http://www.bahistory.org/Abattoir.html gets it wrong a different way as "abbatoir". That page also says that by 1872 there was just a single abattoir in Brighton, where Soldiers Field Road and the Staples/IHOP strip are today.

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I'm sure there were plenty of 311 calls with smart phone pictures of horse poop telling the city to clean it up.

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And Italians from a small little village in Italy called San Donato Val Di Comino.

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I still know a few that still live there (In Brighton) or have children who do. Though several of them did sell out and move when they retired a in 2020.

Also, it is a great little village, stare out at mountains and valleys and eat and drink. The Spring Festival was an awesome time :)

Also, the only place I have ever been where people who did not really speak English wanted to ask me about Brighton and would bring over people to translate.

I wonder what will happen if I go back and tell them I moved to Newtonville :)

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I believe that is when the immigration from San Donato began. This link mentions 1900-1930 as to when biggest wave occurred. Fred Salvucci and Paul Cellucci are descended from immigrants from that town. I've visited, and it is quite beautiful.

https://wpmarchione.com/2017/08/28/brighton-center-walking-tour-part-2/

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good find~!

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Great story, I lived for a while across from the abattoir when I was a kid. Nice to read this.

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