History

By - 4/25/18 - 4:51 pm

Just a part of the Boston Elevated Railway system map. See the whole thing.

The Boston City Archives has posted a 1930 map showing all of the Boston area's subway and streetcar lines. Read more.

By - 4/22/18 - 1:50 pm
Old catch-basin cover in Somerville, from 1874

Somerville used to date-stamp its manhole covers, so that's how Chris Devers could tell how old this catch basin cover on Washington Street near McGrath Highway is.

Iron Covers, a Somerville resident who takes photos of such things, adds: Read more.

By - 4/20/18 - 11:12 am
Dover Street elevated station

When Dover had an el stop. See it larger.

The Boston Sun reports the Old Dover Neighborhood Association voted this week to change its name to the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association, several decades after the city renamed Dover Street East Berkeley Street.

H/t Michael Ratty. Photo from the City of Boston Archives.

By - 4/19/18 - 10:22 am
New England Telephone and Telegraph Co. manhole cover on Essex Street in Chinatown

For the most part, Boston's history is best viewed when looking around or up. But sometimes, it pays to look down: Places such as downtown, the North End and Chinatown are filled with remnants of our commercial past, in the form of manhole covers. Read more.

By - 4/18/18 - 2:40 pm
Old cobblestones

Spotted today on Batterymarch Street. MFS McCourt, you ask? It's a long gone telecom company started by a local guy named McCourt - but not the one you're probably thinking of - who also started RCN.

By - 4/17/18 - 9:37 am

Aline Kaplan explains what happened to the arch that gave Arch Street its name.

By - 4/15/18 - 2:45 pm

Would appreciate some insight on which 'hoods were predominantly Italian in the 1940-1950s; doing research for a new novel and want it based in fact although the story is entirely fiction. Thanks very much for any info on this. Am a midwesterner but my way-back grandfather settled near Boston in 1630-something, so maybe that counts?

By - 4/14/18 - 10:06 am
Never used portion of I-95 in Canton

It's 5:30 p.m. on a weekday on 95 south - where are all the cars? See it larger.

By now, the story of why I-95 doesn't go straight through Boston is well known: Bands of determined residents helped convinced Gov. Francis Sargent we really didn't need a couple of superhighways rammed through Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville - I-95 and the I-695 "inner belt." Read more.

By - 4/11/18 - 10:29 am
Street scene in old Boston

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

By - 4/2/18 - 11:54 am
Wide road in old Boston

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

By - 4/1/18 - 9:57 pm
Burns statue

From a 1920 account of the statue's dedication.

Last week, the BPDA sent a bunch of questions to Millennium Partners about its planned $1.3-billion Winthrop Square tower that ultimately came down to asking what the developer would do to keep the building from going up as the city's blandest skyscraper (the Globe has more).

But at the bottom of the list of questions was a request that the company consider fixing one of the odder things in Boston - that a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns sits at the center of a square named for John Winthrop. Read more.

By - 3/29/18 - 10:44 am
Lemuel Shaw

The case of the mystery justice has likely been solved, officials say. A portrait with no ID hanging outside the door of Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants turns out to be Lemuel Shaw, who served nearly 30 years as chief justice in the mid-1800s.

Credit for IDing the justice, who served as chief justice between 1830 and 1860, goes to a longtime court officer with a background in forensic science - and extensive knowledge of the antiques and fine-art business, according to court officials: Read more.

By - 3/28/18 - 2:02 pm

Deadly Sins is a WGBH show that highlights storytellers. This week's episode features an account by Ashley Rose, who grew up in Roslindale, at least until her Delford Street house was flooded by raw sewage from a busted sewer main and then condemned, in 1996. Her story starts at about 9:26.

Residents spent nine years battling the MWRA and the BWSC over what became known as Boston's Love Canal.

By - 3/26/18 - 11:26 am
Man with boundary markers

The folks at the Boston City Archives wonder if you can figure out where this city official was "perambulating the boundaries" - checking the markers that delineated Boston from its neighbors. See it larger. Hint: He's not at Marker 123 on the Hyde Park line.

By - 3/25/18 - 3:15 pm
Immigrant kids at Washington School in the West End

Immigrant children playing on the roof of the Washington School in the West End in 1909. See it larger.

Global Boston is an online exhibit by the Boston College history department on the history of Boston's immigrant communities that includes a look at specific groups and some of the neighborhoods they settled in, as well as a Boston immigration timeline. Read more.

By - 3/23/18 - 9:02 am

BroadwayWorld.com reports on the planned May opening of an off-Broadway production of "Molasses in January:"

An original new musical about a struggling family of Italian immigrants who are literally swept up in the Boston Molasses disaster of 1919.

Too soon?

By - 3/22/18 - 1:30 pm
By - 3/11/18 - 3:20 pm

The Inquirer and Mirror reports on the racist graffiti spray-painted on the African Meeting House on Nantucket - a historic building owned by Boston's Museum of African-American History.

Volunteers quickly washed and sanded the graffiti off this morning. Photo of the building before they did.

By - 3/7/18 - 10:41 am
Brutalist tower

The only reason City Hall is the most hated building in Boston is because most people somehow manage to completely ignore the Government Service Center on Cambridge Street between Staniford and New Chardon.

But the building, which houses various government offices, such as the Lindemann Mental Health Center, would have been harder to ignore under architect Paul Rudolph's original plans, which called for a 23-story tower. Read more.