Domino Sugars

So Boston used to have a Domino Sugars plant. Anybody know where (and whether they finally dropped the last S for savings)?

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That's an amazing photo!

By John K on

I may blow that up and frame it.

I was going to say I had no idea where the plant was, but there's a hint.

The sign in the way back is the "Boston Wharf Co." sign ... which is in Fort Point Channel, where Summer Street meets Melcher Street.

The sign is very small, so it must be some distance, plus the angle is odd - the sign points in toward South Station and the Waterfront, so it looks to me like the boat would have to be parallel to the sign, not perpendicular.

Here's a current day photo of BW

If it is the same one, you can see the smoke stack in the background, in each photo.

Before our City Record guy comes back with the answer, we should play anthropologists and figure it out!

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A guess

I'm going to hazard a guess that the South Station Post Office complex now occupies this site.

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Another guess

I am pretty sure it was in Charlestown.

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I don't think you can see

I don't think you can see the Boston Wharf sign from any part of Charlestown. But I'm realizing now that my guess can't be right, either, because the ship is on the same side of the channel as the sign. Now I'm thinking it's around where the Channel nightclub (aka Mad Hatter) later stood, or maybe just south of there.

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Haha Ron

By John K on

Ron, your sense of direction is amazing ... yes, the boat must be on the same side of the Channel as the sign & smokestack.

The MTA website has some good, current day photos of that area, and you can see where the BWC sign and smokestack are, now (if it is the same smokestack, which I believe it is).

www.masspike.com/bigdig/multimedia/photo_nov05.html

I'd say it's near where Binford Street has been extended.

The photo was presumably taken by someone in a boat?

Here are details on the Fort Point Channel part of the Harborwalk:

www.masspike.com/bigdig/parks/harbor.html

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Right!

It was Revere Sugar in Charlestown, not Domino.

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More likely Gillette

Ron,

Based on where the Boston Wharf sign is in the older picture, I think it's more likely the same location as part of Gillette now.

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My guess is that the photo

My guess is that the photo is taken from somewhere around Fan Pier, and what we're seeing is the back of the Boston Wharf Co. sign. Since I can't save the picture I can't try to enlarge it to confirm this. It is my understanding that most ship traffic into the Fort Point Channel past South Station or so had been halted by the 1950s--I'm not sure if the ship in the picture would have cleared the bridge at Summer Street. Most of the space past South Station would have been Gillette and railyards.

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Okay. Domino Sugar was

Okay. Domino Sugar was built in 1902 and located on Fort Point Channel until 1958 when it relocated to Charlestown, as I noted in an earlier comment. The plant was on the east (South Boston) side of the Channel. This photo was probably taken from the Dorchester Avenue bridge.

You can see a c. 1940 photo here:

http://tinyurl.com/y4ey6a

I could have appeared so much smarter if I had just done my research first, but that wouldn't have been sporting....

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Discrepancy in Boston History books

By John K on

Charles, if you want the URL of the ship photo, here's the link:

http://static.flickr.com/139/321584140_4ad15c7937.jpg

It was hard to find, but if you go there, you can save and blow up the photo. I couldn't make out the name on the sign - I thought the same thing, that it could be the Boston Wharf sign, backward.

However, it's also possible it's the Boston Fish Pier sign.

Odd thing - I did a Google book search the way you did, and found the Dominos factory mentioned in Sammarco's book on South Boston, and he says the refinery was near L Street and First Street.

This link should bring you to the book (and page?) showing the refinery.

The photo is the same as the one in the book on Fort Point Channel.

The building looks very similar to the original photo of the refinery with the boat in front of it.

The Sammarco book says the building was replaced by "the power station"; presumably, the Boston Edison plant that is there today (across from the FEDEX distribution center).

The MTA site seems pretty sure that the Harborwalk goes by the Domino's Refinery building, which would put it in the Fort Point Channel.

Susan Orlean wrote a story in the New Yorker, saying this,

With water on three sides, it [South Boston] attracted heavy industry; iron foundries, locomotive factories, glassworks, shipyards, and sugar refineries opened on the flatland near the harbor, and workers moved into wooden housing that popped up at the foot of the peninsula’s steep green hills.

She doesn't specify where she's talking about - is the "flatland near the harbor" Fort Point Channel or the land over near the Convention Center and World Trade Center.

So, which is it???

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Sammarco is Wrong

Sammarco is wrong, if he's talking about the location of Domino Sugar.

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So, that's the last word ...

By John K on

I agree. He needs to correct it in future editions. Odd that he would make this mistake, seeing as both books are published by the same company.

Further proof that the refinery was next to the Fort Point Channel:

This piece of information, from a book on the water supply of New York City:

American Sugar Refinery, Granite street, South Boston

And, from the Fort Point Channel book:

Today's A Street, originally named Granite Street, ran along the eastern ...

Therefore, we extrapolate that the American Sugar Refinery (which became the Domino Sugar Refinery, was on Granite Street (A Street).

Also, this piece of information, from searching Google Books, an abstract from a government study of water resources:

"Some of the once busy Boston Wharf Company warehouses were razed and made ...

The Gillette plant replaced the American Sugar Refinery operation on the east ..."

This was fun!

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1884 and 1914 maps of Fort Point Channel

This 1884 map shows the 'Standard Sugar Refinery' near the top left corner of the map, between Granite Street and the channel. Did this later become Domino?

However, it also shows Granite Street as a separate street, parallel to A Street. And it shows two bridges that no longer exist over the channel: Mt. Washington Ave, and the 'New York & New England Railroad'.

This 1914 map shows the same location as 'American Sugar Refining Company'.

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maybe you're both right

This Domino Sugar timeline says that the 'Sugar Trust', which I guess was the predecessor to Domino, had four refineries in Boston in 1887. So maybe there was one at Fort Point and another at L Street.

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Ron: The two books have

Ron:

The two books have the same photograph with different locations attributed. I believe Sammarco is wrong.

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