Saturday, January 22, 2011

Boston's Newspaper Row

Boston's Newspaper Row.

Washington street, 1895 (click on image to enlarge).

There was a time when Boston institutions and Boston businesses were in Boston. In Boston proper, that is. Not in the Back Bay (filled wetlands) or the South End (filled, as well), but within the boundaries of the old town of Boston. Some left for new, more spacious locations to the south, and of course others simply went out of business.

In this entry, I'm focusing on Boston's newspaper business. While long-lasting newspapers often went through multiple locations, the top of Washington street came to be known as Boston's Newspaper Row, with multiple publishers within a block of each other. To orient you, the map above shows Old City Hall at the lower right, and Old South Church near the top center. Starting at the top, we see the Boston Transcript on the east (left) side of Washington street. The Transcript was founded in 1830, and lasted until 1941.

The Transcript, before and after the Great Fire of 1872.

Opposite Old South Church is the Boston Traveler. The Traveler name was used in various forms in the early-mid 19th Century. The Evening Traveler was founded in 1845, and three newspapers merged into the Traveler in 1857. The Traveler was acquired by the Herald in 1912, although the Herald continued to use the Traveler name. In 1967, the Herald suspended publication under the Traveler name and became the Herald-Traveler.

Continuing down Washington street past School street, we get to the Boston Post. The Post was founded in 1831, and went on to the one of the most successful of all Boston Newspapers. Although the Post was one of the nation's leading newspapers during the 1930s, competition from radio and the Hearst chain weakened then during the 1940s, and they shut down in 1956.

Next door to the Post was the Boston Herald. The Herald was founded in 1846. Various mergers and acquisitions over the years added the Traveler, as well as long forgotten names like the Boston Chronicle, The Boston Atlas and the Evening Telegraph. In 1972, the Hearst-owned Record-American merged with the Herald Traveler. As I recall, this is when the Herald took on the form of the Record-American's tabloid form.

Across from the Herald and down a few buildings was the Boston Daily Advertiser. The Advertiser was founded in 1813 by Nathan Hale. Hale was the nephew of his namesake Nathan Hale, who was executed by the British for spying for the Continental army. He was also the father of Edward Everett Hale, minister, writer, and once-Boston icon. The Advertiser was purchased by William Randolph Hearst in 1917. In time, the name was eliminated from the daily, but continued to be used for the Sunday edition into the 1970s.

Boston Globe building, from Life magazine.

Finally, comes the Boston Globe. The Globe was founded in 1872 by six partners, including Eban Jordan, founder of the Jordan Marsh department store which sat a few blocks down Washington street from Newspaper Row. In 1958, the Globe moved from Washington street to Morrissey blvd. in Dorchester.

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