Monday, February 27, 2012

Boston Sign Language

The Leslie Jones collection is a great resource of photographs held by the Boston Public Library. I tried to choose signs that could be identified with a company or location. The first photo features a plow and a sign for the Thomas Grey Company. The Boston Directory lists them as an agriculture warehouse and seed store. I've seen an Ebay listing for a seed catalogue as late as 1941. The address is 32 South Market and 19 Chatham street. This would have been opposite the center of today's Quincy Market.

Smith the Hatter was at 30 Exchange street, which continued Congress street across State street to Dock square. You could probably see the Old State House from the front of the building.

This substantial block was on a corner of Atlantic avenue - note the elevated line to the right - and of course signified marine equipment for sale. This photo was dated 1929.

There was a Regal Shoe Company, Inc, with offices on Summer street and locations on Washington and Tremont streets.

Charles C. Hutchinson sold nautical instruments at 152 State street, and sure enough we see the '2' at the lower left. Mercury, with his winged feet and caduceus, stands on a ball carved '1861.'

The saw above McMahon and Jaques at 242 Massachusetts ave is a bit of a puzzle, as I find them listed in the 1925 Directory as plumbers. This address fronted on Massachusetts avenue directly in front of the Christian Science mother church - the row is gone now.

This sign representing law books sat above 26 Pemberton square. Suffolk County Court House had replaced one side of Pemberton square, and the other became the home to Barrister's Hall, and other law-related facilities.

Horses were auctioned off at 42 Traverse street, which appropriately cut across the Bullfinch Triangle.

Montgomery Frost Company sold glasses at 366 Boylston street between Arlington and Berkeley streets. Apparently, they are still in business as Montgomery Frost Lloyds.

This was listed as the Cole Piano Company built I couldn't find any references to it. The Bijou theatre sign behind the piano tells us that this was Washington street - the Bijou was at 545 Washington street, beside the Keith theatre.

A collar pin represents the Rosenberg company's stock. It appears as if this was Rosenberg and Gordon, of 387 Washington street.

I can't find a location for Boston Gears, but I do love that sign.

George Connolly's marine and contractor's equipment company was at 14/16 Atlantic avenue.

And finally, Lang and Jacobs Coopers supply, 24 India square. India square was a street between Broad and India streets, just up from Atlantic avenue. The block was lost to the Central Artery. I saved this for last because my ancestor Nicholas Bulger, who came from Ireland and settled in St John's Newfoundland, his son and grandson were all coopers. One of them ended up settling in East Cambridge, where my father was born. So there but for the grace of God and technological advances, go I.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Link Time: Forgotten New England

Here's a very nicely done blog featuring New England as I feature Boston. There are some Boston entries, including one that covers North Station in more detail than I did recently. Cool stuff - check it out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

High Schools of Yore.

Boston Trade high school - closed/merged 1978 (City of Boston Archive Flickr photo group).

This is my second school post recently, this one featuring 20th century high schools that disappeared. In recent decades, so many schools have been closed that it's hard to keep track. These high schools operated during a more stable time, yet they too came and went.

Like many of these school, a single-sex institution, Boston Trade featured hands-on training over academics. I understand they had a particularly good automotive repair program.

Boston Trade, Parker street, Roxbury (Mission hill). Note Wentworth Institute across the street.

Trade School for Girls. I didn't know this one existed. Girl's Trade supposedly lasted until 1973, although I never heard of it at the time. I've seen reference to a practical nursing program.

The City of Boston Archive tweeted the original location of Girl's Trade school on Mass avenue near Washington street in the South End.

Trade High for Girls, Hemenway street, on the edge of the Fenway.

Practical Arts high school (1900-1940). This school seems to have been for students who found academic work unappealing. Thus, the 'practical.' Remember, at the time, very few students went on to college.

Practical Arts high, school at lower right. Note Dudley street at the top and Warren to the left. This would later become Girl's Latin.

The old Normal school was a preparatory high school for future teachers, typically girls. As teaching became professionalized, training extended to college, and the Boston Teacher's College was founded. When Girl's Latin moved out of the South End, it came here, adjacent to the Teacher's College. When the teacher's college was expanded, Girl's Latin was squeezed out of their home.

Note: Commenter Deb shared this link with information about the various moves of Girls's Latin/Latin Academy.

Girl's Latin school, Huntington avenue and Longwood street.

While I remember Boston Trade high school, the High School of Commerce was closed in 1954. I think we can assume a focus on office skills for this school - typing, shorthand and basic accounting skills were tickets to an office job at the time.

By the time I was in school, English High had replaced Commerce on Avenue Louis Pasteur. English, like the nearby Girl's Latin, would later be bumped from the building. Needless to say, Boston Latin school went nowhere.

Mechanic Arts high school had a contentious life. The headmaster saw it as a feeder school for M.I.T., while the school department wanted to produce factory workers. In time, the school would be renamed Boston Technical high school, and become a so-called exam school. When I attended in the late 1960s-early 1970s, it was both a college prep school and a shop skill training school.

Mechanic Arts high was on Dalton street, overlooking the Boston and Albany train yards in the Back Bay. When the Prudential Center was built, Mechanic Arts/Boston Tech moved to Roxbury, although the building was not actually taken for the project.

Note: all photos are from the City of Boston Archive Flickr photo group.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lost Train Stations: North Station - I and II

North and Union Stations, early 1890s.

The original North Station, Causeway street. The old Boston and Lowell depot with its Mansard roofs remains to the left of the new buildings.

Heres' a later view, showing a walkway from the elevated line.

It's taken a while, but I've finally returned to discuss North Union and North Stations. The original station, shown above, combined the old Lowell station with two adjoining buildings to serve traffic from north of Boston and that coming through the Hoosac Tunnel through western Massachusetts. It was built by adding new structures to the existing 1878 Lowell depot in 1893. By this time, most traffic was under the control of the Boston and Maine line. Just as South Station combined traffic that once was served by independent depots, the new North station was a union of formerly independently operating depots in one facility.

Aerial view of the new North Station, with Boston Garden. Also note the elevated tracks in the foreground (BPL).

In 1927-28, the entire edifice was torn down and replaced with a new North Station. Both an elevated line and streetcars connected with the new location, and Boston Garden was built on top of the station. The Hotel Manger was added adjacent to the station in 1930, and was later renamed the Madison.

Here's a Disney-fied version of North Station, free of actual city streets.

And finally, a more realistic view, featuring the Hotel Manger, later re-named the Madison. Note the elevated line leading to Charlestown.

Monday, February 6, 2012

United States Hotel

United States Hotel in Boston, 1883.

United States Hotel, Beach street, 1895.

United States Hotel, 1851.

Built 1824, before elevators, the United States was one of the first major hotels in the nation. It was originally four floors, althought the print above shows five in parts of the complex, it was gradually dded to over the years. Daniel Webster, Senator and great orator, was one of the famous residents Taken over by Tilly Haynes in 1879, who happened to be a mapmaker, and who drew the map shown above. The location was right between the city's four southern train stations. It was torn down between 1928-38.