Monday, December 31, 2007

Dead Man Walking

Not history - just one of those good stories to share.

Boston Daily Globe November 26, 1916

Jamaica Plain Dead Man Comes To Life

About 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon some one called up Station 13, in Jamaica Plain, and informed Capt Harriman that a "dead man" was lying on the sidewalk on Centre st, near the Soldier's Monument. The ambulance was hastily ordered out, and one of the sergeants, assisted by a couple of patrolmen, soon found the "dead man." He certainly looked dead, and it wasn't dead from the cup the cheers, either. He was placed in the ambulance and rushed to the City Hospital.

When he got there, however, under the prodding of the physician he suddenly startled all present by sitting up and in the classic phrase demanding "Why, without asking, hither hurried whence?" in very emphatic language.

When asked his name he refused to give it. He was dumb to all entreaty, to all kindly solicitude. He wanted to go home. Where did he live? It was none of their business.

The doctor and the police informed him that he was officially dead, and he denied the calumny with indignation. He would like to know who said he was - etc. And as there was apparently nothing the matter with him, the authorities had to let him go. The "dead man" walked down the sidewalk grumbling; grumbling at the undue interference of the police, at the physician, at the thought of paying a nickel to get home again.

Columbia Hall - Hyde Square

I found the picture above in the photo gallery. The file is named "Columbia Hall Hyde Square", but note "Roxbury" under the picture. I believe that the building was torn down when the new Blessed Sacrament church was built, but don't hold me to it.

Bromley, George Washington; Bromley, Walter Scott, 1895 (copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates)
David Rumsey Collection

Columbia Hall on Centre street

Boston Daily Globe May 19, 1893

Columbia Hall Dedicated. Parishioners of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament at Jamaica Plain Meet in New Quarters.

Columbia Hall, a new and elegant building connected with the church of the Blessed Sacrament, Jamaica Plain, was dedicated last evening under most auspicious circumstances and with appropriate exercises.

The building is at the corner of Centre and Creighton sts, and has a handsome frontage of 94 feet on Centre st, and is 41 feet deep. It is two stories high with a hip roof, and is built of wood. On the first floor are stores and the entrance to the hall is at the end near Creighton st.

Ascending one flight the hall is reached, which has a capacity of 600 with a gallery capable of holding 100 more. There are large windows on two sides of the hall and at one end is a fine stage.

The interior finish is in Georgia pine, and there are several exits front and back which afford every opportunity of emptying the hall. There is every facility for the holding of entertainments and it is also intended by the pastor Rev Arthur T. Connolly, to fit up a gymnasium in the hall. It will contain gymnastic apparatus which can easily be removed in case the hall is needed for other purposes.

On the upper floor is the banquet hall, which will seat 300, and equally well fitted out.

Last night the large hall was beautifully decorated for the opening exercises, and about 800 of the parishioners participated.

A reception and promenade concert took up the hour between 8 and 9 o'clock, and shortly after the latter hour the grand march was started, let by Floor Director Thomas Finneran and Miss Finneran, and followed by about 50 couples.

Immediately after the grand march Rev Arthur F. Connelly ascended the stage and made a short speech.

Dancing was then continued until midnight, with Thomas Finneran as floor director, and the following assistants; Messrs James Brandley, John J. Ryan, John J. McCarthy, M.W. O'Connell, Mark Mulvey and H.C. Cahill.

[a long list of aids and committee members followed]

Emmet Hall Opens

And earlier entry told of a fire at the Emmet Theatre on Centre street. This article announces the opening of the Emmet building two years earlier. There were several such building in Jamaica Plain, with shops on the street level and a hall or meeting rooms and sometimes apartments above. The Mason's building at the north corner of Centre street and Seaverns avenue still stands, while many more have been torn down. This building was built by the A.O.H. Of course you knew that those initials stand for Ancient Order of Hibernians, right? There was no need to "spell it out" at the time, as this article shows. That the building was named for Robert Emmet should tell you something about the men who filled the ranks of the organization - I'll let you investigate Mr Emmet off-site.

At the bottom of this 1914 map, you can see the Emmet Building at the corner of Centre street and Starr lane. This 1924 map calls it the Strand Theatre. I've been searching for information on the Strand, but I've come up empty so far.

Addendum (9/24/08): I've added more on Emmett Hall - later the Strand Theatre -in an entry here.

Boston Daily Globe October 9, 1910

Will Dedicate New Hall.

Robert Emmet Association of Jamaica Plain Has Completed Fine New Building.

The new building at 652-660 Centre st, Jamaica Plain, to be known as Emmet hall, and erected by divisions 15, 40 and 51, A.O.H., is to be dedicated with fitting exercises on the evening of Oct 13.

More than a year ago members of these divisions of the A.O.H. organized as the Robert Emmet association and purchased the property that was known as Arcanum hall. It contained 10,000 square feet of land and the new building has been erected at a cost of $75,000. It is centrally located in the heart of the business section of Jamaica Plain, and the assured rentals to date make sure its success from a financial standpoint at the start.

The building contains four large stores on the ground floor, two fine lodge rooms, with anterooms, committee rooms and one of the largest and best equipped dancing halls in this city.

The exercises of dedication will include a banquet, unveiling of a flag and addresses by prominent officials of the state, city and of the A.O.H. Among those to whom invitations have been extended to be present and take part in the dedication of the new building, are Gov Draper, Lieut Gov Louis A. Frothingham, Senators Henry Cabot Lodge and Murray Crane, Mayor John F. Fitzgerald, Mayor Brooks of Cambridge, the local congressmen, H. Regan, national president of the A.O.H.; Matthew Cummings, ex-national president of the A.O.H.; the state and county officers of the order and officials of other fraternal bodies.

The committee through whose untiring efforts the project of a new building for the A.O.H. has been worked out successfully includes these men who constitute the board of directors Francis J. Horgan chairman, Joseph H. Fallon vice chairman, Lawrence J. Malone clerk, Fred J. McLaughlin treas, William J. Burke, Brien McElroy, John J. McLaughlin, James J. Curley, Timothy Finneran, James Corvin.

[there follows a long listing of numerous committee and sub-committee members]

Mt Hope Mission - For Children

I posted an article about the Mt Hope Home for Fallen Women earlier. Someone was nice enough to comment and inform me that the property later served as a home for children. It took me a while to get around to it, but here is an article showing that the home did, in fact, serve children in later years.

Please note that the Globe puts the house in Roslindale. Not to worry - the City of Boston web site puts the Toll Gate cemetery in Roslindale as well. Doesn't anyone who works at City Hall actually live in the city any more? Or is The Bunker filled with BU kids from Long Island?

Boston Daily Globe June 10, 1902

House Finely Decorated With Daisies.

Annual Reception of the Children of the Mount Hope Home in Roslindale.

Yesterday afternoon the children of the Mt Hope home, Bourne and Florence sts, Roslindale, a branch of the North End mission, gave their annual reception.

This home has the support of many of the leading residents of the city and yesterday they gathered to the number of about 150 to witness the exercises of the children, view the excellent accommodations and observe the work done by the little ones.

In honor of the occasion the house was decorated with flowers of all kinds, daisies predominating, most of which were gathered by the children, who worked hard to show in this manner their appreciation of what is being done for them. The yard looked radiant with bunting suspended between the trees and flags scattered about.

Rev C.L.D. Younkin, the superintendent of the mission, and Miss L.J. Cann, the matron of the home, received the guests as they arrived and took a great deal of pleasure and pride in showing them around the grounds and through the house, that all might get some idea of the work the home is doing.

That all were more than satisfied with what they saw was manifest by the hearty exclamations of commendation heard.

The exercises of the afternoon opened with a prayer by Mr Younkin, followed by an address by Mr Pierce, the president of the mission, who explained the objects and the work of the mission and its branch, the Mr Hope home. The the children gave vocal selections and recitations, which were greeted with applause. Rev George F. Durgin, pastor of the Bethany Methodist church of Roslindale, made interesting remarks.

Refreshments were served.

A business meeting of the board of directors was held and the old officers were reelected.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The End Of The Jamaica Club

Well, it certainly seems that the Jamaica Club was dead by the time this article was written. I've already posted an article on the purchase of the first Jamaica Club house in 1887. The Jamaica Plain Historical Society has an online picture postcard of the building on Rockview and Green streets referred to in the article below. I knew that the K. of C. ended up with the building, but I didn't know that it was this early.

So what happened to the Jamaica Club? Did life get to hectic for private clubs like that? Fraternal groups like the Masons survived - perhaps a stand-alone club like the Jamaica couldn't survive a temporary loss of members. It's interesting to see a Catholic group replace what was probably a Protestant social club. There goes the neighborhood, no?

Boston Daily Globe July 14, 1918

Jamaica Plain Council To Have New Clubhouse

Jamaica Plain Council, K. of C., has acquired the property at the corner of Rockview and Green sts, formerly occupied by the Jamaica Club, for a Council Home. The estate comprises 16,000 square feet of land and a large frame building.

Plans are already underway for extensive alterations on the building. The interior will be thoroughly overhauled and renovated. Lodge rooms, an auditorium, bowling alleys and billiard room will be installed and when finished the committee in charge feel that Jamaica Plain, which is one of the older councils of Massachusetts, will have as fully equipped and complete a council home as is to be found in the state.

A building association has been formed with Past District Deputy Walter A. White, president; Joseph B. Kavanaugh, vice president; John F. Kelley, treasurer, and P.W.A. Maxwell, clerk. Executive, house and membership committees, comprising the most active members of the Council, have been appointed.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Carolina/Murphy Playground

Murphy/Carolina playground - panoramic view of ball field, 2008. (click on photo for much larger image).

Richards, L.J. 1899 (copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates)
David Rumsey Collection

The map above shows the site of the Murphy playground between Carolina and Child streets. As you can see, it was quite different in 1899 that it is now. Verona street was opened in 1906, and several properties had to be taken to clear out the lower ballfield area - the current playground field. The Agassiz school was put in the upper field in the early 1970s. I don't know how much the rest of Jamaica Plain was served by the Murphy playground, but it was a center for activity in the South street area. In the 1960s I remember the two ballfields, basketball court, and a brick house that kept equipment for the city. In the summer there were programs for children, including crafts like gimp - do kids still make things of gimp? For some reason, I was at the playground one day and they were making gimp braids. Why do I remember that 40 years later? It's a mystery to me.

As the city filled in with housing, people became aware that the fields that children had long played in were being eliminated. Playgrounds were seen as a safe place for children to get exercise, and there was a movement to save the last open land available. The Goowdin estate between Carolina and Child streets housed the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House, and was a logical place for a playground. Local boosters got their playground, but not without some controversy.

Boston Daily Globe April 25, 1911

Want Carolina-Av Site.

Citizens of Jamaica Plain Ask for Playground - Several Propose That Two Locations Be Bought.

The finance committee of the city council gave a hearing yesterday on a petition of residents of Jamaica Plain in relation to a playground. A large number appeared in favor of the Carolina-av site which Clarence E. Fitzpatrick informed the committee could be bought from the trustees of the Goodwin estate for its assessed valuation, about $36,300. The site includes two parcels and contains about 130,000 square feet.

Those who spoke in favor of the Carolina site were Mr Fitzpatrick, Mrs William C. Appleton of the neighborhood house, located on one of the parcels, Dr H.c. Ernst, Rev Charles F. Dole, William C. Appleton, George C. Mann, master of the Jamaica Plain high school, Gen Thomas Sherwin, C.E. Ordway, Joseph P. Lyons, Dr Hartwell of the statistics department, E.W. Clark, Mrs Adams of the Jamaica Plain Tuesday club and John T. Gibson, master of the grammar school.

Ex-Alderman Fred J. Kneeland, Patrick J. Brady, Representative William M. McMorrow, Jean J. Nickerson and John B. McGinty, spoke in favor of two playgrounds for Jamaica Plain, one on Washington st for the Forest Hills section, and the Carolina-av site.

Chairman Ballantine said the committee is satisfied a playground is necessary in that section and will appropriate money for that purpose, but that it is the duty of the park commissioners to select the site.

January 3, 1912

Wrangle Over Site.

Jamaica Plain citizen's Association Meets.

Votes for Playground at Zeno Park After Verbal Tilts.

A crowded and at times stormy meeting of the Jamaica Plain Citizen's Association was held in Eliot Hall last evening to decide on a suitable site for a playground, for which $25,000 has been appropriated by the city.

The sties in consideration were the property of the Neighborhood House on Carolina av and a vacant lot in the rear of Curtis st, Forest Hills, known as Zeno Park.

The association committee, consisting of Dr G.O.A. Ernst, Rev John A. Sheridan of St Thomas Church, William Ordway, William Appleton and Joseph Leonard, recently submitted its reports. The majority report, signed by Messrs Ernst, Appleton and Ordway, favored the Carolina-av site, while Rev R. Sheridan and Mr Leonard favored Zeno Park. This meeting was called to decide between the reports.

Dr Ernst, Edgar O. Achorn, Francis V. Walsh and others spoke in favor of Carolina av. Rev Fr Sheridan and Joseph Leonard believed that the older boys should be given a chance to use the playgrounds to keep them off the streets. Rev Charles F. Dole urged the meeting to look at the question broadly.

There was a tilt between P.J. Brady, Charmian of the Ward 23 Democratic Committee, and Edgar O. Achorn, son-in-law of Robert M. Morse. Mr Achorn questioned the right of Mr Brady and others present from Forest Hills to vote. Mr Brady replied that it was he that secured the appropriation for the playground, and that his mail was addressed to Jamaica Plain and not to Forest Hills. The question was settled by the chairman Mr Hartwell, who said that as it was a public meeting all present might vote.

Mr Achorn also accused Mr Brady of having "packed" the meeting with residents of Forest Hills, and Mr Brady replied in kind.

The vote was taken in favor of the Zeno Park site, 126 to 80. The final action rests with the Playgrounds Commission.

Boston Daily Globe Noverber 17, 1917

Pupils Parade For Larger Playground

Jamaica Plain Students in Big Demonstration

Petition Bearing 1000 Names Left at Mayor's Home

A demonstration was given last night by more than 800 boys from the Jamaica Plain high and grammar schools to show the Mayor and city officials the need of a larger playground in the district.

The lads formed a parade at the Carolina-av grounds and marched to the home of Mayor Curley.

Thomas McHugh with his fife and drum corps of 15 pieces from the High School led the march, and was followed by a second division, led by the drum corps of the Lowell School.

Many of the boys carried red torches and banners.

Mayor Curley was not at home, but a petition bearing the names of 1000 residents of the district who desire larger playgrounds was left at the house.

The petition and parade were the result of many requests by Mr T. Dearing the head worker of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House and master of the schools.

The following lines were printed on the banners carried by the boys along the line of march: "De Cop is alright if you mind your own biz; but give us a place to mind it."

"If you'll give us a place to play near at home, we'll leave all your good green apples alone."

"Why are we the only town whose plea for playgrounds is turned down?"

"Strong armies require strong men Strong men are made on the playgrounds."

November 18, 1917

Mayor Claims Boys Insulted His Wife

Calls Parade Part of Plan to Raid City Treasury

Neighborhood House Leader Says Marchers Were Orderly

Following a demonstration Friday evening in the interest of obtaining a larger Jamaica Plain Playground by more than 500 boys of that district who marched to Mayor Curley's home and left there a petition bearing 1000 names, the Mayor last evening issued the following statement:

"The action of the directors of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association, in organizing a movement to foist upon the city of Boston, at an exorbitant price, properties of questionable value in order that a certain few property owners might benefit and that an unrestricted view of the playground might be possible from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House, is indeed regrettable.

"That intelligent individuals, familiar with the fact that all petitions are presented at City Hall, should engage a band, print numerous banners and organize several hundred children to march to the home of the Mayor and, in his absence, insult and terrorize his wife and children, is unpardonable.

"On April 4 of the present year, a meeting was held at the West Roxbury High School to consider the question of acquiring additional land for playground purposes in the Jamaica Plain Section, and at that time I agreed that an extension of the present playground, which contains 134,159 square feet of land, would be made by me. The city in 1916 appropriated $12,000 for the grading and improvement of the Carolina-av playground, and this work has only been completed this year.

Will Not Allow Treasury Raid

"I am as desirous as any individual can be of providing proper recreational facilities for the people of Boston, and the expenditures in this direction during the past two years have been greater than in any preceding five-year period.

"It is not my purpose, however, to allow any individual or group of individuals, regardless of their station, socially or financially, to raid the city treasury for their own personal benefit, even though they cloak their real purpose with a cleverly engineered and skillfully promoted public clamor.

"Old Ward 22, which under the redistricting bill, became ward 15, and with the addition of part of Ward 23 became Ward 22, embraced a considerable portion of the Jamaicaway park lands and, in addition, the Marcella-st Playground, containing 224,200 square feet of land, to which has been added during the present year 50,636 additional feet of land on Mozart and Bolster sts for playground purposes.

"The property purchased at Mozart and Bolster sts was assessed in 1915 for $15,000 and in 1917 for $13,700. A petition was received favoring the taking of this land for playground purposes, the owner agreeing to sell it to the city for the price at which it had been assessed during 1915, namely $15,000. I informed the owner that the city would take the property in question, provided the owner, Mrs Louise W. Burkhardt, would sell the property for its present assessed valuation. to this proposition she assented, and on recommendation made by me to the Council the property in question was taken by the city.

Would Buy at Tax Value

"I am now prepared and would have been pleased to consider at any time during the past year a proposition for the taking of the properties in question provided the owners would agree to sell the same to the city of Boston at the average valuation upon which they have paid taxes during the past five years.

"It is not my purpose as Mayor to allow any individual or group of individuals, regardless of the virtue with which they may cloak the commission of a wrong act, to take advantage of the city, and if you, as a signer of one of the petitions received, are interested in promoting the public welfare and protecting the city treasury form an unwarranted raid, I respectfully suggest to you that you petition the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House Association to urge the owners of the properties adjoining the Carolina-av Playground to sell the properties at the average valuation of the past five years. By this action you will engage in a work that is conductive to civic morality and the protection of the public treasury."

T.Deering, head worker of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House, last evening sent a letter to Mrs James M. Curley, disclaiming any attempt on the part of the boys who paraded to intimidate her, and asserting that the boys behaved in orderly fashion.


On October 17, 1921, the playground at Carolina avenue was named for John W. Murphy, who died while serving in Europe.

Mary E. Stuart - Long Time Teacher

Here's a person who deserves to be remembered. Mrs Mary Stuart was born before the Civil War, and began teaching in Jamaica Plain when it was part of the Town of West Roxbury, one year after the end of the war. The "Old Agassiz" school was the Central school at that time, and it was, indeed, at the center of old Jamaica Plain village.

Boston Daily Globe January 18, 1907

Aged Teacher Dead. Mrs Mary E. Stuart of Jamaica Plain. In 41 Years of Service She Taught Children of Former Pupils.

Just as the clocks were striking the noon hour yesterday, and the pupils of the Agassiz grammar school were being dismissed, the death of Mrs Mary E. Stuart, for 41 years a teacher in that school, occurred at her home, 119 Sedgwick st, Jamaica Plain. Mrs Stuart was in her 65th year. She leaves four sisters, Mrs M.G. Rice of West Roxbury, Mrs E.R. Wilson of Dedham, Mrs J.W. Hewins of Medford and Mrs D.J. Chamberlain of Norwood.

Mrs Stuart was probably the oldest teacher in service in the Boston schools and during all of her 41 years of service had taught in the old Agassiz school. She joined the school in January 1866, and worked under the direction of master J. Billings and under the present master, John T. Gibson during his nearly 30 years in the position. She relinquished her duties only three and one-half months ago.

She was held in the highest esteem for her efficiency as a teacher, and during her long years of service had taught upwards of 2000 pupils, and had taught the children of many of her earlier pupils.

As a mark of respect to her memory the flag on the school building on Burroughs st was flown at half-staff yesterday afternoon.

Mrs Stuart was born at Medfield, and was the daughter of Cyrus Steadman and Mary Jordan Steadman. She was educated at the Thetford academy, Thetford, Vt. When 22 years old she was married to John Stuart of Natick, at Medfield, by Rev Andrew Bigelow, but became a widow within a year. Then she became a teacher in the public schools, and her first positions were in the schools of Westboro and Medfield, afterward coming to the Agassiz grammar school here.

Last fall she began the term at the Agassiz school and taught for about three weeks, when she was compelled on account of illness to relinquish teaching. A week ago she was compelled to take to her bed, because of an attack of the heart disease that proved fatal.

For many years she was a member of the Central Congregational church, Jamaica Plain, and was active in the work of that society.

Funeral services will take place at 12:30 Sunday at 119 Sedgwick st. Rev Chauncey J. Hawkins, minister of the Central Congregational church, will conduct the services and the burial will be at Medfield.

Colonial Party And A History Lesson

In the early 20th Century, descendents of the early Jamaica Plain families still lived in the district. I suspect that by the 1930s they were all gone. I wonder what the last Brewer or Curtis was thinking when they moved away from their family home. I suppose they thought of the "new people" much as my generation thinks of the "new people" of today. The families who crowded into Jamaica Plain during the early 20th Century must have been looked on as spoilers of the more bucolic past remembered by those old families. The take-home message? Things change. First you're part of the change, and then you regret the change.

Boston Daily Globe February 7, 1907

400 At Colonial Party.

Meeting Held by Jamaica Plain Fraternity of Churches Was Most Successful Occasion.

An occasion that will linger pleasantly in the memory of all who participated was the meeting last evening of the Jamaica Plain fraternity of churches. In the vestry of the Central Congregational church, and designated a Colonial party. Nearly 400 of the members of various church societies in Jamaica Plain were present.

The principals in the entertainment presented were dressed in the costumes of colonial days, which were heirlooms, many of these costumes being 100 to 150 years old. The oldest article of dress in evidence was a large yellow silk muffler, known to be at least 200 years old, formerly owned and used by one of the first settlers of Jamaica Plain. A figured silk fan, with mahogany frame, and an oval looking glass set in it, was imported from Switzerland, and is 150 years old.

The decorations were of colonial days, American flags and draperies of blue and buff.

The entertainment opened with a brief address by the president of the fraternity, Mrs Alta H. Nevons. Then the colonial chorus of 40, composed of the choir singers in a number of the churches, in costume and powdered wigs, sang the old-time song, "Northfield," "Majesty" and "Sherburne," under the direction of Mr Charles N. Snow, the accompanist being Mr Charles T. Baner, who was organist at the Central church for more than 30 years, until his recent retirement. Then followed a recitation by Miss Dorothy Adams, and two selections for piano, finely rendered, by Mrs Elsa Strauss Currier.

One feature of the program was a paper read by Mrs Clara E. Withington on "Historical Reminiscences of Jamaica Plain," which was an exhaustive recital of the history of people and places of historical interest in Jamaica Plain, in colonial times. The paper was presented in two parts, the first telling of the schools and churches, the second the prominent families and the homes they occupied. John Hancock, one of the signers of the declaration of Independence, was a resident of Jamaica Plain, and Mrs Withington surprised her audience by stating that descendents of the patriot were present in the audience. Interesting stories were told by Mrs Witherington of the Hancocks, Boylstons, Brewers, Welds, Greenoughs and Mays, descendants of all of whom are today residents of Jamaica Plain, and residing in some instances in the original homes erected by their ancestors before the revolution.

Mrs Withington held the closest attention of her audience throughout the reading of her papers, which showed careful research. She was heartily applauded at the conclusion of her recital.

The remaining numbers of the program included two duets by Mrs Anna Lohbililer[?] Mason, soprano, and Mr Robert M. Currier, baritone, who were liberally applauded, and two selections by the chorus, "Cousin Jedediah" and "Strike of the Cymbals," the solos being sung by Miss Rita Curtis and Miss Bayley. The program was brought to a close with "Auld Lang Syne," sung by a chorus and audience.

A social hour followed the company being served with old-fashioned cookies, gingerbread, doughnuts, cheese and coffee by a corps of dames, misses and masters in the costumes of colonial times. They did not forget to properly courtesy when offering hospitality to the guests.

The affair was a great success. Credit is due to the directors of the Fraternity, Mrs Emma S. Adams, Mrs Alta H. Nevins, Mrs Clara E. Withington and Rev Florence Kollock Crooker, who were assisted by members, and to Mrs Elsa Strasser Currier and Mr Charles N. Snow, who had charge of the music.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Man Killed By Horse Team

Accidents like the one described below were not uncommon in Jamaica Plain. People were stomped by horses, and crushed by the wheels of horse wagons with a sad regularity in the days before automobiles banished horses from the roads. The only thing that makes this accident noteworthy is that it is the last case I have found of someone being killed in an accident involving horses. No doubt there were more later, but I'll let this one stand for now as representing the end of an era.

Boston Daily Globe July 18, 1917

Runaways Hit Milk Wagon, Man Killed

Team Hauling Granite in Crash at Jamaica Plain

William Whitney of Roxbury Dies in Hospital of Injuries

Two horses attached to a wagon, loaded with granite, became unmanageable when the wiffletree snapped as they were passing through Amory st, Jamaica Plain, yesterday afternoon and the team crashed into a milk wagon owned by Alder Bros of Tremont st, Roxbury, causing injuries to William Whitney, living at 72 Station st, Roxbury, which caused his death.

The wagon carrying the granite, which was owned by J.N. Lombard of 47 Chapman st, Roxbury, was driven by Edmund J. Roche, 29, of 38 Green st, Charlestown.

Whitney, who was riding on the seat of the milk wagon, was thrown to the ground and rendered unconscious. He was taken to the City Hospital in the police ambulance from the Jamaica Plain Station and died soon after his arrival. Medical Examiner Leary was notified and the body was removed to the City Hospital Morgue.

Frank A. Metz of 62 Jamaica st, Jamaica Plain, who was driving the milk wagon, was thrown to the street, but escaped injury. Roche was arrested, charged with manslaughter, and later bailed at the Jamaica Plain Police Station.


It appears that by 1924, Jamaica Plain was liberal when it came to the great bloomer debate. Unlike the fuddy-duddies of Hyde Park.

Boston Daily Globe May 14, 1924

Bloomers Costume For Another Parade

Jamaica Plain High Girls to March Today

Folks out West Roxbury was don't seem to object to their daughters appearing in bloomers to participate in open-air gymnastic drills.

Al least, Headmaster Maurice J. Lacey of Jamaica Plain High School has received no complaints as yet.

So this morning, if weather permits, girls of the school will fall in line behind the military companies of the High School, under the direction of Lieut Albert J. Kelley, the military instructor, and follow along the line of march to the John W. Murphy Playground on Carolina av, Jamaica Plain.

There at 9 o'clock Lieut Kelley will give the command that will open the annual military drill of the School Cadets.

Following the drill the High School girls will stage an exhibition of gymnastic work.

No students will be compelled to wear bloomers, but so far none has opposed the plan.

[from the same day]

Jamaica Plain Girls Hold Bloomer Parade Amid Cheers

With ideal weather prevailing, 750 Jamaica Plain High School students had their bloomer parade this morning.

Free from any protest or criticism, as exists in the neighboring district of Hyde Park, as regards parading in garments that terminate at the knee, the young women marched from the school to the John w. Murphy Playground on Carolina av, where they were greeted with cheers by a large crowd.

The procession was headed by the senior's pony cart, driven by Kathleen Mahoney, daughter of Jack Mahoney, the village blacksmith. The cart was prettily decorated with the school colors and contained three other seniors in addition to Miss Mahoney.

The participants were garbed in their blue bloomers, white blouses, black stockings and white shoes, and made an excellent appearance.

On the field they gave eight gymnastic exhibitions under the direction of Miss F.L. Carter, the physical instructor, assisted by Miss Katherine French.

The bloomer parade was in connection with the annual drill of the school cadets, who marched to the grounds an hour earlier than the girls. They were headed by the school band and were under the direction of Lieut Albert J. Kelley, the military instructor.

On parade they made a fine showing and were a fine example of the excellent training they have received under the guidance of Lieut Kelley.

The judges were Col George B. Stebbins, Maj Vincent Breen and Capt R.L. Wright.

Col George J. Brown Jr's company [?] decided the prize company. Others were placed in the following order: Co E, Lieut Col William J. McCusker, Co G,Maj Francis H. Martell; Co D, Maj Dennis M. Crowley; Co J, Maj James H. Hermiatge.

The winners in individual competition were Homer E. Blenus, John P. Shea, Charles T. Glennon, Edmund L. Kelleher, John J. McGovern, Henry T. Noon, Sven W. Winkvist, Daniel J. Sullivan, Edmund H. Storer and James J. O'Leary.

Charles R. Lovejoy won the drum competition and Norman Oaks was decided the best bugler.

Forest Hills Memorials - WW I

As far as I know, William A. Damm square doesn't exist any more. It appears to have been at the south edge of Forest Hills square, at an intersection that was destroyed when the elevated train line was removed. The memorial shown above is also shown below, without its tablet. I'm afraid that the bronze tablet was stolen from its place in the boulder and sold for scrap. Granted that capital punishment would be extreme for such a crime, but a good old-fashioned horse-whipping would be entirely appropriate.

Boston Daily Globe May 16, 1921

Forest Hills Square Dedicated To Memory Of William A. Damm - War Hero Tablet Also Unveiled at Parkman School - Military And Civic Parade Included Mayor Peters and Ex-Mayor Curley - Choruses by the Children

About 1000 Forest Hills residents participated in a military and civic parade yesterday afternoon in connection with the dedication of William A. Damm sq and the unveiling of a tablet to the boys of Forest Hills who served in the World War. John B. Archibald headed the committee in charge and Mrs J.B. McManus was chairman of the reception committee. The affair was under the auspices of the Francis Parkman Parent's Association.

The marchers received much applause as they passed through the streets of the Forest Hills section, headed by Commander J. Edward Murray of the Michael J O'Connell Post, A.L., who was chief marshall of the parade. His staff consisted of Commander Edward J. White of James C. Shea Post, A.L.; Hon Andrew J. Peters, Hon James M. Curley, Rev William J. Casey, Rev James G. Lane, J. Mitchel Galvin, Henry E. Lawler, John F. McDonald, C.P.O.,; James Kelley, U.S.N., chief of staff; Lieut George Lovejoy, Lieut James Flanagan Lieut Thomas Gately, Lieut Clement Morton, Sergt James Walsh, Sergt George Ainsworth and Ensign Alfred J. Moore.

Mayor Peters was accompanied by his sons, Alanson and Andrew Jr, who marched along the route. Mrs Peters and the other children rode in an automobile. Part of the way Ex-Mayor James M. Curley marched with the Legion boys. He was loudly applauded.

When the procession reached Hyde Park av and lower Walk Hill st William Damm sq was dedicated. Rev James G. Lane read the opening prayer. Hon James F. McDonald was the orator, and the school children, under the direction of A.J. Stanley, rendered the vocal numbers. The Nary Yard Band furnished the music.

From Damm sq to the Francis Parkman School, the parade roster was composed of police detail, M.J. O'Connell Post, A.L.; James C. Shea Post, A.L.; Navy Yard Band, St Andrew's Holy Name Society, Legion Auxilliaries, Francis Parkman Parent's Association, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls and the Men's Club of the Upham M.E. Church.

At the Parkman School, a bronze tablet was unveiled to the memory of 250 men of Forest Hills who served in the World War and the 10 who died. The following is the list of names of the latter inscribed on the tablet; Joseph W. Bonney, Charles F. Briggs, William Canary, William A. Damm, Lieut Thomas J. Enright, Alfred Peterson, Jordan E. Phee, Oscar Tugo and Albert Wetzler.

Hon James M. Curley was the orator, Hon J. Mitchel Galvin and Mayor Andrew J. Peters were speakers and Rev William J. Casey offered prayer, Sergt William F. Donnelly and C.P.O. John B. Brady unveiled the tablet and Col Fred Bogan accepted it for the School Committee. The Forest Hills Quartet sang.

Grand Army men who were unable to march in the procession were taken around by Mrs Pauline Green of Jamaica Plain, who offered her automobile for the old "Vets."

Vincent Memorial Hospital

January, 2008

Here's another South Huntington avenue institution I didn't know existed. Vincent Memorial merged with Mass General as an OB/GYN department. It survives to this day in that form, as described here. The photo below shows that the building is being refurbished for a new tenant. The building sits at the intersection of Heath street and South Huntington avenue.

Note: I just learned that the Vincent hospital became the Longwood, so I certainly did know it existed - I was born there!

Boston Daily Globe February 21, 1907

Work Begins At Once. Vincent Memorial Hospital on South Huntington Av To Have All Modern Conveniences.

The Vincent memorial hospital will be built at once. The contract has been let and it is expected that the building will be completed by next November. The plans are by Charles Bruen Perkins, and provide for a brick structure with terra cotta trimmings, employing the latest and best in hospital construction.

The location of the land purchased recently on South Huntington av overlooking Jamaica way and the park, which cost $44,000. The building will have a frontage of 70 feet on Huntington av and a depth of 60 feet. There will be three entrances, one at the front and one at each side, opening into a wide hall running the width of the building.

It is so planned that its capacity can be doubled when it shall become necessary by adding on to the rear, maintaining symmetry of the hospital and the effectiveness of its interior arrangements

The front entrance opens into a vestibule and here is placed the large electric elevator designed to hold cots and transfer patients without distress.

At the right of the first floor are the reception room and nurses' sitting room, dining room and pantry three servants rooms, the housekeeper's room and the night nurses' room. On the left side are five rooms for nurses.

The second floor contains the office, the matron's room with bath, diet kitchen, three private rooms each containing one bed, one ward containing four beds, one ward with two beds and a sun parlor.

On the third floor as a doctor's room at the front, the etherizing room, the sterilizing room, the operating room, the doctor's dressing room, a diet kitchen, one private room, one eight-bed ward, one four-bed ward, and a sun parlor Provision is made for a roof garden.

The refrigerator, pantry, servants' dining room, locker room, laundry, linen room, a storeroom, the boiler room a man's room and a coal room are in the basement. There are bathrooms and toilets on each floor and large linen closets.

The finish and doors throughout are hardwood with hospital b(?)ses and the walls are finished in hard plaster. All the operating rooms, diet kitchens, etc, have hygienic floors. The lighting will be both electricity and gas.

Green Street Elevated Station

The picture above shows that the station at Green street was hung beneath the Elevated structure. The surprise in this article is that the Elevated company didn't put a station at Green street when the extension from Dudley street to Forest Hills was built. What were they thinking? Of course, it's no surprise that those rat-bastards from Roslindale were trying to screw Jamaica Plain.

Boston Daily Globe April 26, 1910

Mayor Favors Station. Jamaica Plain Petitioners Given Hearing on Request for Better Service From Elevated Road.

A large number of residents of Jamaica Plain attended the hearing by the railroad commission yesterday morning on the petition for a station on the elevated structure at Green st, between Egleston Square and Forest Hills.

Congressman Peters presented the case for the petitioners. He said the people are annoyed by the noise and their property has depreciated, and therefore they should be compensated. Although the steam roads have two stations between Roxbury and Forest Hills, the service is unsatisfactory.

Robert M. Morse said that 10,000 residents of the district want the station, and Col Thomas L. Livermore said that he could not understand why the elevated should try to develop Forest Hills and neglect Jamaica Plain, which is already thickly settled. Samuel D. Capen and John B. Wheeler also spoke in favor of the station.

Mayor Fitzgerald spoke in favor of the station. Residents of Jamaica Plain complain that the elevated structure injures their property, he said, without providing compensating convenience to passengers. The company has taken off surface cars so that the service is inferior. There are 13,000 persons in the territory served by the elevated, which has only one station in the area for which the New Haven road has three, he said. He insisted that the company should furnish adequate means of accommodation.

It was shown that Forest Hills and Egleston Square was nearly as great as the distance from Sullivan sq to the North station, in which there are two intermediate stations, and that the distance from Dudley st to Dover st is equal to that from Forest Hills to Egleston Square. Among others who appeared in favor of the petition were George A.O. Ernst, Rev Charles F. Dole, George A. Cowen, Louis A. Buff, George W. Flynn, John T. Wheelwright, William B. Wheelright, Thomas Curley, Sewall C. Brackett, E.F. Riley, J.J. O'Donnell, J.T. Hasford, W.A. Gleason, Dr Chadwick, attorney McLaughlin and Dr E. Peabody Gerry.

The commissioners heard George Cherry of the Mt Hope Improvement association and Henry Kramer and James Ward of Roslindale in opposition. They objected to the station because it would interfere with rapid transit, they contended, and because, if the station is built, others would be demanded by residents along the route.

Mr Snow, counsel for the elevated company, was not prepared to go on with his case and asked for a continuance. The hearing was postponed until 2 o'clock Friday afternoon.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tiger Cat Killed At Glen Road

This story doesn't tell us of the great historical events of the day, but it's just too good to pass up. As for historical interest, it does tell us in passing that two households in the area of Sigourney street had servants in them - an interesting fact in itself. I can only assume that the two officers involved in the great cat-hunt spent the rest of their careers trying, unsuccessfully, to live down the shame of it. Two men, two guns, one kitty. The jokes must have followed them for years.

Mr Nathan Haskell Dole gets a mention here. His name is new to me, but apparently he was a well known author and editor, and friend to the famous. The Tileston family lived at the corner of Glen road and Sigourney street, next to a house my father's youngest brother owned in the early 1960s, so I know the area, and can well imagine the battle with the great beast.

Boston Daily Globe January 10,1907

Killed By 15 Shots

Brick Helps Some Too.

Rabid Tiger Cat Attacks People.

It Frightens a Jamaica Plain Neighborhood.

Done to Death by a Big and a Little Policeman.

A big tiger can, believed to have been affected by rabies, that had recently terrorized the aristocratic neighborhood of Sigourney st and Glen road, Jamaica Plain, was sent to its long sleep yesterday afternoon by revolver shots fired by patrolmen McAdams and Riley.

When Dr Austin Peters, chief of the cattle bureau of the state board of health, who lives in the vicinity, learned of the rabid cat, he had the body taken to his residence, and tomorrow will have an examination of the head made to determine if the cat had rabies.

For the past two days the tiger cat, said to weigh more than 20 pounds, has been prowling about the neighborhood and acting like a wild cat. It had no fear of attacking man, woman or child, and it is said a number of children have been bitten and scratched by it. Monday night it got into the residence of Cheever Newhall, corner of Walnut av and Montebello road, frightened the servents by its vicious attacks on them and was with difficulty driven out of the house.

Yesterday morning it made its way to the premises of Roger E. Tileston, 82 Glen road, and when Mr Tileston's little boy and girl began to pet it the cat sprang at them. The children's screams attracted a servant in the house, who ran to drive away the cat, but she was glad to beat a retreat, taking the children with her into the house.

Mr Tileston, too, was attacked by the cat when he attempted to drive it out of the yard in front of his residence. Later the cat sprang at a woman who was walking on Glen road.

Two Policemen Detailed.

The police were told about the cat and patrolman McAdams, one of the biggest men in the department, and patrolman Riley, who is not more than 5 feet 4 1/2 inches in height, were sent out to find the cat and secure it if possible. After skillful gum-shoe work they discovered the cat on Glen road, and when the tiger saw the officers of the law it promptly ran to cover under the steps of the porch of the Tileston residence.

There was only one exit from its hiding place and that was the hole by which it entered. So big Jack McAdams and little George Riley proceeded to lay in wait. The wait was a long and tiresome one, for the cat refused to leave its place of security.

Some hot water was poured through the cracks of the planks of the piazza, and out through the hole of its place of concealment sprang the big tiger cat. A shot from McAdams' revolver made the cat crouch on the lawn as if about to spring upon the policemen.

Again and again did McAdams' revolver fire at the cat until all the seven shots of his revolver had punched holes in the air without hurting the cat, which crouched and blinked at the smoke from the muzzle of the revolver.

Little George to the Fore.

Then little George Riley pushed big Jack McAdams aside with a knowing wink. Five shots in rapid succession were fired at the cat by Riley, and when the smoke of battle had cleared away kitty was still there glaring at the marksmen.

Then reinforcements were brought into play.

The policemen had used all of their ammunition, and a revolver was borrowed from Nathan Haskell Dole, the author. Before the policemen got back to the battlefield a citizen had tapped the crouching cat with a brick. It rolled over on its back, and received the contents of the third revolver before it gave up its life.

In all 15 shots were fired, not counting the brick.

Dr Austin Peters said last night it was unusual that a cat was affected with rabies, for the reason that they would usually manage to get out of the way of a dog, but occasionally a case of rabies in a cat has been discovered. Whether the dead cat was affected with rabies he could not tell until proper examination of it is made. He was interested to know the cause of the vicious attacks of the cat on human beings, and if rabies was the cause of its unusual actions, and that would be determined today at the laboratory of the board of health.

German Reformed Christ Church

The German Reformed Church stood on Chestnut avenue opposite the end of Sheridan street. The architect, H.M. Stephenson, also designed St John's Episcopal church on Elm street. A look at this map will show the location - the church appears on the map in red. As a bonus, the house of the architect shows up on this map, of the same series and date, on Chestnut avenue as well.

Boston Daily Globe February 22, 1904

New House Of Worship Dedicated. German Reformed Christ Church, Jamaica Plain, Is Entirely Free From Debt.

The members of the German Reformed Christ church, Chestnut av, Jamaica Plain, dedicated their new house of worship yesterday.

A notable feature of the dedication was the fact that the entire building is completely paid for.

The morning service commenced with a selection by the organist, B.F. Meyer, followed by a hymn by the congregation. A soprano solo was rendered by Mrs Rudolph Nagle with violin obligato by Miss Freida Strasser. The sermon was given by Rev P.H. Dipple of Philadelphia. Mrs Nagle sang "Ave Maria," with flute obligato by Edward E. Ramseyer and piano accompaniment by Mrs M. Hagerstroh.

In the afternoon the Sunday school had services consisting of selections by different members of the school and addresses by Rev P.H. Dipple of Philadelphia, Rev Eugene G. Fuessle of New York and Rev August Schwartz of Mellville N.Y.

The evening services consisted of organ prelude by B.B. Barton, invocation by the pastor, hymn by the congregation, Scripture lesson, solo by Thomas Moore Cornell, address, "The Christian's Delight in God's House," by Rev August Schwartz; solo, "O, for the Wings of a Dove," Mrs Anna Lohbiller-Mason, and concluded with the rendering of a largo by Rudolph Nettle violin, Arthur Haberstroh cello, J. Walter Schurmer cornet Eduard E Ramseyer flute, B.B. Barton organ and A. Haberstroh piano.

The church cost about $17,000. There are entrances from two vestibules into the auditorium, which has hard pine finished floors and pews. An open timber ceiling completes a harmonious interior. The seating capacity is about 300. At the right of the chancel opposite the entrance is the organ, and at the left is the minister's study. At the front is a large memorial window. In the basement, which is almost entirely above ground, are the Sunday school room, two Bible rooms, the supper room, kitchen and heating apparatus. The Sunday school room and the Bible class room can be thrown into one room.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Agassiz Farmers

I knew there were victory gardens during WW II, but I didn't realize they were encouraged during WW I as well. The boys of the Agassiz school did their part to feed the home front.

Boston Daily Globe September 29, 1917

Boys' Garden Truck Shown.

Striking Exhibit at the Agassiz School, Jamaica Plain - Award of Prizes.

A large number of the parents of children in the Agassiz School, Jamaica Plain, witnessed yesterday an exhibition of produce grown by the boys of the school, the equal of which has seldom been witnessed in the city. The exhibit was divided into three classes; the prevocation class, supervised by Miss Halstrom; the school class in charge of Miss West, the master's assistant, and the individual war garden exhibit.

The prevocation class,recently awarded third prize at the Horticultural exhibit in Boston, was yesterday given first prize for the finest collection of vegetables. The school won a blue ribbon prize for the finest garden exhibit.

In the individual exhibit Nelson E. Withington, a pupil of the eighth grade, carried off the highest honors, being awarded four first prizes and taking second in many other classes.

Features of the exhibit were a 28-pound pumpkin grown by Roland Scollins, and an 18-pound squash raised by Andrew Flynn. Both boys received first prizes. The following is a list of the prize products and the winners.

Vegetables from Children's Garden - Nelson E. Withington, Variety Garden - Frank Glennon Best Beets - David Pickett. Carrots - Nelson Withington, Onions - Richard Peterson, Potatoes - Thomas O'Rourke, Tomatoes - Waldo Scoffield, Preserved Vegetables - Nelson Withington. The flower garden prize was won by Lewis Bower.

Jamaica Plain W.C.T.U.

Certain topics in history seem to get orphaned. Women were leaders in the temperance movement, but they don't seem to get any love these days. Is it the scowl of Carrie Nation that scares off potential admirers, or is it the modern taste for the Devil's Drink? Whichever the case, let's raise a glass and remember the activist women of Jamaica Plain's past.

Boston Daily Globe February 22, 1901

Its 18th Anniversary.

Celebration by Jamaica Plain Women's Christian Temperance Union.

The Jamaica Plain W.C.T.U. observed its 18th anniversary at the Central Congregational church last evening. Early in the evening the members and guests gathered around the banquet table. Mrs A.E. Pearson, president of the union, sat at the head table and around her were the guests of the evening, who made addresses - Mrs Katherine Lente Stevenson, state president; Mrs Susan S. Fessenden ex state president; Mrs Harriet T. Todd, state secretary; Mrs Dr Louise Purington, county president and Miss Elizabeth P. Gordon, state editor.

Following the supper interesting exercises were held and the addresses and reports showed the opening of the 19th year of the union to be a most auspicious one.

Music was furnished by the Algonquin banjo, mandolin and guitar club. The committee of arrangements was composed of Mrs A.E. Pearson, Mrs C.E. Withington, Mrs Coburn, Mrs Keyes, Miss Woodworth, Mrs Huxley and Mrs Cross.

Boston Politics - The Real Thing

I don't claim to be any more than a passive observer of today's Boston politics, and I'm certainly not a historian of Boston's political past. That being said, I think that it is reasonable to say that the political culture that Boston was known for since the Civil war is now dead. The populations that battled over the issues of the day and the spoils of patronage have moved to greener neighborhoods, and that particular Boston political world that existed for several generations has ceased to exist. It could be argued that the change is a good thing, but the change is real nonetheless. I think it could be said with reasonable certainty that if nothing else, Boston politics in "the old days" was far more entertaining.

For those who don't know, the Jamaica Theatre was at Hyde Square.

Boston Daily Globe December 12, 1921

Murphy Booed From Hall In Curley Ward

Crowd in Jamaica Theatre Refuses Him a Hearing

Yells of Most of Audience Drown Out Strains of Orchestra

John R. Murphy made an unsuccessful attempt to speak in the Jamaica Theatre in Curley's home ward yesterday. He was booed from the stage by about 1000 persons out of a possible 1500 who attended the rally.

Representative James Mulvey of Roxbury attempted to deliver the opening address, but he was loudly booed. Representative Stephen R. Mealey, whose candidacy for Representative was endorsed by Curley, presided. He was the objective for many insulting remarks.

When the candidate Murphy entered the theatre he was greeted by a few handclaps from persons in the front rows and many boos from the others in the audience. Mr Murphy made several attempts to speak. Many times he repeated "Just a word," and that was as far as he got, when cries of "Goo Goo," "What did you do to P.A. Collins?" "Loyal Coalition Candidate," and other yells rang through the building. The orchestra played, but the yells drowned the strains of the music.

Almost the entire audience arose at once and cried "Goo Goo" for fully three minutes.

The police were called upon to remove the disturbers, but they were unable to do anything as the disturbance was almost general. Officers Fisher, Dodge and Graham were assigned to the theatre, but when the trouble began to look serious, officers Griffin, Monahan, Seevak and Walsh were sent to the scene.

Seven police officers comprised a small force to cope with the large audience, but they handled the crowd in a nice manner and succeeded in stopping a lot of the booing. The officers were praised by their superiors for their coolheadedness and diplomacy.

Candidate Murphy finally got about twenty words across and gave up. He left the hall by the stage door and his supporters gathered around him at his automobile to prevent the crowd from getting to him.

Several put out their hands, but when Murphy offered his they drew them back and called him names. One young fellow finally did shake Murphy's hand and the door of the car closed and the machine drove away, with the crowd yelling after it.

A banner for Murphy was hanging on a house across from the theatre and several young men tore it down. Several Curley banners were hung near the theatre, and cars passing the theatre, coming from Curley rallies and bearing his signs, were loudly cheered.

After Murphy left, two of his speakers succeeded in making a few remarks about Curley to the small audience that remained in the hall.

Three loud cheers were given for Curley and the police then dispersed the crowd from in front of the building.

The treatment of Mr Murphy, according to residents, was the worst of the kind ever accorded in that section of Jamaica Plain.

The Beautiful Game

Soccer in this country is generally seen as a game of immigrants and suburban grade schoolers. So who knew that Jamaica Plain had a championship team a century ago? Were they locals, or did they just use Jamaica Plain as a headquarters? The Boston Rovers had their home at the corner of Washington and Williams streets. Was that Doyle's, or was it the building on the opposite corner of Williams street? Foss field was at the corner diagonally across from Doyle's, where the English High School track is now. It was mentioned in an earlier post regarding baseball played on the Sabbath. I'd love to know whether the trophy mentioned below still exists - wouldn't that be cool?

This map from 1914 shows Foss field, at Washington and Williams streets - look for the adjoining Boston Consolidated Gas property.

Boston Daily Globe March 20, 1909

Cup Given To Boston Rovers

Marks Championship of Soccer League.

Jamaica Plain Team Holds Open House for the Ceremony.

It was a gala night at the rooms of the Boston Rovers, corner of Williams and Washington sts, Jamaica Plain, last evening, when the formal exercises attending the presentation of the John C. McGee cup, the championship trophy of the Boston association football league, took place in the presence of a large gathering of league players and their friends.

The Rovers's team that went through the season undefeated champions of the league, were each presented with a handsome gold medal. The team included J. Fairweather capt, Ben Lyncy, R.C. Lewis, H. Gray, A. Houston, P. Guthrie, R. McLay, D. Maitland, J. Caithness, G. Collins, W. Collins, S. McCleary, W.D. Murchie, James Smith, D. Stewart.

Pres Barker of the league presented the cup, donated by the late John C. McGee of East Boston, and it was accepted by Capt Fairweather of the Rovers for his associates in a neat speech. The trophy is a massive silver loving cup resting on an ebony pedestal. Then followed the presentation of the individual gold medals to the players by Pres Barker, each of the men responding briefly. The cheers of the large audience concluded the ceremony.

The entertainment provided introduced David L. Smith, who sang some of Harry Lauder's songs, W.J. Colling, A. Barkley, William Tighe, Daniel Lynch, James Smith, all with vocal selections, that were enthusiastically received.

The committee in charge was D. Lynch, James Smith, James Fairweather, L. Blume. The Boston Rovers will play the Methuens, champions of the Lowell, Lawrence and district league, at Lawrence on April 19, for the championship.

Boston Daily Globe June 28, 1909

Soccer Football Plans.

Four Teams Already Entered for the Fall Championships.

Sec McLearie reported to a meeting yesterday of the Boston and district soccer football league in Jamaica Plain the following teams that have announced their intention to compete this season: Boston Rovers, Boston American, Lynn City and the Fore Rivers of Quincy. The Hopedale Rovers, Clan Lindsay and the Boston Rangers of Brighton will be asked to enter.

Two representatives from the steamships Ivernia and Saxonia asked to be allowed to enter the ship's teams. It was suggested that the two teams amalgamate so that one team would be in port twice within the month when the application will be accepted. It was decided to open the season as early in September as possible.

Boston Daily Globe September 3, 1910

Opening Of Soccer Season.

Big Game of the Day Will Be Played in Jamaica Plain.

Today marks the opening in Boston of the soccer football championship season, 10 clubs of the Boston league matching up for battle.

At 4 o'clock on Foss athletic park Jamaica Plain, the big game of the day takes place, between the Boston Americans and the Lynn city club. Manager Wyse of the home club sent out invitations to many followers of the game, including Alexander MacGregor of the Boston Caledonian club and Mr Grieve, donor of the championship club that the Boston league stars will strive for.

Today will be a sort of gala reunion day for the soccer fans of the Hub, and a big crowd is expected on Foss park, the new home of the game.

At Beverly the Champion Boston Rovers open the struggle against the new Beverly club.

Sec Sam McLerie of the league tonight will start for New York and Philadelphia, where the soccer game is coming strong this year.

South Street Car Barns

This subject intrigues me because I spent so much time in the area. The current site of the South street housing public housing complex, the car barns are still remembered by the oldest Jamaica Plain residents. When my father first told me about the streetcar barns that stood beside St Thomas church, I had trouble imagining it. The article below is a little confusing as well. The building described was an addition to one that was already there, as seen to the right in the picture above. I'm also guessing that the 150 streetcar capacity mentioned below was for the entire complex, not just the new building. Asbury place was within the current housing complex, and was eliminated when it was built. I have no idea where Pitt street was - there 's no mention of a Pitt street in the 1910 city street directory.

This map from 1896 shows the old facility, and this one from 1905 shows the new building added.

Boston Daily Globe January 14, 1901

Storage House For 150 Electric Cars.

During the month of September, 1900, work was begun on the Jamaica Plain terminal station and car storage house for the Boston elevated railway company, and now it is about completed. This new station is 325x320 feet, and the tracks will accommodate 150 electric cars. There is a waiting room on the corner of Asbury pl and Pitt st, and the interior of the station is fitted with rooms for motormen, conductors, superintendent and receiver.

M.I.T. In J.P.

This is an interesting what-if... what if M.I.T. had moved to Jamaica Plain?

Boston Daily Globe July 17, 1903

Tech's Plans.

Institute is Casting About for a Home.

Cassidy Estate, Watertown Looked at Favorably.

It Contains 2,500,000 Feet, Fronts the Charles.

Plot in Jamaica Plain Also Taken Under Consideration.

There is little doubt that it is not the intention of of trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to enlarge the present buildings at Copley sq, as has been frequently asserted, for the board has for several months past been casting about in search of a suitable location upon which to remove.

One site in particular is said to have caused Pres Prichett to remark that it is what he desires, and this location has several times been inspected, the last time less than a month ago, when a party of 22 went to an estate in Watertown in a special electric car and spent some time in looking over the ground.

It was in connection with this particular site that a well-known real estate dealer was called in to make a proper valuation for the benefit of the trustees. The trustees are also said to be considering the choice of a plot consisting of about 30 acres in Jamaica Plain, and they have also looked over the land in Cambridge owned by the Charles River Embankment company.

The reason held out as to why nothing has yet been done in the matter of some one of these three locations is that financially the institution is unable to come to direct business until after after the sale of the present site supplies it with sufficient funds to purchase a location elsewhere.

It is claimed that it is the desire of the trustees of the institute to locate on the banks of the Charles river in a spot removed from the noise and roar of city traffic, and yet within easy access of the city. Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and other famous universities are located on the banks of rivers, thus affording the students opportunities for recreation as well as adding to the beauty of the site.

[skip boring Watertown talk]

Rumor has for some time had it that the trustees of the institute were to remove to a plot at Jamaica Plain, and it has even been said that a bond was given as proof of good faith on the part of the trustees. This plot is bounded by Jamaica way, Lakeville pl, Perkins and Centre sts. It contains about 30 acres and is known as the old Curtis farm. In connection with this property Charles F. Curtis makes the statement that he has never in any way been approached by the trustees of M.I.T. or by any agent for them.

The land over in Cambridge is known as a fine location for such a purpose, although not generally considered as desirable as the other two mentioned.

German M.E. Church - Amory Street

January, 2008

* I've had a comment informing me that this church us still in use (5/2008)

Another straggler in the Jamaica Plain church division. This church is currently boarded up, an architectural shell with no life in it. There's something melancholy about a church with no congregation. The building opened with enthusiasm and promise, ready to serve for centuries. decades later, the congregation has dispersed, and the community is dead. How many years has it been that an ethnic German community existed in Boston? I have to wonder how much effect the two World Wars had on Jamaica Plain's German colony. Did the wars cause them to give up on their German identity, or was it just time and assimilation?

The article puts the church in Roxbury. Reasonable at the time, as the old Roxbury/West Roxbury line fell a block to the south, putting the building in Roxbury proper. Still, I have to wonder whether the people themselves considered the church to be in Roxbury or Jamaica Plain. I won't mistake a citation in the Globe to be the last word on the subject. In this area, the Globe bounces between Roxbury, Roxbury Highlands, Boston Highlands and Jamaica Plain, probably depending on the editor on duty at the time.

Boston Daily Globe January 15, 1900

Dedication At Roxbury. Interesting Services in the Handsome New German M.E. Church - $2000 Subscribed.

The handsome new German M.E. church, which for the past seven months has been under construction at the corner of Amory and Atherton sts, Roxbury, was dedicated yesterday. Appropriate services of an interesting nature were held in the morning, afternoon and evening. The morning and evening services were conducted in German and were principally for the members of the church, while the afternoon service was conducted in English and was given over largely to the neighbors and friends of the society.

The church was crowded to its utmost capacity at each service, and it was found necessary to throw open the vestry to accommodate those seeking admission.

The pulpit platform was adorned with potted palms and ferns and there were two large bouquets of roses on the reading desk.

At the morning and evening services the pastor, Rev J.G. Lutz, was assisted by Rev C. Jordan of Lawrence, Rev R. Glenk of Greenfield, Rev F.H. Rey of Brooklyn, NY, and Rev W.H. Kurth of Amsterdam, NY, a former pastor, Mr Rey spoke at the morning service and Rev W.H. Kurth delivered the sermon in the evening.

The English service opened at 3 p.m. with congregational singing, followed by prayer by Rev Ellis Mendell of Jamaica Plain. A selection was then given by the choir, which was followed by scriptural readings by Rev W.A. Lott.

Rev W.T. Perrin, the presiding elder of the parish, delivered a very forcible sermon, in which he congratulated the society on the accomplishment of their work. He said that while the church was a beautiful one, it did not compare with the temple of Solomon, but for all that it may be filled with the glory of God. Whenever and wherever the creature becomes conscious that God is present, the speaker continued, there is an awakening to humble worship, and the glory of the Lord fills the house wherever the sacrifices of the people are accepted.

"There is nothing that can take the place of this glory in the church," the speaker said. "We may build massive foundations, erect grand walls and decorate them in the most beautiful manner, put in the best organ that will flood its aisles with melody, but this will be as nothing unless the glory of God is manifested in the hearts of the people.

"I am glad to be here representing the English speaking people, and I feel we are interested in the work you are doing here."

Rev J.P. West followed with prayer, after which there was congregational singing and benediction.

The society begins its new work under very favorable conditions. There is a debt of more than $6000, but this was materially decreased by the subscriptions received at yesterday's meetings, amounting to more than $2000.

An architectural feature of the new edifice is the three memorial windows on the Amory st side. One is a triple window, and represents a cross and passion flower, in memory of F.W. Dinger, a former pastor of the church. The other two double windows are a gift from the family of one of the ones memorialized, the father of the present pastor, and represents a chalice and sheaf of wheat, to the memory of Rev F.G. Lutz, who was also a former pastor of the church, and his wife.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Mr. Atwood's Trees

The world needs people like Louis Atwood. Jamaica Plain had one.

Boston Daily Globe December 27, 1913

Atwood Has 100, Will Take More

Starts Home for Aged Christmas Trees.

Jamaica Plain Estate Made Green in a Day.

Boys With Handcart Assist in Transformation.

Yesterday a bare waste of ground, today a veritable forest of green fir trees covered with snow, such is the transformation wrought on the estate of Louis L.P. Atwood of 27 Seaverns av,Jamaica Plain.

The good people of the Plain rubbed their eyes in amazement as they passed the grounds yesterday afternoon at the sight of the trees which had sprung up as though by magic, and which nodded a welcome to every visitor. The entrance to the Atwood home was flanked on each side by nearly a dozen of the stately monarchs of the forest, the yard was dotted with trees of many sizes and shapes and on either side of the garage in the rear of the house two stately firs stood guard.

To all conjectures as to the cause of this sudden and startling forestation Mr Atwood maintained during the day a discreet silence.

Early yesterday morning two boys, pushing a handcart before them, started from Mr Atwood's home on a mysterious errand. After a tour of the business establishments of Jamaica Plain, they returned, their cart laden with Christmas trees. Mr Atwood had been impatiently awaiting them, and on their arrival seized his spade and in a few moments had set the trees in the ground. Once again the boys started forth on their errand and continued throughout the day and by nightfall had gathered more than 100 trees, which had been planted in every nook and corner of the estate by the enthusiastic Mr Atwood.

Late yesterday afternoon Mr Atwood said to his curious neighbors that he had wished to have something green about his house throughout the cold Winter months. He had spent 10 years in Southern California, and had come to dread the dreary Winter of Northland. While passing a provision store Christmas afternoon he saw several Christmas trees standing in front of the establishment. It seemed a pity to him that they should be wasted. He hurried to his home and suggested to his wife that it would be pleasant to set out a few of these trees in his yard, and she cordially agreed.

Realizing that his own efforts would be feeble, he hired the two boys, and Mr Atwood was kept busy throughout the day setting out the trees they gathered.

By dark more than 100 trees were rearing their heads on the Atwood estate, and Mr Atwood proudly gazed over the scene of primeval beauty which he had created.

At that he is not satisfied. Although it seemed that every nook and corner of his estate was covered with the firs, he proclaimed aloud his desire for more trees, and told every passerby to come to him if they had fir trees to dispose of.

Christmas On Brewer Street - 1961

(Copyright 2007)

There I sit in my new red wagon on Christmas day, 1961. That red wagon made me a part of a Jamaica Plain tradition. My first job in this world was as an order boy at the First National supermarket on Centre street opposite Greenough avenue. With other boys, we lined up on either side of the entrance of the store. As people came out, we offered to carry their "orders" home in our wagons. Most of our "clients" were older people, who would have difficulty carrying their groceries home. We pulled our bag-laden wagons from the brick building directly opposite the store to Orchard street. Twenty-five cents was a good take, and paid for a bottle of tonic and a comic book. Both the message board - "Remember the "order boys" with their little red wagons, who hauled our parents' grocery orders home on Saturdays from the First National?" - and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society web site tell stories of boys who did the same thing - some of them 10-15 years before I did. My mother still comments on how useful that little red wagon was.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Begging for Stuff - A Holiday Tradition

(Copyright 2007)

Yours truly, sitting on Santa's lap in downtown Boston. I'm guessing that it was at Jordan Marsh some time before 1960. You see, children, back in the old days, people from Jamaica Plain would get on the streetcar and go in to Boston to do all their Christmas shopping. There was Filene's and Jordan's and Raymonds; all the big stores were along Washington street, kind of like a plaza or mall, only in the city. Then you'd walk over to the Boston Common to see the lights and decorations, and hear carollers or bands playing Christmas music. Pretty neat.

Christmas In JP

Boston Daily Globe December 25, 1913

Carol Singers Tour District

Feature at Jamaica Plain Celebration.

Big Tree at Curtis Hall, Where 1000 Citizens Gather.

Candles Placed in the Windows of the Homes.

Nearly 1000 residents of Jamaica Plain last night enjoyed exercises held around the Christmas tree in front of Curtis Hall Municipal Building. The tree was donated to the Jamaica Plain Citizen's Association by the Mayor and City Council. It was more than 20 feet in height and was brilliantly illuminated. In many houses in the vicinity lighted candles were placed in the windows.

There was carol singing by a choir made up of members of various church choirs,under the direction of Thompson Stone, choirmaster of the St John's Episcopal Church. After singing at the tree, the choir toured the district, singing at the following places: Corner of Roanoke av and Elm st; Rockview and Green st; Lakeview pl, and at the further end of Burroughs st.

Dr Hartwell was chairman of the committee in charge of the affair, and addresses were made by Rev Walter Calley, pastor of the First Baptist Church, and Joseph Lyons, Assistant Corporation Counsel.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Post Office - Green And Cheshire Streets

In an earlier post, it was noted that the Post Office left this site for Centre and Myrtle streets. The portrait of Supt. Clark bears a remarkable resemblance to John Cleese, don't you think?

Boston Daily Globe March 1, 1908

New Postoffice To Be Opened Today. Jamaica Plain Structure is Attractive in Design and Complete in Equipment.

The new Jamaica Plain postoffice, which competent judges say is the best equipped in the Boston district, will be opened for business at 9:30 this morning, with Albert H. Clark as superintendent. Supt Clark has been in charge for nearly 10 years, and during that time the business has increased 100 percent.

This year, the stamp sales will amount to $40,000 and the money order business to $130,000. A staff of nine clerks, 21 carriers, one subcarrier and four collectors is necessary to properly care for the business. The oldest carriers are Joseph E. Page, who has seen 33 years' service; John F. Tuckett, 24 years' service, and Thomas Clary, 23 years' service.

Supt Clark started as a special delivery letter boy in the Chelsea postoffice in 1887, and has worked his way up to his present position. He is very popular with the men under him and also with the citizens.

The building in which the postoffice is located is of modern brick construction, situated at the corner of Green and Cheshire sts, and affords ample room for the transaction of business of that station for many years to come. A feature of the new building is that its front and east side is almost wholly of plate glass, and being only one story in height, large skylights also help to light the interior. At night many electric lights will illuminate the office.

The new office is finished in quartered oak, and the furnishings are of the same wood. There is a modern burglar proof safe, which Supt Clark says "the yeggs will have a hard time trying to crack."

The fixtures include stock cabinets, letter boxes and keyless combinations, stamp cabinets, money order cases, carriers' return book case, with lockers underneath, double mailing case, with 140 holes, slip case with sliding doors, letter assorting case, paper assorting case, sack pouch holder, stamping table with storage of ink pads, new stamping machine, clerks' tables, private office for Supt Clark, lockers for the clothing of clerks and carriers, and many other up-to-date conveniences.

Thursday evening an opportunity was offered the public to inspect the new office, by invitation of Supt Clark, and nearly 300 accepted and were greeted by the superintendent and his staff.

[the remainder gives names of visiting post office dignitaries]

The Madonna Of Jamaica Plain

Here we have an appropriate subject for a Christmas season posting. My online investigation suggests that the painting was owned by Quincy Shaw, who lived on Perkins street along Jamaica pond on the Brookline side. I have not been able to find an image of the painting online, which makes me wonder whether its claim to be a Raphael held up over time. Where's an art history major when you need one?

Boston Daily Globe September 29, 1912

A Raphael That Was Discovered In Jamaica Plain

The picture in Boston which is attracting most attention among art lovers these days is the painting by Raphael - a Madonna and Child - which was discovered among the attic possessions of an old family in Jamaica Plain and which has been until recently locked up in the vaults of the Old Colony Trust Company. In fact, it is locked up in these vaults most of the time now with the exception of a portion of one day each week when it is privately exhibited in the little gallery of Duffle & Ryan on Boylston st.

On the days the gallery is crowded with distinguished people who have heard of the picture and who are anxious to see it. Somehow the fame of the picture ran through the North Shore this Summer, and from there it spread through all the Summer resorts along the coast, with the result that many of these people - art collectors themselves - have been clamoring to see this painting by Raphael. The Austrian Ambassador, a great admirer of Raphael, after having seen this Madonna and Child, was so enthusiastic about the picture that his enthusiasm has much to do with this popularity.

And curiously enough those who were most incredulous about the painting before they saw it have been among its most enthusiastic admirers after having seen it. It was not strange that they should be skeptical, for paintings of Raphael are pretty scarce in America. In fact there are very few in the United States and some of these are of doubtful authenticity.

The wonder about this painting is that it should be so well preserved and that it should be found in Boston. But this is no more strange than that one of the finest collection of drawings by old masters in the world should be found up in Brunswick, Me, in the Walker Memorial in Bowdoin College. That collection was purchased by one of the Bowdoin family in Europe in the early years of the last century for less than $100 and Harvard University has recently offered $30,000 for it. It came in a folio as a gift to Bowdoin and was not thought very much of until recent years, when its value dawned on somebody.

The painting by Raphael came to this country in much the same way that the collection in Bowdoin College came. It was purchased in Europe after the Napoleonic invasions, when the young conqueror brought the art treasures of Italy and other countries to Paris, and it was one of those treasures which was not returned after the Allies entered Paris and demanded the return of the Napoleonic "loot" to its rightful owners. A rather poor mezzotint of the painting was made at that time in Paris.

The chances are that the American purchaser of this painting did not realize either its artistic or intrinsic value and when it arrived on these shores it was not treated with any too much hospitality, for the prejudice against Madonnas was stronger than any artistic appreciation that existed in the community, and both the name and fame of Raphael were little known in the country. So it was treated in much the same way that the pottery and carvings and other bric-a-brac from the Orient were treated when the shipmasters brought them to this country in the early part of the last century.

Such things were regarded as curiosities and eventually found their way into the attics or cellars of the old houses.

It was fortunate that this painting went into an attic, and a dry attic, for that was the only thing that saved it from destruction. As it is, the painting is beautifully fresh, time simply having given the colors an added depth and richness.

Seen in proper light in a gallery the picture looks very much more impressive than when seen in the vaults of the Old Colony Trust Company some months ago. It is one of the few Madonna paintings by Raphael in which the Christ Child is draped, a fact which, for obvious reasons, probably made it all the more acceptable to the American purchaser.

But the expression on the Christ Child's face is an artistic achievement of which only a Raphael is capable, and the same is true of the expression on the face of the Mother Mary. The painting of these faces challenges attention even today when the [?] think they have made new discoveries in the relations and juxtapositions of pigments. There is a refinement and delicacy in the drawing and in the flesh coloring which gives the painting That distinctiveness of charm that characterizes the works of all masters. And the color harmony of the whole picture is exquisitely rich.

The three colors which Raphael most loved in his draperies - blue, olive, green and orange red - are seen in this picture in fine contrast with the flesh tints and the background. The light is from above and the highest light falls on the upper part of the face of the Madonna when the [nt] of transparent veil cloth shimmers against the dark hair. It is said that several wealthy American collectors have offered fabulous sums for this painting.