Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Brick Envy

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

Green street runs horizontally through this map segment. Woolsey square and the Jamaica Plain railroad station are at the bottom, and across Greet street near Oakdale street a building is labeled S.P. Blackburn.

Quite a little family dynamic we have here.

Boston Daily Globe December 21, 1895

Wanted A Brick Block. So Isaac Blackburn Set Fire to the Wooden One. His Sisters Were Ambitious and He Desired to Help Them. Confession Throws Light on Mysterious Jamaica Plain Fire.

John Blackburn, a resident of Jamaica Plain, died some months ago and left a will that seems to have caused some little trouble, which resulted in an attempt to burn some of the property bequeathed by him to his two sisters.

The whole affair comes to light by reason of a confession made to State Fire Marshall Whitcomb yesterday by Isaac Blackburn, brother to said John.

When John Blackburn died he left the so-called Blackburn estate on Green near Oakdale st, a large wooden structure, to his sisters, Mrs Caroline Currier and MIss Sarah P. Blackburn.

The building was occupied by several families in the upper stories, and on the first floor there were several stores. One of these was a grocery store run by Henry and Benjamin Blackburn, two of John's brothers. One of the provisions of the will was that these brothers should have the use of the premises occupied by them as long as they lived without payment of rent.

Next to this grocery store in the same building was a restaurant run by Mrs Stevens.

About 4 a.m. Dec 2 fire broke out just under the restaurant, and had burned through to the first floor before it was extinguished Fire Marshall Whitcomb was on the spot early in the morning. Suspicion seemed to point to Isaac Blackburn, who at the time and since lived with his two sisters, the owners of the property, on Oakdale st.

Yesterday he was brought to the state house and examined at length. At first he denied having anything to do with the matter, but finally confessed to he had set the fire. Blackburn said he was influenced in the action by hearing hes sister, Mrs Caroline Currier, say that she wished the building were burnt down so that she could put up a nice brick block. He said he had also heard his sisters complain of the provision in the will by which Henry and Benjamin were to get their stores without rent. If the building were burnt down of course they would have to pay rent if they wanted to be in the new building.

Blackburn was arrested last night and will come before the municipal court today.

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