Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Casey Overpass

This is a remarkable photograph of the Forest Hills area in 1952. A pedestrian on the sidewalk, and cars in the street. An elevated train leaves Forest Hills station heading north. And to the left, a railroad train can be seen through the arch of the Elevated structure. Over the top of it all, the new automotive traffic overpass is under contstruction. All that's missing for a perfect transportation picture is a streetcar.

Senator (and future Mayor) John F. Collins filed a bill to name the overpass for Monsignor William J. Casey, telling the Rules Committee:

"Monsignor Wiliam J. Casey was born on February 1, 1872, and ordained to the priesthood on December 18, 1896. In 1917, he was appointed by the late Cardinal O'Connell as the first pastor of the new parish in Forest Hills known as St Andrew's. It was he who built the beautiful structure on Walk Hill street.

"In 1936, he was transferred to St Patrick's parish in Roxbury. Eight years later, in April, 1934, he was appointed Permenent Rector of St Thomas parish in Jamaica Plain, where he labored until his death in December, 1949.

"Hence, over the period from 1917 to 1949, 25 years were spent by Monsignor Casey in guiding the spiritual welfare of the people in the Forest Hills - Jamaica Plain district."

When I was growing up in the 1960s, it was just called the Overpass. I think there may have been a sign at South street with the Msgr. Casey designation, or perhaps I saw one at the approach to the overpass near the Arboretum entrance, but it never occurred to me to inquire who Casey was. As with the "Squares" honoring fallen soldiers at intersections here and there, once the sign goes up and the ceremony ends, most people fall back on the simpler name.

Source: Jamaica Plain Citizen


  1. Actually, I think there IS a streetcar peeking out from behind the pillar!

  2. Thanks for the information on Monsignor Casey. I've included in this post about the state keeping the Casey name alive in Forest Hills: http://patch.com/A-rKRZ

  3. Thank you so much for posting this. I appreciate the picture and information because I love history. I use this bridge all the time to commute to and from West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Dedham. I dread what traffic may be like without the Casey Overpass. Just the idea of being able to swoop up and get a beautiful view of the city (left and right) while driving from one town to another is exciting; it is especially beautiful at night!!!! Did you know that the Shattuck Hospital (in Jamaica Plain) was being constructed at the same time as the Casey? So big things were happening in the area in the late 50s!!! The Shattuck Hospital celebrates its 60th Birthday this year (2014) and I guess so does the Casey Overpass. Sadly, 60 years is really not a very long time, so it's too bad that it's being demolished, but this is life and that's what happens: "a time to tear down and a time to build" -- Ecclesiastes 3:3