Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Forest Hills Puzzler

This post card shows the Forest Hills Elevated station looking from near Hyde Park avenue and Woodlawn street. Notice the brick building in the background to the left. It's over on the far side of the railroad tracks, on what was St Ann street. I'll give a jelly donut to anyone who can tell me about that building. I have a foggy memory of the building as I would have seen it looking from South street and the streetcar line. The problem is, I have no memory of it being there in the late sixties when I was a teen, so it would have to have been torn down between 1960 when I lived on Spalding street and 1967 when I began spending time on South street again.

1/09/08 - with the help of some fire insurance maps, I've figured this one out. The building in question was Arborway Court. It was owned by Joseph J. Lannin, who also owned the still-surviving Fordham Court on South street. Lannin owned the Red Sox as well, as told in this Jamaica Plain Historical Society article.


  1. Dear Not Whitey,
    Your site is bringing back all sorts of memories. Good job!

    The building that you wonder about was a HUGE apartment building that was razed for God knows what reason in the late 1960's. I recall that it was not that old of a building and was fairly well maintained. You and I are about the same age so our memories should be somewhat similar.

    We were not allowed to trick or treat there. Actually, since we lived on Hyde Park Avenue, we were ordered to not go onto the other side of the tracks. I do not know why Halloween was any different from the other days.

    Anyway, that apartment building sat parallel (somewhat, as it was a wedge-shaped structure) to the railroad tracks.

    Now, you help me. There used to be a rotary at that juncture. Arborway/South/At(I cannot spell it) and there was a water fountain of the bubble-type and a stone marker. I do not care what happened to the disease-riddled water fountain. But, what was that stone marker for and where did it go? An, do you remenber that the sidewalks that went through some of the rotaries were made of green concrete? Supposedly, I guess, to resemble the grass that never seemed to thrive in the rotaries.

    Final notes on your mystery building...after it was razed, the debris remained for quite a while. But the bricks, being of good quality, did seem to disappear in the darkness. The Apartment building had a fairly large central courtyard.

    Paul F. Sullivan
    102 Hyde Park Avenue

  2. Paul

    I'm sure the building was taken for the I-95 highway project. They had planned a huge interchange right at Forst Hills, and there would have been exit ramps right where the building stood.

    I do remember the rotary well. It was always in the shadows of the train bridge and the overpass. I do seem to remember a stone marker of some sort - I've been puzzling about it. Where the streetcars turned down off South street towards the Arborway car yards, there was an American Legion post - they later moved across the intersection to the Arboretum side. Maybe it was a veteran's memorial of some kind.

  3. Commenter Ed L. sent me this by email:

    "“Around '62-'63, I spent a lot of time at a friend's house around the corner on Asticou Rd., and agree with everything described in the two 2008 comments. The block where this apartment building was the only structure was one of many strange little no-man's-lands created by the granite walls of the railroad tracks, and it always seemed devoid of life. I seem to remember something about the building being home to mostly elderly residents, but never once did I see a human on the sidewalks there.”

  4. The building that you are wondering about was fully engulfed in a raging fire sometime around 1965 or so.We walked up the street from our 3882 Wash home that I grew up in when we saw the smoke and watched BFD fight the fire.

  5. Paul - thanks for sharing - I'll look up the fire in the Globe archive.

  6. Hi, I was wondering if anyone has a photo of the American legion post 76 when it was on south street in the 1940's. near the old carbarn in front of Jamaica street. I know they had a lot of weddings there.