Saturday, December 8, 2007

NJKIMBY - No Jewish Kids In My Back Yard

While investigating one topic, I frequently find myself lead to another. In this case, I was interested in the old village hall on Thomas street. The building sat at what is now the parking lot behind Blanchards liquors, and was the West Roxbury town hall before Curtis Hall was built nearby. The city of Boston inherited it after annexation, and in time it became the Grand Army of the Republic veteran's meeting hall.

The story related below describes a primary school at Thomas street. Since there was no other city-owned building on Thomas street at the time, I think we can assume that the former village hall was being used as a school, although there is no mention of the former use of the building.In September of 1902, the Thomas street school was mentioned as having an increased attendance, so it must have stayed a school for a while. I'd like to know when the building was torn down. It was gone when my family moved to the area in 1961.

The second story here is the effort to secure a home for Jewish children in Boston. I believe they call this a "non-starter."

Boston Daily Globe January 25, 1899

Refuse To Grant Lease. Thomas St Schoolhouse Not to be Used as Home for Jewish Children.

The board of street commissioners has refused to lease the Thomas st schoolhouse, Jamaica Plain, for a home for destitute Jewish children.

The board decided that the building was unfitted for the purpose for which it is wanted, and such use of the estate was against the unanimous sentiment of the residents of the locality.

It was on the recommendation of Mayor Quincy that the Thomas st schoolhouse was considered for the purpose of a home. An order, which was passed by both branches of the city council without opposition, authorized a lease for five years at a nominal rent.

Last Saturday morning a hearing was given on the protest of R.M. Morse and a large number of others against the lease of the building for the purpose stated and some 50 Jamaica Plain residents and property owners attended. They all agreed that such a home would ruin values in the vicinity.

Ex Councilman Borofsky of ward 6, who represents the committee seeking to establish the home, said yesterday that he would not relax his efforts to have a home for destitute children established. It is difficult, he said, to find homes for Jewish children who are placed in institutions, and a temporary home must be provided for them. He will seek another location for the home.


In June of the same year, a location for the home for Jewish children was found near Centre street near Highland park in Roxbury.

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