Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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.


  1. I have a very, very distant memory of the car barns on South Street. I want to say that my older sister took me to a carnival on the site of the yards. Does this ring a bell with anyone? It would have to be in the very early 50's

  2. The public housing complex that's there now was built in the early 1950s, so it's possible there could have been a carnival there in 1950-52 some time.

  3. I lived at 104 Jamaica st in the 40' and 50's. The car barn was on South and Jamaica Streets. The American Legion was right next to it across from Bob's Spa.They did have a carnival there once in a while. Pappas grocery store was at the corner of Jamaica and Woodman Streets. It is now and apartment. Steve Pappas and his wife were very nice people. They let the neighborhood people charge their groceries when times were tough (which was a lot in those days).
    Everyone knew everyone on the whole street. Real friendly place. I go back once in a while, it still looks the same. When I lived there the project was new , I think it was built in the 50's. Pat C.