Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kids These Days

As I scanned through weekly issues of the 1952 Jamaica Plain Citizen, the biggest running issue was juvenile delinquency. Vandalism was mentioned most often, but a general increase in youth crime was constantly being discussed by civic leaders. The merchant mentioned below would have been Mike Kalajian, proprietor of the Green Elm variety store - you can guess the location. Mike was known for helping kids, including those who might interact with the men from Station 13.

Jamaica Plain Citizen April 3, 1952

Costello Defends Local Youth In Delinquent Probe.

Edward A. Costello, president of St Thomas Unit of the National Council of Catholic Men defended the youth of Jamaica Plain at a meeting of judges, police and court officials as well as youth workers. The meeting was called by Mayor John B. Hynes in an attempt to stop vandalism by youths in different parts of the city. It was held in the office of the Mayor on Monday, last.

As the result of a disturbance at a Dorchester party where it was claimed that some local youths "crashed the gate," four Jamaica Plain boys were taken into custody. They, it was alleged with a gang numbering about 20 youths caused property damage at a Dorchester home where a birthday party was in progress for a Jamaica Plain girl.

As a result of their arraignment in court, a report was circulated that the youths had attempted to force the Jamaica Plain girl to join a club whose members engaged in unlawful practices.

Mr Costello told the Mayor's gathering that as a result of his investigation that he learned that the club in question was a hand ball club, formed by a merchant in the vicinity of Green and Elm streets and has been disbanded for five years. He also told the committee that the girl denied that she had made any such statement regarding such a club. She made this denial to local police in addition to denying it to Costello. She further told the speaker that she did not know what kind of a club it might be as she never belonged to it, he said.

The girl in question came from another section of the city and has resided in Jamaica Plain about six months, Costello said.

The speaker told the gathering that Jamaica Plain is free from rowdy gangs but that all of the youths there are not angels.He said there are plenty of burglars around and they do not distinguish between the homes of judges and policemen and ordinary workmen. He praised the people for catching many of them.

He said however that acts of rowdyism are seldom reported to the police and on the whole Jamaica plain juveniles and teenagers are a pretty good lot.

Speaking of his work with youth, Costello said that he had plenty of experience with them. He told of heading at one time the largest Boy Scout outfit in the entire country.

He said that the church organization does everything it can to wipe out temptation for youngsters. He told of Mr. Edward Matthews, president of the parish Holy Name society entering stores where suggestive pictures and books are displayed and of his telling the storekeepers that such things are dangerous to children and are displeasing to the parishioners of the local church. After such visits he said the literature adn pictures disapper from the shelves in the stores.

He also told of the driving out of business of a man who ran a cafe where liquor was sold to minors. He pointed out that while the establishment was across the parish boundry line, it did not stop the action against the place as minors from the parish were served liquor there.

He praised the Licensing Board for takng away the seven day license held by the cafe making it possible to eliminate teh condition.

"Regardless of where it exists, if a condition is found that is likely to tempt Jamaica Plain youth, we will go after it" he said.

In the conclusion he said that from his experience, education of and the proper approach to the youths that remain away from social and athletic events are the things we need.

He pointed out that youngsters are often engaged in bother and quarrels with other youth and they do not realize what harm they can do to innocent adults and property during such disturbances. It should be pointed out to them to settle their difference among themselves without injuring other people. "We must get to the youths that need our help. We must send people to them whose language they understand. We must come down to their level and we must make some concessions to them in some cases he pointed out. The incorrigable is another question. He must be segregated and treated differently from the boys who commit only minor infractions he said.

A Night At The Opera

Actually, two nights at the opera, in the mid-1870s. Unfortunately, there is no mention of who sponsored the events, or who attended.

Boston Daily Globe November 30, 1875

Opera In Jamaica Plain.

Jamaica Plain is to have the "Bohemian Girl," on Thursday evening of next week. It will be given with the following cast: Count Arnheim, Mr J.F. Rudolphsen; Arline, Miss Anna Starbird; Queen of the Gypsies, Mrs Jenny T. Kempton; Thaddeus, Mr. Charles R. Hayden; Devilshoof, Mr. Stanley Felch; Florstein, Mr. W. Willis Clark; Buda, Mrs E.V. Rink; the whole company numbering twenty persons. The costumes and scenery will be beautiful, and no expense will be spared to tender the opera in the best manner. Tickets wll reserved seats, at fifty cents, may be had at the apothecary stores and at Ditson's music store. Steam trains leave Boston at 6:30 and 7:35 p.m. and return at 9:20 and 10:20, and street cars run directly to the hall every half hour, from Tremont House.

January 17, 1877


Opera at Jamaica Plain.

The people of the Twenty-third Ward were afforded a musical treat of no mean order last evening, and it is to be hoped that it was appreciated. The Dow-Kempton Opera Troupe gave a performance of "Martha" at Curtis Hall before an audience not quite large enough to fill the hall, and although the scenery, the accessories and the orchestra were not of the most pretentious character, the performance was first class in all respects. The orchestra part of the music was furnished by Professor W.E. Taylor, pianist and director, who, as a one-man orchestra, proved to be an unqualified success. The caste was as follows:

Lady Harriet Dunbar..........Mrs Anna Granger Dow
Nancy....................................Mrs Jennie Twichell Kempton
Lionel....................................Mr. Charles R. Hayden
Lord Tristan........................Mr. Stanley Felch
Sherriff.................................H.M. Morse

Farmers, servant maids, hunters and huntresses in the suite of the queen, pages, etc.

The opera was "cut" liberally in some parts, to the advantage of the performance. Mrs. Dow never sang in better voice, probably, and her extreme purity of tone, and the ease and grace of the method were never more strikingly apparent. The romanza in the third act, "Here in Deepest Forests," was exqisitely rendered. Mr. Hayden, unfortunately, was suffering from a severe cold, but he went through all his numbers in gallant style, although his effort to maintain his voice was painful to witness. His aria, "Like a Dream," was encored with warmth, and deservedly, for he gave it with unusual expression and tunefullness. Mrs. Kempton and Mr. Felch were in excellent voice, and did some acting, which was no less creditable than their vocalism. The chorus deserves more than ordinary praise. Although few in number it excelled in many respects the usual "grand opera" chorus. The voices were fresh and clear, and the attack was splendid. Taken all in all it was a really fine performance in every regard. The same troupe will appear this evening in East Boston.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Noise Pollution

I copied out this article as a comment on the times. We tend to think of the railroad as bringing growth to communities, but it also brought noise and soot and accidents. The complaint in the article resonates with me because I live a few miles south along the very same railroad line, and the passing trains can shake me right through my mattress at night.

Boston Daily Globe July 23, 1874

The American Devil.

A long time ago, some English newspaper christened the steam whistle "The American Devil," and the epithet is by no means misapplied. Of all the inventions of Yankee ingenuity it is the most demoniac, and the efforts which are now being made to exorcise this fiend from the locomotive ought to be aided by the prayers of all sensitive and nervous people. It has been testified to before the Railroad Commissioners that there are people who still survive at a place in Jamaica Plain where the screech of this instrument of torture is heard more than 300 times every day. It makes some portions of the beautiful suburbs of Boston the abode of misery by its horrible notes, shaking the state of man, especially if he happens to be ill, with pangs scarcely less than would be engendered by the trump of doom.

[article continues - no JP content]

The High School That Never Was

Like my earlier M.I.T. entry, this one tells the story of what didn't happen in Jamaica Plain. I had seen a mention of plans to build a Catholic high school in the Moss Hill area, but I needed an end to the story. With the second article below, I learned the details of what was the obvious outcome.

For those who don't know, Don Bosco high school started in East Boston, and, after the detour described below, ended up in downtown Boston. I've found three addresses, including the one given below, but I suspect that Washington street is correct - a Doubletree Hotel claims to be in the old school building. Which raises the question, what happened to the Warrenton street Brandeis school the Salesian Brothers were promised? It's not a Jamaica Plain issue, so I'll leave it unanswered.

A more interesting question is how the Brothers were able to buy the land, hire an architect and contractor, and not get the neighbors into full battle stations sooner. They could not have picked a more connected neighborhood to mess with south of Beacon Hill, and I'm sure the project was doomed from the start. The story told in the second article stinks to high heaven - it's hard to imagine that the Brothers wanted to trade a 23 acre tree-lined campus with brand new buildings for an old Boston public school in downtown Boston. Granted the public transportation was better in town, but Catholic Memorial got by without the Orange Line just fine.

I had some friends who went to Don Bosco in the late 1960s, and they never mentioned the bid to build in Jamaica Plain - I'm sure they didn't know about it. Regarding Councillor McLaughlin's assertions below, I'm sure the Catholic families of Jamaica Plain would have loved to have a Catholic boy's high school in walking distance of their homes. He was taking care of the interests of Moss Hill, not Jamaica Plain. Follow the money.

The site is the current home of Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon church. Their web site tells us that the Archdiocese owned the property and kept it until donating it to Boston's Maronite church in the 1960s. So did Cardinal Cushing pull the plug on Don Bosco? There was definitely some dealing going on that didn't make the newspaper.

Jamaica Plain Citizen January 14, 1954

New School To Be Built On Rockwood St.

Don Bosco Technical School Will Offer Facilities For 1,000 Students

Construction of a new Don Bosco Technical School with facilities for more than 1000 students will be started on Rockwood street, Jamaica Plain, sometime in March, it was disclosed this week.

The New School, a $1,000,000 three-building project, will replace the present school which was founded on Byron street, East Boston in 1946 to provide technical as well as academic training.

Present school facilities are inadequate to take care of the number of students who have requested to enroll in the past few years, officials said.

The new school will contain facilities for technical, academic, recreational and religious instruction of its students.

To Occupy 23 Acres

The plant will occupy more than 23 acres. Two buildings, facing each other, will border on Rockwood street.The third will set behind these two structures and face the street.

One of the front builds will house the teaching staff. Directly opposite will be a building containing a chapel, gymnasium and cafeteria.

The rear building will house classrooms, a library, science laboratories and the woodworking, printing, auto mechanics and radio-television shops.

The new gymnasium and chapel will be connected by a sliding door which when opened will increase the gym when large crowds are expected for service.

The school operated by the Salesian Fathers and Brothers of Saint John Bosco, started in East Boston with 16 seventh grade students. The school now has an enrollment of 200 pupils and grammar school classes have been discussed.

The first building of the proposed project is expected to be ready for students in February or next year.

August 19, 19

Don Bosco Trade To Be Located On Site Of Brandeis School

Seen In Best Interests Of Local Area Residents

The abandonment of the Jamaica Plain site for the Don Bosco Trade School in favor of the former Brandeis High School on Warrenton street, South End, was announced today by Councilman Edward F. McLaughlin, Jr. The announcement followed a series of protests by Jamaica Plain residents of the Moss Hill and Jamaica Hills section against construction of the school in a residential area.

McLaughlin was the first public official to suggest a delay in construction and recommended the Brandeis school as a site. The school had been declared surplus and was considered on of the best equipped and centrally located high schools for a trade institution.

The fathers who operate the present Don Bosco school in East Boston immediately concurred with McLaughlin's plan and asked the School Committee for permission to purchase the Brandeis structure.

McLaughlin arranged for a series of meetings between the interested parties and the sale was concluded last week when the Board of Sale for School Buildings approved a price of about $100,000. The vote was four to two in favor, with Mayor Hynes dissenting to the sale. The Mayor said he wanted the bids opened to all and wanted a higher price.

McLaughlin said the change of sites would prove beneficial to all concerned.

"There is no doubt," McLaughlin added, "that construction of a high school in the best residential are of Jamaica Plain was not to the best interests of either Jamaica Plain residents or the Fathers of the Don Bosco School."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ghosts At Franklin Park Zoo

I found the pictures below at the Library of Congress web site. They were taken in 1978, and apparently someone decided to record the buildings for posterity. It's a shame they didn't think to take pictures before they removed the animals - these photos are spooky to me. I remember the buildings, but only just. The last time my parents brought me to the zoo was probably 1965. In light of today's zoo practices, these buildings seem positively primitive. They were old and run down when I saw them, but the animals were no less grand for their surroundings. For those who wince at the tiny, bare quarters the animals were held in, a story. My father told me that when he was at the zoo once - probably pre-war - he watched an elderly woman approach the lion cage at the outside corner of the building. The cat, a big male, looked at the lady, lifted his leg, and sent a stream of piss directly towards her head. No doubt, the old lady took one for our sins, bless her soul.

I wonder what happened to the head that projected from the building above the front door of the elephant house. Did they just destroy it? It was modeled on one of the three original elephants who opened the zoo. There must be someone who knows the answer to this.

Jamaica Cycle Club - In The News

During the late 19th Century, the cycle club news was a regular feature in the Boston Globe. I've copied out a representative set of such notices here, taken from larger articles featuring clubs from around the Boston area. Where I could, I used the Boston Directory of 1905 to determine the address and profession of some of the members mentioned. Most would be called working class men - machinists, delivery men, printers, with clerks who were probably earning similar money to their blue collar co-members. The articles below show that the club was much more than a bicycle rider's association. They had rooms on Centre street, held dances, and seemed to spend as much time playing pool and cards as riding their bicycles. The Cycle Club seems to have been a working man's answer to the more middle class Jamaica Club. They couldn't afford a house of their own, but their rooms on Centre street - the address given is at the top of Starr lane - seem to have served them just fine. I'd love to know what happened to the trophies the prizes they collected.

Boston Daily Globe

February 3, 1888

Jamaica Cycle Club Dance.

The second entertainment and dance of the Jamaica Cycle Club, in Eliot Hall, Roxbury, last evening, proved a decided success, socially and financially. The entertainment consisted of banjo and guitar selections by the trio, Edwin C. Chase, E.W. Brewer and Seaverns; solos by Walter J. Cowlishaw, readings by Henry S. Lawton, and guitar solos by Robert Hyde.

Twelve dances occupied the evening until 12 o'clock. The entertainment committee were Charles W. Dennis, Waldo Cushing, Edwin C. Chase and William A. Mosman.

March 11, 1894

Jamaica Cycle

The Jamaica cycle club held its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday evening. Mr E. Griffin, Sidney Cogswell, B. Johnson and H.E. Hill were admitted as members.

The candidates are as follows: President, C.A. Underwood; vice president, J.C. Odell; treasurer, W.R. Cole; secretary, D.C.Valentine Jr; captain, A. Butterworth; first lieutenants, F. Collinson, G. Peterson, G.P. Roberts, J. Kilroe; bugler, W. Johnson; colorbearers, F.H. Valentine, Chas. E. Cobbett, W.J. Wergman.

The election of officers will tke place April 3 at the next regular monthly meeting.

C.A. Underwood - bookkeeper, 44 Green st.
Burton Johnson - pressman, 324 Centre st.
Harry E. Hill - expressman, 160 Hillside, Roxbury
William R. Cole - printer, 64 Mozart st.
A. Butterworth - 12 Dalrymple st. (?)
G. Peterson - machinist, 87 Mozart st.
J. Kilroe - clerk, 3536 Washington st.

February 10, 1895

Jamaica Cycle Club.

At the last monthly meeting, it was voted to purchase and locate one "helping hand" every month, and example which might be followed with profit by every cycle club in the state.

The club also voted to entertain some visiting club, pprovided the national meet is held in Boston.

The second annual dance will be held in Jamaica hall on Feb 12.

A sleighing party will be run this month, and a stereopticon exhibition , to be held in the clubrooms, is in rapid preparation.

April 14, 1895

Jamaica Cycle Club

This club entertained the Shawmuts last Thursday night and lost two games of pool, the scores being: Shawmuts, Hewins 50, Donovan 50; Jamaicas, Larish 41, Vogel 49. In whist the scores were 32 - 20, 21 - 7, and 19 - 8 in favor of Jamaicas.

The club run for today is Waltham, at 2 p.m.

Francis Larish - wire chief, 42 Seaverns ave., boards Enfield st. Dorchester

Boylston Cycle Club.

The final touches have already been made for the ball, which is to take place in Curtis hall, Jamaica Plain, tomorrow night. Tickets have sold extremely well and a large attendance is expected. Everything has been done to make it a success. Arrangements hae been made for the accommodation of wheels for out-of-town clubs.

September 5, 1895

Jamaica Prizes.

Following is a partial list of the prizes in the Jamaica cycle club road race next Saturday:

Wheel, solid silver cyclometer engraved with the date and name of the winner, a pair of tires, revolver, bicycle pants, billiard cue, cyclometer, bicycle pants, adjustable handle bars, shoes, saddle, card table, pedals, 10,000 cyclometer, smoking set, luggage carrier, langer, cyclometers, etc. Time prize $30 diamond.

Those desiring to be shown over the course can be a accommodated by calling at 656 Centre st, Jamaica Plain, evenings after 7. The course is as follows: Start, corner South and MOrton sts, South the Centre, Centre to Baker, Baker to Mt Vernon, Mt vernon to La Grange, La Grange to Spring, Spring to Centre, Centre to Corey, Corey to Weld, Weld to Centre, finishing at Monument, junction Centre and South.

January 25, 1899

Cycle Men The Hosts.

Jamaica club Gives Its Sixth Annual Ball, Which is a Successful One in All Respects.

The Jamaica cycle club of Jamaica Plain held its sixth annual ball last evening in Curtis hall, the affair being attended by upward of 500 people. The party was in every was successful.

After a concert program by the orchestra there was dancing adn a general good time until 1 o'clock.

The success of the ball was in a great measure due to the work of the following committee of arrangements, assisted by the members in charge of the floor: J.E. McGuire chairman, W.R. cole, George Drown, Henry F. Gerlach, James T. Kilroe, Henry Hulme and J.H. Egan. Those in charge of the floor were: Le van Molineux floor director, Henry F. Gerlach assistant floor director, A.W. Butterworth, Clarance Cassidy, John Chamberlain, Edward Coombs, Charles Coombs, John H.Egan, J.J.N. Foley, H.E. Hudson, J.W. Sargent, W.C. Yule and George Connor aids.

February 12, 1899

Jamaica Cycle Club.

A gander party will be given by the members to their friends on the evening of Feb 21.

Andrew Lannon was presented with a $5 gold piece for selling the most tickets for the dance.

Five new members were elected recently.

Henry Gerlach leads in the pool tournament with 195 points, followed by H. Lipps with 100 points.

C. Cassidy leads in the cribbage tournament with 1816 points, followed by J. Kilroe with 1711 points, W. Cole 1708, G. Drown 1695, H. Hulme 1672, H. Hudson 511, C. Coombs 395.

Henry Gerlach - plumber, 15 Rockview st.
Clarence Cassidy - shipper, 69 Boylston st.
Henry Hulme - carpenter, 64 Keyes st.
Charles Coombs - machinist, 2 Hillside ave.

Jamaica Plain Brings God To Missouri

Granted the title is a reach, but not by much. During the post-Civil War years, New England churches sent out missionaries to "the West" to spread Christian teachings to settlements that had left church and The Book behind. Today we tend to think of missionaries as international travellers, but, as told in this article, Christian missions in the 1870s supported by established American churches were internal. The new lands of the West had to be Christianized before churchmen could begin looking overseas for souls to save.

So how many Texans do you suppose know that it was New Englanders who taught them their Evangelical A-B-Cs? And make sure you don't miss the last sentence.

Boston Daily Globe June 12, 1876

American Sunday School Union.

Fifty-second Anniversary Observed at Jamaica Plain.

The fifty-second anniversary of the American Sunday School Union was observed last evening at the Central Congregational Church at Jamaica Plain. There was a large attendance, the beautiful and specious audience-room of the church being filled to its full capacity. Nelson Kingsbury, Esq., the secretary of the New England department of the society, presided, and in the course of an address in which he set forth the general character of the work performed by the society during the past fifty-two years, he said that in that period there had been established by agents and missionaries of the society, principally at the West, 63,793 Bible and Sunday Schools. The total number of pupils represented by these was 2,745,000; teachers 420,000: aid furnished to 7000 destitute scholars; money expended in furnishing such aid, $517,000. The exercises of the evening consisted largely of singing by the children of the Boylston Chapel Sunday School. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. Virgin, pastor of the Methodist Church of Jamaica Plain. The principal address of the evening was made by the Rev. William P. Paxson of St Louis, who is the agent and missionary of the society for the States of Missouri and Texas. He explained in detail the methods of missionary work followed by him and related many interesting facts of his experience as illustrative of the classes of people he has had to deal with and the peculiar success which, under adverse circumstances, has often rewarded his labors. The establishment of Sunday Schools in newly-settled or sparsely-populated districts he regarded the most efficient method of building up the cause of religion and multiplying the number of churches. In these districts there is often no difficulty in gathering children together for a Sunday School, when it would be impossible to induce their parents to come together for religious worship, much less to organize a church. IN time the little one taught in Sunday School grows to maturity, and constant accessions to the various settlements being the rule, the nucleus is in good time found to exist for the establishment of a church. In this way through Central Illinois and Northern Missouri 500 churches have been organized and are now in a flourishing condition. The same good work in its natal stages in the form of Sunday School organization is now going forward in Southern Missouri, Arkansas and Texas and would as he predicted one day cross the border and carry the gospel to the ignorant and priest-ridden people of Mexico.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Grifters Hit Jamaica Plain

Not so much a history of Jamaica Plain as simply a good story.

Boston Daily Globe January 13, 1897

Change Numbers On Houses.

Fraud That One Gang of Sharpers Have Been Perpetrating on the People of Jamaica Plain.

There have been many frauds perpetrated in Boston, but the latest one which police have seen fit to warn the public against is the most unique. It is so bold that if it were not mentioned on the police manifold the public might doubt the story being true.

This is a fraud in which a man and a boy are engaged. Their scheme has never been operated in Boston before. The pair of swindlers made their first appearance in Boston about a week ago. They drove into the district of Jamaica Plain with a bay horse and a green wagon, and began work on one of the most fashionable streets. They began at the end of the street and worked every house.

Placing new numbers on the houses was their scheme. The man rang the front door bell and informed the mistress of the house that orders had been given to change the numbers on every house. In most instances the owner thought that the order was compulsory and allowed the man to take off the old number and put on a new one. A number of the residents objected, and said that they didn't want the man to touch the number, at least until Mr ---- came home. In such instances as these, the man said that he had the authority to change numbers, and the persons who tried to prevent him might get into trouble. This threat had its effect. The owner thought it was an order from the street department, and felt that it must be obeyed. The result has been that almost everywhere the pair of frauds went they were allowed to go on with their work and collect the money after they had finished.

Just how extensively the plan has been operated is not known, but if they did as well in every part of the city as they did at Jamaica Plain, they have reaped a harvest. One fact which the police are certain of is that the men have operated only in the suburban districts. Their reason for doing this is plain. Inside the city proper there would be more danger of being caught perpetrating their fraud, for patrolmen are more numerous than they are in the suburban districts.

The fraud was doubly effective because those who allowed the man to change the numbers of their dwellings are now compelled to replace the number, for there has been no order to change.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

World Series Winnning Manager - JP Resident

Bill Carrigan as a catcher. (photo: Library of Congress)

Until last year, Bill Carrigan was the only Red Sox manager to win two World Series championships. Starting with the Sox as a catcher, Carrigan's teams won championships in the
1915 and 1916. He also lived for a time in Jamaica Plain, in the Arborway Court apartment building near Forest Hills. The building, and Fordham Court on South street, were both owned by the owner and President of the Red Sox, Joseph Lannin.

Mr Lannin, a real estate tycoon, must have lived in one of his Jamaica Plain buildings as well, because he was described in a later article as a parishioner of St Thomas' church. In fact, when the Red Sox went to the World Series later in 1915, Lannin brought Fr James Sherry of St Thomas with him as a guest - the same Fr Sherry who performed the marriage of Bill Carrigan and his wife, as described below.

So how long did Carrigan live in Jamaica Plain? We know that he won a law suit in which he was a defendant, involving an auto accident that occurred at the intersection of Centre and Orchard streets on September 5, 1914. That's not much of a window, but it's all I've got for now.

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society baseball article discussed the Lannin connection to Jamaica Plain. You can read more about Bill Carrigan here.

Boston Daily Globe January 6, 1915

Bill Carrigan Married Again

Ceremony Performed by Rev Fr Sherry.

Red Sox Manager Attended by Eddie Riley as Best Man.

Wedding in Rectory of St Thomas Church.

William F. (Bill) Carrigan, manager of the Boston American League team, and his bride of six days, who was Miss Beulah Bartlett of Lewiston, Me, were married according to the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church last evening.

The ceremony was performed by Rev James P. Sherry, assistant pastor of St Thomas Church, Jamaica Plain, at the rectory at 7 o'clock. Sec Edwin Riley of the Red Sox was best man, and Miss Anna L. Cahill of Brighton attended the bride.

Following the ceremony, Mr and Mrs Carrigan returned to their apartments at Arborway Court, Forest Hills, where they received the congratulations of a few intimate friends.

The announcement last Wednesday of the wedding of Carrigan and Miss Bartlett, who were friends and neighbors since childhood in Lewiston, caused considerable surprise. The first ceremony was performed by Rev Charles Hosea Temple of the First Universalist Church of the Redeemer at the home of the clergyman in Lewiston. On Thursday the bride and groom arrived in Boston and announcement of the marriage was made by Carrigan, through Sec Eddie Riley.

Although Carrigan and his bride succeeded in secreting themselves from friends in this city, the groom immediately instituted steps to have a ceremony performed by a clergyman of his own faith, and since his wife is a Protestant, it was necessary to secure a dispensation for his marriage with the rites of the Catholic Church.

The dispensation was secured and Riley, a close friend of the groom, and Miss Cahill, sister of Billy Cahill, a former Holy Cross athlete, agreed to attend the bride and groom.

Boston Daily Globe: October 8, 1915, January 19, 1916.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

American Napier Automobile Company

1906 American Napier (picture found online)

Napier was a British manufacturer of automobiles in the early twentieth century. An American Napier company was formed to assemble parts shipped from Britain for sale in the United States. The Napier Motor Company of America opened their factory in part of the old B.F. Sturtevant blower plant between Green and Williams streets in 1904.
You can see the location of the company here. Look in the upper right, near the Jamaica Plain (Green street) train station.

I haven't been able to find much information on the cars, but the company was in the news in at least two occasions. In 1906, an injunction was requested against local 264 of the International Association of Machinists, restraining them from interfering with the operation of the Napier motor company and from meeting or patrolling near the factory.

The union men of the factory had gone on strike protesting the firing of workers. The company claimed that the men had threatened workers who would not join the union, while the union said that the men had refused to sign an agreement to pay for tools spoiled during work.

In a hearing in the court of Judge Fessenden, the judge seemed to respect the rights of labor organizations to strike. He had granted an injunction to a union in the past, and suggested that the two parties come to an agreement.

The court heard evidence from non-union workers that they had been threatened by union workers. The union men denied the charges. When three men were fired by the company, sixty union men went on strike in their support.

Days later, Judge Fessenden granted the injunction, and the matter disappeared from the news.

In March of 1909, the company was back in the news, this time because of bankruptcy. The company was reorganized and put under new management. The same arrangement with British Napier was retained, A medium priced roadster and a light delivery wagon were planned, and negotiations were under way with a taxi service for several hundred taxicabs to be built. The company also established a repair department at the plant.

The next month, 10,000 shares of preferred stock of the American-Napier Company was offered to the public.

"The Napier companies assets consist of a thoroughly equipped plant covering 4 acres and capable of turning out two complete cars per day, as soon as the desired additional force of men is put to work, also of complete parts - mostly imported for immediate assembling of a number of cars. To this can be added the American rights to the Napier, estimated at $30,000 per year in experimental work and designs alone.

"Dividends at the rate of 7 per cent per annum are payable quarterly, beginning the calendar year. The next dividend date is July 1.

"The automobile industry was never in better shape than at present. The big factory of American-Napier Company at Jamaica Plain is rushed with work for spring delivery. The repair department, established to accommodate the thousands of owners of good cars in Greater Boston, is working to capacity."

And that's the last mention I can find of the Napier Company of Jamaica Plain. The company seems to have survived until 1912, only to be replaced in Jamaica Plain - in another former Sturtevant building - by the Farnham & Nelson automobile company, as I've discussed here.

Boston Daily Globe March 9, 1906, March 14, 1906, March 7, 1909

Friday, January 25, 2008

Italian Cemetery (St Michaels)

I didn't know that St Michael's cemetery had any special connection to Italians until last year, when I was doing some footwork tracing down the tributaries of Stony Brook. The old Canterbury brook wrapped around today's border of St Michael's, so I went in to look for any surviving evidence of the stream. What I found when I drove in to the property was a veritable cornucopia of vowels - row after row of musical Italian names. There had to be an explanation for this, and here it is. St Michael's was founded as an Italian Catholic cemetery. St Michael's web site describes the facility as non-denominational, so somewhere along the line both the Italian and Catholic origins gave way. Today's Boston is diverse even in death.

Here's a map of the area from 1914 - the grounds have expanded since then. The cemetery is in the upper right.

Boston Daily Globe January 9, 1906

Italian Cemetery.

Clergymen Interested in Starting It Comment Upon "Unfounded Rumors" That Have Been Circulated.

To the Editor of the Globe - Since the granting by the board of aldermen of a permit to the Italian Catholic cemetery association to use a certain parcel of land for burial purposes all sorts of unfounded rumors have been circulated, and in order that the public may have correct information we ask the publication of this letter.

The Italian population in Boston numbers about 60,000 and has had no place of its own in which to bury its dead. Holy Cross cemetery at Malden and Calvary cemetery in West Roxbury are crowded, and the burial lots can no longer be secured at reasonable figures, and no more free graves for the poor are obtainable. The movement for a new cemetery was started by the pastors of the four Italian churches in Boston, and all steps taken, both with reference to negotiating for the purchase of the land and for the granting of a permit by the board of aldermen, were by and under their advice.

The continued news items against the cemetery because of its being Italian are unfair. We are proud to say that no people of God's earth better adorn or decorate the graves of their dead than do the Italians. We characterize as false all statements relative to graft or illegal burial. We ourselves were in touch with the negotiation for the purchase of the land, and we also attended upon the board of aldermen in person the interment of the body, made solely for the purpose of taking legal possession of the premises under the permit as we understand to be customary, was made on the afternoon of Monday, and not in the evening of Saturday.

we understand that under the laws of the commonwealth and ordinances of our city the dead may be buried within the confines of the city. We asked nothing more, and we received nothing but what was our right, what has been granted to others and will be again. We deem it a right that no man can deny, that as citizens of Boston we are entitled to a place of burial for our dead.

If the entire city were searched no more fitting place could be found for the site of a cemetery than that selected, as may be attested by the location of others in the same vicinity, namely the Forest Hills cemetery, Calvary cemetery, Mt Hope cemetery and others. In fact it is the cemetery district of Boston, and this leads us to look in that direction for a location.

The property is bounded by Walk Hill, Canterbury and Bourne sts on three sides and by vacant unused land on the fourth. There are no buildings on the property save one on Walk Hill st, which we are willing and desirous of purchasing. Pierce farm, owned by the city of Boston, is on the opposite corner, and with the crematory but a few feet away on Walk Hill st it is in no sense a residential district.

We must have a cemetery and what better place could there be for one than the one selected, with a cemetery on the opposite side of the street and another directly to the rear, with very few residences in the immediate locality, and with the prospect of building entirely eliminated by the public lands held by the city in the immediate vicinity.

We have met every legal requirement, and feel that the opposition we are now meeting has been aroused, and that the press is unwittingly being used by interested persons with ulterior motives, who have endeavored to thwart us in our efforts to secure the permit, and we are cognizant of the fact that they are now encouraging unjust agitation against us.

Rev Roberto Biasotti
Rev F. Valerianus, OFM
Rev P Di Milla
Rev Francis F. Saunella.

January 28, 1907

Blessing The Ground.

Rev Fr Di Milla Officiates at the Services Held at the Italian Cemetery in Forest Hills.

Yesterday afternoon many Italians were present at the blessing of the ground of the Italian Catholic cemetery association on Walkhill st, Forest Hills.

Since it gained title to the plot of ground near Canterbury st, over which there had been much objection made by residents of that section, the association has fenced it in, graded the lot, established a system of drainage and erected an ornamental gateway.

The exercises were conducted by Rev Fr Pasquale Di Milla.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Children's Museum - 1950s, and Miss Miriam Dickey

This entry is a two-fer, a short article and an obituary. Newcomers to Jamaica Plain all learn that the Children's Museum was once housed across from Jamaica Pond, but they can have little idea of what the Museum was actually like. We are all probably the same when it comes to the buildings still standing that once contained carriage factories. Unless you were there, it's difficult to imagine the day-to-day goings-on of the carpenters, blacksmiths and leather workers. In this case, I doubt many residents today know that the Children's Museum showed movies for children, or that children came from around the city for regular programs. The Museum was more than glass cases and stuffed animals - it was an active community with a caring staff.

The mention of the Bird Club made me think of Miss Dickey, who was a fixture at the Museum for many years. She was in charge of education programs at the Museum, and led the weekly bird walks over decades. I found the obituary below in a usenet group, and it came without attribution. She was even more busy than I remembered, and lived an active life, dying in her Nineties in 2002. She inspired generations of children at the Museum and around the city, and deserves to be remembered as much as any Curtis or Greenough or Weld.

Jamaica Plain Citizen January 31, 1952

Peck's Bad Boy At Children's Museum Feb. 2

All indications are that young people find "Peck's Bad Boy at the Circus" a very entertaining motion picture. That is why The Children's Museum in Jamaica Plain has scheduled it once more - this time on Saturday, February 2d at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free but limited to those in grade three and above.

At Story Hour this week, it will be a Hans Anderson fairy tale - "The Tinder Box" - that Miss Ruth Green will tell to her little listeners of first and second grade. The stories are always made more vivid by use of objects from the Museum's collection. The boys and girls look forward to the handwork which they may take home afterwards. This program begins at 2:30.

Museum Bird Club members are among those who go on the regular two-hour Saturday Morning Nature Walk. Sometimes they have the thrill of adding a new bird to their list. Anyone of any age is welcome to join the Museum leader at Centre and Eliot streets, Jamaica Plain, at 8:00 a.m.

As a result of the Game-Making Contest, five new Museum Games will be published on February 2d. The names of the winning game-makers are:

James Boyle, Dorchester, Carolyn Glennon, Jamaica Plain, Francis McCusker, Jamaica Plain, Robert O'Connell, Jamaica Plain, and Susam Parmalee, Roslindale.


In 1969, when Miss Miriam Dickey pulled into the South End, Boston,
Massachusetts, in a shocking yellow hearse called the Plantmobile, she had her work cut out for her.Her mission was to lead a flower walk for kids, but nothing was blossoming on Shawmut Avenue. She eventually found dandelions growing in a vacant lot.

"It's only a weed if it's growing where it's not supposed to," she said. "In the city, it's a flower."Miss Dickey, 94, a teacher and naturalist, who was director of education at the Boston Children's Museum, died May 23, 2002, in Charlwell HouseNursing Home in Norwood, Massachusetts.

In the late 1960s, she and her staff in the Plantmobile, part of the city of Boston's Summerthing program, brought nearly 18,000 plants and trees to neighborhoods, where they were sold at cost - about a nickel a flower - as part of an effort to spruce up the city.The Plantmobile's most popular program was Miss Dickey's wildflower walks for city kids.

One morning in 1969, she led 20 fidgety 4- to 7-year-olds around the South End . . . and there wasn't even a dandelion to be found. But she hit paydirt peeking through the mesh of a yellow fence: a pale magenta plant called a ladies' thumb.She patiently pointed out the "thumb print" on the green leaf to the hooting and hollering kids. Then she plucked a small green plant and distributed its tiny green seeds.

"Does it taste good?" she asked one 5-year-old.

"Oh, it's hot," said the youngster.

That's how Miss Dickey introduced the youngsters to the pepper plant.

Born in Medford, she graduated from Wheaton College in 1932. Soon after graduation, she joined the education department at the Children's Museum. She became head of the department in 1941. At the museum, which was then located overlooking Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, she was constantly lobbying to upgrade its natural history exhibits of skunks and woodchucks.

"Traditions have to be brought up to date for young space cadets already
dreaming of the 25th century." she said.

But she had both feet firmly planted on the ground.

"For many," she said, "the wonders of nature are limited to what can grow, crawl or fly in a city backyard."

For 27 years, Miss Dickey ran a summer day camp for kids. She also taught natural history classes in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Roxbury, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

"She knew everything about all the birds and plants," said a former student, Frederick T. Atwood, a naturalist and nature photographer who teaches at Flint Hill School in Oakton, Virginia. Atwood, who is now in his mid-40s, took her classes at the Children's Museum when he was 8 years old. He said she cultivated his interest in birds into "a passionate fascination and curiosity with everything about nature.

"She took us to the same places every week: Arnold Arboretum and Jamaica Pond," he said. "She was always enthusiastic and interested in everything. If you brought something to her, she'd gush about it, even if she'd seen it a hundred times."

Miss Dickey continued to teach natural history to preschool children as a volunteer for the Visiting Nurses Center in Dedham, Massachusetts, until her retirement in 1997, when she was 90. The following year, she was inducted into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame of Science Educators.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A reader has generously passed on this postcard view of Nazareth.

Nazareth campus plus Moss Hill now - satellite photo.

Same location as above: from a 1924 map.

Another corner of Jamaica Plain, another institution. Nazareth was a more recent introduction to the district than many I've covered earlier, coming in the post-war years (that would be The Big One, as my father liked to say). Although it was out of the way, on the far side of Moss Hill, I was aware of it as a child. That may have been because I was raised Catholic, and might have herd mention of it in church. Years later, a good friend of mine told me that he had spent some time at Nazareth, and had even been sent to the Agassiz school. No doubt we had been in the school at the same time, fifteen years or so earlier. He did not remember the experience of Nazareth fondly, although that should be no surprise - the situation was a necessarily unpleasant one to deal with. The four million dollar facility didn't even make a half century of use, being closed and replaced by the Showa Institute.

I think that it's fair to assume that the headline below contains a typo - the children were homeless, not nameless.

Jamaica Plain Citizen March 20, 1952

Abp. Cushing Breaks Ground For Nazareth

$4,000,000 Home On Moss Hill For Temporarily Nameless Children

Archbishop Cushing yesterday broke ground for Nazareth, the $4,000,000 home for temporarily homeless and dependent children, on Moss Hill, Jamaica Plain, on the grounds of the former Slocum estate.

The brief ceremony was attended by Mayor Hynes and other civic officials; nuns and children from the Home for Catholic Children on Harrison ave., which Nazareth will succeed; and representatives from Catholic religious organizations.

Nazareth will be built on a radial plan of 10 cottages, each cottage containing five sleeping rooms, with six beds to a room; a two-bed infirmary; storage, recreation and dining rooms and kitchenette. Play areas will be built between cottages. The recreation center, in the middle of the radial, will contain an auditorium and gymnasium.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jamaica Plain Boy - Red Sox Mascot

Time to move on from Franklin park for a while. There is more Jamaica Plain content than meet's the eye in this article. As told in the baseball article at the Jamaica Plain Historical Society web site, Joseph J. Lannin owned property in Jamaica Plain. In 1914 he owned both Fordham Court - still standing on South street near the Arborway - and Arborway Court, a long-lost apartment building that sat at the corner of South street and St Ann street (now defunct), near where Asticou road comes out to Washington street today. It may have been Lannin's connection to Jamaica Plain that got "Lefty" Glennon his job with the Red Sox described below.

Boston Daily Globe February 11, 1915

How Can The Rex Sox Lose?

Between "Lefty" Glennon, Luck Producer, and Ty Cobb Prophet,

There Seems to Be Nothing to It This Year.

Thousands of Red Sox fans will be interested in the announcement that William Joseph Glennon, the 13-year-old youngster with the deep-red hair, who was seen on the diamond every afternoon that the Boston team played in Boston last season, has been "signed" as a member of the team for the coming year in the capacity of mascot.

He is known as "Red" by his playmates, but this name has not the approval of his mother, who is naturally proud of the signal distinction of her son, coming as it does direct from Pres Lannin. The new mascot is left-handed, and she says "Lefty" is much better; so "Lefty" Glennon his name will henceforth be to Boston baseball enthusiasts.

"Lefty" Glennon is a freshman at Boston College High School; he is a bright student and well liked. He was "graduated" into the major league from a local team, the Red Sox of Jamaica Plain, an organization fostered by one of the curates of the St Thomas parish, in which he lives at 16 St Rose st.

On this team, which claimed the 12-13-year-old championship of Greater Boston, he played in centerfield and played it well, according to the fans of the neighborhood. These same experts figure also that the rise of the Red Sox near the end of the season last year was due to the daily attendance of young "Lefty."

Pres Lannin's letter notifying "Lefty" of his appointment states the hope that the team will play its way to success the coming season as a result of its mascot.

Red Sox Will Win Flag Before Sept 1 - Ty Cobb

Detroit. Feb 10 - Tyrus Raymond Cobb, writing to a Detroit friend from his home in Georgia, makes two predictions. One is that the Detroit Tigers will show an improvement over their 1914 form, and the other, of more interest to Boston, says that the Boston Red Sox will sew up the American League pennant before Sept 1.

"I say this advisedly, because I do not consider accidents. To my way of guessing, the next World's Series will be staged in Boston," Cobb says.

Franklin Park Zoo Grows and Grows

I vaguely remember visiting the zoo with my parents in the early Sixties. I do remember the elephant house, the big cat house, and the monkeys. For at least one summer, around 1967, St Thomas band held marching practice in the infield grounds just inside the Blue Hill avenue entrance. Unlike my mother, who had names for the zoo animals and pulled a sled from Amory or Oakdale street to the park to go sledding (think about it), I never spent much time at the zoo or park.

Go here to see a 1924 map of Franklin Park that shows the location of the lion and elephant houses, the bird cage and the bear pens.

On October 4, 1912, the new bear exhibit was opened at the Franklin Park zoo to an audience of nearly 10,000 people. Mayor Fitzgerald, City Council President Attridge and Councillor Ballentyne released 12 bears from their enclosed housing to the open pens near Walnut avenue. John T. Benson, curator of the zoo, boasted that the bear enclosure was the best in the world. Mayor Fitzgerald gave credit to George Parkman, whose bequest of $6,000,000 in 1910 for the parks of Boston destined the city to have the most wonderful parks in the world.

By June of the next year, two of 137 planned building had been built - the bear dens and the bird cage. Two monkeys were housed in a small circular building near the refectory, which stayed crowded throughout Sunday visiting hours. Present sensibilities would be deeply offended by the scene observed by the Globe reporter - a monkey given a hand mirror to play with, which it bit and broke, only to examine the resulting shards of glass. An agouti was in the next cage, and an adjutant stork, described as a "horrid bird." Its eye is "large, full of intelligence, and it has an expression of utter cynicism." Here, I think we can see the writer having some fun, as with the description of a camel on loan to the zoo - "He is an unpleasant, two-humped, supercilious affair..."

At the periphery of the temporary building were elk, a wild boar, and a buffalo. Bears, wolves, skunks and spotted ocelots were held there as well, with the building being planned for later use as a hospital and quarantine.

At the bird cage, which had been delayed in opening by a strike, four eagles perched on the branches of the enclosed trees, and a demoiselle crane performed its dance.

The bears included polar, Siberians, browns and a black, giving a population of 15, with Indian bears still to come.

The tropical birds in the collection had not all fared well, seven having died over the winter, including four flamingos from Florida and two German storks had died as well.

By December of the same year, permanent housing was in place near Blue Hill avenue for the buffalo, elk, llama, goat and red deer. Louis A. Mowbray, curator of the Aquarium, had taken temporary charge of the zoo since the retirement of John T. Benson, holding the position until the new curator, Arthur B. Baker, was to take over on the first of January.

In July of the following year, 2 lions and 10 monkeys arrived in Boston by steamship. The lions had been captured in Africa by Mr. Nelson Slater, who left Harvard and was "famous as a daring motorist, then turned to the African continent for thrills." Such were the times. Another donation to the zoo was a black bear cub from Oregon, given by the comedian Eddie Foy. The cub had been appearing with the Foy family at the Palace Theatre, and was said to be a favorite with women and children.

January of 1915 saw the opening of the new elephant house, home for Tony, Waddy and Mollie. The facility included an exercise yard and a pool 60 feet by 60 feet across, and sloping to seven feet deep. The elephants had come from a vaudeville show, and there was room to allow for similar performance.

A new round house contained leopards, pumas, wolves, red foxes and a wild-cat. The newly arrived lions were kept here, as well as one hyena. The polar bears enjoyed a swim in their pool, even when they needed to stamp through the ice to reach the water.

The second season of the Franklin Park Zoo started with a collection of 856 animals, including 705 birds and 151 mammals. Among the most popular attractions were the golden baboons, Jack and Jocko; Spider and Prince, the ring-tailed monkeys, Mutt, the spotted hyena and Sultan, the leopard.

In January of 1921, the lions, leopards and spotted hyena were moved to the new Lion House. Under the watchful eyes of the monkeys, and with meat tempting them into them each in succession into the travelling crate, each animal yielded and made the short trip. The exception was Sheila, the leopard, who refused the enticement offered and had to be corralled with a noose and drawn into the crate.

Resources: Boston Daily Globe, October 4, 1912, June 1, 1913, December 21, 1913, July 27, 1914, January 4, 1915, April 4, 1915, and January 14, 1921.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hagborne Hill Reservoir

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

In the center of the above map, you see Hagborne hill. If you're like me, as soon as the weather gets nice you'll want to talk a walk around the hill and look for evidence of the lost reservoir of Franklin Park. Even more, I'd love to know what's inside it now. I'd also like to know where the pumps of the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company were. And finally, I'd like to know the name of the Nimrod responsible for this disaster.

Boston Daily Globe October 26, 1902

Abandoned Hole. A Record Hall of Park Department. Reservoir Was Built in the Rock of Hagborne Hill. Meant to Supply Ponds of Franklin Park.

Boston has a great reservoir, built to hold water, which is utilized as a graveyard for public documents.

When it became apparent that the water shed of Franklin park was insufficient to keep the ponds full during the dry season and that it would be necessary to supplement the natural water supply, it was determined to utilize the plant of the Jamaica pond aqueduct corporation, laying an eight-inch pipe from the pumping station to a reservoir on Hagborne hill, and erecting standpipes along the line for road sprinkling purposes.

Work on the reservoir was begun in 1894. It was entirely below the original surface of the ground, and was excavated chiefly in rock, the bottom resting entirely on rock. This would have made the cost excessively high, except for the fact that material for road surfacing was obtained.

Inasmuch as the level of the water could not well be kept at a constant height and the appearance of the reservoir, if exposed, would be unsightly, it was thought best to have it covered.

The side walls were perpendicular, of American cement concrete, with a thickness nowhere less than one foot, the remaining space between the concrete and the ledge being filled with dry rubble.

Brick piers, 16 inches square, 10 inches high and 10 feet apart, were built for supporting the roof.

The top is covered today by 2 1/2 feet of loam.

The big main branches in a manhole just outside. The branch which was to supply the reservoir enters about six inches above the bottom, and is carried diagonally across nearly to the farther corner, where it ends in a globe-shaped casting, with an opening above. The branch which was to serve for an outflow pipe passes under the bottom and in embedded in concrete.

The reservoir covers an area of 9733 square feet, and has a capacity of 951,000 gallons, which is estimated to be a week's supply, n the driest time, for water carts on the drive between the reservoir and Jamaica park and also for making good the loss by evaporation from the ponds in Franklin park.

Difficulties arose which prevented the carrying out of the project, and the immense and costly reservoir, together with the tons of pipe, was abandoned. It was found that the water of Jamaica pond was too low to be carried to Hagborne hill without a more powerful pumping energy than could be supplied by the old Jamaica pond aqueduct pumps, and it was not deemed wise to construct a new pumping plant.

Since, the old pumping station has been removed, and instead of water in the great well in the park, the dry and musty records of the park department are to be found.Link

Update: I later walked around Hagborne hill and found evidence of the reservoir: Update

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Frankln Park Zoo - Animals Arriving

Boston Daily Globe May 5, 1912

Jungle Dwellers For The Zoo

Two Grizzly, Two Cinnamon and Two Black Bears Expected from the Yellowstone National Park for the Boston Collection of Wild Animals, Water Fowl and Beautifully Plumed Foreign Birds.

Large Flocks Of Game Birds Given by John E. Thayer.

Donations of animals and birds to the city of Boston for its new zoo at Franklin Park have been so frequent and so liberal up to date that it begins to look as if Curator John T. Benson of the zoo will have a good-sized collection of beasts to put in their proper places when the time rolls around for the official opening of the animals' and birds' new quarters.

Mr Benson has been much pleased with the immediate recognition which had been given the new institution by prominent collectors and naturalists all over the country. Not only friends of Boston alone, but many others interested in the spread of appreciation of the wonders of natural science have expressed a desire to do their part, no matter how small, and to aid in suggestions for the keeping of the mammals in not in personal donations.

"The fame of the new zoo and reports of our preparations for it," said Mr Benson in speaking of the interest that is being taken, "have already spread far and wide, so much so that I begin to think people in the other parts of the country have heard more about it than have Boston people. I have been receiving letters from prominent persons of different States, some of them in the West, all of whom have congratulated me, as the representative of the city, on the new departure, and have sought information. The immediate success of the enterprise is assured."

Meanwhile Curator Benson is doing what he can to hurry along the work of construction of the future homes of the animals and birds, viz, the bear dens, the flying cage and the service room for the reception of the live stock. No exact date for opening has been set. This will depend largely on the rapidity with which the work progresses from now on. Up to this time the laborers have been hampered often by difficulties imposed by the weather, yet the buildings have already taken definite shape.

While waiting for the completion of their Summer quarters the beasts are being temporarily housed in cages and pens built expressly for the purpose. Great care has been exercised in their keeping during the Winter months and every advantage has been offered them.

Perhaps the largest collection of any kind that has yet been presented to the Zoo and delivered to the keeper is that of water fowl, given by John E. Thayer of Lancaster, the well-known ornithologist and collector. The donation of this collection stands as another of the many public services which Mr Thayer has rendered along the line of natural science.

The group presented comprises a very large number of aquatic birds, many of them rare specimens, a collection the gathering of which undoubtedly required many years of patience. There are not only strange birds from other parts of the United States and Canada, but also several from foreign countries, such as Australia, Japan and China.

Specimens contained in the collection include pairs of comb geese, semipalmated geese, widgeon, tree ducks, shoveler ducks, ruddy sheldrakes, red heads, pintails, Egyptian geese and snow geese. Altogether a fine group of water fowl to start with.

With these are being kept six beautiful white swans which were given to the city by Howard Marston. These handsome birds occupy a prominent place in the whole collection.

A good start has also been made in the animal department. The first donation was that of a fine black bear, made by Newton Newkirk of Boston. The animal has been enjoying himself during the Winter in the recesses of a private dun which is kept in the Franklin Park yard. This present was followed by the gift of a young alligator and another of a Gila monster, a member of the lizard family. The givers of these withheld their names.

Still more recent has been the donation of a rare tortoise by Dr James B. Thornton of the Back Bay. This creature is known as a wood tortoise and its habitat is in the Southern climes, particularly in islands of the West Indies.

It came into the Dr Thornton's possession in a very peculiar way. One day when he was driving through Fenway in an automobile he saw the animal crossing the road at a rapid rate. He captured it and took it home, keeping it there during the Winter in a small cage which he made for it. The animal made a splendid pet, he states. It arose with the rest of the family in the morning, took its meals about the same time and usually went off to bed about 2 in the afternoon. In cold weather it crawled off into the darkness for days at a time.

An addition to the above collection of mammals is expected in a short time from the National Government, which has expressed its intention of taking some of the animals in Yellowstone National Park and transporting them to the Boston Zoo, there to have their habitation. This group will probably include four grizzly bears, two cinnamon bears and two blacks.

Curator Benson has received intimations that donations are to come from several other sources, and the fact has been well manifest that outsiders as well as the people of Boston are deeply interested in the success of the new zoo.

Franklin Park Zoo - Getting Closer.

Boston Daily Globe November 24, 1911

Pushing Work At Zoological Gardens. Iron and Masonry Parts Nearly Finished -- Bear Pits Practically complete and Great Bird Cage Progressing.

Work is being rapidly pushed at the Zoological Gardens at Franklin Park, the contractors endeavoring to have the iron and masonry work completed before the snow comes. At the bear pens the heavy walls are nearly finished and the pens themselves lack only a few minor additions.

The large bird cage that is being erected near Humbolt av is nearly completed as far as the iron work is concerned. During the past week the work of putting the girders in place has gone on.

The cage will be 210 feet long, 60 feet high and 50 feet wide, with a large arched roof. Inside the cage will be a number of trees for the birds to roost on and a large cement tank will be put in for the water fowl. I was the intention to have only water fowl in the cage, but it has been decided to put all kinds of birds there. At present the authorities have 37 different kinds of birds in the cage.

Owing to the cold the building of the tank will not start until early in the Spring.

Franklin Park Zoo - Opening Soon

I will note here that I'm pretty sure that the John Benson cited below was later the founder of Benson's Wild Animal Farm of Hudson New Hampshire. Or was it his son? Any one who grew up in the metro Boston area during the 1960s like I did will remember the name, and many will have visited the park. If I'm right about this, why did Mr Benson leave Franklin Park? Maybe someone will have an answer to leave in the Comments section.

Boston Daily Globe May 28, 1911

Boston Zoo Ready In A Year

J.T. Benson Has Been Nominated Curator.

Talks of His Experiences and of Franklin Park Plans.

By this time next year the new municipal zoo in Franklin park will be opened. It is expected at present, with the bear dens occupied and the denizens of the great flying cage on view to the public. Work has already started on the bear dens and Monday a large force of men will be employed on this one feature. If plans for the new Boston zoological gardens can be taken as any criterion for the completed zoo, Boston will undoubtedly have one of the finest such exhibits to be found in the world.

A Globe reporter visited the site of the proposed zoo in Franklin park last week to ascertain what had been done. There he found John T. Benson, who has been appointed curator of the zoo by park commissioners, subject to confirmation by Mayor Fitzgerald. His honor has not yet confirmed the selection of the park commissioners.

Mr Benson is well equipped for this great work, as he has been intimately associated with animals, birds and fish from his boyhood. Last winter he passed five months in the great European cities studying the zoos there and securing first-hand information as to the latest and best methods of housing and caring for park animals, birds, etc. During his trip he visited the great zoological gardens at Dublin, London, Paris, Berlin, Antwerp and Hamburg.

Being personally friendly with Hagenbeck, he visited that famous animal man's place at Hamburg, which is the most modern and best equipped in the world, he says. Because of his friendship he was permitted to make a careful study of the quarters, making measurements and plans of the cages, houses, drainage systems, etc, all of which would be invaluable to him here.

He says that owing to the rapid decrease in wild animals the world over, and the inability of people to study them in their native haunts, the demand for zoological gardens in being felt in all large cites, and those not yet having a zoo are preparing to establish one; their educational advantages are unlimited. He thinks Boston is particularly fortunate in having the great Parkman fund to help it with its work of establishing a zoo here.

[skip section about Mr Benson]

He took the Globe representative over the section of Franklin park to be devoted to the zoological garden, and showed him just where the men are engaged in grading and blasting for the bear dens, which is almost opposite Humbolt av, on the Seaver-st side of the park. It is an ideal location for the dens, which are to be made as natural as possible, consistent with proper drainage, etc.

Bids for the construction of the largest flying cage in the world are to be opened May 29 and it is expected that the cage will be completed and it feathered inhabitants in place by next May. This cage will be so large that it will entirely enclose six or eight great towering elms, now growing on the site, and the trees will be left undisturbed within the cage.

Dimensions of the Cage.

An idea of the size of this cage can be had from the fact that the cage in the Bronx park in New York is 132 feet long and 55 feet high, while that to be built at Franklin park will be 190 feet long and 56 feet high, or nearly 10 feet longer than the one in New York.

Plans have just been completed for the bear cages and dens, and the foundation work for these is already in progress. The cages will be completed and the animals installed in them by next year. There will be four of these great bear cages, with opportunity for more if desirable and accommodations will be provided for 23 or more bears. These cages will be built in Long Crough woods, near Seaver st.

The cages will be arranged in a great semicircle, before which is to be an open court, approached by a broad flight of steps. There is to be a fountain in the open court. About 10 feet from the front of the cages will be a barrier to prevent people getting too close to the animals, and between that and the cages will be a mass of low shrubbery. All four cages will have pools of about 20 feet width for the bears to swim in, and natural conditions will be simulated within the cages as much as possible. There will be trees within the cages, but they will be provided with guards to prevent the bears climbing and destroying them.

Each cage will be 90 feet in depth, not including the den portion, which will project from the rear. One cage is to be 130 feet long and the others about 90 feet long. Upon the suggestion of Mr Benson a drainage system will be installed so that the cages can be kept perfectly clean at all times.

Almost in front of the bear cages, under a great natural bowlder(sic) which is to act as a background for the cage, will be built the quarters of the lynx group. As little ironwork as possible will be used, but of necessity some must be visible, in the various cages. Next summer a great bird house is to be erected for winter quarters, and it will be ready to receive them by the time they most be taken in from the flying cage.

Mr Benson has already been in correspondence with a number of persons to secure animals and birds for the new zoo. In fact, at Franklin park there is a small black bear from Main, which has been donated to the new zoo by a Boston newspaper man. This bear was one year old last February. Other offers of bear, buffalo, elk and a wolf have already been made by a person wishing to donate them.

Mr Benson, in the work he has been doing at the park up to this time, has been given quarters in the office of supt Pettigrew, but he expects to change to the Overlook building and to share the rooms of the park police until some permanent offices are assigned the curator of the zoo.

The Zoo At Franklin Park

Note the dates of the articles. The wheels of government turn slowly. The Parkman Fund refers to money left by George Francis Parkman for the care of parks in the City of Boston.

Boston Daily Globe March 19, 1888

The "Zoo" at Franklin Park.

Definite arrangements have been concluded for the establishment of a zoological garden, in occupancy of that portion of Franklin Park on the corner of Walnut avenue and Seaver street, taking in the present entrance opposite School street, and extending along Seaver street about midway towards Blue Hill avenue, and covering a large tract of territory. This part of the grounds is particularly eligible for the purpose, on account of its rustic nature, a large part abounding in ledges, acclivities and groves. Suitable buildings will be erected in consonance with plans now being perfected, and the various components of a grand zoo, equalling at least anything in this country, will be furnished as speedily as possible.

June 25, 1910

Favors New Zoo At Franklin Park.

But Parkman Committee Takes No Action.

Recommends $10,000 be Used to Improve Charlesbank.

The special committee of the city council on the Parkman fund, Councilor Hale presiding, held a meeting at city hall yesterday afternoon at which the members discussed the project of establishing a zoo at Franklin park. There were representatives present from the art and park commissions.

The discussion was general, and though no definite action was taken, the members of the committee expressed themselves in favor of the establishment of the zoo.

The committee voted to report to the next meeting of the city council "ought to pass" on the order appropriating from the Parkman fund income for this year the sum of $10,000 to be used in improving the Charlesbank.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Agassiz School - And The Old Homestead

Brewer street, 1960s

Taking a break from Franklin Park entries...

OK, so it's a picture of my old house, with the "new" Agassiz school in the background. I just found the picture in a box, and I figured I'd make it available to anyone who wanted to see the school again. I believe the address of the school was Burroughs street, but the main entrance was on Brewer. Go figure. I believe our house was at least the second on the property. Maps show a building with a different footprint on the property from 1874 to 1905, and then this building shows up in 1914. In the back hall on the second floor there was an ice box on the platform and a gas lamp in the wall. In the living room there was a faux fireplace with a cast metal "log" gas fixture that was not connected. By the time I was waking up for school, the earliest children would already be in the schoolyard outside my window. The schoolyard beside the house was our "ballfield", and my mother always had to get after us to use rubber balls to protect the windows.

Curling On Scarboro Pond - 1903

Boston Daily Globe January 11, 1903

Play The Old Scotch Game.

Boston Curling Club Defeats the Country Club The Country Club's Representatives at Scarboro Pond, 46 to 36.

The Boston curling club and Country club of Brookline representatives met yesterday afternoon in a friendly match on the ice at Scarboro pond, Franklin park, the Boston curling club winning 46 to 36.

Three rinks were organized and the sport was enjoyed by all the participants. The ice was planed especially for the occasion, and although it was extremely keen, it had a bias which affected shots somewhat.

The first rink, skipped by Wrenton of the Boston curling club and Stevens of the Country club, had a tie score 13 to 13. The second rink went to the Boston curling club, Weinys'(sp?) four having a total of 21 to Jaques' 12. The third rink had a close contest, the Boston men winning by one point. The summary:

[scores followed]

The two curling clubs will meet in the national district medal series Saturday, Jan 24, at Scarboro pond, Franklin park.