Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Al the Barber

I remember Al's Barber Shop, but I don't remember Al. There were five chairs, and all the standard barber shop accoutrements. The shop was on Centre street, opposite Seaverns avenue and Starr lane. There was another barber shop on Centre street around the corner from Burroughs street, but by the time I was going to the barber shop on my own, most of my haircuts were at Pete the Barber's on South street between Hall and Rosemary street.

I've summarized an article from the Boston Globe below. What I learned: Never trust a bank.

Jamaica Plain - Al's Barber Shop 1924-1987. Bank Expansion Claims a Familiar Landmark.

After 63 years on Centre street, Al's Barber Shop closed on a Friday afternoon in August of 1987. The Greater Boston Bank had decided to enlarge their facilities at 677 Centre street, and Al Luciano had to leave the space the business had been in since 1959. The bank said they had informed the barber of their plans several years earlier, and Al said that the parting was amicable.

Al's father Al Luciano sr. had come from Italy in the early 1920s at 16 and opened a shop on the corner of Centre street and Starr lane in 1924. After a fire destroyed the building, he moved to 655 Centre street. In 1959, the Jamaica Plain Cooperative Bank asked Al to move four doors down to a shop adjacent to the bank to attract patrons to the bank. The son took over the business when his father died in 1974.

Source: Boston Globe Sept. 29, 1987.

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