Monday, December 29, 2008

The Boston Weed

I've added a new slide show - three decker houses. Jamaica Plain didn't get the mass of similar three deckers that Dorchester did, and there is much variety represented in the Jamaica Plain buildings. Some are double three deckers - six unit buildings - and others have been ornamented with Italianate or Queen Anne elements. There are even brick versions. Three deckers - the "Boston Weed" - were the scourge of certain "reformers," the cause of fire and disease. Of course, those reformers didn't live in such buildings, and never thought to ask the residents their opinions. Truth be told, they were highly efficient in their use of available land, they allowed resident children a yard in which to play, served as an entry into the housing market for the working class, and their standard floor plans made for quick and inexpensive construction. The more elaborate "dandified" three unit houses could hardly be called tenements, and allowed builders and owners to set themselves off from the common three decker box. All in all, a design for Boston to be proud of.

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