Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Norfolk Blanket Cleansing Company

A century ago, the Jamaica Plain News published a series of articles proclaiming the virtues of a series of local businesses. It's not clear to me whether the companies had to pay for the priviledge of being so praised, or whether it was the boosterism of the publisher at work. In any case, this article informs us that one Jamaica Plain business of the time was a national leader in its field.

Jamaica Plain News November 18, 1905

A New Enterprise.

The important transfer of real estate on Brookside avenue, near Green street, which occurred recently, whereby the J.B.Shaw factory, situated on a lot of land containing sixteen thousand square feet, became the property of the Norfolk Blanket Cleansing Company, develops an interesting addition to the industries of Jamaica Plain. There are about ten thousand square feet of floor space available in the main building of two stories, and a thorough renovation of the interior, with the installation of a sixty-horsepower engine and boiler, places a first-class factory on the list. The engine and boiler house will be an addition, situated at the northwest corner of the building. Another contemplated improvement is a large stable.

The rear land follow the line of old Stony Brook, the centre of the brook marking the line. This gives ample yard room and space for future improvements. The Norfolk Blanket Cleansing Company will install in a part of the new factory its blanket cleansing and bedding department, leaving the carpet cleansing department in the old building on Call street. Increased business makes this move a necessity, it being a somewhat remarkable fact that the largest business of this nature in America is conducted in Jamaica Plain, and by this company, and it will interest many to learn that from San Francisco to Jekyll Island off the coast of Florida, blankets are forwarded here for treatment. Add to that fact that steamship lines and parlor-car companies have everything cleansed at frequent intervals, and that this concern handles the cream of this trade, with a constantly growing local business, and it can readily be seen that more room is needed.

The balance of the space in the new factory is to be fitted up as a first-class laundry establishment, with the latest improved machinery and methods and with power and water furnished by the new owners, to a suitable tenant, or if that is not available, the Norfolk Blanket Cleansing Company will add the above feature to its regular business, and under the management of the same progressive gentleman, who for a quarter of a century was engaged in the manufacture of blankets, and as a consequence is peculiarly adapted to the business of cleansing them, there is no doubt that the new venture will prove successful.

Enterprises of this nature should be encouraged and the district is indebted to this company for its consideration in making such an important investment here, thus adding to to the commercial importance of the district, the wage earning capacity of its inhabitants, and the trade of its merchants.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gas Lamps In Jamaica Plain

There was a web site that hosted photos of the gas lamps of Jamaica Plain, but it seems to be down, so I've put up my set of pictures. I've got a sneaking suspicion that I'm forgetting one, but I can't figure where it would be. If you know, please give me a shout.

I've already written about the use of gas in Jamaica Plain, including Perkins Got Gas and Jamaica Plain Gets Gas (I need to be more creative about my titles). The Jamaica Plain Gas Company began producing gas from coal at the site of today's English High School in the 1850s. Only the lamp at the corner of Burroughs street and the Jamaicaway sits on a public sidewalk - the rest are on private ways or private property. Let's hope the current owners take good care of them and pass them on to posterity as they found them.

Parley avenue.

Regent circle - off Burroughs street.

Allandale street (pair).

Union avenue - in a back yard.

Meehan place - off Green street.

Ballard way - off St Joseph street.

Burroughs street and the Jamaicaway.

38-40 Burroughs street - set back from the road.

Note: Thanks to the ubiquitous commenter Anonymous, I can add two more:

Spring Park Avenue, in front of 19R and 21A Spring Park Ave.

Paul Gore Terrace.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Two New (Old) JP Gas Lamps

I found these two gas lamps in Jamaica Plain recently, and finally stopped to take some pictures today. Do you know where they are? Leave a comment if you do.


I left this up over the weekend and didn't get any answers, so here's the answer:

This pair of lamps sit at a driveway entrance along Allandale street. The property is used by the Boston Police for housing and training horses and dogs, and borders Allandale Farm.