Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Ye Olde Engine House
Centre and Thomas streets, 1874.
Centre and Thomas streets, 1868.
I'm back! It's been almost a year since my last Jamaica Plain history post - mostly for a lack of material. Having already picked the low fruit of JP history, and having climbed the tree and crawled out on the branches like a monkey, I'm afraid there just won't be many more entries here. I have, however, found a nugget that I don't think I've discussed before.
The top map shows the corner of Centre and Thomas streets in 1874. The drawing below the map is a property plan from November, 1868. The buildings shown on the 1874 map are shown in the drawing six years earlier. The entire property where the four buildings are located had been owned by John Williams, one of two Williams brothers who owned a harness shop at Centre and Green streets and bought and sold property all over Jamaica Plain.
The fire insurance map at the top of the page shows us building locations and property owners, but in the case of commercial properties, we rarely know exactly what the building was used for. I'm using this property plan to point out that the building marked in red in the plan, but unlabeled in the 1874 map, was at the time the Town of West Roxbury Engine House - the fire station. As far as I know, there is no mention in any records outside of property deeds and this plan of this site being used for a fire house. By 1884, the engine house had moved up Centre street near the corner of Myrtle street, where the building is now used as an ice cream store.
Here we have Engine 12, Roxbury Massachusetts, courtesy of the Boston Public Library Flickr group. I imagine an engine much like this one would have found a home on Centre street as well.
If you want to locate where the old engine house stood, the property was immediately adjacent to today's Blanchard's Liquors. The brick building currently housing Fowler Real Estate now sits on the old engine house property.
Property plan: Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, Vol. 374, page 112.