Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Longfellow Bridge Remodeling

An early photo of the Longfellow Bridge.
A recent article in the Boston Globe discussed the remodeling of the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge, and how all the contractors were having to obtain old materials (like Rockport granite), and learn old building techniques (like riveting), in order to perform a historically accurate job.

The Longfellow Bridge is an architectural gem that was completed in 1905 (although its grand opening was not held until 1907).

Click here to read my previous blog post about the history of this beautiful bridge!

Illustration Credits and References

The photo was found in the Cambridge Civic Journal for April 1, 2013.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

17th Century Boston Street and Place Names

I'm reading King Philip's War: The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Tougias, and discovered some fascinating references to Boston street and place names that have survived from that period.
Tremont Street, 1891.
There were three connected hills in the Boston settlement when the English arrived in 1630; they were named Cotton Hill, Sentry Hill, and West Hill. The three peaks were collectively known as the "Trimount", a name which has survived in the modern street name of the road that gave access to the three hills--Tremont Street.

Cutting Down Beacon Hill.
An order was given in the colony that in times of danger a beacon should be placed atop Sentry Hill (which at the time rose 185 feet above sea level). As a result it eventually became known as Beacon Hill (and Beacon Street the road which led up the hill). Beacon Hill eventually shrank when its soil was used to fill in Mill Pond between 1807-1828.

Cotton Hill and West Hill were also flattened, and today are the locations of Pemberton Square and Louisburg Square respectively.

Deer Island, where the Christian Indians were exiled in the fall of 1675, was so called for the many deer that used it as an escape from wolves on the mainland. (Today, Deer Island is home to the MWRA's sewage treatment plant, and connected by a landfall and road to Winthrop.)

Illustration Credits and References

The photograph of Tremont Street in 1891 was found on Wikimedia Commons.

The illustration entitled "Cutting Down Beacon Hill" was found on Wikimedia Commons. (Note the State House to the right, which was built in 1798.)

For more information, see the post entitled "How Boston Lost Its Hills" on the Massachusetts History site.