Dorchester Illustration 2259 Mattapan Trolley

2259 Mattapan Trolleytype 4 car 5286 Oct 20, 1936Dorchester Illustration no. 2259    Mattapan Trolley

Mattapan Trolley Type 4 Car 5286 is shown on the loop at the Peabody Square end of Ashmont Station as it looked on October 20, 1936. Photo by James A. Parsons, 4 Westmoreland Street, Dorchester.

The family of James A. Parsons donated his photo albums of the Ashmont-Mattapan line to the Dorchester Historical Society. The following is from notes in his albums.

The Ashmont – Mattapan Line

by James A. Parsons, 4 Westmoreland Street, Dorchester, MA, 1976

The Ashmont-Mattapan line, considered an extension of the Harvard to Ashmont “red Line: Rapid Transit route, is one of America’s most unique trolley car lines. No fare is required if you board a trolley at Ashmont outbound towards Mattapan or an any station inbound from Mattapan to Ashmont Station.  However, if you board at any stop on the outbound run or get off at any of the stops before Ashmont after leaving Mattapan, the fare is 25 cents.

Originally the Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad, the line was acquired by the Old Colony Railroad, later taken over by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Part of the “Red Line,” this stretch of track opened for trolley travel in 1930 as the “Hi-Speed” Line using heavy Type #4 street cars.  In the late 1940s smaller Type #5 cars were put into service for a short time, followed by the earlier types of PCC cars, which ran for several years.  Since 1960 the line has been served solely by 1945 vintage double end PCC cars purchased from Dallas, Texas, in 1959.

Another note of interest is that according to “Believe It or Not” Ripley, this is the only street car line in the world that runs directly through a cemetery (Cedar Grove in Dorchester).

While it is only a ten-minute ride, in my estimation this is one of the most interesting and picturesque trolley lines operating in the United States of America.

the following notes are undated

Most of cars are ex-Dallas double ended PCC’s, now operating single ended.

During the spring of 1978 the ex-Dallas cars housed at the Arborway Carhouse were transferred via motor truck trailers to the Mattapan Yard for service on the busy “Mattapan-Ashmont” Line.

These cars were still double enders because they saw most of their service on the Brigham Circle to Park Street via Huntington Avenue or Northeastern to Park Station and return, with the only loop located at Park Street. These lines are part of the “Green Line” Trolley System, and the cars were painted green accordingly.  The Mattapan-Ashmont Line is considered an extension of the Red Line, and the cars in service were painted red during the summer of 1977.

The Green Line cars transferred to Mattapan are numbered 332, 3323, 3324, 3325, 3327, 3328 and 3329. Car 3326 is still at the Arborway but painted yellow and black, in use as a Sand Car.

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Dorchester Illustration 2258 Holden House

2258 Holden House, Columbia Road

Dorchester Illustration no. 2258    Holden House near Upham’s Corner

The house of the Holden family stood on Columbia Road opposite Albright Ct. (now Annabel Street). Between 1884 and 1889, the house was taken down, and the property was sub-divided to allow construction of Holden Street with house lots on either side.

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Dorchester Illustration 2257 Pierce Building at Upham’s Corner

2257 Uphams Corner

 

Dorchester Illustration no. 2257    Pierce Building at Upham’s Corner

Anthony Sammarco has pointed out a mistake in last week’s Illustration. The house in the picture was not the Upham house but the Samuel B. Pierce House exactly across Columbia Road from Bellevue Street at the corner of Glendale.  The house is on the opposite side of the street than I thought.  The house was designed by John A. Fox and built between 1874 and 1879.  The family moved from the corner of Columbia Road and Dudley Street, where their former house was demolished in 1898-1899 to make way for the S.B. Pierce Bulding constructed in 1899.

The S.B. Pierce Building appears in the center of today’s illustration. Postcard. Caption on front: Uphams Corner, Dorchester, Mass. 1496   On verso: Pub. by German Novelty Co., Boston, Mass.  ca. 1910

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Dorchester Illustration 2256 Columbia Road at Bellevue

2256 Columbia Road opposite Bellevue

Dorchester Illustration no. 2256    Columbia Road at Bellevue

Photograph of Roy Wilkes, bay pacing gelding. Owned by Solly Wolfson. Published in The Dorchester Gentlemen’s Driving Club. Year Book 1905. Edited and compiled by Ernest H. Morgan.

The house in the center background is the Samuel Bowen Pierce House at the corner of Columbia Road and Glendale Street, designed by John A. Fox and built between 1874 and 1879. The family moved from the corner of Columbia Road and Dudley Street where their former house was demolished in 1898-1899 to make way for the S.B. Pierce Building constructed in 1899.

Solly Wolfson was a member of the The Dorchester Gentlemen’s Driving Club. The club members were owners of pacers and trotters who had their first public parade in 1900.  They felt the need for a speedway and agitated for one to be built at Franklin Field.

The active fight for a permanent speedway for Dorchester and vicinity began on May 14, 1900, when a hearing was given representatives of the Dorchester Gentlemen’s Driving Club by the Boston Board of Park Commissioners, relative to a track on the Talbot Avenue side of Franklin Field. The petition, signed by 2000 men, including such well-known horsemen as John Shepard and the late John M. Forbes, was presented by S. Howard Mildram, then councilman for Ward 24 and an active member of the club.

The fight ended on Thanksgiving day, 1904, when wth a drizzling rain overhead and several inches of mud underfoot, a long procession f prominent men and women in natty rigs, led by a tally-ho and brass band, started from Codman Square, and reaching the new speedway via Washington Street, Columbia Road, Blue Hill and Talbot Avenues, formally dedicated the speedway to the public use.

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Dorchester Illustration 2255 A.T. Stearns Lumber Company

2255 Stearns Lumber medal 75th anniversary

Dorchester Illustration no. 2255    A.T. Stearns Lumber Company

A.T. Stearns Lumber Company bronze paper-weight celebrating 75 years of business at Neponset. The company owned much of what is now the public property on Port Norfolk that is part of the Greenway.  The lumber yard buildings stood just east of the railroad bridge that carries the T’s red line to Braintree.

The following is from: Men of Progress. Boston, 1896.

Stearns, Albert Thomas, of Neponset, lumber merchant and manufacturer, was born in Billerica, April 23, 1821, son of Abner and Annie (Russell) Stearns. He is a direct descendant of Isaac Stearns, whom came to New England from England in 1636.  His grandfather, Lieutenant Edward Stearns, was in the Concord fight of 1773, and took the place of Captain Wilson who was killed.  His uncle Solomon Stearns,then a lad of seventeen, was also there.  He was educated in the public schools and at Phillips (Andover) Academy, which he attended one year, about 1834.  He was trained for active life at home, in farming carpentering, and in saw and grist mills.  Leaving home at the age of eighteen, he engaged in a variety of pursuits the next few years, at length settling into that of a builder; and from this worked naturally into the lumber business which, with manufacturing, has been the principal occupation of his life.  He started in this business in1843, in Waltham, where F. Butrick’s lumberyard now is, and leaving therein 1849, came to Neponset, where he has since remained.  During this long period he has been engaged in a large and prosperous trade, and has become widely known among lumber men.  He is a member of the Home Market Club and of the Norfolk Club.  In politics he was first a Free Soiler, and since its organization has been associated with the Republican party.  He has not been ambitious for political honors, and his only public service has been as a member of the Boston Common Council one term, 1879.  Mr. Stearns was married in June, 1843, to Miss Salome Maynard, of Sudbury.  They have had seven children: Albert Henry, Waldo Harrison, Frank Maynard (deceased), Anne Russell (deceased), Frederick Maynard, Salome (deceased) , and Ardelle Augusta Stearns.

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Dorchester Illustration 2254 Consumptives Home Grove Hall

 2254 Consumptives Home Grove Hall

Dorchester Illustration no. 2254   Consumptives Home Grove Hall 

Scan of illustration from King’s Hand-Book of Boston. Boston: Moses King Corporation, 1889. 9th ed. The Text of King’s Hand-Book says that the Consumptives Home Grove Hall was incorporated in 1870, six years after it was founded by Dr. Charles Cullis, who is still the manager [in 1889].  By 1889 a new building had replaced the original.

Mary Roach, in her book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers mentions that Dr. Duncan MacDougall in 1907 experimented at the Cullis Home to determine the weight of the human soul. He constructed a special bed in his office by arranging a light framework built upon very delicately balanced platform beam scales sensitive to two-tenths of an ounce. He experimented with six patients in the end stages of terminal illnesses and observed them before, during and after the process of death, measuring any corresponding changes in weight. He said that he found a loss of weight at the moment of death. MacDougall repeated the experiment with fifteen dogs and found no loss of weight. He concluded that the human soul had measurable mass. His work caused acrid debate at the time. See Roach’s book for a better description.

Dorchester House Tour a Success!

This year’s Dorchester House Tour, on Sunday, June 12, drew some 420 tourgoers to explore a dozen homes and carriage barns on Ashmont Hill as well as the beautifully restored All Saints Church.

I’m pleased to report that the tour was a resounding success, both as an initial effort by DHS to revive the tradition of showcasing Dorchester’s architecturally significant neighborhoods, and as a fundraiser for the Society’s building restoration fund.  We look forward to planning future tours, and we are eager to begin the much-needed repairs to the 1806 William Clapp House. Watch for more information in the months ahead.

The owners of the 12 homes and carriage barns that were open for the tour were joined by an additional 100 people who volunteered in those homes and at All Saints Church. Members of the DHS Board who served on the planning committee did everything from solicit sponsors and advertisers, to write copy, take photographs, and design printed materials, to coordinate volunteers, and much more. It was truly a team effort.

While many visitors were from Dorchester, they also came from other Boston neighborhoods and nearby suburbs. Some had connections to Ashmont Hill, and fond memories, while others had recently moved to Dorchester and were eager to see the neighborhood.  Visitors also came from farther away: from Salem, Concord, Bedford, Whitman, West Newbury, and Newport, RI, to name a few. Tourgoers expressed interest and delight in the houses, and appreciated the willingness of their owners to open their doors to strangers. Homeowners enjoyed sharing information and stories; several were asked, jokingly, if they would take reservations to stay.

We are grateful to the homeowners and all the volunteers, to the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, to our sponsors and advertisers, to our media sponsor the Dorchester Reporter, and especially to the hundreds of people who came to discover or rediscover Dorchester, for making it a wonderful day in the neighborhood.

— Earl Taylor, president, Dorchester Historical Society

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Dorchester House Tour 2016: Ashmont Hill

60_Alban_28-Edit 72 dpi

The Dorchester House Tour is back – come to see Ashmont Hill as it is today on Sunday, June 12th.  Visit a dozen delightful homes and carriage houses on Ashmont Hill.  Talk with their owners about the ways they have preserved, restored, and transformed their 19th century homes for 21st century living  Also tour the historic 1892 Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, to see the award-winning restoration of this landmark church.

Come to the Dorchester House Tour, Sunday, June 12th and save by buying tickets in advance. You also will be able to start the tour quickly, since you will be in the advance ticket line, where we only check your name off a list.

Look at House Tour news in the Dorchester Day edition of the Dorchester Reporter this week.

see a converted carriage house in the Dorchester Reporter’s video

This is a great sneak peak at one of the homes on the Dorchester House Tour…good job, Dorchester Reporter! Advance-purchase ticket sale and other details at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org. You will want to see the rest of this house and all the other houses and carriage houses on the tour!

Buy tickets online:

www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

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Dorchester Illustration 2251 View of Ashmont Hill 1880s

2251 view of Welles Avenue and Roslin Street from 34 Alban Street Ashmont Hill 1880s

Dorchester Illustration no. 2251 View of Ashmont Hill

View of Ashmont Hill from top of 34 Alban Street 1880s. Scan of photo donated to the Dorchester Historical Society by the widow of grand nephew of Frank Wood, first owner of 34 Alban Street.

The Dorchester House Tour is back – come to see Ashmont Hill as it is today. Visit a dozen delightful homes and carriage houses on Ashmont Hill.  Talk with their owners about the ways they have preserved, restored, and transformed their 19th century homes for 21st century living  Also tour the historic 1892 Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, to see the award-winning restoration of this landmark church.

Come to the Dorchester House Tour, Sunday, June 12th and save by buying tickets in advance. You also will be able to start the tour quickly, since you will be in the advance ticket line, where we only check your name off a list.

Watch for House Tour news in the Dorchester Day edition of the Dorchester Reporter this week.

Buy tickets online:

www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

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Dorchester Illustration 2250 Alban Street Interior 1880s

12132 34 Alban Street interior front parlor looking toward dining room 1880s

Dorchester Illustration no. 2250 Victorian Interior

Does your home look like this one on Alban Street as it was comfortably furnished in the 1880s? Do the homes on Ashmont Hill still look like this?  Find out at the Dorchester House Tour 2016: Ashmont Hill.

House Tour News:

Check out the Dorchester House Tour 2016: Ashmont Hill on Sunday, June 12, 2016 see more info and buy tickets at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

Visit a dozen delightful homes and carriage houses on Ashmont Hill.  Talk with their owners about the ways they have preserved, restored, and transformed their 19th century homes for 21st century living  Also tour the historic 1892 Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, to see the award-winning restoration of this landmark church.

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Dorchester Illustration 2249 Welles Mansion

No. 3416 Welles House

The home of the Welles family was the original estate house for Ashmont Hill (see below) when the hill was all open land except the house in the illustration. George Derby Welles, who lived in Paris, inherited the estate from his grandfather in 1870 and asked Edward Ingersoll Browne to have a sub-division plan drawn up for the sale of lots.   The house was replaced by the Edward Pierce School in 1892, and the school was itself replaced by the Codman Square branch of the Boston Public Library in the last quarter of the 20th century.

The rest of Ashmont Hill was developed into a railroad suburb in the late 19th century, now still exhibiting 40 acres of substantial, well-crafted, well-designed and well-preserved late-19th-century residences. Street after street in this residential quarter west of Peabody Square is bordered by wood frame, mostly single-family residences noteworthy for their originality and/or exuberance of design, quality craftsmanship, surviving stables on still-ample lots, etc. Exceptional examples of the Italianate / Mansard, Stick, Shingle, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles (as well as hybrids of these popular late-Victorian architectural modes) appear at every turn.  (Neighborhood description of Ashmont Hill from the Boston Landmarks Commission).

House Tour News:

Check out the Dorchester House Tour 2016: Ashmont Hill on Sunday, June 12, 2016 see more info and buy tickets at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

Visit a dozen delightful homes and carriage houses on Ashmont Hill.  Talk with their owners about the ways they have preserved, restored, and transformed their 19th century homes for 21st century living  Also tour the historic 1892 Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, to see the award-winning restoration of this landmark church.

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