Dorchester Illustration 2293 1138 Adams Street

2293 Home of R M Davis, Adams Street

Dorchester Illustration no. 2293           1138 Adams Street

This realphoto postcard shows the home of R. M. Davis at 1138 Adams Street about 1910. Notice the window hoods, the divided panes in the windows, the brackets in the gables, the shutters and the porch railing. The window hoods and the brackets are still in place.

Randall M. Davis was a chocolate maker, who owned and occupied the house with his second wife Mary and his son James, who was a furniture repairer and caner. Randall was born in Canada, immigrated to the states in 1845 and served in the 1st Maine during the Civil War from late 1836 to June of 1865. In 1890 he was living at 60 Sanford Street in 1890.  In the postcard there is a sign on the front porch for James’s chair-caning business.

The house does not show up on the 1882 atlas but does in 1884. It was owned by James Pope and may have been built as an investment property since Pope owned a large tract of land and other lots in Lower Mills.  Randall bought 1138 Adams Street October 19, 1893, with no down payment and a mortgage of $2,200, and his name appears in the atlases as owner through 1933 when the last Bromley atlas was published.  The list of Boston residents shows James living alone in 1934 and 1935 with tenants.  In 1936 no-one named Davis is listed at this property.

The house is currently shown as a 2-family in the assessing records and may have been built that way. Each of the census records available show another household living in the building.  In 1910, for example, Abby L. Bates and her two daughter who were both teachers living in the house in addition to the Davis family.

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Dorchester Illustration #2292 Mattapan Bridge

2292 Mattapan Bridge

Dorchester Illustration no. 2292           Mattapan Bridge

Today’s illustration is a postcard that shows the bridge from Dorchester’s Mattapan Square across the Neponset to Milton. It is unusual to find a photographer’s name on a postcard.  Although Frederick Frizell was a studio photographer, we have found 5 postcards of outdoor scenes that have his copyright.

Frederick Andrew Frizell (1864-1937) was a photographer in the Lower Mills area of Dorchester in the early 20th century.

Frederick was born in Dorchester, October 5, 1864. Frederick married Amelia Eliza Adams 6 August, 1889, when he was 25 and she was 27.  They had two children: a son, Lee Adams Frizell, was October 12, 1890, and a daughter Dorothy Ruth Frizell was born December 16, 1893.

Frederick’s father Charles was a contractor, and Frederick worked as a carpenter and ladder maker for his father and brother. The census shows Frederick as a carpenter through 1899.  In 1900 both the census and the Boston Directory show him as a photographer at Lower Mills.  At first he kept his studio in the house where the family was living at 27 Sanford Street.  Later he established a studio at Pierce Square.  The family moved to King Street in 1900 and later to Butler Street in 1912.

Frederick probably opened his studio at Pierce Square prior to the family moving to King Street but at least as early as 1904, since his advertisement in the 1904-1905 Milton Directory places him there.

Frederick A. Frizell, Photographer, House Portraiture a Specialty, Portrait Studio, Pierce Sq., opp. W. Bakers Chocolate Mills. Telephone Connection.

In December 1906, Frederick exhibited a large number of photos of Milton scenes at the Milton Public Library. Some of these views may be the same as postcards that he published the year before: Moonlight on the Neponset, Mattapan Bridge, The Chocolates from the Big Chimney.

The entry in the 1916 Boston Directory for Frizell is under Portrait Photography.

Frederick’s favorite subjects for studio photographs was his daughter Dorothy, born 1893, and later her daughter Eleanor, born 1924.

Frederick passed away in 1937, and Amelia in 1949.

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Dorchester Illustration 2291 Catharine Clapp in Parlor

2291 one half of stereoview card CatharineClapp in chair Lemuel Clap House

Dorchester Illustration no. 2291           Catharine Clapp in Lemuel Clap House

One-half of a stereoview card showing Catharine Clapp in the parlor of the Lemuel Clap House. In the late 18th to early 19th century, the family began using Clapp, but Catherine’s father Lemuel continued to spell his name with one “p”.  When Lemuel died in 1819, he left the house to his unmarried daughters Catharine and Rebecca.  Rebecca died in 1855.

The illustration shows Catharine in her later years sitting in the parlor. The Society has pieces of the wallpaper seen in the illustration – the wallpaper was there during the Revolution when the house was used as a barracks for Colonial troops during the Siege of Boston.

The entry for Catharine in the family genealogy:

Catharine, b. April 17, 1782; d. unm. Feb. 21, 1872, in her 90th year. She retained her mental faculties to the last, reading her bible and other good books daily, without glasses, which through her long life she never used; was a worthy woman, of the old puritan stamp; lived and died in the house in Willow Court, occupied by her father during his life.  The house, after her death, as elsewhere mentioned, passed into the hands of her nephews, Frederick and Lemuel.

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Dorchester Illustration 2290 Young Preacher

2290 Lorna T. Townsend preacher

Dorchester Illustration no. 2290           Young Preacher

Photograph – caption on verso: On verso: May 6, 1924. Girl Preacher Travels Dens of Moonshiners. Miss Lorna G Townsend, a pretty Dorchester, Mass, girl preacher, who, with her license in her pocket wanders among the forbidden mountain paths n the vicinity of Harlan County, Kentucky, preaching the gospel to the moonshiners without fear or favor. Her position with moonshiners has enabled her to observe the utter falldown of the prohibition act as applied to moonshine.

Born in 1897 Lorna Gertrude Townsend was the daughter of Joseph W. and Georgina A. Townsend. Joseph owned his own contracting business; by 1920 they lived at 4 Upland Avenue. The 1922 list of residents shows her occupation as stenographer.

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Dorchester lllustration 2289 Burrill’s Tooth Powder

2289 Burrill's Tooth Powder

Dorchester Illustration no. 2289           Burrill’s Tooth Powder

Postcard. Capton on front: Blue Hill Ave., near Franklin Field, Dorchester, Mass. With illustration of billboard for Burrill’s Tooth Powder.  Postmarked Dec. 10, 1910. On verso: advertising message written as if from a friend writing a postcard message.

I believe the viewer of this scene would have been standing at the center of Blue Hill Avenue, looking east at the billboard and Franklin Field off to the right. In1910 the corner of Blue Hill Avenue and Talbot Avenue was not densely built up, although the residential streets behind were filled with housing.

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March 19, 2017 Program: The New Bostonians

New Bostonians book cover for website

Program: Sunday, March 19, 2017 2 pm

The William Clapp House, 195 Boston Street, Dorchester, MA 02125

Professor Marilynn S. Johnson from the Department of History at Boston College will speak about her work on urban social relations in late nineteenth-and twentieth-century America. She teaches courses on social movements, urban and working-class history, violence, and the American West. Her earlier work looked at internal migration during World War II, police brutality, and violence on the mining and cattle frontiers.  Her latest book, The New Bostonians, explores the history of new immigrants in greater Boston since the 1960s. She is now launching a digital history project and website on Boston area immigration.

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Dorchester Illustration no. 2288 Bookkeeping Class 1892

2288 Class I Bookkeeping

Dorchester Illustration no. 2288           Bookkeeping Class

Bookkeeping class at the H. L. Pierce Grammar School, 1892.

The Pierce School was located where the Codman Square Branch of the Boston Public Library is located today at the corner of Washington Street and Welles Avenue.The School was named for Henry Lillie Pierce (1825-1896), owner of the Walter Baker & Company chocolate manufacturers at Lower Mills. He served as mayor of Boston in 1872 and 1877 and served as a member of the US House of Representatives.

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Dorchester Illustration 2287 Soldiers Monument

2287 Soldier's Monument

Dorchester Illustration no. 2287           Soldiers Monument

The following is from Monuments, Tablets and Other Memorials Erected in Massachusetts to Commemorate the Services of Her Sons n the War of the Rebellion, 1816-1865. Collected and Arranged by Alfred S. Roe. (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Company, 1910).

Dorchester (City of Boston). — Before this historic section became a part of Greater Boston, its monument for the Civil War was projected and built. It stands in the space in front of the church on Meeting House Hill, is constructed of red sandstone, 31 feet high, obelisk in shape, and is 8 feet square at the base.  It is a very attractive memorial and is highly creditable to the genius of B.F. Dwight, who was the designer.  The names of those who fell in the cause are graven on the surface of the stone.  It was dedicated Sept. 17, 1867 the very day the National Cemetery at Antietam was also dedicated.  The oration of the day was delivered by the Rev. Charles A. Humphreys, then of Springfield, himself a veteran of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry; an ode, written by William T. Adams (Oliver Optic), was sung by the children.  The cost of the monument, $5,301, was met through the diligence of the Pickwick Club, which started the subscription with a promise of $500 and then circulated the paper until the necessary funds were raised.  The First Methodist Church of Dorchester has an interesting tablet to the memory of members, 51 in number, who enlisted.  Of Tennessee marble, 6 by 5 feet in size, designed by Comrade E. W. Fowler of Milton, and surrounded by an emblematic fresco, the three columns of names are surmounted with the words, “Not for conquest but for country.”  The memorial was unveiled March 24, 1895, with significant exercises, which included addresses by the Department Commander, J.W. Thayer, Rev. Dr. Arthur Little, the Rev. G.A. Phinney, pastor of the church, Secretary of the Commonwealth William M. Olin and Comrade Alexander Hobbs. Benjamin Stone, Jr. Post 8 has long met within its own walls, having erected at 91 Park Street, a commodious edifice and dedicated it to the uses of the Grand Army.  Post room, banquet room, all that veterans need for comfort and utility, are fond here.  The total valuation is $7,500.

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Dorchester Illustration no. 2286 St Williams Church

2286 St Williams Church postcard

Dorchester Illustration no. 2286           St. Williams Church

St. William’s became its own Parish in 1909, when it was set off from St. Peter’s; it consisted of territory south of St. Margaret’s nearly to Glover’s Corner, and included the Savin Hill district. The Reverend James J. Baxter was the first pastor and was succeeded by James McCarthy. Baxter bought the Worthington estate at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Belfort Street, and adapted the old mansion as a rectory.  Edward Sheehan, a Dorchester resident, designed the first church building at 1048 Dorchester Avenue in the Spanish Mission.

The building was burned in September 1980 and was replaced with a church of modern design. On August 31, 2004, St. William’s joined St.Margaret’s to come the Blessed Mother Teresa parish, occupying the St. Margaret’s building at 800 Columbia Road.  Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonized on Sunday, September 4, 2016, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta parish in Dorchester changed its name to St. Teresa of Calcutta Church.

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Dorchester Illustration 2285 Adams Corner 1927

2285 Adams Corner 1927

Dorchester Illustration no. 2285    Adams Corner

In the late 1920s photographs were taken do document site conditions in preparation for the Southern Artery project. The project included the construction of Gallivan Boulevard from Neponset to Morton Street plus improvements along Morton Street as far as Blue Hill Avenue.  Both the Dorchester Historical Society and Historic New England own portions of this series of photographs. Just this week DHS has acquired the two photos shown as today’s illustration.  Both photos are dated November 15, 1927.

The top photo shows Adams Corner long before McDonald’s came to the corner at the right. The Ashmont Motor Co. occupies the corner on the left where Windy City Pizza is located today.

The lower photo is a 10 foot offset from the photo above. We can see the building where Gerard’s news shop and restaurant operated for many years. To the left of Ashmont Motor Co., there is a battery service store, a hardware store, a lunch shop, and bowling.


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