Dorchester Illustration 2297 Upham’s Corner Comfort Station

2297 Upham's Corner Comfort Station proposed appearance

Dorchester Illustration no. 2297                       Upham’s Corner Comfort Station

Activating a Historic Site: Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen’ at Old South Meeting House April 28th

The Old South Meeting House is hosting “Activating a Historic Site: Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen, Dorchester” on Friday, April 28th.

Learn about the historic preservation of Uphams Corner Comfort Station, a stucco and tile “mission style” building adjacent to the historic Dorchester North Burying Ground. It was built in 1912 to support Boston’s expanding streetcar system. The building has been unused since 1977. Historic Boston Inc. is currently rehabbing the station to help “preserve and tell the story of Dorchester’s urbanization and transportation growth in the early 20th century.” Hear about the ongoing transformation from entrepreneur, Dorchester native, and local history activist Noah Hicks.

This event is free for OSMH members and $6 for nonmembers. This event is from 12:15 to 1 pm

The following is from Historic Boston Incorporated’s website:

Upham’s Corner Comfort Station, 1912, Dorchester, MA

The Comfort Station, a one-story stucco and terracotta tile “mission style” structure, was built as a convenience station in 1912 to support the expanding street car system in Boston. It was designed by local architect William Besarick who also designed Upham’s Corner’s Bird Street Community Center, as well as many area triple-deckers.

The Comfort Station lies on what was once part of the 1630 Dorchester North Burying Ground and together they are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and as a Boston Landmark. The historic building helps tell the story of 19th century municipal expansion and population growth in Dorchester, and the public transportation infrastructure built in the 20th century to support them.

HBI and the American City Coalition are rehabilitating the Comfort Station for Sip and Spoke Bike Kitchen – a bike repair and coffee shop – with the goal of re-activating the site and preserving the story of Boston’s growth and change in Upham’s Corner. The $960,000 project is expected to begin in late 2016.

The top illustration shows the propose re-use of the building, and the bottom is a snapshot taken during the visit to Boston by Pope John Paul II in 1979.


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Dorchester Illustration 2296 Baker Chocolate advertisement 1911

2296 Baker Chocolate advert in Country Life 1911

Dorchester Illustration no. 2296         Baker Chocolate advertisement 1911

Baker Chocolate & Co. began at Lower Mills in 1780.  By the mid-19th century they began to advertise in print.  Their adoption of the portrait of La Belle Chocolatiere as their logo in the 1880s coincided with a period of growth in national magazines.  As the quality of printing in color became widespread, Baker Chocolate consistently offered fresh illustrations for their advertisements, always including at least a silhouette of La Belle Chocolatiere.  Today’s illustration is an advertisement that appeared in Country Life in 1911, conveying in its simplicity the message that Baker’s Breakfast Cocoa contributes to a comfortable and elegant life.  The tiny print under the image of the chocolate lady reads: Registered US Pat. Office.

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Dorchester Illustration 2295 10 Carruth Street in 1939

2295 10 Carruth Street 1939 Dorchester Illustration no. 2295          10 Carruth Street in 1939

Dorchester’s real estate market was not always as hot as it is now. At the end of the Great Depression, the National Shawmut Bank offered 10 Carruth Street at a price of $5,500. The house had an assessed value of $8,200.

Today, the sale prices are much higher than the assessed value.

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April 23, 2017 The Old Overholt and Other Stories

16380 Dan and Tom Casey 1927 on steps of 774 Columbia RoadThe Old Overholt and Other Stories

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 2 pm, at the William Clapp House, 195 Boston Street

Michaela Casey will talk about growing up in Dorchester, about  how her family influenced and inspired her book, and about the process of character development based on her father’s life in Dorchester. The photo on the other side of this postcard shows her grandfather Dan and her father Tom on the steps of 774 Columbia Road.  The author will talk about the steps involved in taking her work from final text to a published book through the self-publishing process.

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Dorchester Illustration 2294 Upham Store

2294 corner Dorchester Old North cemetery showing Upham's Store and intersection

Today’s illustration is a photograph showing the view from the corner of the Old Dorchester North Burying Ground before the current brick wall on the border of the cemetery was installed. It shows the intersection of Columbia Road and Stoughton Street (coming from the left between the fence and the masonry building at the left). When Stoughton Street crosses Columbia Road, it becomes Dudley Street. The wood-frame building in the center right of the photo is the Upham Store at the corner of Columbia Road and Dudley Street.  The photograph probably dates from the 1880s, because the configuration of buildings seems to match the 1884 map.

Amos Upham opened a market at the southwest corner of the intersection of Columbia Road and Dudley Street in the early part of the 19th century.  His family operated the market in a wood-frame building until the 1890s, when the building was replaced with a one-story masonry building and later with the multi-story Columbia Square Building brick building that stands there today. From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.  Included in the entry for Charles James Upham: Amos Upham came to Dorchester 1817, purchased a tract of land and established a grocery store at the place now known as Upham’s Corner.  His death took place January 25, 1872.

Contrast those words with the following from Leading Business Men of Back Bay, South End, Boston Highlands, Jamaica Plain and Dorchester. Boston: Mercantile Publishing Company, 1888

Messrs. J. H. Upham & Co., at Upham’s Corner. This firm, although one of the most progressive in the city and quick to adopt any modern improvement, is concerned in the management of one of the oldest grocery enterprises in town, for the business was founded over three quarters of a century ago by Mr. Joseph Capen, who was succeeded after many years of faithful service by Mr. Amos Upham, who in 1843 admitted his son Mr. J. H. Upham (the present senior partner) to the firm, this latter gentleman having been brought up in the business and by that means, acquiring that perfect knowledge of its every detail for which he is noted.

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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.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at

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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.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at

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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.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at


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