Dorchester Illustration 2304 Edmund Baker House corner of Washington & Richmond

2304 Edmund Baker House and Methodist Church Richmond at Washington

Reminder: Dorchester House tour today, noon to 5 pm, starting at All Saints Church, Peabody Square

 

Dorchester Illustration no. 2304           Edmund Baker House corner of Washington & Richmond

Postcard. Caption on front: Cor. Wash. And Richmond Sts.  Postmarked Dorchester Center Station.  Circa 1910.

Illustration is of the Edmund Baker House and Methodist Church and houses on the opposite side of Washington Street.  The site where the house was located now has an office building.  The Methodist Church building has been replaced with an A-frame one-story building.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

http://dorchester.pastperfectonline.com/

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

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Dorchester Illustration 2303 World War I Francis G. Kane

2303 Francis G. Kane

Dorchester Illustration no. 2303                       World War I: Francis G. Kane

In response to our first post about the Society’s World War I materials, Marti Glynn offered information about another Dorchester soldier.

Francis G. Kane of Dorchester was killed in action on April 12, 1918 at Apremont, in the battle of Bois Brule. He was 23 years old. He was a member of the 26th ‘Yankee’ Division, 52nd Brigade,104th Infantry.  In 1920, the Boston City Council named the intersection of Bowdoin Street and Winter Street after Frank Kane.

Francis Gerard Kane was born on January 21, 1895 to Robert Kane and Mary G. Jordan, the second of three children, between his older brother Joseph R. and his sister Mary.   By 1910 the family lived at 1B Puritan Avenue, in the Mt. Bowdoin neighborhood of Dorchester.  Robert Kane was a newspaper compositor.   When Francis registered for the draft on January 5, 1917, he was employed as a Clerk at the American Agricultural Chemical Company on State Street.

The American legion’s Francis G. Kane Post #60 was named in his memory.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

http://dorchester.pastperfectonline.com/

 

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Dorchester Illustration 2302 Dorchester House Tour

2017_House_Tour_reporter_4C cropped

Dorchester Illustration no. 2302               Dorchester House Tour

Dorchester Historical Society Continues Neighborhood House Tour

Sunday, June 11, from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Featuring Homes in the Ashmont/Carruth Neighborhood and the Parish of All Saints, Ashmont

Continuing the long tradition of Dorchester house tours that it revived last year in the Ashmont Hill neighborhood, the Dorchester Historical Society presents the 2017 Dorchester House Tour on Sunday, June 11, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. This year the tour features the Ashmont/Carruth neighborhood, where ten spectacular houses will be open for ticket-holders to visit.  Homeowners will be on hand to talk about the ways they have preserved, restored, and transformed their 19th century houses for 21st century living. Their homes are very special to them, and this is a wonderful way to hear their stories first-hand.  The recently restored 1892 Parish of All Saints, Ashmont, at 209 Ashmont Street, will also be open.

Registration is at All Saints, Ashmont.  Check in to pick up your house tour booklet, which serves as your ticket.

Tickets in advance $30.  Buy tickets at: www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org  Your name will be kept on our list, so that you can check in and pick up your booklet.

The price for tickets on the day of the tour will be $35.

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What we are cataloging now at the Dorchester Historical Society

WWI Arthur H. Means

What we are cataloging now at the Dorchester Historical Society

At the Dorchester Historical Society, we are in the process of a year-long project to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of World War I. Using a collection of photographs we have of World War I Dorchester residents, we will be featuring soldiers in a number of short biographies throughout the year. At the culmination of the project, we hope to produce an online exhibit which highlights these men and their service to our country.

Our first biography features a pair of brothers: Arthur and Earle Means – the photograph is of Arthur.

Arthur and Earle Means were brothers who both served in the United States armed forces during World War I. Arthur was born in 1890 and 10 years older than Earle, who was born in 1900. They were raised in a large family in the Mattapan section of Boston on Sturbridge Street in Lower Mills. Like many other families in Lower Mills, their father, Fred, was a factory worker at the Walter Baker Chocolate Factory only a few blocks away. Fred was also a Civil War veteran and his sons, Earle and Arthur, would follow in his footsteps when the United States entered World War I in 1917. Arthur enlisted in the military and joined the U.S. Navy when he was 27 years old on April 17, 1917. We know Earle joined the military as well but not sure of the exact timeline. Not much is known about their time in the military but from various genealogical sources, we can see what their lives were like when they returned from war. In fact, after the war, it looks like Arthur and Earle went in separate directions; we find Arthur living in New York City and Earle staying close to his family in Boston.

Arthur was honorably discharged from military service on April 16, 1921. In the 1925 New York State Census, we find Arthur Means living in New York City with his wife Helen and working as an “organizer of automobiles.” In the 1930, according to the United States Census, he is still living in New York City but is now listed as an “automobile executive.” Finally, the 1940 census still has him living in New York, but now listed as a manager of a ship supply company. He died in 1947 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. His interment records record indicates he was a Chief Machinist Mate in the United States Navy Reserve Forces.

After returning from the war, it seems Earle was living at home in Lower Mills, working as a machinist. However, in the 1929 Boston Directory, Earle is listed as a physical instructor at 48 Boylston Street which, at the time, was the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union (BYMCU) and living in Norfolk Downs – more commonly known as Quincy – with his wife Catherine (Cook). Throughout the years, he is seen living in various towns on the South Shore of Massachusetts including Quincy, Weymouth, Randolph and eventually settling in Holbrook. All the records indicate he was some type of physical fitness instructor. Earle died, at the age of 42, in 1943; his death records list his occupation as “retired physical instructor, World War I.” He is buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

Do you know more about the Means brothers? We would love to hear from you! All material has been researched by volunteers at the Dorchester Historical Society, so please let us know if we got something wrong or if you think a piece of the story is missing!

Sources

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

 

Arthur:

“Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FX4S-F77 : 1 March 2016), Arthur Henry Means, 1890.

Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X45M-MMB : accessed 18 May 2017), Arthur M Means, Queens (Districts 1001-1250), Queens, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1089, sheet 17B, line 96, family 291, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1596; FHL microfilm 2,341,331.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K3B2-X1M : accessed 18 May 2017), Arthur H Means, Assembly District 4, Queens, New York City, Queens, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 41-864B, sheet 2A, line 21, family , Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2737.

Ancestry.com. U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

 

Earle:

“Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FXNJ-NL9 : 1 March 2016), Earle Archer Means, 1900.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_739; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 523; Image: 680

Year: 1930; Census Place: Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Roll: 938; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0139; Image: 177.0; FHL microfilm: 2340673

Year: 1940; Census Place: Randolph, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1632; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 11-253

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

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Dorchester Illustration 2301 Boston State Hospital

2301 Boston State Hospital

Dorchester Illustration no. 2301                       Boston State Hospital

There are neighborhoods that cross the Dorchester town line including Lower Mills and Mattapan.  Lower Mills can mean Dorchester or Milton.  Similarly Mattapan is a name that has been applied in the past to both sides of the Neponset River at the Upper Falls.  Mattapan also extends across the Dorchester town line into what was once West Roxbury (now Jamaica Plain).  In history the name Mattapan probably did not extend as far eastward as it does now after the introduction of zip codes.  For the post office the area of 02126 stretches almost to Lower Mills, much further than the name was used traditionally.

Today we are concerned with the town between Dorchester and West Roxbury (Jamaica Plain).  The boundary of the town of Dorchester when it was annexed to the City of Boston in 1870 followed Harvard Street from its intersection with Blue Avenue to its intersection with Cummins Highway.  This means that the property where the Boston State Hospital was located is not in Dorchester.  Yet there are many historical references even within city records mentioning its location in Dorchester.  Today’s illustration is one example of this.

The Boston Lunatic Hospital opened in South Boston in 1839.  In 1881, part of the hospital was transferred to the Austin Farm in West Roxbury, although contemporary sources call it Dorchester. In 1898, more of the hospital is moved to the Pierce farm, also in West Roxbury, and later the land in between the farms was added to the institution.  In 1908, the City sold the hospital to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the name changed to Boston State Hospital.

Today part of the Hospital’s property has become the Boston Nature Center, part has become the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratory, and part has become a housing development named Harvard Commons.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

http://dorchester.pastperfectonline.com/

 

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Dorchester Illustration no. 2300 Industrial School for Girls

2300 Mary Eliot (Dwight) Parkman

Dorchester Illustration no. 2300                       Industrial School for Girls

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, students of the Graduate Program in Public History at UMass Boston presented their research on the Industrial School for Girls and the girls and women involved in that institution.  The event was also the launch of the website created by the students in the Graduate Program about the Industrial School.

https://dorchesterindustrialschoolforgirls.wordpress.com/

Today’s illustration is of Mary Parkman – see below

The building used by the School is still in existence at 232 Centre Street.  The building, which is owned by the Epiphany School,  was the subject of a petition to the Boston Landmarks Commission for Landmark status.  The Epiphany School now plans to preserve the building and has been building new facilities on the property to accommodate their expansion.  In 2015, Joe Bagley, the city’s archaeologist recovered 17,723 historic artifacts from the site, many of which can be viewed in the website created by the graduate students.

The website is engaging and easy to use.  It includes the stories of some of the girls who attended and some of the women who were involved with the school.  A suggestion to include in the website a list of all the girls who are known to have attended the school was met with general approval.  Including all the names, even when no information has yet been discovered about some of the, may invite others to contribute comments about some of these yet-to-be researched girls.

In one sense it is remarkable that the graduate students were able to find so much information about some of the students and staff.  The girls were mostly from the lower-income level of society and were not the kinds of people who leave a lot of records behind.  The frustration that the researchers felt when their research turned up very little about some of the people was heartfelt.   Although their class project is over, it is easy to believe that some of these students will continue to be ever watchful for more evidence about the lives of their chosen subjects.  So we may learn more as time goes on.

The stories of the women and girls are engaging.  There are a good many images of artifacts from the archaeological dig and from the lives of the people. One additional feature is a list of resources consulted for each person for whom research was done.  This is a great example of how we should all document our genealogical research.

The following is from the entry for Mary Parkman written by Caroline Littlewood, an entry within the website:

Mary Eliot (Dwight) Parkman served as President of the Industrial School for Girls from 1860 to 1862. Born January 23, 1821, Mary was the daughter of industrial pioneer and education reformer Edmund Dwight, and the granddaughter of shipping millionaire Samuel Eliot through her mother, Mary Harrison Eliot Dwight. She spent her early years in Boston and Chicopee, Massachusetts balancing the care of her younger sisters and chronically ill mother, the social responsibilities of the Boston elite, and a rigorous education in the humanities. These experiences fed her interest in health and sanitation reform and prepared her for a life of leadership.

To see more of her story, visit the website.  You can leave comments on the website as well.

https://dorchesterindustrialschoolforgirls.wordpress.com/

 

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

http://dorchester.pastperfectonline.com/

 

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Dorchester Illustration 2299 German Sweet Chocolate

2299 German Sweet Chocolate

Dorchester Illustration no. 2299                       German Sweet Chocolate

In 1852 Sam German developed a dark sweet baking chocolate for the Baker Chocolate Company.  One hundred five years later Mrs. George Clay of Dallas, Texas, submitted her recipe for German’s Chocolate Cake to the “Recipe of the Day” column at The Dallas Morning News.  Published on June 3, 1957, the recipe is a chocolate layer cake, filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting.  General Foods, which owned the Baker brand at that time, publicized the recipe across the country.

June 11 is National German Chocolate Day in America.

June 11, 2017, is also the date of the Dorchester Historical Society House Tour featuring the Ashmont/Carruth neighborhood.  Save this date to see how homeowner’s have adapted their architecturally significant, 100 plus-year-old houses to modern living.

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

http://dorchester.pastperfectonline.com/

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

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Annual Meeting and Program May 21, 2017

 

 

May postcard front side photo lower dpi

Annual Meeting and Program

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 2 pm, at the William Clapp House, 195 Boston Street

Annual reports and elections.

Exhibit Opening: Frederick Frizell, Lower Mills

Photographer from 1900 to 1930s. (photo above by Frizell)

Program: Lissa Schwab, Preservation Planner at the Boston Landmarks Commission will explain the difference between National Register designation and Boston designations such as Architectural Districts.

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Dorchester Illustration 2298 33 Monadnock Street

2298 33 Monadnock Street

Dorchester Illustration no. 2298                       33 Monadnock Street

The land that encompasses Virgina and Monadnock Streets and the houses there was owned as one large parcel in 1874 by the heirs of Ebenezer Sumner.  The atlas of 1884 shows the streets with houses on the west side of Monadnock and on the east side of Virginia.  The house at 31/33 Monadnock Street appears among the houses on the west side of the street backing up to the railroad tracks.  The building was and is divided through the middle into two single-family attached houses.  The land area is also divided between the separate owners.

The deed from Clarence Sumner to George W. Smith is dated 1879.  In 1884 both sides were owned by G. W. Smith and in 1889, 1894, 1898 and 1904 by his heirs.  The 1910 atlas shows Wm W. Brooks et. al. Trs as the owner of both sides.  The 1918 atlas shows the owner as Bryant G. Smith & Sons Co. as the owner of both sides.  The 1933 atlas shows the owner of 31 (on the right) as S.J. & CA. D’Arcy and 33 (on the left) as C & H. F. Keenan.

It is possible that George W Smith was president of G. W. & F. Smith Iron Co. of 409 Federal Street, whose home is listed as 666 Dudley Street in the 1884 Boston Directory.

The Blue Books show that the occupants were:

1894     31 Monadnock Mr. & Mrs. F. L. Shaffner  (1894 Boston directory shows name as Frederick)

33 Monadnock Mr. & Mrs. John Fennell    (wine merchant at 161 Devonshire)

 

1896     31 Mr. & Mr. Salomon [sic] Bacharack, at home 2d & 4th Thursdays

(Solomon was a manager at Bergner & Engel Brewing Co, 508 Atlantic Ave)

33 Mr. & Mrs. John Fennell

 

1898     31 Mr. & Mrs. Salomon Bacharack [sic]

33 no entry

 

1900     31 no entry

33 Mr. & Mrs. W.A. Bird  (Walter was an electro plater)

 

1902     31 Solomon Bacharach

33 Mr. & Mrs. William L. Tuttle

 

1904     31 Mrs. Mary E. Decker

33 Mr. & Mrs. William L. Tuttle

 

1906     31 Russell E. Austin, Mrs. Asabel T. Austin, Miss Mabel R. Austin

33 Mr. & Mrs. William L. Tuttle

 

1908     31 no entry

33 Mr. & Mrs. William L. Tuttle

 

1910     31 no entry

33 Mr. & Mrs. James C. Powers

(1910 Census:

James C. Powers, 62, b. in Canada, carpenter

Catherine, his wife, 50, b. in Massachusetts

Catherine B. Powers, daughter, 23, b. Mass., stenographer at a stock broker office

Gertrude F. Powers, daughter, 18, b. Mass., stenographer in a jewelry business

Harold A. Powers, son, 17, b. Mass., apprentice plumber

Helen C. Powers, daughter, 15, b. Mass.

Frederick C. Powers, son, 13, b. Mass.

 

1913     31 Mrs. Mary F. Sanford

33 Mr, & Mrs. James C. Powers

 

1915     no entry

no entry

 

Check out the Dorchester Historical Society’s online catalog at

http://dorchester.pastperfectonline.com/

The archive of these historical posts can be viewed on the blog at www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org

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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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