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Turning to traffic, Kenmore Square is at a complete standstill outbound

Kenmore Square, 1928.Kenmore Square, 1928.

Complaints about traffic in Boston are nothing new. Even in the 1920s, news photographer Leslie Jones was capturing local traffic jams - and the accidents that often caused them. Here are some from the Boston Public Library's Leslie Jones collection (click on photos to see larger versions).

In 1924, the SS Leviathan moored at a South Boston pier. People flocked to see it; Jones reported "an angry crowd" of jammed motorists:

SS Leviathan trafficSummer Street, 1924.

Some things do change: We're unlikely to see a jam like this on Washington Street downtown:

Washington Street, 1932Washington Street, 1932.

The Back Bay had its problems back then as well:

Dartmouth Street at Boylston, 1925.Dartmouth Street at Boylston, 1925.

Even in pre-Smoot days, the Harvard Bridge was often jammed:

Harvard Bridge, 1923.Harvard Bridge, 1923.

Then, as now, traffic often ground to a halt because of accidents. One difference, though: Bystanders flocked to accidents to gawk - traffic was as likely to be stopped due to the large number of pedestrians checking things out as by the actual wrecks:

Stuart Street.Stuart Street.

Photos posted under this Creative Commons license.

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Comments

there weren't women on Stuart Street in the early part of the century.

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either.....

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That's worth a +10!!

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If you look at the actual picture, Boston doesn't appear to have discovered the concepts of car lanes or crosswalks until after WW II - let alone street lights. Those cars didn't move much faster than bikes, anyway.

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Always getting in the way of liberty.

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Dartmouth street, 1925, shows crosswalks.

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The same photo shows the Hotel Vendome that killed nine firefighters when it collapsed in 1972. It's the third building on the left across Newbury.

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Here's another example. But here's one proving Boston women could enjoy a good car wreck just as much as the guys.

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Adam:

The first wreck on the corner of Weston Street; every building in that photo was torn down for an expressway, that was never built.

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Google Maps tries to take me to West Roxbury or maybe Hyde Park; anyway, probably not the place you're talking about.

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It was in Roxbury --

http://www.wardmaps.com/viewasset.php?aid=10027

http://i.imgur.com/FacY6.jpg

Looks like it was obliterated for the never-built Southwest Expressway.

Google Maps will still show it to you, even though I don't actually see a street by that name anymore --

http://g.co/maps/f9qpn

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Clearly a woman was driving...

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I wonder if anyone was injured, and if anyone was, if the ambulance picking them up was from anyplace but the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital.

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It looks like the trains going inbound jogged to the left and down Beacon rather than down Commonwealth. Was there another line which also went right, or was there another hard right down Mass Ave to make it to what is how Hynes? (Did that stop even exist at the time?)

Gosh, I love this stuff. :)

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between Kenmore Square and Mass. Ave. You can still find it there, sealed up. Before the underground Kenmore station was built, this is how streetcars got into the Boylston Street subway.

What's now the Hynes stop was then called "Massachusetts Avenue". It became "Auditorium" for a few decades, after the original version of the Hynes Auditorium opened in the 1960s.

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This thing, on Comm. Ave. a block or so inbound from the square.

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Ah! I always thought that thing was covering part of the Muddy River somehow.

So did that mean that trains going inbound could go either down Beacon or Comm? Where did the Beacon line wind up?

(And I still refer to it as "Auditorium". Need to correct myself when giving directions to tourists. Such a townie!)

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I find myself still referring to it as "Auditorium" also. And calling the Wang the "Music Hall". Getting old I guess. And to think I used to chuckle when my grandmother would refer to Blue Line stops by their earlier names. Aquarium was "Atlantic" and State was "Devonshire".

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I call it Auditorium and I was born one year and two days before they officially changed the name.

If you refer to it as Massachusetts Station, ok, then you're old.

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...I still miss the A line.

Speaking of getting old.

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The first car is negotiating the switch points to go outbound on Comm Ave. Cars to Watertown also veered to the right down Comm Ave and then stayed straight down Brighton Ave at Packard's Corner, as they did right up until the end in 1969. We know this train is going to Lake Street (now Boston College) because these types of trolleys never served the Watertown line.

The track that you see heading up to the left inbound on Beacon Street was non-revenue trackage that connected with service trackage on Mass Ave. This allowed for equipment to be transferred among divisons. Revenue trips inbound proceeded down Comm for a few hundred yards, and then into the subway via the portal.

Yes, the Hynes/Auditorium station very much existed in 1928. It was called Massachusetts Station and was a two-level transfer station. In the tunnel were the subway-surface lines (The Green Line we are familiar with today). On the surface were the aforementioned tracks on Mass Ave, which served the line from Harvard to Massachusetts Station. A separate line served Massachusetts Station to Dudley. Now the two routes are consolidated in the #1 Harvard-Dudley bus route.

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Thanks. I can see how it worked now.

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Kenmore Station was built to Cambridge-Dorchester Tunnel (Red Line) specifications. There was a plan to build a subway/elevated line out Commonwealth Avenue. It would run as a subway from Kenmore under the Comm Ave auto mile, then at Packard's Corner the line would emerge and run elevated to Lake Street. Packard's Corner was certainly built wide enough to accomodate a subway portal. Comm Ave was drawn up plenty wide enough for an elevated, too. They were both designed this way to accomodate the plan, without necessitating it. The most telling evidence is Kenmore Station itself. There is an incline entering the station and a decline leaving it. This is because the specs, of course, called for high platforms. Once the plan petered out, something needed to be done. Lowering the platform would be labor-intensive and costly. So they raised the tracks to be flush with the platform. This also explains why the platforms at Kenmore are so damn long.

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The B-Line tracks in the center at Kenmore and well as the portal coming up to Blanford St., where raised up with steel and wood supports that could be removed if it was ever converted to high platform rapid transit and the subway extended. When the heavy Type 7 cars came in 1986, the old supports were removed and filled in with ballast to accomodate the heavier cars. The C/D line tracks at Kenmore were not built with any provision for conversion to high platform, but the station was built with a loop track, so Beacon St. cars could terminate at Kenmore. Had the Commonwealth Ave. line been converted to full rapid transit, the Beacon St. line would hae become a feeder line only operating to Kenmore. The Riverside line didn't open until 1959, so it was not thought of when Kenmore station was designed/built in 1932.

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... when I got here in 1975, you still had to pay a double bus fare if your trip started on one side of Auditorium station and ended on the other side.

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could fit in just the first car of that three car train of "center entrance" cars. They were given this name for their crowd swallowing abilities and were a staple on Comm Ave from the mid 1920s to the end of the war. They were essential in transporting massive crowds due to the depression, war or Boston Braves games. They ran until they literally fell apart, a practice currently on display on the Green, Orange and Red lines. Old-timers have told me stories of the massive wooden doors unhinging and falling face down onto the platform at Park Street during the evening rush.

P.S. Traffic is for losers.

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is there still such a pier, known as simply South Boston Pier? I know Fish Pier, Fan Pier, Black Falcon Pier, etc. Just curious.

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what are all those people lined up along the side of the bridge, and also along the river, looking at??

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That's a pure guess. The Head of the Charles crew race didn't exist back then (and the crowd is facing the wrong direction for that anyway). I don't think there were July 4th fireworks back then either.

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Look at the original hi-res image (http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library...) and you'll see that the precursor to the Esplanade (or it that Back Street?) is also jammed with people.

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That's the Embankment - it extended out from Back st. to the river.

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The land that is now Riverside station was owned by my Grandfather, back in 1910, and he ran a sawmill there. He sold it to the B&M railroad, who a few decades later sold it to the MBTA. The huge Oak that used to be right at the main entrance to the parking lot was in their front yard.

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I had head that the Riverside MBTA Station was a sand and gravel pit before the MBTA acquired the property.

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But "Pop" sold it, moved the family to Allston, and then worked for the B and M at that exact same site. He would grab a train at the end of his street, and deadhead to the Riverside site. He ended up in charge of the Derailing crew, 60-70 years ago.

Family members have pix of it back then. I suspect they didn't Photoshop much in 1910.

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