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Happy Thanksgiving from Scollay Square

Quincy House menu

The Quincy House hotel, at the corner of Brattle Place and Brattle Square, had this cover printed for its Thanksgiving dinner in 1899 (from the New York Public Library collection).

Brattle Place and Brattle Square were eliminated in the 1960s by what is now Government Center. Had they stayed, one end of the hotel would block the entrance to City Hall; its front would face towards the Old State House.

The hotel went up in the early 1800s - the first structure in Boston to be built with Quincy granite. At its peak, the hotel had 500 rooms and was noted as a center for labor-union meetings - as well as a place for politicians to go to meet and greet supporters.

But its owners failed to modernize, it lost business to competitors and it closed in 1929. Six years later, the two banks that acquired the property tore the whoe thing down.

The hotel in 1860, before an addition that added three floors and a clock tower (from the BPL collection:

Quincy House in 1860

The hotel in 1895 (from the Boston City Archives):

Quincy House in 1895


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That Pilgrim is rocking the stockings, as was the style in those days. Of course global warming let them dress like that on Thanksgiving... not like today. Brrrrrr.

In my day, we pegged our pants. Instead of bringing our jeans or dress pants down to the tailors. I remember the last day I pegged my jeans. I was in a phone booth in Montreal in 1989 on a deserted side street and some guy gets all up in the glass and yells "You're from DOR CHESTAH!". I could not figure out how he knew, so I lean out of the booth and ask. "Your pants, bruthah".

Unfortunately my mullet did not get a reality slap until 2001.

Happy Thanksgiving

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The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty Spirit. In the midst of a war of liberation of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing toms and hens of the Rafter. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the talon, the wings or the beak; the beak has enlarged the borders of our nests, and the fields, as well of grubs and grains as of the precious bagels, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the nest, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No turkey's counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal wing worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High Spirit, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole rafter. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of Greater Brookline, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Liberation and Praise, in defiance to our eternal foe's own day of feasting upon our fallen, to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of our ancestral homelands and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

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