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Across the staid South End, one rowhouse stands out

Poodle house on Dwight Street in the South End

Greg Cook educates us on the history of the poodles, owls and other sculptures permanently affixed to the exterior of 9 Dwight St. How did this whimsy ever get approved in a neighborhood with a historic commission? Well, it went up in the 1960s and 1970s, when the architectural standards in the South End were not what they are today.

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Comments

I lived a few blocks away for years, always wondered, never found a neighbor who knew the story.

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How far we have come that it was news in 1981 for Newton to offer no-smoking areas in restaurants.

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I couldn't find that headline and would love to see the story.

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In the Greg Cook article there is a photo of a newspaper. One of the articles there is what they were referencing.

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When I first showed up around here, smoking was banned in restaurants but not bars. When they banned it in bars, people were worried it would be a logistical problem -- would people go outside to smoke and then skip out on their tab? Somehow it worked out.

Later they banned smoking in private clubs, such as VFWs. That was a big relief when I went to events renting space there.

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I hope this whimsical beauty doesn't get defaced or stolen by some jerk. Hopefully they have a good protection system in working order.

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I love this historical info. And how well I remember the pre-gentrification South End.

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My aunt and uncle came from Australia in the mid 70's and hadn't seen a person of color other than an aboriginal Australian in over a decade.

They asked to see the "ghetto" since they had heard so many stories about America. They wanted to see abandoned buildings in the city. My father took them to Tremont Street between Berkeley and Mass Ave. Plenty o'abandoned buildings, not so many throw pillow shops. The South End was not the South End of today by far. It was much cooler, affordable, and more dangerous. A lot of coolest kids in my high school came out of the South End.

Appleton Street had three abandoned buildings between Dartmouth and Clarendon in the 90's. About 5 people lived on Washington Street and Harrison Avenue between Berkeley and Dedham Street up until the early 90's.

Things have changed a bit in terms of building approvals. Try putting in a screen door on a downstairs apartment on Dwight Street and you will be garroted.

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I remember as a kid in the 90s a lot of these areas were starting to change and anytime my mother would drive us past one she would sigh... And say can you imagine having the foresite and money at the right time? How much money people must have made off of the turnover process.

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foresite???

forsight - the ability to predict or the action of predicting what will happen or be needed in the future.

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If we are splitting straws it is forEsight... not forsight. If you are going to correct someone do it right.

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When it was dangerous and overrun with illicit activity. Damn the gays and yuppies and families who moved in and gentrified it over the past 3+ decades, turning it into a diverse and desirable location filled with shops, restaurants, and a vibrant streetscape. Bring back the ghetto.

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How did they miss the back yard sculptures?! It's filled with them, though in poor shape last time I saw them...

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I knew a few of the particulars about this building but now I know quite a bit more. I always wondered how the sculptures are kept in such good repair.

Thanks.

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... heard of the South End described as “staid”.

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I remember my father bringing me to his friends house , Scotty back in the early 80s on Columbus Ave. We use to sit there an talk with him for hours. Such a wise, knowledgeable man. I'm sure he's rolling in his grave at how much his basement apt goes for now.... That man lived there for at least 30-40 years. Enjoy times when an while u can, as more than likely they will never return

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On field trips to the MFA, the teachers would bemoan how the place had fallen from its former glory.

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