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Michelle Wu's other first: First mayor to live in Roslindale

In the political scheme of things, Roslindale doesn't get much respect - whenever legislators have to stitch together district lines, Roslindale's where they do it: The neighborhood is represented by three different city councilors, two state senators, two members of Congress and, gosh, who can keep count, but like five or six different state representatives.

But starting Nov. 16, Roslindale will be able to claim a mayor of its own, and for the first time ever in Boston history, at least dating back to the 1895 election of Hugh O'Brien - a mayor who had some firsts of his own to claim (the first Boston mayor born outside the US and the first Irish-Catholic mayor).

So let's head back in time:

Marty Walsh: Dorchester
Tom Menino: Hyde Park
Ray Flynn: South Boston
Kevin White: Beacon Hill
John Collins: Jamaica Plain
John Hynes: Dorchester
James Michael Curley: Jamaica Plain
Maurice Tobin: Mission Hill
Frederick Mansfield: Roxbury
Malcolm Nichols:Jamaica Plain
Andrew Peters: Jamaica Plain
John F. Fitzgerald: North End
George Hibbard: Dorchester
Patrick Collins: Brighton
Thomas Norton Hart: Back Bay
Josiah Quincy: Beacon Hill
Edwin Upton Curtis: Roxbury
Nathan Matthews: Back Bay
Hugh O'Brien: Roxbury

Complete list of Boston mayors.

Ed. note: It proved a bit hard to find where some of these mayors lived. In some cases, it was possible to ferret out the answers via much scrolling through Boston Globe archives. But even those failed for Hugh O'Brien. For that, I turned to Census data maintained by Ancestry.com and available to anybody with a BPL card.


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But please include Roxbury’s own Janey on there too.

And BPL, we should finally have a BPL in Roslindale again any day now.

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Besides Janey, there have been a couple of others over the years, who have served terms of a few months each.

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Never a mayor from East Boston, Charlestown, West Roxbury, or the North, South, or West Ends.

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Kevin White was originally from there, wasn't he?

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When Carole White's house was being sold a few years back, I recall hearing that there was a stained glass window that Kevin had broken as a child. So I think he lived in that house for some amount of time.

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Or Allston..

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Dapper O'Neil, who bragged about getting so many votes he didn't count them, he weighed them, he lived in Roslindale. I wouldn't want to hear what he'd say about Mayor-elect Wu or his neighbors who voted her in. In fact, I never wanted to hear what he said about anything. But he got more votes than anybody else on the City Council for years, and he lived on the 3rd floor over a dentist's office on Washington Street, literally 4 blocks away from where Wu lives now.

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He never ran for mayor (neither did Marc Draisen, who was briefly a state rep from Roslindale)

And now that that the K of C on Washington Street has shut down, Roslindale's lost its one memorial to the racist, anti-Asian homophobe, and people who want to remember him will have to go to (wait for it) West Roxbury, where even the mural with him and Curley is beginning to fade.

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Shut down permanently or just due to Covid, like Branelly's?

That would be a good spot to knock down a very ugly building and put up a mixed use one.

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But Dapper is still there, bugging the heck of the some and eliciting nothing from most.

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Commemorative stone plaque at the front door has been gone for months now. Disappeared sometime during the height of the pandemic.

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I don't know how I missed that, as I sometimes looked over at it while walking by.

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That building really is an eyesore.

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or so Wikipedia says:


He received less than 1% of the vote!

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I thought that she had mentioned in a campaign speech that she was relocating to East Boston in the coming weeks. She would also be the first Mayor from East Boston according to this list.

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Somebody asked her a hypothetical question at a forum in September: IF she moved to East Boston, would she feel comfortable with whatever climate-change policies she was proposing, and she said yes, then quickly added that, however, she's staying in Roslindale.

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That's news to me, but you researched it, Adam, so I trust you on that.

Honey Fitz got around quite a bit in his lifetime. I'm aware of his having lived in the North End, Concord (yes!), Dorchester, and Beacon Hill (well, sort of -- the apartment building at the corner of Beacon and Bowdoin, across from the State House).

But I didn't know that he had Southie connections.

Kudos to Adam for the discovery.

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He was another one I had trouble pinning down an address for, I'll take another look.

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Honey Fitz had a big house on Welles Avenue which was taken down and replaced by 4 mediocre houses in the 1950's.

Part of the family then moved to Rundel Park where it backs up to Elmer and were then well into the 80's.

The legacy of this is that Rose had a Dorchester accent which was tempered by what is now Newton Country Day of the Sacred Heart.

Rose taught her children how to speak since Dad was away taking down every woman he could get his hands on.

The end result of this is that actors try to emulate the Kennedys thinking we talk like that.

Therefore the result of the big house on Welles Ave is words like "Mikroprawcessahs" with Martin Sheen's accent being taken over by Kevin Costner in 13 Days and The Company Men because we all know that local housing contractors speak like Harvard educated New York and Palm Beach raised rich kids.

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I looked Honey Fitz up in the 1900 Census and it lists him and his wife Mary and daughter Rose and his other two daughters and two sons and two brothers at 8 Unity St. in the North End. The 1910 Census, though, lists them, as John notes, on Welles Avenue in Dorchester (39 Welles Ave., to be exact).

So I've changed him on the list to North End, but now to do more research to see if I can find out where he was actually living when first elected in 1905.

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Only moved to JP after he had stolen everything in site.

He would have told you he was a Roxbury kid through and through.

His house was blasted away down off Harrison Avenue south of Rosie's Place sometime well before urban renewal.

Never forget he was a crook of the highest order.

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Also the first person ever from Roslindale to get 24/7 police detail.

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... using your current ID (maybe not your first) for a bit over a year.

I am still waiting to read a post by you that is not useless (or worse).

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