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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Boston Harbor: 1906

Boston Harbor: 1906

Circa 1906. "Boston Harbor from East Boston." Our second glimpse at this bustling transport hub. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.

 

Still there!

It's good to see the three masts of the Constitution docked in the Charlestown Navy Yard. It's the only thing I recognize other than the Bunker Hill Monument. Wow, it's an amazing shot and the city was much different than it is today. I wonder if the large brick building is Mass General, it's in about the right spot. And the West End, that the city razed in the 1950s is here intact and thickly settled. Thanks Dave!

After Poking Around a Bit

As a couple of folks have noted, the Bunker Hill monument is the one easily recognizable feature. Moving straight down from there to the water was (and still is) the Navy Yard, though I don't see the USS Constitution. Browsing some old Boston Maps, I've matched the "Merchants and Miners Transportation Company" to Battery Wharf, which means this picture was most likely taken near (but slightly northwest of) present day Logan Airport, say the end of Marginal Street near Lewis Street. If that's the vantage point, the domed building looks (agreeing with soupman22 below) to be too far north to be the State House, and is probably still Charlestown, or even the West End(?). The water below the "White Star Line" signage, and passing behind the cranes just to the left of "WHITE" marks the path to the present day locks and the beautiful new Zakim Bridge).

The Old North Church is most likely directly behind the structure that looks like a power station, and that tower to the right is tantalizing but I haven't been able to figure it out.

One distinctive building I think I can identify (thanks to that cool faked 3D angle view Google maps does): From the water tower in the center right (just to the right of the large rectangular building), go to the steeple a bit further right. I'm 99% certain the lower rectangular building just to the right of the steeple, with the slightly taller left tower and the slimmer column on the right is Saint Mary's Parish, at the corner of Winthrop and Warren Streets in Charlestown.

The Electric Company

"The black smokestack and hulking building" was a power plant. Now it's a condominium! Note to the right of the building under the Boyle Brothers sign: an elevated train and the head house for the Battery Street Station. The El was new in 1906, ran along the Atlantic Ave./Commercial Street waterfront (same street with two names). Last service was circa 1938, torn down in 1942 when I was 10. I remember it.

Looked at the area using Google Earth at street level. Very little left now I recognize from my childhood. But it's a great improvement over what was.

If you are talking about the

If you are talking about the dome to the left of the White Star Line, I don't think that is the state house. I think that is in Charlestown, close to the present location of Bunker Hill Community College. I'm not sure of the name of the section of Charlestown. I think that was a police station. It was located near the old expressway. There was an entrance to the expressway/93 north there.

Real live Lionel train tracks ....

Note the three-rail tracks going into the end of the building in center foreground: honest full-sized Lionel train tracks???

Skip

Different World

I live and work in this City, but the only thing I see in this picture that is even remotely recognizable is the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, way over on the far left of the picture. If this photo was taken in East Boston, it may have been taken from roughly the location of where Logan Airport is today.

Old Boston

This photo apperently shot from East Boston shows the Bunker Hill Monument at the far right located in Charlestown. The Golden Dome of the Massachusetts State House, quite possibly the old North Church of Paul Revere fame, middle right. The black smoke stack and hulking building toward the left is either the Boston Cold Storage Building or the Boston Electric Illuminating Company of Boston, Station # 3. The railroad cars on tracks in the foreground are quite likely about to the cross the harbor channel to railroads yards on the other side of the harbor located not far from where the old Anthony's Pier 4 was located.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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