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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Commonwealth Avenue: 1904

Commonwealth Avenue: 1904

Circa 1904. "Commonwealth Avenue, Boston." An ultra-detailed view of bustling Beantown. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Church steeples

What a great photo! I think that the steeple furthest to the left belongs to the famous Anglo-Catholic (Episcopsl) Church of the Advent on Brimmer Street.

Old vs New

All that nice contemporary urban architecture and someone decides he prefers a log cabin for his penthouse.

What is that?

It's the backside of an old Gamewell police call box.

Super Detailed and Super Cool!

This view looks like it was taken from Massachusetts Avenue (note the streetcar tracks) looking east. The church steeples visible include (starting from the right hand side of the street in the distance): 1) The Brattle Square Church, H. H. Richardson, 1870-1872 (now home of the First Baptist Church, known informally as the "Church of the Holy Bean Blowers"); 2) the Central Church (Presbyterian, now Church of the Covenant), Richard M. Upjohn, 1865-1867; 3) the Arlington Street Church (Unitarian), Gilman & Bryant, 1859-1861; 4) the confusingly named New Old South Church (United Church of Christ), Cummings and Sears, 1870-1873; and 5) with only the tippy top of its pyramidal roof and cross visible between some vent stacks, the famous Trinity Church (Episcopalian), H. H. Richardson, 1872-1877.

Massachusetts Avenue crosses in the foreground.

There is a roadway underpass at this intersection now. Otherwise the view remains pretty much the same.

Two trees

I couldn’t help noticing the cute little rectangles of grass in front of the houses on the right side of the avenue, and then my attention was drawn to the two lone trees sprouting out of the sidewalk adjacent to the two women (one in a white top, the other in a black top). I wonder why only two trees along that whole stretch, and why right there.

How many church steeples do you see?

I count ten. I don't know what the dome belongs to, though, so I didn't count it.

[The dome is the Massachusetts State House. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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