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About the Photos

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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Enter Subway Slowly: 1904

Enter Subway Slowly: 1904

Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1904. "Descent into subway, Public Garden." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


Green Line

I used to take the T Green Line every day. I called it "The Nausea Express" ........for the way the train would speed-up slow down, speed-up slow-down.

Basically, for those unfamiliar with Boston and the Green Line; imagine stuffing yourself into a tiny little subway car with a couple hundred of your closest friends and very little seating (with everyone standing about one nanometer apart), add a whole lot of funky smells and the high-pitched ear-piercing screech of grinding metal, shake and stir it all together (speed-up, slow-down), and you've got the Boston T's Green Line.

Anyway. I loved living in Boston. It's a great place. I miss it - even the Green Line.


A clue as to the date: The Helping Hand Society's fair at the Park Street Vestry on October 20, 21, 22. Amateur archivist alert!

The "wicker basket"

It's a wooden bucket that most likely contained sand for traction on wet or snowy days so the trolleys could climb up grade and also for assisting in braking.

[Interesting, but the basket is behind the bucket. - Dave]


That fence looks dangerous!

A tisket, a tasket

What is the purpose of the wicker basket?

The old A Line

The car on the far right in the foreground is heading toward Park Street on what would become the old A branch of the Green Line. Current Boston commuters know the four lettered Green Line branches (B, C, D, and E), but until the early 70s the A branch ran with the B until splitting off at Comm Ave and Brighton Ave and then running through Oak Square, Newton Corner, and ending at Watertown Square.


This entrance was only used for a short period and was sealed in 1914. You can still see the ramp from underground when traveling between Boylston and Arlington stops.

There used to be a great site about the MTA/MBTA's history, including abandoned stations and entrances; it's apparently disappeared but is preserved by the Wayback Machine. If you're a trainspotter like me you'll love it.

[Below, the tunnel marked with the year 1895. - Dave]

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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