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Dorchester Heights: 1931

Dorchester Heights: 1931

May 26, 1931. Beantown from above: "Boston, South End. Dorchester Heights from Gas Building." 4x5 film negative, photographer unknown. View full size.

 

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Don Bosco Tech High School

The large building to the left is the former Don Bosco Technical High School, my Alma Mater. Now it is a DoubleTree Hotel or something. Very recognizable from the large blank facade on the left side. That corner is on Tremont Street, right near the Wang Theater. Nearly all the other structures around it are long gone. The church and area around it are now the Mass Turnpike corridor. The stacks in the backgound must be Gillette Co. and you can make out the Fort Point Channel in between. Old timers will remember the rusty steel truss drawbridge at the channel.

Gold Street?

Can anybody identify what streets we're looking at in this picture? In the bottom right, the street sign by the walking man might say "Gold"?

My G.G. grandmother had a saloon on Silver St, two streets north of Gold, in which case we could have a picture here of her building?

Can anybody identify that church?

The unpreserved view of Boston

For a city as preservation-minded as Boston, it's surprising how difficult it is to identify any particular building in this photo that still stands today. The "Gas Building" itself (once the Boston Consolidated Gas Co. headquarters, on Arlington Street) remains, and was recently converted into pricy apartments.
However, at the time of this photo, a speakeasy known as the Cocoanut Grove was located right across Piedmont Street from the buildings behind the "SHORPY" name. Its windows were bricked up and side exits closed up to conceal activities inside. When liquor became legal those obstacles remained, which contributed to the horrific death toll on November 28, 1942, when fire raced through the overcrowded nightclub, trapping hundreds unable to exit through a revolving door in front. The fire killed 492 patrons, including many servicemen.

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