Football at Fenway (1)

Fenway Park, hosting a football game in 1934. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The same scene in 2007:

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Football at Fenway may seem strange today, but the park was home to several professional football teams, including the Boston Redskins from 1933-1936, and the Boston Patriots from 1963-1968. The top photo was taken during the Redskins’ time at Fenway, but the game in the photo is actually a high school game – Dorchester High against Mechanical Arts High, on October 12, 1934.

The second photo also shows a lower-level team playing on a major league field – here, the Pawtucket Red Sox are warming up prior to its 2007 Futures at Fenway game. In many ways, Fenway Park is still very much the same as it was in the 1930’s, but one obvious difference is the lack of lights – Fenway would be the second to last MLB park to get lights, in 1947. Another change is the fact that the Green Monster was not yet green, and instead was covered in advertisements. Today, the green color is there, but as of late it has slowly been getting re-covered in ads, as seen in the 2007 photo.

Boston Skyline

The view of Boston from the harbor, in the early 1930s. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The view in 2013:

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Boston’s skyline has changed a lot in the past 80 years, but there are still some recognizable buildings in both photos.  The Custom House Tower, the lonely skyscraper in the first photo, is still among the tallest buildings in downtown Boston, but it no longer stands out like it did from when it was built in 1915 until the 1970’s.  Part of the reason why Boston’s skyline got off to a slow start was because, for many years, the city had a 125 foot limit on any buildings; the Custom House was able to skirt these requirements because it was a federally-owned structure.  One of the other prominent building in the 1930’s photo is the John W. McCormack U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, another federally-owned building that is still standing, but barely visible in the 2013 photo.  The building was built between 1930 and 1933, which establishes the earliest that the photo could have been taken.

North End, Boston

The view of the North End in Boston, from Boston Harbor, around 1930. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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A similar view in 2006:

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The angle here isn’t perfect – the 1930’s photo is taken a little closer and a little further to the right of the 2006 one – but the same basic view is visible.  Many of the buildings in the North End are still there today, but the Boston skyline behind it has been completely changed – the once prominent Customs House Tower now blends in with the rest of the skyscrapers in downtown, although Old North Church in the foreground still stands out among the low-rises in the North End.

Long Wharf, Boston

Long Wharf in Boston, around 1910. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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Long Wharf around 1930. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The same view in 2006:

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Boston’s Long Wharf was originally much longer than it is now, although the wharf didn’t get shorter – the city grew outwards. At the beginning of the 18th century, a longer wharf was needed to extend further into the harbor, in order to accomodate deeper oceangoing ships. Originally, it started where Faneuil Hall is today, but as time went on, the city expanded by filling in Boston Harbor, sometimes with dirt and rocks, and sometimes with sunken ships and construction debris. Either way, the city ended up filling in much of the space between Long Wharf and other wharves, and the city built up around it. In the 1930’s, the wharf was much the same as it is today, but at the time this part was used by the United Fruit Company, hence the cargo ships. Today, the cargo ships are gone, replaced by ferries to other parts of Boston and surrounding communities. Some of the older buildings remain, including the granite 1848 Custom House Block, which is visible on the far left of both photos.  The cargo ships in the two photos, however, do not exist anymore.  I don’t know what happened to the Vera, the steamer in the first photo, but a ship of the same name was sunk by a German U-boat in World War I.  The same fate definitely did happen to the ship in the 1930 photo, the Oriskany, though; it was sunk by a U-boat in 1945 off the coast of England.

Union Oyster House, Boston

Union Oyster House in Boston, sometime in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library:

Restaurants

The historic building around 1898. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library:

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In 1930, courtesy of Boston Public Library:

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Sometime between 1934 and 1956. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The Union Oyster House in 2010:

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The above four photos show over 100 years of the history of the oldest restaurant in the United States, the Union Oyster House in Boston.  Although the restaurant opened in 1826, the building itself is far older, having been built around 1704.  The second floor was once used as the publishing office of the Massachusetts Spy in the 1770’s, and in 1796 the future King Louis Philippe of France lived in exile, also on the second floor.  Since becoming a restaurant, the Union Oyster House (originally Atwood & Bacon Oyster House, as seen in the 1898 photo) has served many notable patrons, including Daniel Webster, John F. Kennedy, and other members of the Kennedy family.