South End Historical Society

South End Historical Society The South End Historical Society was founded in 1966 to fight for the preservation of historic architecture in Boston's South End neighborhood. Today, the SEHS continues preservation work, collects materials related to South End social history, architecture, and urban renewal, and assists researchers studying South End history. The SEHS also issues newsletters, holds programs and lectures, and leads walking tours.

The South End Historical Society was founded in 1966 to fight for the preservation of historic architecture in Boston's South End neighborhood. Today, the SEHS continues preservation work, collects materials related to South End social history, architecture, and urban renewal, and assists researchers studying South End history. The SEHS also issues newsletters, holds programs and lectures, and leads walking tours. Open by appointment only.

Interested in walking in the Boston Pride Parade? Join SEHS on Saturday, June 8th for our third year participating in th...
05/28/2019

Interested in walking in the Boston Pride Parade? Join SEHS on Saturday, June 8th for our third year participating in the parade. For more information or to RSVP, send us an e-mail at [email protected]

South End Then & Now: 540-550 Tremont Street
04/19/2019

South End Then & Now: 540-550 Tremont Street

South End Then & Now: 599 Columbus Ave
03/15/2019

South End Then & Now: 599 Columbus Ave

South End Then & Now: 811 Harrison Avenue
03/08/2019

South End Then & Now: 811 Harrison Avenue

South End Then & Now: 1648-1672 Washington Street
02/28/2019

South End Then & Now: 1648-1672 Washington Street

South End Then & Now: 429 Columbus Ave
02/21/2019

South End Then & Now: 429 Columbus Ave

South End Then & Now: 67 Appleton Street
02/05/2019

South End Then & Now: 67 Appleton Street

This week’s featured image is of Mellen’s Tavern, located at 1783 Washington Street in 1972. Owner James Mellen also...
01/23/2019

This week’s featured image is of Mellen’s Tavern, located at 1783 Washington Street in 1972. Owner James Mellen also owned Big Jim’s Shanty Lounge, Worthy Lunch and Green St. Station (in Jamaica Plain).

South End Then & Now: 42 Worcester Square
01/18/2019

South End Then & Now: 42 Worcester Square

This week’s featured image is of the Spinney Meat Shop, located at 1405 Washington Street in 1972. For over thirty yea...
01/16/2019

This week’s featured image is of the Spinney Meat Shop, located at 1405 Washington Street in 1972. For over thirty years, this location was home to Harry O’s Pizza which recently closed and is now the location of Union Park Pizza.

This week’s featured image is of the St. George Syrian Orthodox Church, located on James Street (today known as St. Ge...
01/09/2019

This week’s featured image is of the St. George Syrian Orthodox Church, located on James Street (today known as St. George Street) in 1972. Newly arrived immigrants from the Middle East founded the parish in 1900 in the South End. The founding families of the church came from numerous Christian villages in the old Ottoman Empire. As the community grew and prospered, a new church was needed and in 1953, the congregation built a church complex on James Street (today’s St. George Street). The new complex included a sanctuary, church school, social hall and living quarters for the pastor. In the mid-1970s, the community had shifted towards the suburbs and a new parish was built in West Roxbury. The church on James Street was demolished and replaced with housing.

South End Then & Now: 1704 Washington Street
01/08/2019

South End Then & Now: 1704 Washington Street

This week’s featured image is of the Joshua Bates School in 1972, located at 731 Harrison Avenue. Arthur H. Vinal desi...
01/02/2019

This week’s featured image is of the Joshua Bates School in 1972, located at 731 Harrison Avenue. Arthur H. Vinal designed and built the school in 1884 in the Romanesque Revival style. The City of Boston named the school after Joshua Bates, an international financier and benefactor of the Boston Public Library. After closing in 1975, the building opened as the Bates Art Center in 1977 and included artists' studios and exhibit space.

South End Then and Now: Corner of Columbus and Massachusetts Ave.
12/27/2018

South End Then and Now: Corner of Columbus and Massachusetts Ave.

This week's featured image is of the Union Rescue Mission during a midnight service in 1908. William H. West founded the...
12/26/2018

This week's featured image is of the Union Rescue Mission during a midnight service in 1908. William H. West founded the Union Rescue Mission in 1890, and it was originally located on Kneeland Street before moving to Dover Street (today's East Berkeley). The organization's mission was to help alcoholics and poor residents. It would hold daily meetings for the public and meetings would usually consist of singing hymns, lectures, readings from the Bible, and personal testimonies from attendees. Afterwards, the mission gave those in need a meal ticket and lodging for one night. From Christmas until New Year’s Day, the Union Rescue Mission would also provide free midnight meals for men.

This week's featured image is of 265 Shawmut Avenue in 1972. Built in 1854, the building was home to Dr. Edward de la Gr...
12/21/2018

This week's featured image is of 265 Shawmut Avenue in 1972. Built in 1854, the building was home to Dr. Edward de la Granja from 1868 until his death in 1903. Born in Avila, Spain, he received his medical degree from the Central University of Madrid in 1855. Before immigrating to the U.S. in 1866, de la Granja served as a brigade surgeon in the Crimean War.

In March 1887, de la Granja held a reception at his home on Shawmut Avenue for opera singer Giulia Valda-Cameron. The newspaper noted that the event was attended by guests "distinguished from the highest society." Those in attendance that night included Governor Oliver Ames, Liet. Governor John Quincy Adams Brackett, as well as poet and activist Julia Ward Howe.

Upon his death in 1903, Edward de la Granja left his property to the Massachusetts Maternity & Foundling Hospital.

South End Then & Now: 140 Worcester Street - In 1917, the Packard Auto Renting Company was using this building to sell a...
12/19/2018

South End Then & Now: 140 Worcester Street - In 1917, the Packard Auto Renting Company was using this building to sell and store gasoline.

Today's featured image is a trade card for Charles W. Spurr, a manufacturer of "Veneers, Hangings, and Marqueteries." Th...
12/14/2018

Today's featured image is a trade card for Charles W. Spurr, a manufacturer of "Veneers, Hangings, and Marqueteries." The card is actually a sample of his Birdseye Maple veneer hangings, which were thin pieces of wood glued to paper used to decorate walls.

South End Then & Now: 565-569 Tremont Street
12/12/2018

South End Then & Now: 565-569 Tremont Street

This week's featured image is of a bookmark advertising Vose & Sons Piano Co. located at 170 Tremont St.
12/07/2018

This week's featured image is of a bookmark advertising Vose & Sons Piano Co. located at 170 Tremont St.

South End Then & Now: 661-659 Massachusetts Avenue
12/05/2018

South End Then & Now: 661-659 Massachusetts Avenue

This week’s featured image is the library of the Youth’s Companion from the Roche Postcard Collection. Written on th...
11/30/2018

This week’s featured image is the library of the Youth’s Companion from the Roche Postcard Collection. Written on the back is the following note:

“Grandpa took Nannie, Richard, and myself to Boston and Plymouth. We were most courteously shown about this interesting building. All the papers are mailed to reach their destination on Thursday”

South End Then & Now: 1677 Washington Street
11/28/2018

South End Then & Now: 1677 Washington Street

In celebration of Thanksgiving, we are sharing a Thanksgiving dinner menu published by American Cookery magazine in 1920...
11/21/2018

In celebration of Thanksgiving, we are sharing a Thanksgiving dinner menu published by American Cookery magazine in 1920 from our collection. Janet McKenzie Hill, an 1892 graduate of the Boston Cooking School, founded the magazine in 1896 as the Boston Cooking School Magazine – to serve as the official journal of the Boston Cooking School. The goal of the magazine was to “give the latest and most scientific, at the same time the most practical and helpful information on matters of interest throughout the wide field of domestic science.” Beginning with their May 1916 edition, they began publishing in the South End at 221 Columbus Avenue in the Pope Building. It was here that Albert A. Pope, the founder of Pope Manufacturing Co. and producer of Columbia Bicycles, promoted bicycling in America – giving the building its name. Many issues of American Cookery are available digitally for those who are looking for last minute tips for Thanksgiving.

South End Then & Now: 6-18 Clarendon Street
11/16/2018

South End Then & Now: 6-18 Clarendon Street

This week's featured image is of First National Stores in 1972, located at 1421 Washington Street. Today, this is the lo...
11/13/2018

This week's featured image is of First National Stores in 1972, located at 1421 Washington Street. Today, this is the location of Foodie's Market, a family-owned business that has been serving the South End since 1998.

South End Then & Now: 540-550 Tremont Street
11/09/2018

South End Then & Now: 540-550 Tremont Street

This week's featured image is an 1851 engraving of Franklin Square and East Brookline Street. The image was on the front...
11/07/2018

This week's featured image is an 1851 engraving of Franklin Square and East Brookline Street. The image was on the front page of Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion in November 1851. Inside the issue, it describes the image as "the fine block of buildings now completing, situated on the corner of Washington and Brookline Streets, fronting Franklin Square. The location of these dwelling-houses is admirable, at a most desirable distance from the turmoil of the business portion of the city, and yet at a most accessible point by omnibus at every hour of the day. The novel width of the 'Neck,' the fine trees that ornament the neighborhood, and the spacious and airy beauty of Franklin and Blackstone Squares, have attracted the attention of person who desire choice building lots and a fine location." This location is now the Cathedral Housing Development.

South End Then & Now: the corner of East Berkeley and Washington StreetBack in 1971, this corner was the site of the Dov...
10/24/2018

South End Then & Now: the corner of East Berkeley and Washington Street

Back in 1971, this corner was the site of the Dover Street Elevated station. The Washington Street Elevated was a section of Boston's MBTA subway and opened on June 10, 1901. Architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow Jr designed the station in a Beaux-Arts style. When the El was shut down, most of the stations were scrapped, but Northampton Station's headhouse was moved to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Residents remember the El for the good and the bad - what are some of your memories of the El?

Join us in celebrating the South End Historical Society's 50th annual South End House Tour this Saturday, from 10AM - 5P...
10/18/2018

Join us in celebrating the South End Historical Society's 50th annual South End House Tour this Saturday, from 10AM - 5PM. There are six homes on the tour this year, including two former churches, and a surprise for attendees on the last stop.

You can still purchase tickets in advance on our website. General tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the tour. You can purchase tickets on the day of the tour at Sprogis & Neale Real Estate, located at 679 Tremont Street.

To purchase advanced tickets: http://ow.ly/LwU230mgOF9

This week's featured image is of 77 Dartmouth Street in 1972, the location of Haley House.In 1966, Kathe and John McKenn...
10/17/2018

This week's featured image is of 77 Dartmouth Street in 1972, the location of Haley House.

In 1966, Kathe and John McKenna rented a basement apartment in the neighborhood and began taking in homeless men. They offered a cot and a meal - and this act of personal hospitality set the tone for Haley House ever since.

Over the past 52 years, Haley House has expanded to offer numerous services to the community: from the soup kitchen and food pantry, to affordable housing, urban farming and the Haley House Bakery Cafe.

This summer, we sat down with artist Julia Glatfelter to learn about her time at the Children's Art Centre and about her...
10/01/2018

This summer, we sat down with artist Julia Glatfelter to learn about her time at the Children's Art Centre and about her upcoming picture book about the history of 36 Rutland Street. The book has a Kickstarter page, and all funds go toward a first printing of the children's book. Help make Julia's book a reality by supporting her through Kickstarter. The campaign ends at 10pm tonight and she is about 65% of the way to her goal of $2,850.

Our interview with Julia: http://ow.ly/KHgB30m37bw
Julia's Kickstarter Page: http://ow.ly/fLUG30m36DR

This week's featured image is a new photograph in our collections, donated by the Cohasset Historical Society.Pictured h...
07/17/2018

This week's featured image is a new photograph in our collections, donated by the Cohasset Historical Society.

Pictured here are several people at work at the Youth's Companion in February 1894. The Youth's Companion was an American children's magazine, first published in 1827. Famous writers such as Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Jack London and Harriet Beecher Stowe contributed to the magazine. The building itself is located at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Berkeley Street.

The Youth's Companion is probably best known for publishing the original Pledge of Allegiance in 1892, written by staff member Francis Bellamy.

Interested in walking in the Boston Pride Parade? Join SEHS on Saturday for our second year participating in the parade....
06/07/2018

Interested in walking in the Boston Pride Parade? Join SEHS on Saturday for our second year participating in the parade. For more information or to RSVP, send us an e-mail at [email protected]

This week's featured image is of 360 Columbus Avenue in 1972.On April 7, 1932, Federal Prohibition Agents raided this lo...
05/10/2018

This week's featured image is of 360 Columbus Avenue in 1972.

On April 7, 1932, Federal Prohibition Agents raided this location which was known to Bostonians as The Camels Club, a de luxe speakeasy in the city. One of the most luxurious speakeasies in the Boston, The Camels Club had white-coated bartenders and a lounge room, and was located behind a tobacco store. Federal agents found 50 quarts of high-grade liquor, 10 cases of Canadian ale, five additional gallons of alcohol and an index card system with names of 1,500 customers.

This week's featured image is of Hite Radio and TV, located at 1672 Washington Street (at the corner of Worcester Square...
04/24/2018

This week's featured image is of Hite Radio and TV, located at 1672 Washington Street (at the corner of Worcester Square). The white, one-story building offered television and radio repairs and sales for decades before closing in 2011.

South End Then & Now: Ringgold Park.Ringgold Park is on the site of the former Franklin School. The Franklin School was ...
04/13/2018

South End Then & Now: Ringgold Park.

Ringgold Park is on the site of the former Franklin School. The Franklin School was built in 1859 and burned down on July 19, 1960. The area soon became a dusty lot and was not a safe place for South End kids to play. In 1962, residents began contacting city officials to have a park built on the site. A year later, residents decided to build a park on their own based on plans with architect Dave Farley of the BRA. Countless neighbors and outside volunteers pitched in to build the park. The park, known back then as the Eight Streets Park, was dedicated on May 25, 1968.

This week's featured image is of 19 Worcester Street in 1972.
04/10/2018

This week's featured image is of 19 Worcester Street in 1972.

South End Then & Now: 1-3 Claremont ParkIn 1924, Anna Bobbitt Gardner (1901-97) opened the Gardner Academy of Musical Ar...
04/06/2018

South End Then & Now: 1-3 Claremont Park

In 1924, Anna Bobbitt Gardner (1901-97) opened the Gardner Academy of Musical Arts in the basement of her home at 1-3 Claremont Park. She eventually opened at least five more locations of the same name. In 1932, Gardner became the first black woman to earn a bachelor's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.

This week's featured image shows some South Enders hanging out at 92 Waltham Street in 1972.
04/03/2018

This week's featured image shows some South Enders hanging out at 92 Waltham Street in 1972.

This week's featured image is of the Orange Line relocation construction, taken on May 22, 1980. This photo was taken fr...
03/15/2018

This week's featured image is of the Orange Line relocation construction, taken on May 22, 1980. This photo was taken from the corner of Tremont and Herald streets, looking towards Shawmut Avenue. The Holy Trinity Church can be seen in the distance. (The location of A&P is slated to be a new restaurant called Bootleg Special)

This week's featured image is of Berkeley Street, at the corner of Chandler in 1978. The Theodore Parker Hall is on the ...
03/09/2018

This week's featured image is of Berkeley Street, at the corner of Chandler in 1978. The Theodore Parker Hall is on the right. It was built in 1872 as a Unitarian Meetinghouse in honor of Theodore Parker, a Unitarian minister, abolitionist, and transcendentalist. The building later served the Jewish community as Adath Israel's religious school in the late 19th century. Those in the South End perhaps remember it best as the Boston Tea Party concert venue, which attracted famous artists and bands, such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, and The Who.

This week's featured image is of the Franklin Square House, taken on April 25, 1973.
02/22/2018

This week's featured image is of the Franklin Square House, taken on April 25, 1973.

This mislabeled postcard is of Columbus Avenue, near the corner of Yarmouth Street, in 1912. Featured in the image is So...
02/13/2018

This mislabeled postcard is of Columbus Avenue, near the corner of Yarmouth Street, in 1912. Featured in the image is Sonnabend's Loan Office, located at 373 Columbus Avenue. Sonnabend's was a pawnshop owned by Louis Sonnabend. The City of Boston demolished this block of Columbus Avenue in the late 1960s. Today, this location is part of Methunion Manor.

To celebrate the publication of "Boston’s South End,” we’re sharing snippets of each chapter and some of our favorite images. This week, we're focusing on Chapter Seven: Business and Industry. The book is available now on Amazon: http://ow.ly/ODm330hEq9V

Built in 1878, this High Victorian Gothic building was nestled between Berwick Park (now Braddock Park) and Holyoke Stre...
02/09/2018

Built in 1878, this High Victorian Gothic building was nestled between Berwick Park (now Braddock Park) and Holyoke Street. In 1889, Richard Charles Flower purchased the building at 419 Columbus Avenue and named it the Flower Hotel. This popular hotel featured public Turkish baths, a deep sea saltwater bath, and steam rooms.

Over the course of its history, the building was home to a succession of hotels, including the Hotel Plaza. The Hotel Plaza, in addition to the usual rooms found in a first-class hotel, featured themed rooms, including a grape room and a Dutch room with windmill decorations.

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