After the business meeting, Priscilla Foley, the Director of Neighborhood Services will share with us up to date information about the plans for reopening the libraries. The focus of course will be on what’s happening and will happen at our Hyde Park Branch.
A delightful essay on Dr. Crumpler. It very nicely links her career with the emerging fields of pediatrics and public health, with numerous thoughtful quotes from her book (AND a note that no verified photo of her exists!). Comments from a librarian at the Boston University School of Medicine.
The Friends of the Hyde Park Library and the Hyde Park Historical Society have prepared a self guided tour of gravesites and monuments of interest in Fairview Cemetery. The cemetery, established in 1892, is a wonderful place to walk for exercise, enjoy nature and have a history lesson. The decision to do this tour developed from the project to fund raise and purchase a grave stone for Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the 1st Black women physician in the US. (1864).
When working on the project, committee members and others in the community began asking questions about who was buried in the cemetery besides Mayor Menino and John J. Enneking. Now less than a year later we share with you this tour guide.
You can download the map and the site locations here
The National Parks of Boston, in partnership with the Boston Public Library, is pleased to announce our 2021 lecture series! Over the next few months NPB Rangers will deliver nine virtual talks exploring the BPL’s 2021 programmatic theme Repairing America: Race Equity and Recovery. All talks begin at 6:00 pm EST and are free to attend. Registration is required.
Revolutionary Harbor: Boston’s Maritime Underground Railroad February 2, 2021 at 6 pm During the years preceding the American Civil War, Boston served as one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad. Did you know that many of the fugitives escaping from enslavement came to Boston by stowing away on ships from southern ports? This program explores the untold stories of men and women making daring escapes to freedom through Boston Harbor. To register, click the link. Register Here
Beyond the 54th February 16, 2021 at 6 pm Many people know the story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War, but have you ever wondered what happened after 1865? Join Ranger Jocelyn as we delve into the stories of some of the men who served and learn how many continued to fight for equality for all. To register, click the link . Register Here
In 2018, while searching for information about the figures of Mercury from the Hyde Park railroad depot, I was fortunate to connect with Robert Joseph Belletzkie of Prospect, CT, a retired reference librarian and railroad historian. His research was essential to pinpointing the date of the station’s opening on April 13, 1914. Please refer to earlier posts about the process of having the figures from the train station, cleaned, and preserved, at the Hyde Park Library with Boston’s Community Preservation Funds.
According to Wikipedia, “A train station, railway station, railroad station or depot is a railway facility or area where trains regularly stop to load or unload passengers or freight or both.” The words are interchangeable.
This post is specifically about the railroad stations in Hyde Park as shown in A bird’s-eye view map of Hyde Park, Massachusetts by the O.H. Bailey & Co., Lith. & Pub., Boston, 1890. Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library.
On close inspection of the above link, you will find 7 stations in Hyde Park listed as 2-8 in map key. Railroad stations, being important focal points in town life in the 19th and 20 the centuries were often the subject of photographs and postcards. Lewis H. Benton was perhaps one of the earliest photographers to appreciate the importance of the railroad depot in the community.
Benton (1872-1939) was born in Taunton, Massachusetts and worked for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad as a clerk in the freight house in his hometown. In 1910 he began taking a series of sequentially numbered photographs of passenger stations and continued until about 1935. His bicycle was his means of transport at first, later loading it onto the baggage car as he took the train to farther distances. The bicycle appears in many of the earliest photos. In 1928 he teamed up with fellow photographer Irving N. Drake whose car they used to travel across most of New England. Drake’s auto replaced the bicycle as an icon in the photos and Irving himself was not above playing the clown for the camera.
Benton photo #2644, taken at Granby, CT in June, 1930. Drake is playing brakeman atop the box car! His auto is seen by the station. The perceived recklessness here resulted in the whiting out of Drake until Mr. Belletzkie had the obliteration undone. Credit: Francis D. Donovan Railroad Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library
Benton is thought to have taken about 4,000 photographs, mostly depots but interspersed with historic homes and other significant structures. Mr. Belletzkie has collected only about 1,000 of the station photos and he is always looking for more to fill in the gaps. His TylerCityStation website confines itself to Connecticut but his pursuit of Benton and Drake has led him to map out the locations where they visited across severel states. Benton’s numbering of the photos and periodic dating enable a whole geo-chronology to be constructed since the photographs were taken in sequence often along particular railroad lines so the towns, stations, locations and dates all line up. It thus enables us to imagine we are traveling right along with them.
Here are photographs of seven HP stations taken by Benton, plus the Rugby station site. The five corresponding images from the Bailey map are also provided.
LHB#0917 Glenwood – New York & New England line; taken 1916-1917
LHB#0955 New Hazelwood – Southbound side, Boston & Providence line/later Old Colony line; likely taken June, 1917
LHB #0956 Old Hazelwood – Northbound side, B&P/OC line; likely taken June, 1917
LHB #0957 New Clarendon Hills – B&P/OC line; likely taken June, 1917
LHB #0958 Old Clarendon Hills – B&P/OC line; likely taken June, 1917
LHB #0689 Hyde Park – B&P line; taken 1914 after April opening, station in use, auto, people entering
LHB #069 Fairmount – NY&NE line; taken same day in 1914 as HP photo
This station was originally called Hyde Park and renamed Fairmountsometime between 1890 and 1905. It is labeled Fairmount on the 1905 Sanborn Insurance map.
LHB #1106 River Street – NY&NE line; taken May, 1918
LHB #1107 Site of old Rugby Station – NY&NE line; taken May, 1918
On a 1912 Hyde Park map, this station was on Randolph Street, the border between Hyde Park and Boston. Now dead-ending at the track, it is called Greenfield Road on one side and Rector Road on the other side. Both streets are now listed as Mattapan. (See photo below.)
No Benton photos as of yet for these Readville stations.
Thanks to Mr. Belletzkie for sharing these photographs. His Google Earth map shows the locations. He is searching for photographs of stations WITHOUT the pink pins.
If you have any numbered Benton photographs, email the image or at least the station name and number to: email@example.com. If Mr. Belletzkie doesn’t have that station, he will enthusiastically contact you!
After expressing concern about Mercury’s safety during the library’s construction project, a plywood structure was put in place around the figures.
After closer inspection, it was noted that the container did not have a lid and that someone had marked Mercury’s helmet with a black substance resembling Ash Wednesday ashes.
This vandalism was brought to the attention of the BPL construction project manager, and to the Community Preservation Fund’s staff. This disrespect is disheartening and does not bode well for the statue’s safety in this location. More fencing has been added to the area, and the public is not allowed on library property. Updates to follow.
In the Spring of 2019, Menino Hall was closed to the public because of continual water infiltration into the building. This affected programming for children, ESL classes, and the Friends’ annual booksale.
Repair was approved in the July 2019 budget with plans for completion before June 2020. The Covid virus pandemic was just one of the delaying factors.
Boston’s Public Facilities says ‘ Right now the contractor is saying he will be complete by end of November but this needs to be reviewed and verified’ BPL administration says that the branch will open in 2021.
Let’s hope that Mercury, who is overseeing the project, will speed it along and the library will open this year as a pick up and drop off location.