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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, March 21, 1941

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


        That street names run in definite series in many parts of the Metropolis is an interesting fact about Greater Boston.  The best known series of the sort is that of the cross-streets in Back Bay―an alphabetical series: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester and Hereford.  In the original plan, the series continued with Ipswich, Jersey, Kenmore, Lansdowne, and Miner, but later developments put these streets out of the planned regular order.  There is another alphabetical series in the streets off St. Botolph, which run: Albermarle, Blackstone, Cumberland, Durham, Follen, Garrison, Harcourt, Irvington (West Newton Street being where the E of the series belongs).  And, in the South End, cross streets were named for towns in Massachusetts―the plan called for the towns to be in the order of their distance from Boston, but that order is not strictly observed.  There are also series of streets named for places classified by railroads used to ge there; as for instance the streets near North Station, named Lowell, Billerica, Nashua, Merrimac, Portland, Haverhill, Beverly and Medford.  While Albany Street commemorates the former Boston & Albany depot, and most of its cross-streets, as far out as Dover Street, are named for points reached by that railroad.  There is, in West Roxbury, a series of streets named for German musicians.  In South Medford, there is similarly a series of streets named for colleges.  In East Boston there is a series of streets named for European ports; another series bearing the names of battles of the Revolution.  In East Somerville, a whole group of streets bears names of States.  So that there is not a complete lack of system to Boston street names.


        There is an almost unused platform at Sullivan Square station―on the right-hand side of elevated trains coming from downtown.

        It was there, before Everett Station was opened, cars from Everett and Malden came in to a dead end―just exactly the traffic now handled by Everett Station.  Traces of these old dead ends of track can still be seen on this platform at Sullivan.  The old unused ramps for those cars are also still to be seen.


        Those exit stairs at Dover Street elevated station weave in and out in a peculiar fashion.

        First you go in toward the center of the street, along a mezzanine passage directly under the tracks, then back toward the sidewalks to reach the stairs to the street.

        The explanation of all this is, that the station was formerly an “island platform” between the tracks.

        Boston is on a large island.  At the northeast is the harbor; the Neponset River is on the southeast side; the Charles runs over halfway round the island; while the remainder of the south side is Mother Brook, originally a canal dug by the Puritans in 1634 to connect the Charles with the Neponset.

        This island taken in the whole city except East Boston, Charlestown and the Fairmount and Readville sections of Hyde Park; it also includes Brookline, Newton, and small sections of Watertown, Waltham and Dedham.  It takes up more ground than Washington and has about a million inhabitants.


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