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Friday, May 1, 1942
in What's New In Town
W. J. Sidis
In the days before railroads, tourists in Boston were informed about prospective arrivals and departures of stages and boats in a special weekly publication called the Traveller (two l’s, not one). With the advent of railroads, the business declined, and the Traveller became an evening newspaper instead―which it has been ever since. The extra “l” in the name was dropped about thirty years ago, when the Herald acquired control. But the old form of the name is still to be seen on the Traveller building at 77 Summer Street.
One fairly unpronounceable street name to be found in Boston is Tchapitoulas St. in Hyde park, a blind road leading to the Neponset River. There seems to be ground for suspicion that this is a misspelling of a name taken from New Orleans, and which does not fail to amaze tourists down there namely Tchoupitoulas Street. The suspicion is strengthened by the name of the Hyde Park street from which Tchapitoulas starts―Poydras St., which is a New Orleanish enough name to make anyone from down that way homesick.
The “cow-path" tale as told about Boston Streets, was originally told of New York, in “Knickerbocker’s History of New York,” where it was alleged that, the Dutch settlers being unable to find time to plan their streets, the cows undertook “that patriotic duty.” The story was transferred to Boston by Sam Walter Foss’ poem “The Calf Path.” * In justice, be it said that his charge that people “lost a hundred years a day” is so far from true, that it would be nearer truth to say “saved” instead of “lost.”
The State House dome may be “blacked out” now―making it just another domed capitol instead of the world’s foremost―but there is still a golded dome dominating the metropolitan skyline. It is on the new building of the New England Mutual, bestriking the old Indian weir around which settlement here first started.
It might be interesting to note that there have been a couple of changes made in street names down Mattapan way lately. The name of Tokio Street was changed last winter to Topalian Street. And Brockton Street was, not too long ago, called Bismarck Street. Which reminds us of the temporary change of name, during the last was, of East Boston’s Hamburg and Bremen Streets. The trouble was, that the new names broke up the series of European ports for which the streets in that section were named. And so the original names of the streets were restored.
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