The folks at the Boston City Archives write:
This photo was taken to document a city infrastructure project. Can you guess the project? When and where was it taken?
OK I took a few minutes and google'd
"Austin & Stone's" was a watch/jeweler in 1910's-ish. To the left of that is a Rialto theatre...
Google brought me here
to this photo, You can see the begin of "Austin" just to the right.
The address of the Rialto was 50 Scollay Square.
More info about Stone & Austin (apparently this location was a 'side show")
but to answer Boston Archives...
Scollay Square, Say 1927-1928 for the 1928 Scollay Square Streetcar Station Renovation.
Definitely Scollay Square, but looking at the signage it appears the photo was taken before the theater’s name was changed in the 20s. It was originally the Star Theater. I’ll defer to the wisdom of all the subway afficionados out there to identify the infrastructure project.
There was an Austin and Stone's Dime Museum in Scollay Square that existed in the 1880s and 90s. Old advertisements list it's address as 5 Tremont Row. It was a combination freak show and girlie show.
Scollay Square, looking south towards Tremont Street. The tall building in the background is still there, at the corner of Court and Tremont, On the far side of the construction pit are two men standing, looking at the camera; behind them you can see a subway entrance kiosk for Scollay station. That means the photo can't be showing construction on the original Green Line, since it was already open when the photo was taken.
I know my answer is 99% right but what is throwing me off is the sign on the Austin and Stone's building.. "building is coming down". If that is tremont street/cambridge street, what was there BEFORE Center Plaza was built? I assumed it just came down when the rest of Scollay came down in the 1960s... clearly this is from the 1920s..
The Star Theatre was renamed the Rialto in the '20s, so we know the picture has to be from either then or earlier, but also the Rialto lasted until Gov. Center was built. Presumably the Austin and Stone's building was razed and replaced but the other buildings on the street remained (or were individually replaced at times) until the end of Scollay Square. Or "building is coming down" was just a lie to drum up business. (the site you linked to has a later picture of the theater as the Rialto with a different building next to it, so it probably was replaced at some point not too long after the mystery photo).
W.H. Knight, Apothecary - was at 97 Court Street. Fits in with everything else the others have said.
Also, one background building clearly the same today.
Thanks for playing, folks!
This photo shows work on the East Boston tunnel. It was taken on November 29, 1912 at the corner of Hanover and Court Streets.
this would be the East Boston Tunnel *Extension*.
The tunnel under the Harbor opened in 1904 and terminated at "Court", a now-abandoned station right next to today's Government Center.
The bit the fellows in our photo are working on is an extension of that tunnel begun in 1912, creating Scollay Under and Bowdoin in the process.
although back then, it carried streetcars rather than heavy rail trains. There were no road tunnels yet under the harbor.
There was a distinction about the small scale and architectural style that gave Boston its unique identity. In certain parts of many neighborhoods it has lost that identity and looks like any other city now.
Start in Boston on Congress Street, walk along Thompson Place, and when you get to Seaport Boulevard there you are.
Wow only one cop on detail...
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