A developer's plans to remake Kenmore Square won't be the first time the Boston crossroads gets a major makeover - and it probably won't be the last. Thanks to Digital Commonwealth, we were able to set the Wayback Machine way, way back to the days when Kenmore Square - Governor's Square in the old days - still had a fountain (built and maintained by the MSPCA) for thirsty horses:
The photo shows the square sometime between 1908 and 1910, and is also from the Boston City Archives.
In 1912, the square looking west still had a somewhat lonely appearance (and, yes, that's the Hotel Buckminster, constructed in 1897; source):
The streetcars of the Boston Elevated Railway used to emerge from (or head into) a tunnel just east of the square. In the first photo, note where the Citgo Sign is now (source for first photo; source for second):
In 1931, though, the trolley tunnel was extended into the square itself, for a new Kenmore Square station that opened the following year (bonus fact: The station was built to allow the tunnel to continue under Commonwealth Avenue so that what is now the B Line could become a regular subway line; that, of course, never happened; source):
You can still see part of the mouth of the "incline" the trolleys took a bit further inbound on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Even before being joined by the Hotel Commonwealth, the Buckminster was never the only hotel in the square. In fact, the square got its current name from the Hotel Kenmore, originally the Kenmore Apartments, today the Kenmore Abbey apartments for senior citizens (it was the hotel where visiting teams would stay for games at Fenway).
Another one of the square's hotels, the Myles Standish Hotel, also still stands, but now it's a BU dorm (source):
Also still standing: The Somerset Hotel,now residences, just outside the square, on Commonwealth Avenue at Charlesgate.
Zipping ahead a few decades, we come to the Kenmore Square of the Rat, the Deli Haus, Pizza Pad and, of course, the Mayor of Kenmore Square himself, Mr. Butch (later basically evicted to Allston by BU so as to not unnerve the oh so genteel patrons of the new Hotel Commonwealth):
More Kenmore Square history.