Dirty Old Boston // A nostalgic vision of Boston

Dirty Old Boston - A man walks with a bag along the street in the South End, 1965

Dirty Old Boston - A man walks with a bag along the street in the South End, 1965

It takes time to feel like home in a new city. I’ve been living in Boston for more than one year now, but I’m still wondering if Boston really is my “home sweet home”. To really like a city, I want to know more about the history of the places where I’m walking, living or working every day. I’ve recently started to follow a Facebook group called Dirty Old Boston. Every day, pictures of the city are posted: from buildings to people – famous, unknown, politics, base ball players, etc. – news, streets accidents, protests, or urban landscapes. Each picture tells something I didn’t know about Boston.  Here’s a sample of this fantastic group, Dirty Old Boston

Old Boston

Dirty Old Boston - Paul Revere's House 1973

The famous house of Paul Revere in the North End.

Dirty Old Boston - Mass Av, Central Square in Cambridge. Mid 50's

“Mass Av.”, is one of the longest street of the Great Boston. We can see here Central Square in Cambridge, in the mid 50’s.

Dirty Old Boston - lightsThe colors of this building says how the weather is like or how the Red Sox game is going.
Dirty Old Boston - Harvard Square in the 1915 era

Harvard Square, at the beginning of the 1910’s

Dirty Old Boston - Fire Departement BFD Engine 40, Sumner St. East Boston

“BFD Engine 40”, a firemen truck in Sumner St., East Boston.

Dirty Old Boston - Faneuil Hall

An incredible picture of Faneuil Hall. Really different from what we can see now! 

Dirty Old Boston - Cross Street near the Sumner Tunne

Cross streets close to Sumner Tunnel. I like these retro signs!

Dirty Old Boston - Copley Square construction eglise

Copley Square, 1937. I’m working close to this square, that’s why I really like this picture. There’s no more tramway crossing there, but the Old South Church is completed now.

Dirty Old Boston - Broad & State Streets, 1973

I love this view of Boston, on Broad & State Streets in 1973. It’s really a cliché of Boston: an old historical building in the middle of modern ones.

Dirty Old Boston - Boylston St

A young man walking on Boylston Str., beside a Ford Convertible. 1955.

Dirty Old Boston - Boston Harbor lighthouse

To see the Boston lighthouse, you have to take a boat and go though the harbor. This was built at the beginning of the 20th century.

Dirty Old Boston - Back Bay

This picture of Commonwealth Avenue was taken in 1870. It’s really nice to see an almost empty Back Bay!

Games and sports in Old BostonOld Dirty Boston - Eddie Shore-shown here with Art Ross in 1934

This famous hockey player of the Bruins, the bostonian team, is called Eddie Shore. 1934.

Old Dirty Boston - Dwight Evans & Rick Miller - 1975

Nice picture of Red Sox players: Dwight Evans & Rick Miller. 1975.

Dirty Old Boston - Celtics-76'rs 1985 playoff series

Another famous Bostonian team: the Celtics, in the 80’s.

Dirty Old Boston - Rosie Ruiz 1980This is Rosie Ruiz who finished the Boston marathon in 1980 in only 2 hours, 31 minutes and 56 seconds. But she actually cheated, running only a few miles…

News in Old Boston

Dirty Old Boston - War protests

Third day of anti-war protest in the MIT. 1969

Dirty Old Boston - Molasse Flood

1919, “Boston’s Great Molasses Flood”. A huge molasse tank exploded. 

Dirty Old Boston - 1978 blizzard

There was a terrible blizzard in 1979 in Boston.

Dirty Old Boston - T

The Boston metro or tramway, called here the T.

People in Old Boston

Dirty Old Boston - MLK

Martin Luther King graduated from Boston University in 1959.

Dirty Old Boston - Is this kid smoking in 1909 Boston

A kid smoking in the streets of Boston, in en 1909.

If you like these pictures, I invite you go on the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page. All these pictures were used with James Botticelli authorization.

Do you know any website for vintage pictures in your city?

Writer, organizer and social media-ter for my own blog. When I'm not in front of my laptop, I'm organizing guided tours of Boston with my own company "Boston le nez en l'air". It's in French!

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15 Comments

  • Reply Jan 18 2013

    farfadette

    Interessant de découvrir une ville par ses vieux clichés et de voir la comparaison avec maintenant ! Puis les photos sont magnifiques !

  • Reply Jan 18 2013

    Cynthia

    J’adore les veilles photos!

    On trouve beaucoup de veilles photos de Montréal dans les archives du Musée Mccord (http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca) et sinon beaucoup de vielles photos dans les commons de flickr.

    • Reply Jan 20 2013

      Mathilde

      Sympa le lien ! C’est bon à savoir :)

  • Reply Jan 18 2013

    Sarah

    J’avais entendu parlé de l’accident de molasse. La légende dit que dans le quartier ou le réservoir se trouvait, ça sent le sucre pendant les jours de grande chaleur!
    L’inondation a quand même tué plus de 20 personnes!

    • Reply Jan 20 2013

      Mathilde

      C’était l’anniversaire de cet incident cette semaine, j’en ai entendu parler à cette occasion mais j’ignorais ce détail sur l’odeur dans les rues !

  • Reply Jan 19 2013

    Coralie

    Super article ! Ça fait vraiment bizarre de voir Boston comme ça, mais c’est hyper sympa ! Des bisous :)

    • Reply Jan 20 2013

      Mathilde

      C’est un régal de se promener dans ces archives, je suis bien d’accord !

  • Reply Jan 20 2013

    Nadege@Miami

    Super ces photos ! J’aime beaucoup la petite histoire de Rosie Ruiz :)

    • Reply Jan 20 2013

      Mathilde

      Il parait que c’était une récidiviste de la triche dans les marathons…

  • Reply Jan 20 2013

    Elsa

    Ces photos sont géniales, je prévois un petit passage à Boston prochainement, étant donné que ce n’est pas loin de chez moi, du coup ton article me donne encore davantage envie d’y aller :)

    • Reply Jan 20 2013

      Mathilde

      Montréal-Boston, c’est facile, et en passant par le Vermont, c’est encore mieux !!
      Peut-être à bientôt alors !

  • Reply Jan 20 2013

    Célia

    J’adore ces anciennes photos. C’est toujours très intéressant de connaître l’histoire de la ville où on vit !

  • Reply Jan 21 2013

    Atalanta

    C’est génial cette idée de page historique participative de la vile. Boston est une des (rares) grandes villes américaines où je n’ai jamais mis les pieds. Mais à te lire au fil des posts, j’ai de plus en plus envie d’y aller!

  • Reply Feb 23 2014

    frenchpoohbear

    Moi jai grandi à St Malo & j’ai trouvé cette belle page fb & je trouve ça tjrs émouvant & très intéressant de voir une ville à travers les photos a travers les ages
    https://m.facebook.com/ArchivesMunicipalesDeSaintMalo

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