In the years following the US Civil War, roller skating really came into its own. As the design of the roller skate improved over the second half of the 19th century, so did its popularity. Many became fans of the new hobby. Many others viewed it as immoral and a threat to the order of…Read more The Controversial First Days of Roller Skating Rinks, Lowell – 1885
In summer's waning days in 1881, New Englanders read about hope for President Garfield's recovery from a gunshot wound suffered two months earlier, an imminent rising of the Apache Nation in the West, and a baseball game between the "Bostons" and the "Worcesters", where unfavorable weather "kept away all spectators" and worries that Pike, the center…Read more New England’s Yellow Day of 1881: A Saffron Curtain Descends
Lowell's Irish and French Canadian populations long had an uneasy relationship. I grew up hearing about it, a century after the French Canadians first starting appearing in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1870s. By the time the French Canadians began arriving in Lowell, the Irish Catholics - who had started appearing a generation earlier - had…Read more Lowell’s Franco American School and its Connection to my Family History
The Valentine's Day Storm of 1940 crossed Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts within just a few days in February 1940. Locals said it was the biggest storm to hit the region since the New England Hurricane of 1938, some 15 months before. The first flurries started on the morning of Valentine's Day, before progressing into…Read more The Valentine’s Day Storm of 1940.
A steady stream of ten boys, each jumping from the classroom windows of the Rainsford Island House of Reformation, sprinted for the shore under the cover of the night fog on August 19, 1899. They found their way through the brush by the light of the fire that raged through their prison behind them. As…Read more Jailbreak at Rainsford Island – Boston Harbor: August 1899
Blue lights, green lights, and red lights rose out of the dusky fog. Men emerged carrying bright Japanese lanterns; women held dim electric bulbs. As summer waned in Boston during the last days of August in 1899, a new regulation came into effect. Starting on the night of August 21, 1899, bicyclists in Boston were…Read more Oh, The Many Queer Lights of Franklin Park! – The Advent of Bicycle Lights in Boston, 1899
Few people living today remember the 1920s - let alone the specifics of travel during the era. Luckily, New England's commitment to preserving its history makes it relatively easy to envision the region as it appeared in decades past. This becomes obvious during any ride through many of its cities. The YouTube video below shows the…Read more A Train Accident in Lowell – 1928
The gates are familiar to all who pass Lowell's Shedd Park at the intersection of Rogers Street (Route 38) and Knapp Avenue in the city's Belvidere section. And they tell a story of some of the greatest generosity ever experienced by the city of Lowell. Today, Lowell's Shedd Park is home to fifty acres of…Read more The Story of Lowell’s Shedd Park
It wasn't Cornhill Street, Cornhill Road, Cornhill Avenue, or even the Cornhill; instead, it was just Cornhill, and in its day, knowing this was just one more way that those in the know had to distinguish locals from those visiting Boston as tourists. In its history, Boston has had two roads called Cornhill. The first,…Read more Cornhill – Once Boston’s Literary Center, Today Replaced by Government Center
Seen from any approach to Boston, the Prudential Tower has figured prominently into Boston's skyline since its construction in the early 1960's. And, with 52 floors, the Pru stands as Boston's second-tallest building, just behind the John Hancock Tower's sixty. The Tower, completed in 1964, rises 749 feet, or, with its radio mast (pictured atop…Read more What was before – What once occupied the site of today’s Pru?