Boston Easter Eggs

stick n move

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I thought it would be cool to make an easter egg thread to post the rare, cool, or unusual things that are hard to find or hidden in plain sight around the city. I had the idea because of the discussion about the hidden subway vent buildings that get dresssed up as real buildings and it got me thinking about how many more quirks like this are all around the city that we dont notice in everyday life.

The olmstead era fens pond bridge on the muddy river is now cut off, hidden, and surrounded by storrow drive. Its partially buried but still there all these years later.


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stick n move

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Eversource substation located across the street from the landsdowne CR station. Added some brick features, fake windows, corniche etc to make it blend in. Hidden in plain site.

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The vent building for the 2 tunnels below is located directly to the right of the building.
 
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stefal

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^ getting nit-picky, but the building with the false façade is not MBTA owned or operated - it's a substation for Eversource. The MBTA owns and operates in the more run-down building next door.
 

kz1000ps

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^ getting nit-picky, but the building with the false façade is not MBTA owned or operated - it's a substation for Eversource. The MBTA owns and operates in the more run-down building next door.
What was the need for those ventilation buildings in the late '80s? This one and the one at Mass Ave are both so incredibly pomo and obviously designed at the same time.
 

The EGE

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Oh boy, this thread is RIGHT up my alley.

I actually went to visit that old bridge in July. It's by no means easy - you have to duck your way around the Bowker ramps - but it is legal. In a similar situation nearby is the 1909-built Charlesgate gatehouse, which controls the flow of Stony Brook into a conduit along the Esplanade.
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There are a number of vent shafts for the various tunnels in the city. My favorites are the Southwest Corridor shafts built into brownstones, one at West Newton Street and the other at Yarmouth Street:
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Others south of Ruggles and near Jackson Square are obviously something, but them being vent stacks might not be immediately obvious.

Both the Lansdowne vent stack and the Mass Ave vent stack were indeed built in the 80s, though I'm not sure why. Perhaps the existing vent structures on Charlesgate East, at Hynes, and on the Common{ were insufficient.

One of the old Boston Transit Commission reports details how the Washington Street Tunnel (now Orange Line) was designed to be relatively self-ventilating through the various station entrances; I don't know of any dedicated vents for the tunnel. The Red Line has the vent/emergency exit on the Common, and one near Broadway. The Blue Line has one at Lewis Wharf.
 

BronsonShore

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Not the most obscure one, but I've always loved this lost little remnant of colonial power, the steps to the back gardens of the long departed Province House:



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Sadly, the only known pictures of the house are of its 1920s destruction:

 
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stick n move

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^ getting nit-picky, but the building with the false façade is not MBTA owned or operated - it's a substation for Eversource. The MBTA owns and operates in the more run-down building next door.
Thanks I wasnt exactly sure Ill edit the post.


Oh boy, this thread is RIGHT up my alley.

I actually went to visit that old bridge in July. It's by no means easy - you have to duck your way around the Bowker ramps - but it is legal. In a similar situation nearby is the 1909-built Charlesgate gatehouse, which controls the flow of Stony Brook into a conduit along the Esplanade.
View attachment 18688
View attachment 18689

There are a number of vent shafts for the various tunnels in the city. My favorites are the Southwest Corridor shafts built into brownstones, one at West Newton Street and the other at Yarmouth Street:
View attachment 18690
Others south of Ruggles and near Jackson Square are obviously something, but them being vent stacks might not be immediately obvious.

Both the Lansdowne vent stack and the Mass Ave vent stack were indeed built in the 80s, though I'm not sure why. Perhaps the existing vent structures on Charlesgate East, at Hynes, and on the Common{ were insufficient.

One of the old Boston Transit Commission reports details how the Washington Street Tunnel (now Orange Line) was designed to be relatively self-ventilating through the various station entrances; I don't know of any dedicated vents for the tunnel. The Red Line has the vent/emergency exit on the Common, and one near Broadway. The Blue Line has one at Lewis Wharf.
Great post! This actually clears up a question I had about lewis wharf. When I visit the waterfront I had wondered wtf that shed like building is on the waterfront side of the building. Makes sense now.
 
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stick n move

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Another one to add is the jefferies point tunnel in East Boston


“The south end of the former BRB&L Jeffries Point Tunnel, photographed in August 2015. The end of the southbound bore at left is bricked off, while the northbound bore is open but filled with debris.”
https://bridgehunter.com/ma/suffolk/bh63753/

The old ROW is still visible from the air with the tunnels located at the end right below webster st.
EDB17688-E26C-447E-A43D-820EC8E5ECF7.jpeg
 

DBM

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I've always liked this one: the mural on the south wall of 31 Milk Street, perched atop the 33 Arch St. garage entrance. On the one hand, it's perfectly visible to any pedestrian walking northbound on Arch Street... on the other hand, you really have to be paying close attention to spot it, given it's somewhat tucked-away visual context. If that's not an "Easter egg" than what is?
 

dshoost88

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I've always liked this one: the mural on the south wall of 31 Milk Street, perched atop the 33 Arch St. garage entrance. On the one hand, it's perfectly visible to any pedestrian walking northbound on Arch Street... on the other hand, you really have to be paying close attention to spot it, given it's somewhat tucked-away visual context. If that's not an "Easter egg" than what is?
Around the corner from that mural (cool find), I always love how the Birthplace of Benjamin Franklin bust and sign was integrated into the facade of 1 Milk Street. Don't look up, and you'd miss it!
 

chrisbrat

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image.jpeg


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abandoned Calf Pasture Pumping Station. pretty glorious home to rather undignified business back in the day. ^^

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Emerson Pickle Factory marker with replica jars, Powder House Sq. ^^

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High Rock Tower, Lynn, where some wacky spiritualist attempted to build/birth a mechanical messiah. ^^^

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Abandoned MSH (Metropolitan State Hospital), Lexington ^^

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Medfield State Hospital last February ^^
 
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Arlington

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Former Green Line Portal (Tunnel mouth above a former “incline”) in the median of Comm Ave between the Charlesgate/Muddy River and Kenmore Sq
(used until the subway was extended to and through Kenmore)
Former-GreenLine-Portal-Kenmore.PNG
 

BronsonShore

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Here's a few more that I'm guessing most of you are familiar with, but which I always incorporate in my tours to out-of-towners.

The purple window panes of Beacon Hill: A handful of houses still have them, and they're all a result of a manufacturing error by one particular English glassmaker which, between 1818 and 1824, used too much manganese oxide in the window panes it was shipping to wealthy Boston Brahmins:



James Michael Curley's extended middle finger: 350 Jamaicaway looks like every other mansion surrounding Jamaica Pond and the leafy estates of Brookline across the water, with one notable exception: it has shamrock shutters. That's because the house was built by James Michael Curley, and the shamrocks were intended as a way for the Irish political class to mark its territory in a neighborhood where, previously, the only Irish around were there to cook and clean for the Brahmins.



The single most ahistorical historical marker in Boston: A plaque on Memorial Drive in Cambridge, in front of the Mt Auburn Hospital, proclaims that site as the place where Leif Erikson landed in the year 1000 and built a house. This is despite the fact that there is no evidence that Leif Erikson ever set foot in Massachusetts. The plaque is a remnant of late-19th century anti-immigrant fervor. As waves of immigrants from Southern Europe in general, and Italy in particular, began entering the US, anti-immigrant activists tried to paint them as fundamentally incompatible with American society--people of a different race, language, religion, and cultural background who were lazy and didn't contribute to civic life. This was a hard argument to make, however, when part of America's foundational myth centered on its discovery by an Italian, Christoforo Colombo. Thus, many wealthy WASPS began to circulate the idea that the Vikings, not Columbus, were actually the first European explorers to reach America. A Harvard chemistry professor named Eben Norton Horsford became particularly obsessed with the idea. He took a walk around his neighborhood one day, found some unusual looking rocks on the bank of the Charles, and, with no further inquiry, declared that the rocks were remnants of a Viking settlement. It wasn't true then and it's still not true now.



An ahistorical historical marker that is nonetheless wonderful: A tiny, business card-sized plaque on the Anderson Bridge near Harvard marks the spot where Quentin Compson, racked by guilt about his sister's pregnancy and the post-war decline of both his family and the Old South, commits suicide in Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury. The plaque was originally installed in secret, by a small group of Divinity School students who gathered on the bridge on what would have been the 55th anniversary of the fictional Compson's death. For decades, no one knew who put it there. Then in the 80's, the mother of a Washington Post reporter who loved Faulkner and had attended Harvard, mentioned the plaque to her minister, thinking that he would find it interesting in light of the fact that he'd attended Harvard as well. As it turned out, he'd been the one who originally put it there.

 

BeyondRevenue

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I've always liked this one: the mural on the south wall of 31 Milk Street, perched atop the 33 Arch St. garage entrance. On the one hand, it's perfectly visible to any pedestrian walking northbound on Arch Street... on the other hand, you really have to be paying close attention to spot it, given it's somewhat tucked-away visual context. If that's not an "Easter egg" than what is?
I worked next door for 2 years and never saw that! Great post!
 

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