"Dirty Old Boston"

BeyondRevenue

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WinthropSquareToday.jpg

Great find.
Using the green as a reference and a little axis adjustment I think I'm where the cameraman was flying (balloon? Zepplin? Biplane?)
Almost unrecognizable. Nowhere near the same city at all. And that was a drastic difference from pre-1872!
 

BeyondRevenue

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That one always makes me sad. Love all the iron work. Trolley access from islands between narrow streets. Just gorgeous.
For the uninitiated, you would have seen this if you were standing in front of 55 Court Street looking slightly right before massive carchitecture subsidies were weaponized against my city.
I would have attempted a Google Street View match up but it would have looked all janky. Need to be in person to match the angle.
Today the Adam's Courthouse is still there but covered by the Center Plaza monstrosity. Also the BofA (4 Tremont) is still there. Everything else was ground up and put in the concrete for the other crap they put up.
There are some great rooftop shots of the surrounding area in the Jane Holtz Kay book "Lost Boston".
 
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atlantaden

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I loved the Traveler's building. It was the first "NY style modern, covered in glass building in Boston" that I loved seeing whenever we rode past on the elevated central artery in downtown. I was probably 10 at the time, was very proud that Boston finally had a beautiful glass skinned building, hated to see it blown up years later. But, that's progress.
 

Charlie_mta

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I loved the Traveler's building. It was the first "NY style modern, covered in glass building in Boston" that I loved seeing whenever we rode past on the elevated central artery in downtown. I was probably 10 at the time, was very proud that Boston finally had a beautiful glass skinned building, hated to see it blown up years later. But, that's progress.
Some of the best memories of my life are when I worked in the Travelers building when I was 17 and 18 (1967 and '68) in Cabot Corporation's mailroom on the 13th floor. Fantastic times they were.
 

squidman1

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I've been scouring the web for photos of that building's interior recently... Best I could find are two photos I unfortunately lost, of the building's convector enclosures & of some Cabot lab.
 

Charlie_mta

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I've been scouring the web for photos of that building's interior recently... Best I could find are two photos I unfortunately lost, of the building's convector enclosures & of some Cabot lab.
It is a shame how very little documentation remains of demolished buildings from the '50s and '60s. I was just a teenager when I worked there and I didn't take any photos. I've looked on the Cabot Corporation website and there's nothing in there about this building.
The Travelers building was great, and Cabot was a great company. The office environment in '67 and '68 was nothing like that depicted on the Madmen TV show. There were a few women executives and they were treated with respect. There was an openly gay guy - a long-term employee - who also was treated with respect. Period piece TV shows such as Madmen really exaggerate things and put that time period in the worst light. The '60s were a great time and Boston was full of energy and hope. "Dirty Old Boston" it was not.
 

BeyondRevenue

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It is a shame how very little documentation remains of demolished buildings from the '50s and '60s. I was just a teenager when I worked there and I didn't take any photos. I've looked on the Cabot Corporation website and there's nothing in there about this building.
The Travelers building was great, and Cabot was a great company. The office environment in '67 and '68 was nothing like that depicted on the Madmen TV show. There were a few women executives and they were treated with respect. There was an openly gay guy - a long-term employee - who also was treated with respect. Period piece TV shows such as Madmen really exaggerate things and put that time period in the worst light. The '60s were a great time and Boston was full of energy and hope. "Dirty Old Boston" it was not.
I like you, Charlie, but you have to know that your nostalgia is a drug that affects other differently. As straight white males we cannot know the forced silent struggles of The Other. Cabot was one data point and not representative of the whole. I've learned that whenever I slip into this line of thinking my daughter flags it - correctly after thoughtful consideration - as white male privilege.
All that said, I don't miss the dull buzz of fluorescent lime tinged lighting, the sterile concrete walls and pillars, moldy air conditioning and the rough yet durable industrial fabrics.
More on point...
I'm wondering if we'll see any more implosions like that here in town. Are there any candidates?
 

squidman1

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Perhaps the Encore hotel in the far future. Now THAT would be a great spectacle!
 

Charlie_mta

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I like you, Charlie, but you have to know that your nostalgia is a drug that affects other differently. As straight white males we cannot know the forced silent struggles of The Other. Cabot was one data point and not representative of the whole. I've learned that whenever I slip into this line of thinking my daughter flags it - correctly after thoughtful consideration - as white male privilege.
All that said, I don't miss the dull buzz of fluorescent lime tinged lighting, the sterile concrete walls and pillars, moldy air conditioning and the rough yet durable industrial fabrics.
I think Cabot Corp. must have been a progressive firm. They hired me and other poor teenagers in a special program they had established, they promoted women executives, and they had a tolerant attitude towards gays. This was in 1967/68, so it was pretty advanced for the times. As for Boston at that time, yes, each person has their own experience. I spent most of my time in the Cambridge/Harvard Square area, which was a very nice place at the time, and probably skews my perception of old Boston towards the positive. Even though I was poor, lived in miserable, lousy places (first a rundown housing project and then an apartment over a cheap bar on Mass Ave in North Cambridge), was in a family with crushing problems and challenges; I still think those times were great and that Boston was great. Undoubtedly I had a modicum of white privilege, but I was still just a really poor kid from "the projects" who's parents had absolutely nothing. I see all of that as a glass half-full and not half empty. Life depends a lot on how you look at it.
 

BeyondRevenue

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I think your success in life is measured by a helluva lot more than outlook. Timing. Luck. Yeah, hard work lets you stand up and fight. But you have to also consider how many times you're likely to hear a yes or a no based on stuff you can't control (race, gender, age, ability). Also whether your core earning years were trunctated by numerous recessions. Or how your home choice is shaped by the commodification of the housing industry. Or your savings shaped by years with no interest paid. Or your job is limited by executive bloat and lack of growth opportunities. Or that your parents lived to excess and stuck you with healthcare bills they couldn't pay. Could be the year you were born tells half your story.
Or it could just be how you look at it.
 

chrisbrat

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No one is allowed to touch that thing. It's an incredible piece of brutalism, predictably left to rot and completely ruined by the misuse of the front corner.
hells yeah. a distinct and important piece of work. for those who - justifiably - bemoan the trend of boring, foregetable architecture in boston to simultaneously see nothing of merit in the lindemann is confusing, at best.
 

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