The old Traveler's Building (photos, information, etc)

squidman1

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I only recently found out about the existence of this building (at the previous 125 High site, 1959-1988), but I've been scouring the web looking for pictures and more information about it. Does anyone by any chance have any more media relating to this late building? I think I've seen one or two pictures of it at most before it was demolished. It's always just felt like a mysterious building to myself, since it was demolished so long ago.

A video of the building's explosive demolition
 

Charlie_mta

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I worked in that building 1967-1968 when I was a teenager. Cabot Corporation had their HQ there, and i worked for them on the 13th floor in the mailroom. Great job. The people there were really nice. Nothing like you see on Madmen, etc. There were women executives, a few open gays working there, it was actually a very civil and diverse environment. I loved the building and the whole vibe in downtown Boston at the time. Boston was wonderful back then, not the dump that some people have portrayed it to be.
 

squidman1

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Do you by any chance remember what the lobby looked like?
 

Charlie_mta

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As I recall the lobby was very nondescript mid-century modern. There was a doorman in a uniform, a small area and then then the two banks of elevators flanking a wide corridor heading straight out of the lobby. Pretty standard fdesign, nothing fancy but had that great mid-century understated modern style.

I loved the exterior of the building, a classic mid-century modern reflecting the energy and optimism of post-WW II America. That style has made a comeback in recent years, albeit updated but nonetheless heavily influenced by this look.

The building itself was a big deal when it was built, kind of a precursor of the "New Boston" urban renewal juggernaut that was to come a few years later.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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If anyone has seen The Deuce on HBO they used some footage of the demolition for the opening credits. I think the idea was to show how Times Sq was being redeveloped. Odd choice but I bet they figured no one would know/care.

NSFW
at 0.38
NSFW
 

squidman1

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travelers.jpg


Visible in this image, to the left of the "State Street Bank" building.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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What was the reason for demoing such a relatively young building? I mean...it wasn't a looker, but few from that late-50's arch era ever were. There are certainly much worse examples of pigs-in-lipstick that stuck around. Was there something fundamentally wrong with its construction that weighted it to demo over reno?
 

HenryAlan

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What was the reason for demoing such a relatively young building? I mean...it wasn't a looker, but few from that late-50's arch era ever were.
Interesting question, especially since what is there now is no great piece of architecture either.
 

Charlie_mta

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I'm thinking it was more politically feasible to demo it than demo-ing old historic buildings. As for its look, I thought it was a good example of post WW-II mid-century modern. I wasn't crazy about the solid white center part, but aside from that I thought it was a good looking building.
 

shmessy

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As I recall the lobby was very nondescript mid-century modern. There was a doorman in a uniform, a small area and then then the two banks of elevators flanking a wide corridor heading straight out of the lobby. Pretty standard fdesign, nothing fancy but had that great mid-century understated modern style.

I loved the exterior of the building, a classic mid-century modern reflecting the energy and optimism of post-WW II America. That style has made a comeback in recent years, albeit updated but nonetheless heavily influenced by this look.

The building itself was a big deal when it was built, kind of a precursor of the "New Boston" urban renewal juggernaut that was to come a few years later.

I always had loved that building. There was something "Mad Men" about it. It evoked dynamism and was very un-Boston like at the time.
 

Andrew

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I'm amazed the demolition choice was implosion. Surrounded closely by other buildings and the central artery from the looks of it, sounds really dangerous to me.

Never heard of this building until today, I love learning tiny bits of the city's history here.
 

Charlie_mta

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I always had loved that building. There was something "Mad Men" about it. It evoked dynamism and was very un-Boston like at the time.
It was a very big deal when it was built. I remember the Boston Globe had an article on it, the Mayor was touting it, etc. Boston had been in a decline and it was one of the first new high rise buildings in a long time.
 

DBM

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What was the reason for demoing such a relatively young building? I mean...it wasn't a looker, but few from that late-50's arch era ever were. There are certainly much worse examples of pigs-in-lipstick that stuck around. Was there something fundamentally wrong with its construction that weighted it to demo over reno?
Seems the Wiki page provides enough fodder to develop some not-batbleep-bonkers speculations:

"NYNEX (now Verizon and formerly Bell Atlantic), one of Massachusetts' largest employers, wished to consolidate into a single headquarters facility.[2] It was formerly the site of the Traveler's Insurance Building.[3] The existing 16-story, 300,000 square foot (28,000 square meter) structure was demolished in 1988 to make room for 125 High Street.[2]"

My guess is Tishman-Speyer purchased the old building with NYNEX already lined-up as the 100% occupant/lessee, and NYNEX delegated to Tishman to build its new trophy/prestige HQ according to specs it handed to Tishman? (Or vetted architects/designs that Tishman picked for it?)

OR: recall, this period was the absolute peak of the CRE bubble of 1985-1990. The market was just... frothing. Developers were engaging in rampant speculation all-over the joint! Banks were tripping all-over themselves in a mad stampede to lend, lend, lend! So, maybe this was just one piece of that larger speculative mania, and NYNEX was more of a secondary factor?
 
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