Orange Line

Roxbury's Southwest Corridor: Archaeology of Industry and Transportation by Jason Turgeon

Sponsored by Roxbury Historical Society & Haley House Bakery Cafe

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 7:00pm

Haley House Bakery Cafe 
12 Dade St, Dudley Square 
Roxbury, MA 2119 
United States

Join the Roxbury Historical Society to learn about the archaeology of Roxbury’s Southwest Corridor! Archaeologists Beth Bower and Miles Shugar will present their work on these fascinating archaeological sites that were excavated in the 1970s before the construction of the Orange Line subway. 

Beth’s work uncovered a variety of interesting sites, including breweries, factories, foundries, and housing from the 18th-19th centuries. Miles will then discuss one of these sites, the Metropolitan Railroad Company Site, in more detail. Horse-cars and an electric street railway hub operated from 1850 to 1920 at the present-day Roxbury Crossing MBTA station. 

The archaeology of horse-car street railways and technological change will be illustrated through artifacts, documents, and photographs of Boston’s early mass transit systems.

Boston's Orange Line: Book and Book Talk by Jason Turgeon

Over the holidays I picked up a copy of Boston’s Orange Line, another in the series of local history books that Arcadia Publishing has been issuing for the last decade or so.  This one is a collection of photographs detailing the history of our neighborhood’s train line from its earliest days, including a long-forgotten spur through downtown along Atlantic Avenue.  From its early days as the Main Line Elevated running from Sullivan Square to Dudley to its current incarnation, the authors (a Globe reporter and UMass Boston archivist) have done a fantastic job of detailing the line’s history.  This one belongs on every Roxbury historian’s shelf.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy, why not do it in person at the upcoming book talk they’ll be hosting at Doyle’s?  Here are the details, courtesy of the JP Historical Society:

'Boston's Orange Line' Book Talk

Sunday, January 26, 2013 from 3pm-5pm

at Doyle’s, 3484 Washington Street, JP

The story of the Orange Line is the story of Boston: always in flux but trailed by its long history. Since 1901, this rail line’s configuration has evolved in response to changes in the city, society, and technology. Hazardous sections have been eliminated, ownership has transitioned from private to public, and the line has been rerouted to serve growing suburbs and to use land cleared for the failed Inner Belt. Both its northern terminus, which shifted from Everett to Malden, and the southern route, realigned from Washington Street to the Southwest Corridor, have seen dramatic transformations that have in turn changed riders’ lives. Today, the line’s 10 miles of track curve through many Greater Boston communities, serving thousands along the way.

The authors Jeremy C. Fox and Andrew Elder are JP residents and will have copies of the book for sale. 

Sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served (but cash bar).

Boston Public Library Opens Orange Line Exhibition "An Elevated View" | City of Boston by Jason Turgeon

For all you Orange Line lovers, there’s an exhibit worth checking out at the Copley Library until January 19.  Here are the details, straight from the website.  Enjoy!

The newest exhibition to open at the Boston Public Library’s Copley Square location is An Elevated View: the Orange Line. The exhibition features 65 photographs from a 1985 project that documented Boston’s elevated rail system prior to its 1987 dismantling. The elevated Orange Line, known simply as the El, served as fast and dependable transportation above Washington Street, from Chinatown to Dudley Square, between 1901 and 1987. An Elevated View is open through January 19, 2013. 

Two years before the El was dismantled, the nonprofit organization URBANARTS organized a program called “Arts in Transit” on behalf of the MBTA. One component of the program paired four photographers with photography students to document the transition of the Orange Line. The students and their teachers photographed the line and its architectural and social surroundings.

Arranged in order of MBTA Orange Line stops, from Forest Hills to Dover Station, An Elevated View is on display in the Wiggin Gallery at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. The gallery is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Boston Public Library staff member Jane Winton curated the exhibition, using photographs from the library’s print collection.

Additional Boston Public Library programs related to the Orange Line include film screenings and a panel discussion featuring photographers who documented the rail system.

Screenings of Tim Wright’s 30-minute documentary film The Conservation of Matter: The Rise and Fall of Boston’s Elevated will take place on Thursday, October 25, at 6 p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square and Monday, November 19, at 6 p.m. at the Connolly Branch, located at 433 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. The film traces the fate of 100,000 tons of steel from the Boston elevated rail system, which was shipped eight thousand miles away to Japan, melted, and reformed into steel bars. The steel was ultimately used to create a structure in the middle of Apache country in central Arizona. Wright, a Boston-based filmmaker, will attend both screenings and will discuss his work. The screening at the Connolly Branch is presented by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

A panel discussion featuring photographers who documented Boston’s elevated rail system prior to its demolition takes place on Thursday, November 1, at 6 p.m. at the Central Library in Copley Square. Photographers David Akiba and Lou Jones will discuss their photos and their experiences capturing neighborhoods in transition.

This exhibition and related programs are part of the Boston Public Library’s Building Boston initiative, a citywide celebration of Boston’s public spaces. An Elevated View is the third of five exhibitions planned at the Central Library in Copley Square in conjunction with the initiative. More information about Building Boston is available

Conservation of Matter: The Fall & Rise of Boston's Elevated Subway by Jason Turgeon

Conservation of Matter: The Fall and Rise of Boston’s Elevated Subway from Tim K Wright on Vimeo.

I got the text below from the JPHS newsletter.  If you can’t make the showing at the library next month, you can watch this charming film about the old elevated Orange Line and the fate of its steel on Vimeo.  The soundtrack by Yusef Sharif, presumably a former Boston resident, is a treat, too.

The Fall & Rise of Boston’s Elevated Subway

On November 19 at 6:00 p.m. the Jamaica Plain Historical Society will show the movie, “Conservation of Matter: The Fall and Rise of Boston’s Elevated Subway,” at the Connolly Branch Library. This is a repeat showing of the film which was shown at the Loring-Greenough House previously. This documentary follows the journey of 100,000 tons of steel from the Boston Elevated Subway, which was erected in 1898, demolished in 1987, and then shipped eight thousand miles away to Japan to be melted and made into steel beams. These beams then cross the ocean again, where they are fabricated into a remarkable new structure in a surprising location. Free and open to the public.

by Jason Turgeon

From Universal Hub, here’s a great video taken of a special train ride given to rail buffs shortly before the old elevated orange line was torn down.  The train leaves from Forest Hills and runs north on Washington Street.  The video stops as the train enters the tunnels near Chinatown.