And This is Good Old Boston, one of three Boston history blogs by Mark Bulger (along with great blogs about JP and the Stony Brook), has published three posts recently that all touch on various aspects of transit in our part of Roxbury.
March 5 saw a post that reprinted a Boston Globe article from 1928 that featured an interview with RHJ Nagle, the very first man ever to be fitted for a uniform as a streetcar conductor in Boston. His route? The Metropolitan Streetcar line from Bartlett Street, then as now a transit depot, to the ferry dock in East Boston.
Mr Nagle had the distinction, when he was a conductor for the old Metropolitan St. Railway, to be fitted with the first uniform ever worn by a street car conductor in Boston.
His run was from Bartlett st, Roxbury, to the East Boston ferry. It was the Highland car lines, and the cars were painted in plaids and named after popular heroes and heroins, including Flora MacDonald and Grace Darling. Fares were six rides for a quarter, half fares were three cents, single fares were a nickel. The hours were from 8:45 a m to 12:00 midnight and the pay was $1.75 a day. he had a layoff of four hours in the afternoon.
A couple of weeks later, on March 26, there’s a post of an 1887 Boston Globe article detailing the evolution of Boston transit up to the then-modern “comfortable horse cars,” which themselves would be eclipsed in just a decade by electric cars.
The article describes many of the early transit innovators of Boston, including Horace King. I wrote about King back in December in my post about early Roxbury public transit, and this article fills in several missing details. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:
Horace King, in whom the Roxbury line became finally vested, was an enterprising man. He is still alive today, or was recently, resting from a busy life upon the resources gained from his skill in manoevering this line of omnibuses. About 1850 Mr King made a radical change in the system, but supplanting the “arks” was the four-horse omnibuses were called in disparagement, with two-horse coaches of the New York pattern. The bell boys departed likewise, much to the pleasure of the patrons, for they were a saucy and overbearing set.
Finally, on April 16, Mark wrote about the Daniel Nason, a wood-fired locomotive built at the Roxbury Locomotive shop along the Boston and Providence train line that ran through the Stony Brook Valley. The locomotive shop wasn’t in Fort Hill, but it was very close at the approximate location of the Ruggles T station and the new Northeastern dorms. Given the location, it’s likely that the builders spent a lot of time in Roxbury Crossing, Roxbury Street, and Dudley Square to do their shopping and dining.