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Boston Architectural Photos

  • 28 Roslin Street
    Photos of Boston buildings and neighborhoods. Click any photo to enlarge.

First Parish Church in Dorchester Steeple Removal

  • Airborne1
    Photos of the removal of the steeple lantern at First Parish Church in Dorchester, 24 November 2006

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Most cool!

Why does the Route Formerly Known as 1 change names so many times in such a short space as well? From Riverway to Jamaicaway to Arborway to Centre Street to VFW Parkway in, what, two miles? I think it's all a ploy to keep the furriners away!

Street names can offer some interesting echoes of the past. Down the hill from us, Poplar Street just changes into West Street for no reason whatsoever - until you realize the spot where it changes used to be the border between the city of Boston (and before that, the town of Roxbury) and the town of Hyde Park.

Mark Sullivan

Your reference to the mile stone with the link above may be incorrect. Across the street fronm the First Church of Roxbury, where Centre Street and Roxbury Street begin, there is the 'Parting Stone' here is a link to a bad picture.
It is engraved 1744 P. Dudly on the face, and on the left to Dedham , and on the right Cambridge and Watertown.
I have lived up the street from it for a few years, but it was not until a year or so ago that I was able to discover that it actually marked the parting of the road. The mile stone that you linked is down Center street about a half mile, almost embeded in a large stone wall.


Regarding the various names for one street: In fact, these were really considered separate streets at the time, and it was only later that they came to be considered one street. There have also always been longer streets with just one name -- such as Beacon St.

Each piece was laid out independently, and many of the names were decriptive -- Tremont from the "Tri-mountain" of Beacon Hill, and Dock St. and Water St. -- and many others were common names of streets in English cities -- such as Cornhill. If you look at a map of the City of London, you'll see the same phenomenon.

In the late 1800s, it was common to "harmonize" street names to make them more logical -- and more grand. For example, Massachusetts Ave. -- which stretches from Dorchester through Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford out to Acton -- was more than a dozen streets: it was West Chester Park in the Boston, and in Cambridge it was Mass. Ave. up to Porter Sq. and then it was North St. and out in Lexington and Acton it was The Great Road.

An excellent source is "Boston: A Topographical History" by Walter Muir Whitehill:


Yes, the stone in the picture is definitely the one in the rock wall on Centre St (the wall is on the edge of the Paige Academy's property). Mark is correct about where the parting stone is located and its description.

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