The Impact of 19th century Irish Immigration on Brighton

The following article appeared in the pages of the Allston-Brighton Tab about 15 years ago at a time when I was writing regular bi-weekly columns for that paper and for the Boston Tab on a broad range of historical topics. I'm posting it now as an adjunct to the article I posted a few days …

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A Lesson About Ethnic Bigotry Drawn from Brighton’s history

The following article by Michael Daly appeared some months ago in the "Daily Beast." John Kelly’s Forgotten History Lesson White House Chief of Staff John Kelly hails from the Brighton section of a Boston, whose 18th century grandees included a Yankee Protestant manufacturer who so detested Irish immigrants that he refused to hire them as …

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Oral Interview with Max Bacon, Part 2

This is the second excerpt from a four hour long interview that I conducted late in 2017 with Smyrna's long-time Mayor Max Bacon.  William Marchione: Why don’t we talk about your schooling for a bit. How old were you when you entered school for the first time? Max Bacon: Six years old. They had a …

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The Bacon Years: Smyrna Reinvented

In recent weeks I've been conducting interviews with Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, who has held office since 1985, and has presided over a fundamental transformation of the city into one of the most desirable and dynamic Atlanta suburbs. What follows is the last chapter of my book A Brief History of Smyrna Georgia (History Press, …

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Water for the City: A Short History of Boston’s Water Supply System

The City of Boston has one of the finest water supply systems in the country. This series of articles on the history of the system was first published in 1999 in three installments in the Boston Tab and Allston-Brighton Tab newspapers.  Then in May 1999, I presented a lecture on the topic at Brighton's Cleveland Circle …

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Brighton Center Walking Tour: Part 2

  Contemporary Map of Brighton Center #9: Vantage Point: Dighton Street & Chestnut Hill Ave. intersection facing Brighton Square Park Brighton Square Park: This green space on the opposite side of Chestnut Hill Avenue, now known as Brighton Square Park, is the closest thing that Brighton has to a town common, but it was in fact …

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Smyrna Transportation History, part 2, after 1870

1. The North Atlanta and Marietta Streetcar Line, 1905-47 With the introduction of electric streetcars into the City of Atlanta in 1889, a process of rapid extension of streetcar service to the suburbs was set in motion. Not until 1905, however, was Electric streetcar service extended through Smyrna by  the North Atlanta and Marietta Streetcar line. …

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Martin Milmore: Boston’s Great Civil War Sculptor

The last of the more than 100 historical columns that I wrote for the Boston Tab and Allston-Brighton Tab newspapers between 1998 and 2002, this piece on the life and career of the noted Boston Sculptor Martin Milmore never appeared in print, nor was it included in either of my books of collected articles. Only …

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Oral Interview with Helen Terrell McGee, age 91, and Nancy McGee, part 2

Davenport Town, the racially segregated black neighborhood on the eastern edge of Smyrna Bill Marchione: I wanted to ask you if you had any experience of the black neighborhood called Davenport Town. Helen McGee: Yes, actually one of the black ladies that used to live in Davenport Town used to do our washing years ago, and …

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Oral Interview with Helen Terell McGee, age 91, and her daughter, Nancy McGee of Smyrna, Georgia, June 2011, part 1

This oral interview with Helen Terrell McGee and her daughter Nancy McGee was conducted in June 2011. Helen McGee passed away at age 95, in 2014.  Helen’s mother, Bess Embree Terrell, kept a diary documenting her day-to-day activities in Smyrna from 1927 to 1942. They were made available to me when I was researching my …

Continue reading Oral Interview with Helen Terell McGee, age 91, and her daughter, Nancy McGee of Smyrna, Georgia, June 2011, part 1