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 …

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John McLane Oral Interview, part 2: Gordon Street, Allston and Vicinity

Bill Marchione: What do you recollect about transportation in your early years? John McLane: Of course, we had the old semi-cars. Some of them turned around at Oak Square. They were a noisy streetcar. Streetcar changing directions at Oak Square, Brighton, with Faneuil Street and Bigelow Hill in the background I’ve seen a lot of …

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John McLane, An Oral Interview Part 1: Recollections of the Historic Lake Street Neighborhood of Allston-Brighton

John McLane, age 89, retired Boston fire fighter and life-long resident of Allston-Brighton John McLane, was 89 years of age in 2001 when I conducted this interview. He had lived in Allston-Brighton his entire life, residing during his first ten years (1912-22) in the Lake Street area of Brighton (the neighborhood in which I also …

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Smyrna Photographic Essay #2: Public Education

The following posting is a by-product of a project undertaken by the History Committee of the Smyrna Arts and Cultural Council in which more than 1400  historical photographs of Smyrna were gathered and topically categorized. This is the second of a series of Smyrna history photographic essays to appear on this blog, the first on …

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Nathaniel J. Bradlee: A Prolific 19th Century Boston Architect

This article made its first appearance in the Boston Tab newspaper on February 9th 2001, and subsequently appeared in my collection of Boston history essays, Boston Miscellany: An Essential History of the Hub (History Press, 2008). I offer it again here, accompanied by many additional  illustrations. WPM The Chestnut Hill Reservoir originally contained two basins---the …

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Smyrna Photographic Essay #1: Religious History/ Churches

The community of Smyrna originated in the late 1830s with the establishment of the Smyrna Campground by the Methodists of the area. The Campground served as a gathering point for religious services in a day when preachers rode circuit owing to their limited number and distances they were obliged to travel in this sparsely settled …

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Thomas W. Silloway: Allston-Brighton’s Master Builder

This article first appeared in the Allston-Brighton Tab on February 23, 1999 and several years later in my book Allston-Brighton in Transition: From Cattle Town to Streetcar Suburb (2007). I offer it again here, with slight modifications, and additional illustrations, as the first in a series of articles on aspects of American architectural history. WPM Prolific …

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The Smyrna Memorial Cemetery

Tucked Away On Atlanta Road, Smyrna Memorial Cemetery Holds City Trailblazers  An article by Haisten Willis  Thousands of drivers pass downtown Smyrna along Atlanta Road every single day, many of them completely unaware they’re passing one of the city’s most important historic landmarks: the Smyrna Memorial Cemetery. “I had a conversation with a couple the …

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Daniel Bowen: Boston’s Pioneer Museum Keeper

[This article originally appeared in the Boston Tab newspaper in May 1999] Contemporary Boston is a city of many great museums. The history of museum keeping in Boston had its modest beginnings in 1791, with the arrival from Philadelphia of one Daniel Bowen, age thirty-one, a close friend of the patriot-painter Charles Willson Peale of …

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