FC 98 Lost Boston with Anthony Sammarco

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Anthony Sammarco, the author of the book Lost Boston.

Bio – Anthony Sammarco

Since 1997, Anthony Sammarco has taught history at the Urban College of Boston, and his course “Boston’s Immigrants” is based on his book of the same name to highlight the Lost Boston with Anthony Sammarco on Fieldstone Commoncity’s diversity. He was named educator of the year in 2003 and he serves on the UCB’s Leadership Council. Mr. Sammarco received the Bulfinch Award from the Doric Dames of the Massachusetts State House and the Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation and was named Dorchester town historian by Raymond L. Flynn, mayor of Boston. He was elected a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and is a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum. In his volunteer work, he is treasurer of the Victorian Society, New England Chapter, and a trustee of the Forest Hills Cemetery Educational Trust. He is past president of the Bay State Historical League and the Dorchester Historical Society. He lives in Boston and in Osterville on Cape Cod.

Book Summary

A nostalgic journey back in time to visit some of the disappeared buildings and places in all their grandeur, before the wrecking ball and decline set in.

From the 1850s up to the present day, 68 different losses are represented here, including schools, churches, theaters, grand mansions, dockyards, racetracks, parks, stores, hotels, offices, and factories. Organized chronologically starting with the earliest losses and ending with the latest, the book features much-loved insitutions that failed to stand the test of time, along with old-fashioned hotels and sports facilities that were beyond updating or refurbishment. Losses include Franklin Place, Boston City Hall, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Hancock House, Gleason’s Publishing Hall, Fort Hill, Franklin Street, Boston Coliseum, Boylston Market, Merchants Exchange, Haymarket Square, Boston Public Library, Horticultural Hall, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Revere House (Hotel), Huntington Avenue Grounds, Charlestown City Hall, Molasses Tank, Cyclorama, Readville Trotting Park and Race Track, East Boston Airport, Boston Latin School, East Boston Ferries, Braves Field, Massachusetts State Prison, Boston Opera House, Boston Aquarium, The Howard Athenaeum, and Dudley Street Station.

Publication InfoLost Boston with Anthony Sammarco on Fieldsotne Common

Title: Lost Boston

Publisher: Pavilion Books (2014)

Oversized Hardcover – 144 pages with lots of photos and an index.

Lost Boston is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Anthony Sammarco and I discuss the great variety of building and public places that have been removed from the Boston, Massachusetts landscape. They range from the Old Feather Shop to prisons, ferries and baseball fields. There was even a Victory Garden in what is now a park-like Copley Square. We discuss why the demolitions occurred and the way some buildings still remain but have been transformed. We also talk about the Boston Athenaeum as a historical repository and the importance of local history in the lives of neighborhood residents.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winner

One copy of Lost Boston is given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Pavilion Books.

The winner is:

  • To be announced next week

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Pavilion Books for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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Show Notes – The Poorhouses of Mass. with Heli Meltsner

Heli Meltsner author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts on Fieldstone Common

Heli Meltsner author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts

Following are some items that were mentioned during the 15 November 2012 Fieldstone Common interview with Heli Meltsner, author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

A Special Chance to  Win

Books were not given out during the live airing of the interview. Fieldstone Common, however, is giving out 2 copies of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts in a pre-Thanksgiving giveaway on the blog. See this post for all the details. You have between now and Wednesday, Nov. 21st at 6pm EST to enter the giveaway.

Heli Meltsner is a board member and curator with the Cambridge Historical Society.  Feel free to contact Heli through the society. The Cambridge Historical Society is a very active dynamic group. They have a Facebook page that is updated nearly daily. During the interview Heli mentioned that the society is working on a book about the Cambridge Historical Commission’s 50 years of service to the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. We will look forward to seeing that published in November 2013.

The Poorhouses of Massachusetts was published by McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers and copies are available for sale through Amazon.com and other booksellers.
Some of the concepts of poor law (ie settlement law) that were discussed in the interview include:

  • Warning outs
  • Towns suing other towns for support
  • Indentured servitude for both children and adults
  • Vendue – selling the poor to the lowest bidder

In Massachusetts many records about the poor can be found at the town level in town record books or in town reports. For states outside of New England you should probably check county-level records.

To receive your free Thanksgiving Gift from Houstory, follow this link and add the registration number to your cart. At checkout, simply type in “TURKEYDAYGIFT” in the coupon code box. Your permanent registration code will be emailed to you. The special offer for a FREE Heirloom Registry runs now through Thanksgiving Day. More details are available here.

Fieldstone listeners can also take 15 percent off the purchase of your entire order, including registry stickers and brass plates — which make attaching a registration number to your heirlooms even easier — by using the coupon code “FIELDSTONE.”

McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, the publisher of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts, donated two copies of the book that are being given as a “door prizes”. See this post for how you can win one of the books (ends Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012) . A big thank you to McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers for  their generosity!

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis

The Poorhouses of Massachusetts with Heli Meltsner

LIVE: THURSDAY, 15 November 2012 at 1:00pm EST

Listen in to Fieldstone Common this week as host Marian Pierre-Louis talks to Heli Meltsner, author of The Poorhouses of Massachusetts.

Ever since the English settled in America, extreme poverty and the inability of individuals to support themselves and their families have been persistent problems. In the early nineteenth century, many communities established almshouses, or “poorhouses,” in a valiant but ultimately failed attempt to assist the destitute, including the sick, elderly, unemployed, mentally ill and orphaned, as well as unwed mothers, petty criminals and alcoholics.

This work details the rise and decline of poorhouses in Massachusetts, painting a portrait of life inside these institutions and revealing a history of constant political and social turmoil over issues that dominate the conversation about welfare recipients even today. The first study to address the role of architecture in shaping as well as reflecting the treatment of paupers, it also provides photographs and histories of dozens of former poorhouses across the state, many of which still stand.

Heli Meltsner, the curator of the Cambridge Historical Society, has been a town planner and a preservation consultant, undertaking numerous nominations to the National Register of Historic Places and historic resource inventories for municipalities and state agencies. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis