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Will It Ever Return? No It'll Never Return

Posted by Jim Botticelli  September 4, 2013 12:34 PM

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Scollay Square in 1962, the last year of its existence.

A vibrant exciting former section of the city is rapidly fading from the public's consciousness. Scollay Square was a mixed bag of residents, honky tonk, burlesque and business and has now been gone for 51 years.

Redevelopment types began scheming to destroy the square in the 1950's to displace low income residents and failing businesses from what they envisioned as a picture perfect paradise that was to become known as Government Center. Former performers from  Scollay's most famous building The Howard Theater attempted to block the coming destruction but a convenient fire gutted the place and soon 1000 buildings were demolished and 20,000 residents displaced. Combined with the destruction of the old West End what's   left? "God pity them both! and pity us all, Who vainly the dreams of youth recall; For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been!"... John Greenleaf Whittier.

"Charlie's wife goes down to the Scollay Square station every day at quarter past two. And through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich as the train comes rumbling through."
The Kingston Trio from "Charlie on the M.T.A."

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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