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Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway    NEW!

In the 1880s, the transportation system in Boston was a maze of narrow, winding streets, laid out, in some cases, along Colonial cow paths. Tremont Street was subject to gridlock from a convergence of foot traffic, horse drawn conveyances, trolley lines, and electric streetcars. The system was completely inadequate to meet the needs of a modern, bustling metropolis. Inviting listeners to explore the uncharted territory below Boston’s 19th century streets, Joe McKendry will discuss his book, Beneath the Streets of Boston, which chronicles the building of America’s first subway in Boston starting in 1895. The story will come to life through McKendry’s own stunning illustrations, and a historically-accurate narrative about Boston’s first “Big Dig.” Looking back at archival photographs, newspaper clippings, and construction blueprints, McKendry will discuss the perils of building the subway in an urban environment. Hear about the subterranean realm of workers who often dug miles of tunnels by hand. Using picks and shovels to excavate new routes, the workers burrowed deep below Boston Harbor, and under Beacon Hill and the Old State House, in order to build the Longfellow Bridge that would carry the trains over the Charles River into Cambridge. Hear first-hand accounts of the public’s misconceptions about underground transportation, including their fears, fantastically expressed through the gruesome fiction of a fanged and tentacled “subway microbe.” Boston’s subway opened on September 1, 1897—100 people were on the inaugural ride, and over 100,000 would ride the train on that first day at a cost of only a nickel. Copies of Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway will be available for sale and signing.

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Classes will not be in session

Monday, January 16, 2023 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

Monday – Saturday, February 20-24, 2023 (February Vacation)

Friday, April 7, 2023 (Good Friday)

Monday – Saturday, April 17-21, 2023 (April Vacation)

Monday, May 29, 2023 (Memorial Day)

Monday, June 19, 2023 (Juneteenth)

Contact Us

Administrative Office: Baldwin School, 484 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Brookline High School (Evenings and Saturday): 115 Greenough Street, Brookline, MA 02445
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 150, Brookline, MA 02446
Email: bacep@psbma.org
Telephone: 617-730-2700
Fax: 617-730-2674

Hours & Locations

Baldwin School, 484 Heath Street,
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

– Monday-Friday: 8:30am – 4:30 pm
Brookline High
– Monday-Thursday: 4:30pm – 9:30pm and
Saturday: 8:30am – 2:00pm
Please note: hours may change during the summer and holiday/vacation weeks.

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