This article is from the Jamaica Plain Historical Society's website, and has been republished here with permission from JPHS. It is based on a slide show presented by Susan Steele at the Loring Greenough House in Jamaica Plain on January 7, 2020.
This article follows the Glennon family during the industrial era of 1880-1940 in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Employment in the Thomas G. Plant Shoe Factory and the Burton Brewery provided the family with opportunity and hardship. The article follows the transformation of the family and Hyde/Jackson Squares through the decades.
Did you know that at least 27 Africans were enslaved in Jamaica Plain in the 1700s? Hidden Jamaica Plain will present an overview of slavery in Jamaica Plain this Sunday. The history of slavery includes land theft, enslavement first of Indigenous people and then expansion to Africans. Did you know that Massachusetts Bay was the first English colony in North America to legalize slavery in 1641? There are many different types of slavery including chattel, bonded, forcer labour and sexual slavery. Chattel slavery existed in Massachusetts at the time of the American Revolution, and several Jamaica Plain patriots were enslavers.
Before modern refrigerators produced ice, people had to gather ice where it naturally formed -- like from Jamaica Pond. Jamaica Plain Historical Society (JPHS) member Charlie Rosenberg provided a presentation in 2023 about this fascinating industry and the over-sized role it played in Jamaica Plain’s economy. By 1880, the Jamaica Pond Ice Company had 22 icehouses on Jamaica Pond with a storage capacity of 30,000 tons, according to JPHS. It's important to keep in mind that ice was a commodity available only to the very rich and to those who could harvest it themselves. That changed as the ice harvesting industry became increasingly mechanized, and the new technologies allowed more people to enjoy the benefits of ice year-round.
Poets, governors, abolitionists, and a Noble Peace Prize winner -- those are some of the well-known people buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery. One of the most famous people buried at Forest Hills Cemetery has had a poem leading up to his gravesite through the years -- e.e. cummings. If you go looking for him, his gravestone says his full name Edward Estlin Cummings. Other famous writers include poet Anne Sexton and playwright Eugene O'Neill. Staying with the writing theme, Eben Jordan is buried in Forest Hills.
On December 15, 1887, Dr. Mary Morey married Benjamin Pearson in Boston. Mary graduated from the BU School of Medicine two years earlier. They eventually moved to 45 Eliot Street. Mary Morey was born in February of 1861 in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Her father William (1837-1908) was a sea captain who had been born in Hampden, Maine.
While not a world record, someone recently returned a vinyl record to the Jamaica Plain Branch Library that was due in 1976! The vinyl record was left in the return bin in the front of the library and the staff didn't see who returned the record that was due on October 27, 1976. Maybe the person was worried about being fined, but Boston public libraries no longer fine people for late items.
For the record -- the vinyl record was Junior Walker and The All Stars' "Anthology", which was released in 1974. The vinyl record wasn't even in the system -- maybe because the Jamaica Plain Branch Library doesn't even have vinyl records to lend anymore -- nor do other Boston branch libraries. JP's branch librarians contacted the archival department at Boston's Central Library to let them know about the record.
The Connolly Branch Library is hosting a workshop covering the basics of oral history and how to craft an interview. The workshop will focus on the ethics of oral history, practices for crafting thoughtful questions, and active listening. The Boston Public Library also has oral history backpacks that any BPL member can check out. Attendees of the workshop will learn how to use the recording equipment in BPL's Oral History Backpacks. The event is Oct.
The Southwest Corridor rail lines were constructed in the early 1980s. Check out these photos from back then that include construction of the rail lines, English High School, views of downtown, and more. All photos courtesy of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society/Will and Sharlene Cochrane. All photo information provide by Jamaica Plain Historical Society.
Was there always a giant plastic cow head protruding from the current home of J.P. Licks? What was previously in CVS' current location? Well, check out the answers to those questions and more -- from these photos from the 1970s from the Jamaica Plain Historical Society. The following photos were taken by former Jamaica Plain resident Donald Latham, and were donated to the Jamaica Plain Historical Society by his brother Tom.
Have you wanted to know more about the neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain? Then you should take one of the free tours offered by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society this summer. Whether you just moved to Jamaica Plain or lived here all your life, you will definitely learn a thing or two, or three, or 22 things about JP neighborhoods. There are tours of Stony Brook, Hyde Square, Sumner Hill, Green Street, Woodbourne, Jamaica Pond, and of Monument Square. Click here for more info about individual tours.