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Molasses > Gas > Hazmat: What Have We Learned?

by Guild Nichols January 15th marked the day ninety-two years ago when a torrent of molasses flooded Boston’s North End waterfront killing 21 people and injuring 150. Two years later, the State Legislature voted to avert still another potential disaster – by removing a massive illuminating gas tank on Prince Street in the heart of […]

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Viewing the Olde North End

The Boston Public Library’s Digital Services department recently uploaded a series of images of the historic North End from the 1860s to the 1970s to the Boston Public Library’s Flickr page at These images include photographs, prints, and drawings documenting Boston’s North End in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the bulk of the […]

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A Letter from Anna – Part 4

by Jan Maguire, 2010 The three Anzalone siblings shared a productive 1920s.  During that decade, many many babies were born: Ralph and Aurelia had baby they named Anna, followed in quick procession by Angelo, Philomena, Federico and Anthony. Carmella and Joe had Esther, first, and then followed up with four little boys – Rocco, Carmine, […]

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North End History: Beneath the North End

“Beneath the North End” “So how many tunnels are there beneath the North End,” she asked. “Well, about ten,” I responded. “Really? TEN tunnels!” the tourist in the red raincoat exclaimed. “Naw, just kiddin’,” I said, “Only four.” Fascination with the North End’s secret tunnels goes back several centuries: from the days when Captain Gruchy […]

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North End History: It Takes a Family a Bakery to Make

It Takes a Family a Bakery to Make There’s nothing quite so comforting as walking home in the early morning with a warm loaf of bread cradled in one’s elbow. It’s like holding a warm baby straight from the bath in the crook of your arm. You cradle it carefully so as not to crush […]

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North End History: John Child’s Flight From “Old North”

Lost in the Passage of Time:  John Childs Flight from the Steeple of Dr. Cutler’s Church March and April are memorable months in Boston’s North End. Not just for the blossoming magnolia trees by St. Leonard’s along Hanover Street – the perfect harbinger of Spring.  But also for the March 17th celebration of Evacuation Day […]

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North End History – The Italians

by Guild Nichols PART 5: BOSTON’S LITTLE ITALY 1900-Today The Italian masses that flowed into the North End on the heels of the departing Irish and at the apex of the Jewish settlement found a neighborhood in dire physical condition; a rundown, overcrowded slum of deteriorating tenement buildings. Like their predecessors, these newly-arrived Italian immigrants […]

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North End History: Our Jewish Heritage

North End History by Guild Nichols PART 4: OUR JEWISH HERITAGE  1870-1900 The following brief history of the North End’s Jewish heritage is adapted from Michael A. Ross, The Jewish Friendship Trail, 2nd edition, 2003, and is graciously provided with permission by the author. Eastern European Jews began settling in the North End as early […]

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North End History: The Irish Influx

North End History by Guild Nichols PART 3: THE IRISH INFLUX 1840-1870 The Irish have been part of Boston – in small numbers to be sure – from the very outset of the American Revolution. Patrick Carr of Ireland was one of the five men shot by British soldiers on the evening of March 5, 1770 […]

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North End History: From Rags to Riches

North End History by Guild Nichols PART 2: FROM RICHES TO RAGS After 1780, Revere expanded his business interests in keeping with the feverish commercial development along the North End waterfront. He opened a foundry for the smelting of iron and brass and was soon supplying bolts, spikes and nails for the burgeoning shipbuilding industry. […]

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