The slab, as I now know it is called, has been a curiosity to me for years. Why would a piece of prime real estate on Newbury St in Boston's Back Bay be vacant year after year.
During warm months the site is used by artists and street musicians as a venue for peddling their wares and songs. It is a gathering spot for riders of the T (Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority) and a convient spot to let your dog raom a little on his or her lease. Beyond that it appears to have little praticle use and one wonders if it ever did.
It is not uncommon for commercial properties on Newbury Street to sell upwards of $6,000,000.00 so why is this property vacant year after year with no apparent attempts to use it as anything but a backrop for murals painted by the city? Yet there it is near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Newbury St.
The answer it turns out lies in the history Boston and it's subway systems. According to BostonStreetCars.com, " The building evidently once served a mode of transportation—not only are there double arches wide enough for vehicles to pass through, there are still ramps on the curb for vehicles to ascend.
"The Slab," it turns out, is one of Boston's best surviving trolley remnants—"The Slab" is the northern portal of the former surface station of Massachusetts Station, later known as Auditorium Station and today better known as Hynes Convention Center Station:
Massachusetts Station extended over the Boston and Albany Railroad right of way,now the Massachusetts Turnpike. The handwritten note "our offices here"—seems to indiacte the Boston Transit Building, which still stands at the corner of Mass Ave and Newbury Street, and was adjacent to the Massachusetts surface stationt. Both images courtesy Boston Public Library.
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