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Egleston Eschewed Eternally?

Posted by Jim Botticelli  July 31, 2013 01:45 PM

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Egleston73StephenQuinn.jpg

                                              Litter Adorns Egleston Square, 1973
                                                        Photo by Stephen Quinn

                                                              Not a Hot Spot

It may have been the most neglected square in inner city Boston. With its location, less than ornate surroundings, major traffic scrambling, and--deserved or not--a reputation for crime, Egleston Square sits at the junction of Washington St, Columbus Av and Seaver St on the border of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Where exactly that border lies is a mystery to us, but  Egleston Square rarely comes up in conversations citing local hot spots to visit, much less to even drive through.

                                                             Back in the Day

Egleston Square is as a prime example of how housing followed transportation development and the history of the acceptance of multi-family dwellings within the city. On the Orange line, known then as the Boston Elevated Railway, Egleston Station opened in 1909. Land was  developed on Beethoven and Weld Streets and the housing was quickly sold as the property jumped in value. Bragdon St, Walnut, and Columbus Avenues were built upon followed by Academy Homes under the Housing Act and Urban Renewal. The elderly housing building, the only round building in the city, was finally constructed next to the station in 1968. Interestingly, the building's shape was influenced by the Tower in the Park concept popular in France and advocated by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Ethnic diversity has always been Egleston's calling card. Italians: Armenians, Poles, Greeks, later African American, Latino, and Vietnamese have all called it home.

                                                      Turn Around, Look at Me

Although Egleston Square fell firmly into the Dirty Old Boston camp, as pictured here, today it is under the watchful eye of the Boston Main Streets program who's goal is to strengthen business viability, create a more visibly more friendly environment, and turn around public perception of the area. A Farmer's Market is in operation every Saturday through the summer and fall, and inquiries about rental and owner housing in the area have been seen online. Hope springs eternal and the Egleston area may today be just the area in which to invest it.

Be sure to 'like' our Facebook page Dirty Old Boston

Ciao for Now.....JB

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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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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