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A Streetcar Less Desired

Posted by Jim Botticelli  October 11, 2013 11:12 PM

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BrightonCenterStreetcarWarrenHall1950s_Lo.jpg
The streetcar makes its way through Brighton Center in the 50's

"People who want to understand democracy should spend less time in the library with Aristotle and more time on the buses and in the subway." ... Simeon Strunsky, 'No Mean City' 1944

For Boston Newbians, the 57 bus running from Kenmore to Watertown was once a streetcar line which ended its service in 1969. There was a debate about exactly what year it ended, but 1969 was the most agreed upon year. Here's living proof of its existence. What continued to exist for years and years subsequently were the tracks it ran on which led to speculation that any day now that old streetcar would be coming back. But no matter how many T riders yelled "Stella!" it never returned, no it never returned. Bostonians of all stripes have always been dependent on the kindness of T drivers so we assume every person has a story about this line.
BrightonCenterStreetcarFinast1964_Lo.jpg
The future 57 runs past the First National in 1964.

As for Brighton itself, it is a dissolved independent municipality named after the town of Brighton in the English city of Brighton and Hove. For its first 160 years it was part of Cambridge and called "Little Cambridge". It separated from Cambridge in 1807 following a bridge dispute and was annexed by Boston in 1874. Allston was also formerly part of Brighton but is now considered somewhat separate leading to the Allston-Brighton moniker for the combined area. The real trick is to identify exactly where Allston ends and Brighton begins. Anyone? Anyone?

Thanks to Wikipedia for Brighton information. Thanks to Brighton-Allston Historical Society for photos

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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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