Arts & Culture Photos & Videos

Neighborhood Photo: 1899 Photo of Keany Square

Looking from the south end of the Charlestown Bridge in 1899 to what we now call at Keany Square, this City Planning Board photograph from the Boston Landmarks Commission shows the Endicott and North Washington Street corner of the North End neighborhood. To the left would be Commercial Street with Causeway Street to the right. The two bell towers from St. Mary’s (now gone) can be seen in the distance. I believe the curved building on the left is currently occupied by Filippo’s Ristorante. I’m not sure what they are constructing here. If you know, leave a comment!

1899, City Planning Board photograph from the Boston Landmarks Commission (Photo courtesy of the City of Boston Archives, Collection #5210.004)

14 Replies to “Neighborhood Photo: 1899 Photo of Keany Square

  1. They are probably building the elevated train line that connected North Station to Wellington Station.
    Look at a copy of the book Streetcar Suburbs by Sam Warner for a good discussion about this.

  2. My guess would be 160 North Washington St the M Hoffman Building. This is on the corner of Causeway and N. Washington st.

  3. Matt,

    The area of construction would have been the location of the Molasses tank. Could this have been the foundation for the tank? If you look at the footings they appear very close to each other and circular.


    1. arthur I believe the tank was located at the present day location of the baseball fields and tennis courts at puopolo field.

      i’m not sure if this is the El, it looks more like it is in the location of the new strada building or the not-built-til 1905 lovejoy wharf building.

      either way, great picture. there are other great old boston photos here:

    1. The tank shown in this picture was not the molasses tank, which had been destroyed already, but the gas tank where DiPhillippo park is now. That’s why it’s called the Gassy, right?

  4. Could be the North Washington Street Bridge itself, based on the footings in progress and the pile drivers. Construction began in 1898, and it opened in 1900.

  5. Well, Sonny knows more about construction than me but look st the size of the concrete footings with steel rods. They are meant to support a lot of weight. Note also the wood cranes and steam engines. These were used to hoist the steel girders for the elevated train.
    The view is straight down Endicot St with North Washington St to the right. Notice that the construction curves to the right and follows Causeway St, the exact route the El followed.

  6. Arthur, this is not the Molasses tank – Andy is correct, the tank was located by the Puopolo Field. This looks like the site of the old Stop & Shop Bakery bldg (is it now called theStrada Bldg?) Or could it be the site of Piemonte’s Car Wash??

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