Nick Dello Russo shares this photo of Fulton Street in the North End from the early 1960s. Read more from Nick about this scene below.

Fulton was a street of warehouses and packing companies. Several well-known food businesses started on Fulton Street among them Genoa Packing, Pastene, Providence Packing and Abramo Re. In the late 60s, the city evicted all the businesses and some local politicians wanted to tear down the warehouses to build new housing. It was supposed to be called an Italian Village. A group of local residents, my wife and I included, protested and wanted the buildings saved as an example of 19th century warehouses. We prevailed and the street has become an attractive residential neighborhood. It’s an example of sensible city planning with neighborhood input and maintaining a human scale to the project.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Nick, Great memories, as always, and terrific you helped save old Fulton St. In the early 1950s, The Italian News offices and composing room were on the corner of Fulton and Richmond (the site of the current rest home) with a blacksmith on the ground floor. There was a restaurant and bar on street level across Richmond St., in a banana warehouse. Always remember a lady on the sidewalk who asked me if I knew where to find a bookie, She had a dream last night, with a dream number, and there were no bookies in her suburb. I suggested the restaurant “as a possibility.” The joke about Fulton St was that the products of the meat packers could be eaten on Fridays.

  2. Thanks, Bob. The bar room on Richmond St. was the Pilgrim Cafe’. The nursing home is there now and the blacksmith shop was owned by the Scapiccio family. I think it was on Ferry Street.
    A few of my friends were drinking in the Pilgrim one night with a local tough guy named Eddie. A drunk started giving Eddie some lip, big mistake. Eddie hit him a punch that knocked him off the stool onto the floor where he was totally passed out. Eddie took his drink, poured it over the guys face and walked out. My friends said it was just like a Clint Eastwood movie.

  3. Nick,

    So important, especially for those of us who live in the North End, to recognize, to appreciate, and to retain its uniqueness as a city-village, and to insist that none of its historic past be lost to thoughtless planning ideas. Thanks for your photo and for caring.

    • Totally agree. The North End is fragile but resilient. The city is strangling us with mid and high rise buildings.

  4. Thanks Nick !!! I too have one of these buildings~~~~when I was finished with construction, I found the previous owner of the property~~~Mala Testa~~~my property was an Olive Oil Factory~~~~I invited him to come in~~~to see what I had done to his old factory~~~~~He scooted around and taught me a thing or two ! On my top floor there was a loft and he told me that’s where they would hang the garlic to dry~~~~on the third floor he told me there was a huge vat to cook the oil. It took about two years before all the beams stopped seeping oil. When the heat got turned on in the apartment, the olive oil dripped out of the beams. He seemed so very happy to have seen the Before AND After !!

  5. How many remember it as Ghost Town? We used to ride our bikes down there and then scramble away fast because someone would always inevitably say they heard a ghost! LOL

  6. My memories of Fulton street back in the day were of my Mother sending me to buy a chicken for dinner. I go in this slaughterhouse pick out a chicken and this guy in a while coat covered in blood cuts the chicken bead off, sends it through a machine to remove it’s feathers raps it up in brown paper and hands it to me. I was gagging from the stench that engulfed Fulton St and could not believe people could live near there.

  7. I’m so happy that many of the warehouse buildings on and around Fulton Street were saved–although many were also demolished. If only zoning allowed for more buildings like this to be built in and around the North End today. And if only zoning allowed streets like Fulton to have shops! Then the street might actually start to resemble what it once looked like: a city street.

    Unfortunately, many North Enders tend to oppose proposals for new five- and six-story buildings like these ones and many would never support zoning changes that allow shops to open on newly residential-only streets like Fulton. Such a shame…

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