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  • Message for NHGUY

    Good Morning, I am a new member and got this website from Andy Jackson in Bellflower, WA.

    I have a question about an abandoned (now gone) station in Roxbury, Mass. I grew up on Columbus Avenue in Lower Roxbury. We lived at #1414, directly across the street from the NH 4 track mainline. There was an abandoned station that stretched an entire block, from Heath St. to New Heath St. It was called Heath Street Station. The stairs at both end were still there and in the middle were the risers for sets of stairs that led to Columbus Ave on one side and Lamartine St. on the other. Next to these stairs was a tunnel that led under the viaduct, which was a massive granite structure that ran to Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain. I have been unable to find any photos or history of this station. The best I could come up with was an old ward map from the late 1800's that showed its footprint. Do you know where I could learn and see more of this station? I would like to model this stretch of Columbus Avenue. I model in z scale. My guess is that it was abandoned after prohibition was passed in 1918. This section of Boston was home to over 30 breweries. They all closed and many never reopened. Several became "tonic" plants. There was a large Moxie plant on Heath St. called "Moxieland" that was razed in the early 50's to make way for the Bromley-Heath housing project. It was once a brewery. There was a pickle factory on Terrace St. that was also an old brewery, now apartments, and on Columbus Ave. was a "White Rock" bottling plant. It was still in operation until the 60's. I plan to model the "Moxieland" plant as well as the viaduct. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jim in Boston

  • #2
    Hi, are you aware of the New Haven RR Historical/Technical Assoc.? Boston Street Railway Assoc.? Also, there is an MBTA forum on where you can find several people who are quite familiar with old Boston RR history. My own guess is that the NH gave up on local service after the Boston Elevated was built to Forest Hills - between that and the trolleys on Huntington & Columbus Avenues, few would have chosen to pay more for a train.

    I lived in Jamaica Plain at the time the old NH elevated line was taken out of service, and walked the embankment about 1981. But I only shot a couple of rolls of film, mostly of passing trains. I regret not shooting the pickle factory or the open tanks of pickles in the yard behind it. I don't recall much evidence of the Heath St. Station at track level and didn't spend much time in that neighborhood at street level. Some of my photos might show useful things in the background. But you might get more from films of cab rides over the line.

    It is likely that the MBTA documented what it had bought from the NH/PC/Conrail before designing the new Southwest Corridor. But I don't have any contacts that would know if the documentation was kept after demolition, or where it would be now. If anyone does, you'd find them at the BSRA or Seashore Trolley Museum. If you can get the ICC valuation survey documents for that area, they'd cover all RR structures in at least some detail. The NHRHTA should know what's available and where.


    • #3
      Hi, Thanks for responding. I am very familiar with both of those organizations and have a substantial collection of "Rollsign" and "The Shoreliner." There is a photo in an edition of the Shoreliner that does show a train heading towards South Station passing by my house in the 40's or 50's. When I was a kid (we lived there until 1966) the pickle factory was still operating, in fact, there were several food processing plants in the area. The pickles were stored outside in 2 large wooden tanks. I guess there was no USDA back then. I wish I'd have taken photos of the area while we lived there. Who knew??? I briefly attended Junior High School at the Mary E. Curley in JP. The Arborway trolley still ran to Forest Hills back then and some days after school I would go downtown to my favorite hobby shop "Hobbytown" on Boylston St. The trolley still runs, the "E" line of the MBTA's green line, but it stops at the VA Hospital on Heath Street and then loops back around. I did see a photo of the Jamaica Plain Station on the Jamaica Plain Historical Assoc. website and it indicated that it stopped serving passengers after the Civil War. It was a stop on the same route as Heath Street was. If this is true, it would mean that the stations were closed for almost a century when I lived there. Perhaps this is why nothing is written about them. They had already been forgotten about. This area is now going thru a re-gentrification and there is a lot of development going on there. We were one of the last families to leave when the I-95 connector was supposed to go thru there. So, almost 50 years later, some work is finally being done. Like the West End of Boston, the city eliminated an entire neighborhood, and, if they had had their way the entire stretch from Arlington Street to Egleston Square would have been wiped out. Ironically, the priciest neighborhoods in Boston are the "new" South End. It has been nice chatting with you. Let me know if you think of anything else. Jim in Boston