Episode 41: Canoes and Canoodling on the Charles River

During a late nineteenth century canoe craze, recreational canoeing became Boston’s hottest leisure time activity.  Young lovers took advantage of the privacy and intimacy of a canoe to engage in a little bit of illicit romance, leading a humorless state police agency to ban kissing in canoes on the Charles River.


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Episode 40: Banned in Boston

Despite our liberal reputation today, for years Boston was a bastion of official censorship. Authors and playwrights whose works were considered obscene had to create a watered-down “Boston version.” The Watch and Ward Society decided what art, theater, and literature was permissible, and what would be Banned in Boston!

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Episode 39: Tragedy at Cocoanut Grove

The 1942 fire at Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub killed a staggering 492 people, making it the deadliest fire in Boston history and one of the deadliest fires in US history. For Boston, it is the deadliest modern disaster of any type. Only the smallpox epidemics of the early 1700s and the 1918 Spanish flu rival it for loss of life.


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Episode 38: The Reign of Charles “King” Solomon

 

This week’s show is about Charles “King” Solomon, also known as Boston Charlie, whose criminal enterprise placed him at the head of organized crime in Boston throughout the prohibition era.  He reached influence at the national level, set policies in play that led to tragedy at the Cocoanut Grove, and in death, left a wake that may have led to the rise of Whitey Bulger.


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Just say “Massachusetts”

Here’s a fun blooper from Jake.  While I was hosting solo last week, I ran up against the Boston history podcaster’s Achilles heel… a complete inability to say the word “Massachusetts.”  I stumble almost every time, and it’s a word that comes up a lot.  Here, I try several times to say “Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination,” with sad results.