Episode 21: The Tremont Street Explosion

On March 4, 1897, a giant explosion rocked the corner of Tremont Street and Boylston across from Boston Common.  Ten people were killed, and dozens were injured.  How did construction of America’s first subway lead to this disaster?  And why was it so difficult for survivors to get compensation for their injuries?  Listen to the show to find out!  And be sure to stay tuned to the end, so you can find out how to win a free walking tour with hosts Nikki and Jake.

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Episode 20: John Hancock’s Private Army

When British General Thomas Gage arrived in Boston in 1774, he was met on Long Wharf by the patriot leader John Hancock at the head of an armed militia unit… But not for the reason you think.  Since 1772, Hancock had been the Captain of The Governor’s Independent Company of Cadets, an elite unit that provided ceremonial bodyguards to the Massachusetts governor.  When Gage took over as military governor of the province, sparks flew.  He summarily fired Hancock, and war broke out soon after.  They have been known through the centuries as the Governor’s Cadets, the Independent Company of Cadets, the Boston Independent Company, and the First Corps of Cadets, and they’ve served Massachusetts and the United States in domestic emergencies, and wars from the Revolution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  Learn more about this unique unit, and their role in the lead up to the Revolutionary War, in this week’s show!

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Episode 19: A Tale of Two Hermits

This week’s episode examines two people who chose to live as hermits in and around Boston.  When you think of a hermit, your mental image is probably a monk or an aging eccentric in a cabin in the woods somewhere.  But our subjects this week sought out that kind of solitary existence among the hustle and bustle of the growing city of Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  James Gately was known as the Hermit of Hyde Park, and Ann Winsor Sherwin was the Hermit of Boston Harbor.  Listen to the show to meet these unique characters!

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Episode 18: Dr. Rebecca Crumpler’s Trailblazing Career

This week, we’re going to talk about a woman who studied medicine at a time when very few women could access higher education at all, and an African-American who became a physician at a time when half of this country believed that she could be owned by another American.  Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler would study in Boston and become America’s first black female doctor.  Listen to this week’s show for her story!

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Episode 17: Vikings on the Charles River (mini-sode)

Your hosts Nikki and Jake are away this week, but through the magic of podcasting, we’re still able to bring you this mini-sode.  Since we’re exploring Iceland, land of the Vikings, it only makes sense to bring you the story of a 19th Century Boston millionaire who was convinced that Vikings had once settled along the Charles River.  Listen to this week’s episode to find out why!

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Episode 16 blooper: Canada isn’t slavery

Most of the time, the bloopers we post are just Jake tripping over his words.  This time, he had simply written a paragraph that means the exact opposite of what it was supposed to mean.  For an enslaved person, escaping to Canada was not the same as being returned to slavery in the South.  The worst part is, Nikki didn’t catch the error until at least the third read through of this paragraph.

(warning: bad words)

Listen to Episode 16 for the real story.

Episode 16: Our Temple of Justice is a Slave Pen! (Black History Month Special, part 3)

This week, we’re going to wrap up our series on the Fugitive Slave Act, and the efforts of black and white abolitionists in Boston to resist what they saw as an unjust law.  In last week’s show, we discussed how Lewis Hayden and the Vigilance Committee rescued the fugitive Shadrach Minkins from being returned to slavery.  This week, we’re going to learn how that act of resistance led to a federal crackdown in Boston, look at two unsuccessful rescues that followed, and see how the unrest galvanized the apathetic population of Boston into a hotbed of radical abolitionism.  Listen to this week’s episode for the exciting conclusion!

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Episode 15: Resist! Shadrach Minkins and the Fugitive Slave Act (Black History Month Special, part 2)

With our new President doing his best to enforce unjust executive orders, we thought this would be a good moment to revisit an era in which Boston resisted an unjust law.  After Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, abolitionists in Boston felt that the values of Southern slave power were being forced upon a free city.  In 1851, Shadrach Minkins was the first fugitive to be arrested in Boston, but before he could be returned to slavery, a multiracial mob stormed the courtroom and forcibly delivered him to the Underground Railroad.  Listen to this week’s episode for the story!
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Episode 14 blooper: Slavery isn’t funny!

Episode 14 deals with slavery and the underground railroad, certainly not humorous topics. But, as always, host Jake’s mush-mouth can make even the most somber topic ridiculous.  The line seems so simple…

The Haydens regularly took in fugitive slaves.  It’s thought that 25% of the escaped slaves who traveled through Boston passed through the Phillips Street home.

Good thing we’re learning to use our podcast editing software!