The Execution that Almost Killed the Death Penalty in Massachusetts (Ep68)

In 1848, a murder case nearly brought an end to the death penalty in Massachusetts.  When a young black man named Washington Goode was convicted of first degree murder that year, there hadn’t been an execution in Boston for 13 years.  White men who had been convicted of the same crime had their sentences commuted to a life in prison, and tens of thousands of petitions poured in asking the governor to do the same thing for Goode.  Yet even so, he was sent to the gallows.  Why?


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Classics: Boston Resists the Fugitive Slave Act (Episode 67)

We used our studio time this week to record something special that will air next month. Without a new episode, we didn’t want to leave you without any HUB History this week. Instead, here are three classic episodes honoring black and white abolitionists in 19th Century Boston. Recorded last February, in the wake of President Trump’s attempt to implement a “Muslim Ban,” these episodes focus on Boston’s resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act, which was seen as an unjust law.  


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Episode 62: Ten Paces, Fire! Boston’s Hamiltonian Duel

Early in the morning of March 31, 1806, two young men of Boston faced each other across a marshy field outside Providence, Rhode Island.  With the sun beginning to peek above the horizon, they marked out ten paces between themselves, then stood facing one another.  Each had a friend at his right hand, as they coolly leveled their pistols at one another.  Now, one of the friends called out, “Are you ready… Present… Fire!”  And both men squeezed the triggers on their dueling pistols.  

If that sounds an awful lot like the famous duel that Alexander Hamilton fought against Aaron Burr two years earlier, you’re not wrong.  In ways that we’ll examine, it’s even more similar to the duel that Alexander’s son Philip Hamilton fought against a man named George Eacker in 1801.  


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Episode 61: Annexation, Making Boston Bigger for 150 Years

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Boston transformed itself from a town on a tiny peninsula to a sprawling city.  In part, this was done by creating new land in the Back Bay and South Boston, but the city gained a great amount of area by annexing its neighbors.  The first was Roxbury, which joined the city of Boston 150 years ago this week.  Dorchester, Brighton, West Roxbury, and Charlestown would follow.  Other towns, like Cambridge and Brookline would not.  Find out why in this week’s show.


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Episode 59: Corn, Cotton, and Condos; 378 Years on the Mother Brook

Everyone knows the Charles River and the Neponset River, but have you ever heard of the Mother Brook?  It is America’s first industrial canal, built by Puritan settlers in the earliest days of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and vital to the development of Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Dedham.  Plus, by connecting the rivers on either side, it turns the landmass occupied by Newton, Brookline, and most of Boston into an island!


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Episode 58: Harvard’s Human Computers Reach for the Stars

During an era more associated with the Wild West, a group of women in Cambridge made historic advances in the field of astronomy, discovering new stars and fundamental principles about how our universe works.  In the beginning, they were treated as menial clerical workers and paid a fraction of what their male counterparts got.  Only decades later did they win academic respect, earning advanced degrees and finally the title Professor.  They were the Human Computers of the Harvard University Observatory.


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Classics: Boston’s Unknown Serial Killers (Episode 56)

got us thinking about serial killers in Boston.  In this week’s show, we’re revisiting two classic episodes about Boston’s lesser known serial killers.  Meet The Nightmare Nurse and a chilling figure who called himself The Giggler.

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Episode 55: The Boy Fiend, Boston’s Youngest Serial Killer

Jesse Pomeroy was a Victorian era serial killer who stalked the streets of Boston. He predated Jack the Ripper by a decade, and the Boston Strangler by almost a century. At only 14 years old, he was known as the Boy Fiend, a child who tortured and killed his fellow children, becoming Boston’s youngest serial killer.


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