Episode 49: The Tong Wars and the Great Chinatown Raid

This week’s episode takes on the early history of Boston’s Chinatown, two murders that took place there at the turn of the twentieth century, and a terrifying crackdown on Chinese Americans in Boston that sparked an international incident and has parallels in today’s headlines.  


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Episode 44: Perambulating the Bounds

Since 1651, Boston has had a legal responsibility to mark and measure its boundaries every few years.  Despite advances in technology, the practice of “perambulating the bounds” means that someone has to go out and walk the town lines.  This law is one of the oldest still on the books, but when was the last time Boston perambulated its bounds?  Listen now!


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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 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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Episode 35: The Boston Symphony Orchestra in World War I

With a partial “Muslim Ban” in place, it’s important to remember that vilifying “enemy aliens” is one of the darkest chapters of our nation’s history.  A hundred years ago, Americans were all too willing to imprison or even deport their neighbors of German descent.  Here in Boston, the preeminent director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was affected, along with almost a third of the orchestra’s musicians.


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