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 weeks show.
Everyone knows the Charles River and the Neponset River, but have you ever heard of the Mother Brook? It is Americas 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!
In March 1870, forty-two women marched into their polling place in Hyde Park and illegally cast ballots in the local election. They were led by local residents and radical activists Sarah and Angelina Grimké. The Grimké sisters were born into a slave owning family in South Carolina, but then spent their lives fighting for abolition, suffrage, and equal rights. Listen to their remarkable story!
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!