Boston in Transit

Boston’s rich history of public transit deserves your attention if you live in, work in, or have visited The Hub.

That’s short for “Hub of the Universe,” in case you missed the memo. Boston is nothing if not proud of its position in the universe.

So I just finished watching an excellent presentation (available on YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere) about the history of public transit in Boston, sponsored by the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library. Host Garrett Dash Nelson interacted effectively with guest Steve Beaucher, proprietor of Ward Maps in Cambridge and After a brief overview of his new book, Boston in Transit, from which he did too much robotic reading aloud in the manner of the all-too-typical student, Beaucher settled into a much livelier and far more animated conversation with Nelson and with the many informed questions from the audience. The only real downside was a few technical glitches such as audio freezing and blank screens, but by this point we’re all used to these tech problems. Otherwise it was both natural and informative—a pretty good model for teachers doing remote teaching! It motivates me to acquire (and read) Beaucher’s  book.

I will close with the brief abstract provided by the Leventhal Center:

Steven Beaucher, the co-founder and proprietor of WardMaps LLC and the author of the new book Boston In Transit, for a discussion of how his new book visualizes several centuries of public transit in Boston. Since Boston’s founding in 1630, public transportation has been critical for the city. Public ferries arrived with English colonists. Horse-drawn coaches, then steam railroads, and later, omnibuses, evolved to support a burgeoning city. Horse railroad and electric streetcar networks appeared in the nineteenth century, allowing Boston to densify and early suburbs to sprout. Unification, initially through private hands, and later, under public management, lead to the multi-modal, regional public transportation network in place today.



Categories: Dorchester/Boston, Model Railroading, Teaching & Learning