Saturday, September 1, 2007
The Great Blue Hills
Taken in a quieter time, and long ago, this image shows an amazing view of the Great Blue Hill from what is now the cloverleaf at the intersection of Washington Street (Route 138) and Route 95. You are standing at the point where the access ramp to the north-bound highway is today.
I like the tranquility of the scene, the barn with a slight lean and the rooflines of the buildings. Imagine the soft scent of hay and clover as it wafts across the meadows. Farms were plentiful and the stone wall in the foreground was the boundary of the lane that ran down the present day highway. This was in fact the King's Highway through Dorchester and is our most ancient road.
In 1893, the Metropolitan Parks Commission purchased the lands of Blue Hills Reservation as one of the first areas set aside for public recreation. There are Sixteen historic structures listed on the National Register tell the fascinating tales of Native Americans, explorers, farmers, quarry workers and inventors. Additionally and barely visible in the photograph is the Blue Hills Weather Observatory, a National Historic Landmark, sits atop Great Blue Hill, as a crowning feature.
Near the base of the Great Blue Hills was the famed Doty Tavern. During the American Revolution the Doty Tavern was where the birthplace of tyranny was nurtured. The tavern burned in 1888.
Many of the homes that were in this section of Canton were moved to make way for the highway and the interchange. A few still exist. I often wonder if this home ever made the move. Probably not - it looks quite large and perhaps by the time the Interstate was built it had outlived its usefulness.
These rural images of Canton, Mass. were plentiful at the turn of the 20th Century, but few if any of these locations still exist. There are a few gentleman's farms in and around town, but very few historic barns exist and when this photo was taken, there was a barn behind every homestead.
One other note, the famed WGBH antennas sit atop the summit and in fact the station takes it's call sign from this location Great Blue Hills - GBH.