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A richly illustrated story of public transit in one of America’s most historic cities, from public ferry and horse-drawn carriage to the MBTA.
A lively tour of public transportation in Boston over the years, Boston in Transit maps the complete history of the modes of transportation that have kept the city moving and expanding since its founding in 1630—from the simple ferry serving an English settlement to the expansive network of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA. The story of public transit in Boston—once dubbed the Hub of the Universe—is a journey through the history of the American metropolis.
With a remarkable collection of maps and architectural and engineering drawings at hand, Steven Beaucher launches his account from the landing where English colonists established that first ferry, carrying passengers between what is now Boston’s North End and Charlestown—and sparing them what had been a two-day walk around Boston Harbor. In the 1700s, horse-drawn coaches appeared on the scene, connecting Boston and Cambridge, with the bigger, better Omnibus soon to follow. From horse-drawn coaches, horse-drawn railways evolved, making way for the electric streetcar networks that allowed the city’s early suburbs to sprout—culminating in the multimodal, regional public transportation network in place in Boston today.
With photographs, brochures, pamphlets, guidebooks, timetables, and tickets, Boston in Transit creates a complete picture of the everyday experience of public transportation through the centuries. At once a practical reference, local history, and travelogue, this book will be cherished by armchair tourists, day-trippers, and serious travelers alike.
About the Author
Steven Beaucher is an architect and the cofounder and proprietor of WardMaps LLC, a retail store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, specializing in antique maps and public transportation artifacts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
"If you want to know what Boston transit could look like in the future, it certainly helps to know what the city’s trains, buses, trolleys, ferries, and other public transportation systems looked like in the past. And if you want to know what it looked like in the past — well, you’re probably not going to find a better one-stop resource than Boston in Transit...the book is a historical resource."
—The Boston Globe
"In his lively and enlightening new book, Boston in Transit: Mapping the History of Public Transportation in The Hub (MIT), Beachuer tracks the ways transportation in Boston has shifted and evolved over its history, from 1630 to today. Packed with hundreds of images — charts, maps, archival photos, diagrams, ticket stubs, tokens — the book explores design, costs, challenges, disasters, failures, and forward movement. This thorough, deeply researched book will speak to people interested in infrastructure, in urban planning, in the evolution of how we get from one place to another, or to anyone who’s rattled along on the Red Line and wondered: How long have these tunnels been here? Or: Why is the Red line red?"
—The Boston Globe, New England Literary News