The sidewalks of Boston are not only a pathway to history but also contain historic coal vault covers with prism lights that were part of another time.
A few are in great condition and may still let light into spaces below the sidewalk. Others are dangerous, with holes that could catch heels or puppy paws and ugly concrete, covering what was once a thing of craftsmanlike beauty.
In the days before the electric light, these were important features. The sidewalk access meant that dirty coal deliveries did not have to come through the house. And, the beams admitted and intensified by prism lights allowed you to see in dark basement spaces.
We are just beginning our research on these and photographing as many as we can. If you'd like to share your photos of coal vault covers you can upload them to the BostonZest Photo Pool on Flickr.
What's on your Summer Fun shopping list? Shop Amazon Everything You Need for Summer Fun and support this site!
Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2012 Penny & Ed Cherubino
Note on Comments: We monitor comments constantly and anything that is pure spam, inappropriate, or nasty is swept away. In addition to readers' comments, we welcome hearing from the people, places, and services we cover. Often, those add great insights for our readers. As long as it doesn’t become a pure ad, we’d love to hear from you. We do reserve the right to edit ads and links out of comments.