The photo below is the best one I could find of the long lost, South Boston, City Point Head House. Yes it is possible to grieve for something you have never seen or known. How I would have loved to have seen and photographed this building.
Photo titled "South Boston, Mass. Head house, Marine Park, E. M. Wheelwright, architect" from the Boston Public Library's photo collection.
When Reddit Boston put up a photo of this architectural gem, I was immediately in search mode to find it and learn more about its history.
This 1925 Fairchild Aerial Survey photo, from the Boston Public Library's collection, shows where is was located. You see Castle Island directly across Pleasure Bay from the building that was called the City Point Head House.
The Head House was designed by Architect Edmond Marsh Wheelwright and built circa 1897. Wheelwright is one of the most important names in Boston's architectural history. While this gingerbread gem is gone, his work survives in landmarks throughout the area. (Some of his papers are in the BPL Fine Arts Department Haven and Hoyt Collection.)
"Bathing at City Point, South Boston, Mass." Library of Congress photo.
Very Popular in Its Day
Histories of South Boston refer to the popularity of this beach and this building. In addition to restrooms, changing rooms, and offices, the building contained restaurants.
This 1928 photo, "Crowds at Pleasure Bay, City Point, South Boston" is from the BPL Collection.
A partly covered pier extended out into the bay. I've been trying to determine if ferries served this pier.
What Happened to the Head House?
Both the pier and the building were damaged in the Hurricane of 1938. In the early morning of December 5, 1942, a 2-alarm fire at the building damaged it further, and what remained was torn down.
For more information on other elements missing from this bit of shoreline, see this post from the great site, And This Is Good Old Boston.
Do you have bits of lost Boston you wish you could have seen?
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2016 Penny & Ed Cherubino