In the days before political manipulations created the dreadful Storrow Drive, Back Street was the shoreline of the Charles River. Here's a photo from the City of Boston Archives taken 107 years ago, on this day, in 1907.
Here's the scene in a photo I took last week.
Below is a map of what the area looked like a few years later, after a new dam created the Charles River basin and the mud from the dredging of the river was used to create a parkland beyond Back Street.
As you can see, what we call the Charles River Esplanade was identified as the Charles River Embankment.
This is an idealized postcard depiction of the embankment parkland. You could walk from your home on Beacon Street right into the park.
Next came the parkway along the river for pleasure drives. It was called a driveway back in the day and as you can see, you could pull over and enjoy the river scenes.
Then, in the 1950s, the ugly scar called Storrow Drive became a barrier between Bostonians and their riverside park.
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Words: Penny Cherubino
Photography: © 2014 Penny Cherubino with this link provided to historic photo from the Boston City Archives. The postcards are from a private collection.