In its day one of the finest hotels in Boston, the hotel, adjacent to Boston's North Station, was opened in August 1930 and was named the Manger, for Julius Manger, head of the New York hotel- development company that built it for $2.5 million. For several years during the mid-1930s the Manger was home to radio station WMEX (before it moved to the Kenmore Square area.) Here are some photos and memorabilia of the hotel in better times....
A postcard of the Manger in the 1930s, courtesy of CardCow.com
Another postcard of the Manger and Boston Garden in better times
A 1939 ad for the Manger, touting its "direct entrance from Boston Garden"
This 1952 photo clearly demonstrates the intimate connection between the Manger
and the old Boston Garden. (Courtesy of the West End Museum website)
A 1930 aerial view showing the Manger (on the left) and the old Boston Gah-den (center.)
In the back are the tracks for North Station and in the front two lines of Boston's elevated
(Courtesy Boston Public LIbrary)
The Manger played unusual, and sometimes sad roles in American history, as was explained in this article from Dissent Magazine on the "red Scare" of the 1950s: "Noted literary scholar F. O. Matthiessen [most known for his influential 1941 book "American Renaissance"] was one of five Harvard faculty members accused of belonging to “Communist front” organizations. In March 1951 he committed suicide by jumping from the twelfth floor of Boston’s Hotel Manger." Just three years later, according to Sport Magazine, it was in front of the Manger where boxer Ray Arcel "...was skulled by an imported slugger wielding a hunk of pipe on September 19, 1953..." this, after Arcel had run afoul of the Mob.
The hotel's name was changed to the Madison in 1958. Through its early life the hotel hosted NBA and NHL teams scheduled to play at the old Boston Garden, as well as performers such as the Beatles, who not only stayed here in 1964, but on September 12, 1964 held a press conference in the "Madison Room" of the hotel. It was at the press conference which three college students "crashed" and actually were able to ask the Beatles questions! Their hilarious story is told here, on the Beatles Ultimate Experience web site.)
The Beatles during their press conference at the Hotel Madison
Courtesy of The Beatles Experience website
By the late 1960s and early 1970s the Madison - like much of the area around busy North Station - had lost its luster. By then, many of its more than 400 rooms housed homeless and low-income people. The Madison closed its doors in 1976. Ten years later, on Sunday, May 1, 1986 the hotel was destroyed by implosion to make way for construction of the "Tip" O'Neil Federal Building, which now occupies the site. (The old Garden was torn down in the late 1990s after the construction of the Fleet Center.) The following sequence of photographs was taken by Bob Spicer, who was living at Charles River Park at the time. We have created an animated sequence of the implosion which you can see here.
I am always grateful to anyone who has a memory or photo to share of
the Manger/Madison or of Scollay Square. You can contact
me here with questions or to share your own memory or question.