John Munsey, who now resides in Delray Beach, FL, was attending B.U. (Class of '62, Eng) when the Square was being demolished. He was kind enough to send us some of the following photographs which, as far as we know, have never been published.
The first shot from John is of The Old Howard in April, 1962, just days away from being wiped off the face of Boston. John wrote that his pictures "were taken with a mini twin reflex (Topcon)...purchased at a camera shop on School St. for $29.00....took awesome pictures....127 film Ektachrome 60....long obsolete....With the overhead viewer one was able to frame perfectly....We had to use blue flash for daylight film..."
Another great shot of the demolition of the Old Howard by John.
As you can see from this image, the cleanup of the demolition was a major job. This was not something you could resolve by checking office cleaning prices. It required a dedicated demolition and cleanup crew. You can read more about this wonderful theater's history here.
A box seat can be seen at the center of this B.R.A. photo of the Old Howard's demolition.
"The Proscenium from the balcony," according to John, who took this photo. John wrote that "after the fire....
Crane w/Ball was outside about to demolish..... yelled at me... 'Get the hell out of there!' But I got the Pic !!!!"
The "new" courthouse in Pemberton Square looms over the Old Howard, (without its
back wall we can see into the theater) which is being demolished in this 1962 B.R.A. photo.
As described on pages 100 - 101 in Scollay Square (Arcadia, 2004) many buildings in Scollay Square were
demolished and the land used as parking lots. The Crawford House, a literal shell of its former self,
is about to lose the battle to the wrecking ball in this 1962 photograph by John.
A businessman strolls up Brattle Street past a worker spraying water on the demolition of
another building in Scollay Square in either 1961 or 1962.
Despite the massive amounts of construction during the era of renewal, life goes on as Boston commuters make
their way to work through the Square. In this 1962 photo we see the famous Tea Kettle (which would
survive the redevelopment) while across the street Scollay's Olympia would not be as lucky (nor would we...)
Why do men love to watch construction workers doing their jobs? Things haven't changed much since
this photo was taken circa 1961 on Brattle Street.
The demise of Tremont Row. On the left, from just after the Second World War. On the right, it is 1962. Look next to the "new" courthouse in the 1962 shot and you can see the Old Howard, its back wall gone. Click here for an animation of the above (approx 1 Mb file)
A fine aerial view of Scollay Square in mid-1962. Note the buildings across Cornhill from the Sears Crescent Building
have not yet been torn down, but everything between Brattle and Hanover is gone, save for a couple of structures.
Tremont Row, just below Pemberton Square and the two courthouses, has also been demolished by this time.
From the opposite direction (the top of the "new" Courthouse in Pemberton Square) taken a few months after the previous picture. Now the buildings between Cornhill and Brattle Street (on our right) have been removed. Even more room for parking!
Demolition of the old Scollay Square subway station has begun. In the foreground we can workers tearing
up a portion of the tunnel (notice the tiles on the underground wall) between Scollay and Adams Square.
Meanwhile, in the background, Cheney's Drug Store carries on...
On the far right you can see rebar being placed for construction of the new Government Center T station
with its distinctive slant, in this ground-level view taken in 1963. Construction of the subway line that
will run from the station to Haymarket, under City Hall Plaza, runs across the picture. In the
background we see pre-renewal Dock Square and Faneiul Hall, while further back is Quincy Market.
A really terrific view, from 1963, of the tunnel being dug for the realigned Green line trolley, which would now run from the new Government Center (Scollay Square) stop to Haymarket, but which used to stop at Adams Square before it, too, was demolished to make way for City Hall.
By the way, it is true that a portion of the old tunnel from Scollay to Adams Square was left intact. In the 1980s it was discovered that this section of the old tunnel could be reached from the basement of City Hall. Desperate for space, the city installed lighting and now uses the tunnel for storage.
From a 1964 edition of the late Boston Traveller comes this advertisement, which
underscores the sense of pride that Bostonians felt about the direction of their city
at the time - although many would later come to regret the loss of so many historic
buildings. (Courtesy of the West End Museum website)