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The 1800s - The Taft Inn, The Union Hotel, and Adams Park

Photographs of Roslindale from the 1800s are rare; photography wasn't invented until the 1840s,

and most of Roslindale was bucolic and sparsely populated before the infamous 1887 train wreck that brought potential residents to the area.

However, it is possible to see the development of the area around what is now Adams Park by examining antique maps.

This map of the Boston vicinity in 1819 shows the triangle that would eventually be Adams Park.

The Adams Park section is very tiny, since this map covers a large area.

Roxbury - Roslindale Map 1819.jpg
Roxbury - Roslindale Map 1819 detail.jpg

The 1819 map refers to it as the "Halfway House":

This 1832 map incorrectly refers to the building as "The Peacock Tavern"; that was Samuel Adam's Tavern on nearby Allandale Road:


By 1874, it was known as the Union Hotel. Note that Corinth Street doesn't even exist yet; it's a dead end street known as Basto Place.


In 1890, the maps refer to the building, and the future Adams Park, as the property of Francis A. Wise.


By 1896, there were storefronts built along the right-hand side of Poplar Street, along with the Star Theatre.


Here's a 1912 photo of the buildings on Poplar Street.
Eventually, the buildings on the right, including the Star Theatre on the distant right, will be torn down to make Adams Park.

Poplar at Wash 1912.jpg

Here's the same scene in 2022:

Poplar at Wash 1912 2022.jpg
Taft Inn or Union Hotel.jpg

This is the only known photo of the Taft Inn / Union Hotel, and it must have been taken late in the life of the Hotel.

It occupied the northeastern corner of what is now Adams Park; its frontage is on Washington Street, facing what is now known as Cummins Highway.

Taft Union Hotel site 2022.jpg

Here's the only thing that came up for the Union Hotel in the archives of the Boston Globe.

I love this pithy Sept 20, 1873 review of the dining experience at the Union;

it would be a century and a half before anyone outside of Roslindale had anything good to say about its restaurants!

Union Hotel good enough 09 20 1873.jpeg

Selling Off The Large Estates

By 1899, the Bradford Estate was selling off lots of what was formerly meadows and woods in the area west of the Village. An ad for the sale of lots around the Longfellow School area appears below.

Bradford Estate Sale 1896.jpg

A detail of the ad appears below. The land above Centre Street was so steeply graded that a huge stone wall was constructed (probably by the Estate) to make them stable and accessible, and that wall is still there today.

Bradford Estate Sale 1896 lots.jpg
Centre St Stone Wall.jpeg

Going by this ad, even in 1896 Rozzie was a hot place to be! And only ten dollars down! I would have bought at least two lots...

Bradford Estate Sale 1896 text.jpg
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