Sunday, November 17, 2019

Skating Club Slipping Out of Boston

From Dave Brigham:

For 80 years the Skating Club of Boston has called this facility in Allston home. I've never skated here but I love the building and the fact that the club's history goes back to 1912, making it the third oldest skating club in continuous existence in the U.S., per the club's web site. Of course, I wouldn't be writing about this Quonset hut-style building if change weren't in the air. Or on the ice, as it were.

In May of this year, the Club announced a plan to build a $37 million facility in Norwood, about 25 miles south of Boston. Located on the former site of the Lost Brook Golf Club, the 180,000 square-foot facility will include three rinks (one of which is a 2,500-seat performance center), a dance studio, a training center, an apparel and equipment store and much more. The club hopes to move in next July.

"To finance the purchase, the club sold the land it owned next to its current Allston location for $14 million and then sold its current location for $26 million," per the above-linked Boston Business Journal article. "The club will continue to operate out of the 1240 Soldier’s Field Road facility until the new building is ready," which will be some time next year.

The rink's current site was acquired by real estate developer/investor/manager the Davis Companies, whose portfolio includes the Reservoir Woods office complex in Waltham, residential development The Mark in Boston and the Alewife Research Center in Cambridge. I'm guessing this site will become apartments with retail on the ground floor.

With three rinks, the skating club is gonna need a bigger Zamboni.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Tale of Brahmins, Terriers, Murder, Clever Inventions and, Perhaps, Tom Cruise

From Dave Brigham:

As impressive as this place is physically -- two-tone brickwork; beautiful details over the door, which is sturdy and yet welcoming; six well-appointed condominiums; an unbeatable location in Boston's Back Bay; views of the Charles River -- it's the building's history that makes it a one-of-a-kind gem.

This is the Hooper Mansion, a place with a history that touches on Brahmins, a city-defining dog breed, murder, amazing inventions and, just perhaps, Tom Cruise. WARNING: THIS POST IS GOING TO PLACES I NEVER IMAGINED WHEN I FIRST STARTED WRITING IT....

Converted to condos in 2016, the mansion was built in 1889 for Robert and Helen Hooper. Mr. H was the treasurer and president of the Constitution Wharf Company. Like many Brahmins of his day, Hooper had plenty of money and, I'm guessing, exquisite taste and manners. But history wouldn't remember him if it weren't for his dog.

From the web site of the Boston Terrier Club of America: "....Hooper, of Boston came into possession of a dog named Judge....Judge, commonly known as Hooper's Judge, was destined to be the ancestor of almost all the true modern Boston Terriers. He was a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier. He was a strongly built, high stationed dog of about thirty-two pounds weight. In color he was a dark brindle, with a white stripe in the face. His head was square and blocky, and he resembled the present Boston Terrier in that he had a nearly even mouth. Judge was bred to Burnett's Gyp (or Kate)....a white bitch, owned by Mr. Edward Burnett. She was of about twenty pounds weight, had a fine three-quarter tail, and was quite low stationed."

Hence the plaque by the front door that drew me in.

I wish I'd taken more pictures. To see exquisite shots of the exterior and interior, check out this Hacin + Associates web page.

I took these two pictures and moved along, happy to have learned some cool canine lore, but completely unaware of the deeper history of this place. It wasn't until I poked around online while writing this post that I learned about its "history worthy of a BBC miniseries," as my primary source puts it.

After the Hoopers, the next owner was inventor Mabel Slater. A widow when she resided in this palatial home, "Mrs. Slater is credited with developing both an ice-cooled refrigerator and a sleeping bag that doubled as a garment used by soldiers in World War I," per this fantastic account by Longleaf Lumber, an antique and reclaimed lumber mill that "recovered several trailer-loads of reclaimed wood" from the mansion before it's conversion to condos. Considered an eccentric and evidently a woman with a heart of gold, Mrs. Slater was known to leave a rear door of the mansion open so local poor folks could come in for food and shelter. This was a great idea...until it wasn't.

"In 1917, as reported by the Boston Globe, a violent intruder made his way in through this entrance, searching for Mrs. Slater. When butler Emile Knabe attempted to stop this intruder, he was shot and killed," per Longleaf's blog.

Wow, that's quite a bit of history! But wait, there's more....

From Longleaf: "In later years, Hooper Mansion has served as a dining club, a secretarial school, and most recently, until its sale in 2013, as the Church of Scientology’s regional base."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What?!

I am OBSESSED with Scientology! I knew that the "church" had a Boston location (from 1975 to 2014, per a Boston Globe article I found online) but I had no idea where it was. I certainly didn't think I would stumble across it unknowingly. OK, let's get into this a little. Bear with me.

Dating back to seeing the 1976 miniseries "Helter Skelter," which debuted on CBS four days before I turned 11 years old, I have been more than a little intrigued by cults. The murder scenes were extremely bloody, as I recall, and the word "PIG" was scrawled on the walls in blood. When Charles Manson shows up in court with a swastika on his head and his zombie-eyed female followers shave their heads and start yelling in the courtroom, I was chilled to the bone.

I mean, check out this trailer! (I'm a little confused, as this clip shows a woman naked from the waist up, being hassled by cops. I'm sure that was edited out of the TV version.)

In addition to the Manson Family, over the years I've been fascinated by the Branch Davidians and David Koresh in Waco, Texas; Jim Jones and the People's Temple, who committed mass murder/suicide in the jungles of Guyana; the oddballs of Heaven's Gate, who also committed mass suicide while wearing matching tunics and Nikes; and the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in Oregon. I find myself absolutely perplexed how seemingly normal people can become spellbound by charismatic leaders and do things that they probably never imagined they would, from killing people to committing suicide to, well, wearing matching tunics and Nikes.

Scientology fits right into this pattern. With their e-meters, which are basically lie detectors through which "auditors" interrogate members to find out their deepest secrets; belief in reincarnation; exorbitant fees for the massive number of classes members must take; the requirement to spend lavishly on the books of founder, science fiction writer-turned-religion-inventor L. Ron Hubbard, whom they mythologize to ridiculous extents (i.e., he cured himself of injuries suffered during World War II); and the existence of a ship where members are sometimes sent to live for indefinite periods while they are continuously monitored and berated, Scientologists are out-and-out crazy.

In order to learn more about just how insane this cult is, I religiously (pun intended) watched A&E's "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," in which the former "The King of Queens" actress and one-time Scientologist explodes the myths about the cult and its demonic practices. In interviews with other former "church" members, Remini and co-host Mike Rinder expose the hypocrisy of the organization and question why Scientology remains tax-exempt and free from criminal investigation. Cult leader David Miscavige and others are accused by former members of using violence and intimidation to maintain an iron-fisted rule over followers.

Before Remini's show launched, I was riveted by Marc Headley's Blown for Good, in which he describes in almost excruciating detail his life at Scientology's "Gold Base" in California, and his harrowing escape after 15 years. Writing these words makes me realize I need to read more books like this. Although perhaps ones that are a bit more well-written.

So, anyway, whenever I come across something Scientology related, I pay attention.

That's why, a few years ago when I learned that a decrepit building in Boston's South End that I'd noticed before had once belonged to the Cult of Hubbard, I scoped it out (see April 8, 2018, "Tom Cruise Slept Here...Well, Maybe"). Somehow while researching that place, I didn't learn about the Hooper Mansion connection.

So, back to the home of Hooper's Judge.

The Church of Scientology, which, to be clear, is not a church, conducted New England-based business at this location for nearly 40 years. So just what the hell went on in this place for four decades? I have no idea, but I'm sure it involved heavy-handed brainwashing and extraction of hard-earned cash from people's wallets. I hope that every once in a while some famous Scientologists -- Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Beck, Jenna Elfman -- stopped by to dazzle the everyday jamokes with their diamond-encrusted e-meters.

The Massachusetts Scientology HQ is now in Quincy, just south of Boston. At that facility, they offer a Personal Efficiency Course, free Personality Tests and screenings of "The Story of Diabetics."

I now return you to your normal routine. Although I suspect you're going to do some more digging online into this bizarre and brutal organization....

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Union Square, Somerville, Part II: Factories and Housing

From Dave Brigham:

A preface to this series: most of my explorations of Union Square took place several months ago, and some things may have changed in the interim. Also, as much as I've researched Union Square and the changes that have already taken place and those that are coming, I realize that a few walks through the neighborhood and some poking around online can't match the breadth of knowledge earned by folks who live and work in Union Square. I'm just sharing what I saw and what I think.

Hello, and welcome to the second installment of my five-part series on Union Square in Somerville, Mass. The first part -- Union Square, Part I: New Purposes & Grease Monkeys -- covered auto body shops, murals, repurposed buildings, an egregious architectural gaffe and more. In this segment, I will discuss former factories and related housing, including a former industrial space that is now a very cool residence, as well as some rather large and beautiful rooming house/condominium buildings.

Somerville is still a place where people manufacture things (at places including Artisan's Asylum, which I'll mention again below, Bomas Machine Specialties and Peter Forg Manufacturing, the latter of which I'll also get to later) but the city at one time was jammed full of industrial spaces.

In the 1820s, the first "significant industrial complex," the Middlesex Bleachery and Dye Works, moved to Somerville, according to this economic development overview from Wicked Local. The Fitchburg Railroad came to the city in the 1840s and a decade later companies including American Tube Works (about which much, much more below) and Union Square Glass had sprung up. By the 1860s and 1870s, meat packing at an industrial level was thriving in Somerville. These businesses continued to grow into the 20th century. From the 1920s through the 1950s, Ford Motor Co. operated a plant in Assembly Square, which over the last few years has been totally transformed (see January 30, 2019, "Assembly Required").

As in countless industry-heavy cities across the country, since the 1950s many of the manufacturing jobs in Somerville have vaporized. In more recent years, the massive brick buildings in many such cities have either been torn down, left abandoned or, if the right combination of funding, planning, zoning and moxie are achieved, been converted to other uses, ranging from condos to space for tech start-ups, breweries, rock climbing gyms and much more. Union Square is abuzz with new uses for most of its former industrial space, I'm happy to report.

Alright, let's get to it.

American Tube Works was once a dominating force in Union Square. Founded in 1851, the company, which manufactured seamless brass and copper tubes, at its height controlled 20 buildings along Somerville Avenue, Dane Street and Lake Street.

"[B]y 1865 [American Tube Works] was the second largest employer in Somerville with 175 employees and a production output of $1.2 million worth of brass and copper tubing....By the 1880s, the American Tube Works expanded its production and its plant in Somerville to meet the growing demand for domestic pipes," per the City of Somerville's National Register Proposal for the American Tube Works Complex, dated December 1, 2014.

"Increasing urbanization in the post-Civil War years and a growing sense of the importance of sanitation systems led to an increased demand for plumbing and other domestic fixtures....The growth experienced by the company in the early 20th century allowed them to completely rebuild their production plant. All of the original buildings...were demolished. Beginning in 1890 and continuing until at least 1920, they completely rebuilt the complex and modernized their production facilities....[T]hey acquired all the land between Dane Street, Somerville Avenue, Church Street, and the railroad tracks, with the exception of the City’s cemetery. Residential buildings were demolished. Between 1900 and ca. 1920, the company constructed four large drawing mills, a rolling mill, a foundry, and pattern and blacksmith shops, all arranged around three sides of the cemetery."

There are only seven of the second-generation buildings left, some of which I will now discuss.

440 Somerville Ave. was the administrative office for the tubing manufacturer.

Now this building is home to Be in Union Yoga and Union Press, a letterpress print shop. Enlarge this photo of the side of 440 Somerville Ave. and you can see the date of "1913" carved in stone over the door in the middle of the shot.

444 Somerville Avenue was the drawing mill at Tube Works. I don't have a picture of this building.

460 Somerville Avenue was American Tube Works' rolling and drawing mill. It is now an ExtraSpace Storage facility.

438R-440R Somerville Avenue was where the blacksmith/machine/pattern shops were located.

Above is 438R Somerville, which is now home to the Little India Market. Below is a close-up of one of the partially covered mural portraits on the front of the building.

My first guess was that this guy is a boxer, as he looks tough and stripped to the waist. Turns out I was right. Per a Somerville News blog post from June 2010 about Little India taking over this space, previous tenants at this old tube works building include a paper supply store and a boxing club - the aptly named Somerville Boxing Club. I' not sure, but I believe the man in the portrait is John Ruiz, who trained at the club and was WBA heavyweight champ in 2001 and 2005. I'm not sure who painted the portraits or why they are covered up.

Below is the backside of 440R Somerville Ave., former home of American Tube Works blacksmith/machine/pattern shops.

The building is now home to Cambridge Hackspace, a makerspace catering to "software, electronics, woodwork, or knitting" enthusiasts, per the web site.

Another business in this old mill complex is Boss Organ, which repairs and sells new and vintage Hammond organs and Leslie speakers. The joint has been run by Tyler Drabick since 2005.

Below is the boneyard referenced in the City of Somerville's National Register Proposal text above.

Known as the Old Cemetery and Milk Row Cemetery, this burial ground is the oldest in Somerville, dating to 1804, and is in front of Little India and adjacent to the yoga studio.

The Tube Works complex also included 24 Dane Street, below, which was a boiler house.

This building was most recently home to a law firm.

The final building in the old manufacturing area is 40 Lake Street, which was a warehouse and garage.

Built in 1912, this place is now home to HD Chasen Company, a wholesale distributor of industrial machinery and equipment. Below is a view from the other side of the railroad tracks.

After American Tube Works went out of business during the Great Depression, various businesses moved in over the ensuing decades, with some of the buildings used by the Whiting Milk Company, for a time, according to the web site of advocacy group Union Square Neighbors (USN). Other tenants over the years have included a metal fence manufacturer, paper retailer, a plumbing supply company, a printer, multiple auto repair shops, self-storage and other commercial offices, per USN. In October 2015, clean tech incubator Greentown Labs announced an $11 million expansion into one of the old Tube Works buildings. I believe the American Tube Works complex is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ames Safety Envelope was another, more recent major employer in this area. The company, which used at least one former Tube Works building during its lifetime, was founded in 1919. Ames made envelopes, file folders and boxes at its Union Square location until 2010, when the company was acquired by Tab Products, which integrated the Ames work into a Wisconsin facility.

After renovations, this complex is now known as Ames Business Park, which has become "the entrepreneurial epicenter of Somerville," per this August 2014 Boston Globe article. Businesses located here now include Aeronaut Brewing, Artisan's Asylum, Harvard Book Store, L3 Open Water Power and Somerville Chocolate.

Looking down an alley at Ames Business Park toward Aeronaut Brewing. On the left is Brooklyn Boulders.

Another building in Ames Business Park.

Just on the other side of the train tracks sits Peter Forg Manufacturing.

Founded in 1881, the company makes custom metal stampings. Below is the back of the building.

Just around the bend from the rear of Forg Manufacturing, on Village Street, sits this funky brick building.

I could tell it had undergone some major renovations and had morphed from a warehouse or small factory building into a private home. But on my first trip past here, I somehow missed the coolest feature of the exterior. It wasn't until I was doing some research about this place and looking at Google Street View that I realized I needed to get my ass back there pronto!

Turns out this place is a former bronze foundry. Architect Adele Naude Santos turned a place that once was filled with fire, boiling hot metal and tools of all sorts into an amazing abode/work space in this slice of Union Square known as Duck Village. To see beautiful photos of just what an astounding transformation was made, inside and out, check out this page on the Santos Prescott and Associates web site.

Following Village Street across Dane Street, I found myself looking at the back of an odd-shaped and uniquely colored building on Dane Avenue.

Currently occupied, at least in part, by wholesale flooring products distributor L. Bornstein & Co., Inc., this building has two sections, one built in 1900, the other in 1935. The current tenant was founded in 1959. I don't know what used to be here.

There are surely other former industrial sites in Union Square that I missed, but there's one place that, when I took a picture of it, I didn't realize it had a history as a work space. Frankly, I had no idea what the heck this place is or was.

Located at 24 Webster Avenue, this place flummoxed me when I searched online for information. I thought maybe it was a post office. Folks who commented when I posted on Instagram guessed a bank or a Moose Lodge.

So via email I sought out Jessica Eshleman, executive director of Union Square Main Streets, an advocacy group that highlights the artistic and ethnic strengths of the neighborhood in order to drive commercial and economic development, per the group's web site.

She passed along information from the owner of the building in question, Marc Rudnick. The building "was the girls’ parochial school of Saint Joe’s church across the street, until it was converted into a factory around 1960. The school closed when the new parochial school was built, which is now the Prospect Hill Academy Charter School. The boys school was around the corner on Washington Street."

Never in a million years would I have guessed that's what this building was. Via email, I asked Rudnick what the long-term plans are for the building, given the changes coming to the Square. "At least for the time being we are committed to our artisan tenants, our long-term plans are somewhat unknown." His tenants include woodworkers, a boat builder, a bookbinder, an upholsterer, other artisans and tradespeople.

"So what sort of factory was this after the girls' school moved?" I asked via email. "The earliest businesses there seems to have been a sand candle factory, and an African import business," Rudnick wrote. "There was also a business selling self-hypnosis lessons! Sometime later the building was bought by a woodworking company, and my innovation contracting business was his tenant, until we bought the building from him in the 90s."

All of the work I do here at the Backside of America is informed by my past life as a journalist. I am constantly curious about the built environment around me, and thanks to Google I often no longer need to wonder, or even talk to actual people to find my answers. Still, it's great to get information from primary sources. I wish I had more time to speak with people to get deeper information when I'm working on this blog.

OK, that's it for industrial spaces. Now on to some large apartment buildings in the Square that I'm guessing decades ago housed factory workers.

The apartment building below, located on Somerville Avenue, appears to me to be former factory housing.

I haven't been able to confirm that these units, part of a much larger building that is directly opposite the former American Tube Works facility, were once populated by workers at the complex. I just have a hunch. The properties date to at least 1900.

Heading southeast on Somerville Ave. toward the square I found this beautiful building.

Built in 1892, the Bennett Block was constructed in the Queen Anne style. I haven't found anything confirming my belief that this place was once home to factory workers; current tenants include a preschool and, incongruously, a smoke shop.

Just up the street sits another amazing Queen Anne-style apartment building, this one much bigger.

This is just a small portion of a V-shaped building that fronts both Somerville Avenue and Bow Street. Built in 1898, the Drouet Block was designed by Aaron Gould and featured retail space and an apartment-style hotel, per Wikipedia. That description gives me some hope that my supposition that some of these stately old buildings once housed factory workers for American Tube Works and Ames Envelope.

Around the bend on Bow Street sits the Richmond.

Now home to Mount Auburn Healthcare, 33 Bow Street was also built in 1898, per Wikipedia, and, like the Drouet, featured commercial and apartment/hotel space.

Damn, is that place gorgeous, or what?

Lastly, around the corner from these Queen Anne-style buildings, on Bow Street, I spied something pleasantly different.

Located at 39-49 Bow Street, this rounded brick stunner was built in 1910 and features 18 one-bedroom apartments. Again, I haven't found much about the building's history, but, well, you know what I think.

OK, stay tuned for part three, in which I will feature social clubs, bars, restaurants, coffee shops and more.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

East Cambridge-ish Randoms

From Dave Brigham:

Not all who wander are lost.*

But they do sometimes have a hard time figuring out just exactly where they are. Boundary lines don't matter in the backside of America, although I usually like to know what town or neighborhood I'm in. I recently wandered around East Cambridge, Mass., and crossed over for a little while into the southwestern quadrant of Somerville. Here's what I found.

Built in 1902, this oddball building at 686 Cambridge Street is listed by Cambridge's assessing department as mixed-use. Zillow lists this place as a two-bed, one-and-a-half bath single-family home. Whatever it is, I'd love to know the history of this place, as I imagine being sited next to a set of train tracks, this building must have served some interesting purposes over the past 117 years.

The adjacent Grand Junction Railroad is part of the line that connects east-west Amtrak/MBTA commuter train service near the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston's Allston neighborhood, with north-south Amtrak/commuter lines that run out of Boston's North Station. The tracks are mainly used to shuttle trains, although there has been talk of running passenger trains along here. There is also a project afoot to site a walking/biking path along the tracks from the Boston University Bridge over the Charles River to Somerville.

Closed since 2013, Joey Mac's was "A proper dive bar, not overtaken by hipsters," per Sean O's eulogy on Yelp. "It was possible to feel intimidated in there." Built in 1932, this place has an apartment on the second floor. Not sure what's to become of the former dive bar space.

Just a pie tin's throw down Warren Street I found this odd-looking residence.

Look closely above the garage doors. The stone plaque reads: WARREN BAKING CO 1920-1933. Here's the story, from a Cambridge Historical Commission's Instagram write-up: "Calogero Giacchetto, an Italian immigrant, founded the Warren Baking Corp. in Cambridge around 1920. It is likely Giacchetto named the company after the street, which was dubbed in 1867. The entire bakery complex consisted of a house and storefront at 32, small brick building at 34, and industrial bakery at 36-38 Warren. Giacchetto lived with his family at 34 Warren until his death in 1958 at age 67. Warren Baking Corp published a petition in the Cambridge Chronicle on 28 March 1957 to register and conform its title to land that had been previously occupied by the Lechmere Theatre and Rydberg Bakery on Cambridge Street. It is possible that the company had plans to expand before Mr. Giacchetto's death, but these plans were never seen through. Warren Baking stayed in operation until the late 1970s. The company owned the land and remaining buildings until at least 1977, when the business was assessed for unpaid taxes at 581-591 Cambridge St. The Pavilion condominiums were built at this location between 1986 and 1988."

A short roll of a beer bottle takes you to 43 Warren Street, home to the Warren Pals Social Club, located in a building that dates to 1929.

As regular readers know, I have a bit of a thing for social clubs, especially ones that tout the members' ethnic background or military affiliation. The Warren Pals Club is one of the least-friendly looking joints I've seen. I'm guessing it's just a neighborhood club. I imagine the beer is cheap, the music corny and the talk more than occasionally dirty.

Within the next 25 feet or so I crossed the line into Somerville, just short of Medford Street. There, I saw this brick behemoth.

This is the former home of North Packing & Provision Company. Established in 1855 and incorporated in 1890, North Packing slaughtered and processed cattle and shipped beef products out by rail. The company also marketed by-products such as soap, margarine and lard, per this Somerville Times article.

These days, the former slaughterhouse complex's tenants include Prime Storage and Earthworm recyclers.

Continuing along the fringes of Somerville, I came across the home of Somerville Brewing.

Brewers of the Slum Brew ales, Somerville Brewing is located on Ward Street in a former warehouse that I know nothing about. The company filed for bankruptcy in late September, but is continuing operations until at least early November while a judge considers the company's financial position.

Around the corner, on South Street, I found Golden Cannoli Shells. Or Union Square Donuts.

The cannoli maker vacated this site in recent years, moving to a 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Chelsea, Mass. Founded in 1970, Golden Cannoli Shells holds the Guinness World Record for the largest cannolo (singular of cannoli). As for Union Square Donuts, the company moved into this production some point. Does it really matter? I hope they've put up a better sign since I took this photo.

From the donut/cannoli plant I trekked on along South Street to an area with a dizzying variety of businesses and residences. Hemmed in by the Roosevelt Towers housing complex, the Jamspot music rehearsal facility, a construction storage lot, a screen printing business, Taza chocolate and Nissenbaum's junkyard (see April 7, 2016, "Sweet and Junky") is the South Street urban farm. And parked in front of the farm on the day I was strolling around was this little whip.

This is a Fiat Panda, with some sort of European license plate. So there.

Here's a shot of a Nissenbaum's sign.

Somerville is known for its bathtub Marys and Jesi (is that the plural of Jesus?). Back over the line in Cambridge -- getting away from East Cambridge and closer to Inman Square -- I found a bathtub angel.

A short distance away I saw a wonderful brick church with an impressive frieze over the entryway.

Only it's not a church anymore. The former Immaculate Conception Church was redeveloped by Just A Start Corporation in 2012, with funding provided by the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust. The property was sold off by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in 2007 but the redevelopment took five years to see completion because of a nasty fight with neighbors over the use of the building.

The development is known as the Windsor Street Condominiums, and features 14 mixed-income units. The church was dedicated in 1913 for a local Lithuanian community, per the Boston & Beyond web site.

Next door to the church is an apartment building that's a little rough looking. Can you guess what this place used to be?

If you guessed "a funeral home," give yourself a pat on the backside.

If I had to hazard a guess about the building below, which is on the other side of the former funeral home, I'd say, "cemetery memorial" vendor. Just has that look.

OK, that's it for this trek. I have another East Cambridge post coming up in the near future, as well as an installment about Inman Square.

*I've heard this saying for years but had no idea until I typed it up there that it's a line from a poem that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote for The Lord of the Rings.