Saturday, January 25, 2014

Last Building Standing

From Dave Brigham:

Boston's West End was wiped off the map in the late 1950's and early '60's to make way for The Future, and it was a huge mistake.

Once densely packed and relatively low-slung the way Boston's North End still is, the West End was considered a slum, and so it was bulldozed to make way for low- and middle-income high rises. Those tall, ugly, spread-out buildings make up Charles River Park, and are now home mostly to luxury dwellers, according to the West End Museum.

Oddly, though, there is one building left from the old West End.

Located directly behind a General Service Administration federal building and very close to the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and Celtics) and spitting distance from the Leverett down-ramp from I-93, this building has four floors and is covered on two sides by a revolving series of billboards.

I'm not sure if each floor is a residence, or if there are offices there. I spied four cars on the property when I walked by. One of the cars doesn't look like it's moved since Larry Bird was running the parquet at the old Boston Garden.

There are two stories circulating online about why this building was spared when hundreds all around it were razed. The least interesting of the two has it that the building's tenants simply refused to leave, and the city didn't want to deal with having to haul them out. Seems to me residents of other buildings would have done the same thing, so why was this structure spared?

The other theory about why this building became the sole surviving connection to Boston's more squalid past involves the Mob. The owner of the building reportedly was the bookie of one-time Boston mobster Jerry Angiulo, and had connections to local officials and because of this, somehow he was allowed to keep his building. Maybe he had dirt on local pols, who knows.

Neither of these stories is particularly satisfying, and I don't believe either. Somebody tell me the truth!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Light It Up!

From Pete Zarria:


(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Looking for El Dorado

(El Dorado, Kansas)

Weather Bird

(Joplin, Missouri)

Lone Ranger

(Carthage, Missouri)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fade to Black

From Dave Brigham:


Thirty years ago, this marquee read:


My friends and I were in high school, and drove the 15 miles from our hometown to check out these ridiculously awesome, R-rated raunchfests. Through a little research, I learned that "The Senior Snatch" originally hit theaters and drive-ins in 1978 as "Surfer Girls," and "Eager Beavers" was released in 1975 as "The Swinging Barmaids."

The East Hartford Drive-in was actually in South Windsor, Connecticut, on Route 5. The East Windsor Drive-In was six miles up the road. I don't recall if we went to the latter, but I know we also checked out movies at the old Hartford Drive-in, the Berlin Drive-in (X-rated) and Rogers Corner drive-in. Other fantastic titles we saw included "Slumber Party Massacre" and "Last House On the Left."

The East Hartford Drive-in opened in 1954, and closed in 1984, according to the CinemaTour web site. My parents moved a few miles away from here several years ago. When I was visiting them around the holidays last year, I thought about the old drive-ins, but didn't get around to checking into it.

After doing a little research, I learned that the East Windsor theater had been turned into condos, but that there were remnants of the East Hartford place. So this past Thanksgiving, I set out from my parents' house to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to find, and how easy it was to walk around the site. I didn't spot one "No Trespassing" sign.

Here's more of what I found:

Unspooled.... Unspooled.... Unspooled.... Unspooled....

For more derelict drive-in movie theaters, see November 9, 2012, "Drive-out" and April 24, 2010, "Cars, Flicks & Weiners."

Friday, January 3, 2014

Maui Wowee

From lostlosangeles:

I'm excited to publish the Backside's first photo of Hawaii, especially in light of the blizzard we just had in the Northeast. -- DB.

Solving for Ex

(Abandoned high school, Maui, Hawaii.)