Friday, May 1, 2015


From Dave Brigham:

Dedham, Massachusetts, has an illustrious history.

From Wikipedia:

The history of Dedham, Massachusetts began with the first settlers' arrival in 1635. The Puritans who built the village on what the Indians called Tiot incorporated the plantation in 1636. They devised a form of government in which almost every freeman could participate and eventually chose selectmen to run the affairs of the town. They then formed a church and nearly every family had at least one member.

The early residents of town built the first American canal, the first tax-supported public school, run by Ralph Wheelock, and Jonathan Fairbanks built what is today the oldest wood frame house in North America."

The town center is beautiful, with historic homes aplenty and great commercial buildings and wonderful churches.

(First Church and Parish, Dedham)

There's a cool social club. Well, used to be.

(Odd Fellows Hall, Dedham. Appears to be empty.)

But you read this blog, you know what I'm looking for. I hunt around the edges. I look for stuff that other people pass by. The forgotten spaces.

(The Oasis, Dedham. Now closed.)

Shuttered last year, The Oasis was a dive bar that reportedly opened in 1972. I thought it was a private club, but I wouldn't have gone there even if I'd known it was a public joint. A sushi place is slated to open there, according to reports online.

My standard line about dive bars is that I picture a bunch of old guys in sleeveless t-shirts and women with beehive hairdos eating pickled eggs out of a jar on the bar top. I'm sure The Oasis fit that image to some degree, but after posting that impression about a one-time dive in Waltham, Mass., a few years back, some of the former patrons commented that The Reef was all about community and friendship (see August 25, 2011, "Goodbye Reef, So Long Bill"). Make sure you scroll down and read the comments.

The final shot I made was right on the border of Dedham and West Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston that still maintains a lot of its "lace curtain Irish" feel. But along the commercial strip of Route 1, just past the Boston Trailer Park, West Roxbury looks like Anytown, USA, with its fast food joints, car dealerships, mattress stores and empty storefronts.

There's one empty lot, between a Pets Supplies Plus and Prime Toyota Boston. An abandoned McDonald's, which stood across the parkway from an operating Mickey D's, was torched two years ago on this spot. Currently, there is a proposal before Boston authorities to build on this site a kosher hotel, which I admit is something I've never heard of.

Here's what's left on the lot.

Not sure what to make of this old shed. The building is close to the parking lot for the former McDonald's, but also sits on the fringe of significant green space along the Charles River. I'm guessing it was once part of a small farm. I'll keep an eye on this....

For more posts about Dedham, click these words.

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