From Dave Brigham:
So, yeah, that's William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, in high relief on a side street in Boston's Chinatown neighborhood.
I spotted him recently while on one of my win-win walks with my son, Owen: he vacuums up Pokemon on his phone and I snap photos of random buildings, graffiti-scarred walls and oddities like this bust. So what's the story with old Bill peering out from this building on Beach Street?
I found two blog postings (this one and then this extremely long and incredibly detailed one) that indicate the plaque was most likely related to the old Globe Theatre around the corner on Washington Street. Built in 1903 and also known as Loew's Globe Theatre, the place has long been the Empire Garden restaurant.
According to the above-noted blog post from The Progressive Democrat blog, while the Shakespeare bust is located on a building separate from the Globe, the theater's business office was located in that spot on Beach Street. And the shorter blog post from the Uncomely and Broken blog digs up information that the Beach Street building was formerly known as the Shakespearean Inn.
I couldn't find any more information about when the bust was created, or by whom, but I take great pleasure in that. Life is filled with these types of little mysteries, and I for one don't always want to know the answers. Finds like the Shakespeare high-relief bust are what keep my head on a swivel wherever I am....