Talk:Boston, Massachusetts/Archive 1

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The mayor's web site (here) is a boon of information for all of the neighborhoods of Boston. Is a more in-depth section on these neighborhoods in order?--AaronS 30 June 2005 17:28 (UTC)

Sure, but be sure to list this site as a reference. Pentawing 1 July 2005 02:43 (UTC)

I was trying to reorganize the page to be a subpage of Massachusetts - I thought this would make for much easier navigation. The problem with using the link format [[Boston, Massachusetts]] is that it would seem to make all these independant pages instead of imposing a logical heirarchy. --DigitalSorceress

Yes, but I don't think that [[Massachusetts/Boston]] is easily linked to from other pages, nor is Boston always best considered in light of its place within Massachusetts (which is what its existence as a subpage seems to imply). I know this must sound like a hypocritical comment from someone who's spent most of his time here adding info on countries of the world; I've recently come to believe that all those subpages are in fact a bad example for others and have every intention of moving them as soon as I decide what the best names are to move them to. But the usefulness of subpages is still fairly widely disputed, and I am interested in hearing further comments.  :-) --Koyaanis Qatsi

One thing you'll note is that the old Boston page had Boston/Transportation on it. That may or may not have been a good idea, but it's impossible with the Massachusetts/Boston page. --DanKeshet

Dan, yeah - I was in the process of repairing all the links that I was breaking that way when the Boston page got renamed to Boston, Massachusetts right under me - Koyaanis Qatsi has a scheme that he(?)s applying overall, so I sort of stopped and backed off ---DigitalSorceress

You can't just the page Boston - what about Boston in England?

Boston in England? Never heard of it. Yes, it's probably a fairly major town. Maybe even a city. But it's unimportant in comparison, and should be relegated to a 'see also: Boston, England'. Dave McKee

Boston in Massachusetts changed its name from "Trimount" in honor of the attitude of Boston in England in some conflict with the English government which I don't quite recall at this moment, but make a note here in case I do remember. Ortolan88

Including many universities that are not in Boston in article is wrong. Perhaps Harvard should be included as Harvard Business School and some of the playing fields are in Boston rather than Cambridge but certainly schools that are completely out-of-town should be excluded. -- Daniel C. Boyer

I had the same problem with the colleges in and around Greensboro, North Carolina and opted for listing them as in Greensboro proper or its metropolitan area. People may be looking at the 'pedia to find out what's in the immediate area, not just within the city limits. -- isis 11 Sep 2002

Better Skylines Images

Can anybody locate some better images of the Boston skyline? The ones in the article at the moment really do not do the city justice.--AaronS 12:39, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

There seem to be many available on Flickr. Search for "boston skyline" or try this URL: --YoavShapira 12:24, 2 October 2005 (EDT)

  • Are any of the images of GFDL license? Otherwise, we must have a fair use justification for copyrighted images. The site seems to imply that the images could be copyrighted and that we have to contact the contributors to release their images into the public domain. Pentawing 17:54, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

State or Commonwealth?

(its a commonwealth, not a state)

If Massachusetts isn't a state, then all those things in the constitution that talk about states obviously don't apply to it -- they have no representation in Congress, for instance... Obviously this isn't true. They've got "Commonwealth" in the full official name instead of "State", sure. And North Korea is a Democratic Republic. :) --Brion 19:22 Sep 11, 2002 (UTC)
Four states Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky are called "Commonwealths". There is no legal distinction, but it is part of the official name in each case. Ortolan88
It's a state, but it's not a State. It's the same as parishes in Louisiana -- they're functionally equivalent to counties everywhere else, but they're not Counties, they're Parishes. Massachusetts is one of the United States, but it's the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. isis 11 Sep 2002
Exactly. The previous text said "state", which Massachusetts is. --Brion
And now it says "Commonwealth," which Massachusetts is. But the main point is, I think, and I say this as someone who was born and reared in the Commonwealth of Virginia, y'all, that people whose state it is want the respect of having it called by its precise name, and Wikipedia has no reason to offend them. isis 11 Sep 2002
You may have noticed that Ed's objection when he made the edit was that "its a commonwealth, not a state"; it's that objection that I'm objecting to, not the change from one truth to another. In any case, the link to Commonwealth is precisely as useless as the one to state was, but it would be more awkward to link [[U.S. state|Commonwealth]] than [[U.S. state|state]]. --Brion
Sorry, I mistook a trolling expedition for a real discussion. I'll get better when I've had more experience. -- isis 11 Sep 2002
The smiley face and comparison to North Korea weren't clear enough, eh? :) --Brion 03:47 Sep 12, 2002 (UTC)
What can I say? I didn't have you pegged for the class clown yet; so I mistook you for an honest idiot. -- isis 12 Sep 2002
I'll consider those comments complementary... --Brion 04:39 Sep 12, 2002 (UTC)
Since you apparently have more time on your hands than you can fill constructively, why don't you mosey over to the Talk:Drawing and quartering page and consider the software question I've raised with LDC? It would seem to be right up your alley. -- isis 12 Sep 2002
Ah, the old "printable version is utterly inadequate" problem. Sure, I'll bang it into shape. ... Well, that was fun. Got any others? --Brion 06:29 Sep 12, 2002 (UTC)
I should have disambiguated better. I meant the problem of OCRing text with fraktur "s"s. -- isis 12 Sep 2002
What? You mean I don't really live in the sovereign Republic of California? I always wondered why our currency had "United States" on it. :-)
Now now, that's just on the flag as a relic from the Mexican War. It's officially the State of California since ages. --Brion 20:54 Sep 11, 2002 (UTC)

It may be the Commonwealth of Massachussetts, but its a state, not a commonwealth. A commonwealth of the United States is an overseas territory of the United States with a certain degree of autonomy, e.g. Puerto Rico. --- SJK

A few additions for someone else to make

Slave Trade Abolitionists Transcendentalists Unitarians Police Strike of 1919 Sacco and Vanzetti Mayor Curley Honey Fitz the Kennedy clan School Busing

About the "rivalry" with New York

I live near Boston (and went to college there in the sixties). I grew up near New York and my brother lives there.

I think the whole thing about the "rivalry" should be taken out. It's cutesy-poo but it's a point of view and, IMHO, it's probably inaccurate.

I certainly agree with the "one-sided" characterization. But it goes beyond that: I don't believe New Yorkers are aware of any rivalry with Boston (despite the parallel assertion in the New York, New York article).

Even if one could demonstrate that a rivalry exists, how could anyone document the statement that the rivalry "is considered to be the most infamous in the United States?"

It's likely that there was once such a rivalry, as the two cities were near each other and were both important ports, financial centers, and centers of "society." It's probably been a century since there was any real rivalry, other than possibly in baseball.

Boston's importance as (one of the cities that has claimed to be the) "Athens of America" is fading. Broadway shows no longer try out here. We get them on tour just as Phoenix and Milwaukee and San Jose.

The alleged rivalry with New York may be a reference to society, and the relative ranking of the New York families that summered in Newport and the Boston families that summered in Bar Harbor. I'm afraid I don't move in those circles. (I once knew someone who was in the Social Register—I've actually seen a copy of the Social Register (and Dilatory Domiciles)—is there still a Social Register?—so I don't know whether such a rivalry still exists, but I think it belongs to the days of the of John P. Marquand novels.

Within the last couple of decades, many of Boston's claims to a unique identity have been eroded. In several cases, Boston institutions have been acquired by New York. Jordan Marsh, our premier department store for over a century, is now Macy's. The Boston Globe is now owned by The New York Times. All of our regional banks have now been acquired by outside chains (but, at least, not by New York); the last big regional bank, Bank of Boston, was acquired by Fleet, which, in turn, has just been acquired by Bank of America.

My guess is that New York overtook Boston in the Gilded Age, that by the middle of the last century Boston's importance as a rival existed mostly in its own memories, and that today, to all intents and purposes Boston is just an average city (with nationally recognized universities, hospitals, and a first-rank symphony orchestry). Dpbsmith 13:11, 19 Jan 2004 (UTC)

    • I'm from New York, and I disagree with this. Boston is New York's biggest rival in sports, definitely, and in high culture, academia, etc... Boston is an "average city," without claims to a unique identity -- are you serious? Like Lincoln, Nebraska, or wherever? Because out-of-town conglomerates acquired several banks and a department store? By that definition, New Orleans isn't unique. In my opinion, Boston's people and ambiance are distinctive.

  • It should be noted that Macy's is not originally from New York, but rather from Haverhill, Massachusetts. So, that doesn't really count. AaronS 3 Jan 2005
    • Eh? According to the article Macy's, it was "founded on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City." AJD 09:21, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • The first Macy's was in fact in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Being a nearby resident, I know that this is one of the sad city's sole claims to fame, other than being the birthplace of poet John Greenleaf Whittier and the home of Archie Comics. My guess is that the Macy's article is wrong, based on a common misconception. From "Rowland Hussey Macy (1822-1919), of the New York City department store fame, got his start in the retail business by opening his dry goods store in downtown Haverhill in 1851. Macy's store was located on Merrimack Street. Macy's first parade was not in New York City as most may think, but was held in Haverhill on July 4, 1854. It was too hot that day and only about 100 people turned out to view the parade. Macy's policy for his store was "His goods are bought for cash, and will be sold for the same, at a small advance". In 1858 Macy sold his store and with the financial backing of Haverhill's Caleb Dustin Hunking, he left Haverhill to open a new store in New York City." AaronS 4 Jan 2005

-- This "rivalry" is really nothing more than a figment in the imagination of tabloid newspaper writers. Someone tried to put a mention of it in the intro to the New York City article and it was quickly removed. The mention of it here should be relegated to the sports section of the article like it is for NYC. --Jleon 21:13, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • As a native New Yorker, I do agree that the only rival city to NYC would be Boston. Both cities are large and have that old "urban grit" feeling to them, and I guess I would think of them as two brothers who always compete but understand that underneath they are mostly the same. What I mean to say is that if any city in the United States could one-up New York, it would have to be Boston.

I think that one of the best ways to rile up a Bostonian is to (as a New Yorker) feign indifference to their city and pretend that there is no rivaly. It worked for me while I was at Boston U!

  • Really? What about Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington? And, if "rival city" is not limited to cities in the same country, how about London, Paris, and Tokyo? -- SwissCelt 17:22, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

--Truth be told, New York doesn't have any rivals. And even if it did, Boston certianly wouldn't be one of them- perhaps London or Tokyo, but Boston? I think not. --Jleon 21:51, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

"hub of the universe"

"[...] nicknamed [...], or, modestly, The Hub of the Universe."

Is this really serious? I've skimmed the external link and this looks like something that doesn't really belong to the lead section. --Joy [shallot] 10:39, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The word "modestly" is a bit of editorializing and perhaps doesn't belong there. As for the hub of the universe, I thought I had put it there some months ago, and I was surprised to find someone adding it. Yes, Boston is "the Hub" and in my opinion it belongs in the article; the lead section seems appropriate for a nickname as widely used as this one is. As I recall, there was a bronze plaque on the sidewalk in the downtown shopping district, proclaiming that that very spot was the Hub of the Universe! Fg2 10:58, Oct 4, 2004 (UTC)
Ha! I just read the article, and "Hub" turns out to have been a phrase coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Certainly, a pedigreed nickname. Fg2
I put this in, as I was working on some city nicknames. I think this kind of fun fact helps balance out the "founded in blah-blah, comprising blah-blah square miles" stuff, which is needed but so dry. "Modestly" is maybe arguable, but anyone who reads the external link will find that Holmes was engaging in a little irony himself. RivGuySC 15:47, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It definitely belongs in there, fairly conspicuously, as it is a very common nickname for the city. Not only in Boston but throughout the New England area, Boston is commonly referred to as "the Hub." It is a real nickname for the city, used un-self-consciously, unlike "Beantown." "Hub" is shorter than "Boston" and thus very convenient for and commonly used in newspaper headlines. An old joke about the provinciality of the Boston Globe says that if the Russians dropped an atomic bomb on New York, the Globe's headline would be "Hub man killed in New York blast." I grew up in a suburb of New York and was aware of "Hub" as a nickname for Boston long before I was aware that the full reference was "Hub of the universe." "Hub" is to "Boston" as "Philly" is to "Philadelphia." "Beantown" is to "Boston" as "The Big Apple" is to "New York." [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 20:45, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't agree that Athens of America should be deleted because it's "old." After all, Boston is old, and its fame as a cultural center is part of its core identity. Nor has the phrase gone out of use--a very quick search found it on five websites about the city: [1][2][3][4][5]
I'll likely put it back unless some better argument to the contrary develops. RivGuySC 17:55, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

What was boston like in the 1800s what did they do for entertainment?

I'm not sure whether Oliver Wendell Holmes ever made a reference to beantown in such grandiose or (MORE LIKELY) sarcaastic terms, but the modern nickname comes from simple geography: When 'The FIRST EVER' circumferential highway was constructed (Mass Rt.128/I-95 of which no mention is made... known as "Whose folly?"... if you don't know the answer, you shouldn't be writing this piece!) in the late forties or early fifties any sufficiently small scale road map demonstrates forcefully this origination: "The Hub" is of A WAGON WHEEL. (And what would someone from Tennasee know of local historical assets anyway? In the end, this article is decidely below professional level, and suspect in many ways.

Comfortable salary?

I'm researching the cost of living in Maynard/Boston, Massachusetts, for there exists a possibility I may relocate to Maynard.

For those whom live (and rent/own) in Maynard or within the immediate vicinity (as far as Boston), how much salary is appropriate for comfortable living? Thank you. Adraeus 21:29, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Clarification about the Big Dig

" it removes enormous elevated highway structures and makes large areas of prime city land available for public development."

I haven't done the research on this yet, but I remember reading the paper in Boston that the land freed up by the Big Dig was useless for development, because the land above the tunnels would support very little additional weight. Does anybody else know about this? Or should I do the footwork and revision?

Two answers follow:

1) Any building in Boston needs to put roots down below sea level into bedrock. This is generally accomplished by sinking columns rather than excavating foundation-wide pits. Through the whole area MBTA and private Train tunnels generally parrallel the highway, crossing one above the other, over top of the several highway(s)of BIG Dig Notoriety. Train tunnels require a lot of space to change depth for track grades (hill slope) must be kept quite small by automobile standards; though subway trains can tolerate much steeper slopes than general railroad locomotion... it still takes a lot of space to change elevation any significant amount so one tunnel can cross another.

For example, in and around the vicinity of 'Downtown Crossing', 'State Street', and 'Government Center' MBTA stations in no less than two seperate places two Tee lines both cross above the highway, which itself passes above yet a third MBTA tunnel, IIRC. (Orange, Red, and Blue Lines in one place, Orange, Red, AND Green in the other, iirc). To add insult to injury, various highway ramps and MBTA service tunnels take up additional 'corridor' space, as does the commercial rail roads entering the city into both South Station and North Station. Thus your query is sort of backwards. It's not a question of weight support so much as whether there is room so one can sneak enough weight support past existing structures-- like tunnels. THAT in turn would depend on the design footprint and exactly where in the spagetti tangle of tunnels one tried.

- 2) It's a moot point in any case... Actually the land freed up by the big dig is to become one huge park (or A series of parks, walks, pools, et al) by consent decree (verify with Sec'y of States Office) (OR POSSIBLY COURT ORDER) thanks to the environmental lobby(s) originally fighting the project during the Mayor White and Gov. S. DuTaxUs administration... both typical Mass. liberals. So instead of twice the highway, we've spent more than twice the money.

That is the space not taken up by ventilation and-or pump buildings is to be 'green' ... instead of sensibly kept as original transportation network (or bettered by limiting access Strategically so it evolved and would be a 'real Highway', not just 4-6 lanes of bumper-to-bumper parkinging lot), been kept would have just barely doubled traffic capacity by adding the tunnels and new roads of the big dig. Instead we've spent 15 Billion for no significant commute or through city added capacity, adding only airport (Third Harbor Tunnel) access improvements.

Instead, the BIG BOONDOGALE is the result... the airport can be reached EASIER, some conjestion has eased, but mostly, most traffic still has the same four lanes to park in through most of any given day -- oh, yeah, nothing at all to alleviate traffic growth was considerede in the original planning -- it still hasn't been addressed.


Will someone with time on their hands please add a section on culture? Thanks. --AaronS 02:12, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I've restored Commonwealth to the name of Massachusetts. I was born and bred in Boston, and still live in the Commonwealth. I have not seen any state document that does not refer to the state by its full name, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We also often use the term "The Commonwealth" to refer to Massachusetts. Since it's the official name and how we refer to the state, I don't see what the problem is with using it in this article. -Tomás

Hi Tomás -- I'm not originally from Boston, but I've lived here for 18 years. I changed it because while all you say is true about how it's used, I think that it is somewhat confusing to folks who aren't from Mass. (or Virginia, Penna., or Ky.) To have it placed so prominently makes it seem like there is some significance to having it in the first sentence of a very long article.
In addition, I know we say "the Commonwealth" all the time, but it's actually a rather unique usage for the very reason that it is a different title from most other states. In Michigan (where I'm from) people never use the phrase "the State" in that way. On the other hand, when I lived in Washington, D.C., people use the term "the District" in exactly the same way. It has some connotation of an entity that's different that just a geographical place -- and I think it's somewhat similar to the way that people from New York and San Francisco both say "the City".
Anyway, all of this is to say that using the term "Commonwealth" is very common and normal here, but Wikipedia is for people all over the world, and the place to emphasize and explain the term is in Massachusetts, not Boston, Massachusetts. Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 15:05, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I've reverted "Commonwealth". Since this is also a place to learn, I'm sure other users will be able to figure it out. - Tomás (living in The Commonwealth for fifty-five years.
I see you've taken my advice in part to add in more material to the Massachusetts article on this issue -- please take a look at Talk:Massachusetts to see the long history there if you haven't already done.
However, I want to ask you to please take reverting people's contributions and edits more seriously than your reply above seems to me to day. Since you're new, I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but one thing that is very important here is collaboration. I did my level best to give a clear and detailed explanation of why it seems to me to have "Commonwealth" at the top of an article about Boston. To be honest, I felt that your response is flip at best, and is not following Wikipedia:Wikiquette, nor is it in the spirit of collaboration or Wikipedia:WikiLove -- which are serious and important parts of working with others on Wikipedia. Please read those over, and I hope that they help clarify how we all try to do things around here. I'm sure that you will continue to be a valuable contributor -- and it will help you avoid edit wars and other conflicts.
Sincerely, BCorr|Брайен 17:39, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
One more thing -- please see Providence, Rhode Island for an example of how a similar tangential issue -- the official name of the state being Rhode Island and Providence Plantations -- is handled. The first sentence of the article is simply "Providence is the capital and largest city in Rhode Island, a state of the United States of America."
Thanks again, BCorr|Брайен 17:50, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Sorry if you thought my answer was flip. Didn't mean it to be that way.  :) It's one of the problems with writing that it doesn't convey all the nuances of speaking.

I don't believe that the people of Rhode Island use the term "The Plantation" in refering to their state. I don't hear their politicians refering to "The Plantation" or the press using that name.

The Wikipedia: WikiProject U.S. States reads that "Each U.S. state shall be called by the common name of the state,...". We in Massachusetts do use the name "The Commonwealth" as a common name to refer to our state. The governor gives the State of the Commonwealth speach. The Legislature is the "General Court of the Commonwealth. General Court. It is common usage, as well as the offical name of the state. The name is part of both state and American history Massachusetts symbols.

To remove Commonwealth from the name of Massachusetts makes no more sense to me that calling New Hampshire or New Mexico by the names Hampshire or Mexico because "New" is just an adjective.

I respectfully disagree. I think that the correct analogy is, "To remove Commonwealth from the phrase 'Commonwealth of Massachusetts' makes no more sense [to me] than referring to the State of New Hampshire or State of New Mexico by the names New Hampshire or New Mexico because 'State' is not part of the actual name." -- If someone can demonstrate the the phrase "the Commonwealth of Massachusetts" is equivalent to "Maine", rather than the phrase "the State of Maine" I will be happy to drop the subject. Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 02:46, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Also, linking to [[Commonwealth of Massachusetts]] is pointless, since that just redirects to Massachusetts. Linking to [[Commonwealth]] isn't productive, as the only relevant information it has is "The U.S. states of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia call themselves commonwealths. In these cases, this is merely a name and has no legal impact." near the bottom of the page, whereas all of the U.S. state article is relevant. Links should be to articles with relevant information, rather than strictly adhering to the text on the page, thus, it should be [[U.S. state|Commonwealth]] of [[Massachusetts]]. Niteowlneils 21:46, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

See Alexandria, Virginia and Worcester, Massachusetts for precedents. Niteowlneils

The City of Higher Learning?

I did a Google search on this and came up with nothing.--AaronS 22:58, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Economy - Port of Boston

Contrary to what many would think, Boston is not the busiest port in New England (in tonnage). I found an article that states that the distinction goes to Portland, Maine [6]. Can someone else try to confirm this?Pentawing 01:21, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, I can't confirm it, only because I thought it was so well known already. Portland is one of the largest oil terminals on the east coast, and has much better rail access than any port in Massachusetts. Land values in Portland are not yet so high (as they are in Boston) to make redevelopment of the port (into office or residential space) economically attractive. Compare the South Boston waterfront, where all the recent activity has been to convert industrial land and wharfage into office and retail establishments. If the city's master plan is implemented, pretty soon the only maritime commerce remaining in SB will be Fish Pier. 121a0012 16:13, May 30, 2005 (UTC)

Boston Sports

I changed "Professional sports franchises" to "Sports" to include all teams and events in Boston. I know that Boston is a major sports town and would appreciate someone adding more to that section. Pentawing 19:58, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

Figuring out the expansion of Boston

I'm not sure exactly where in the article to put this. --SPUI (talk) 15:32, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

This is a tough call. Though it might appear to be geography, I am strongly leaning towards history (you could mention how Boston started on the original peninsula and expanded through land reclamation and annexation). Pentawing 03:29, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Metro areas in the Americas

--The list called Largest metropolitan areas in the Americas is wrong, as is made obvious by the fact that it contains huge discrepancies with the numbers for the U.S. metro areas. Furthermore, the link given for its source is now dead. I won't start a revert war over something like this, but it really should be removed. --Jleon 18:23, 15 July 2005 (UTC)


I am thinking of adding information concerning utilities in Boston. I am aware that the MWRA provides water and sewerage service to the city. Any idea about electricity and gas? Thanks. Pentawing 21:32, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

The electric utility was Boston Edison, but I think it's now owned by mega-hyper-giant NSTAR.
Atlant 11:36, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
I added the information. Please add or modify if necessary. Pentawing 21:25, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Oldest university in Boston's edit claiming that the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy is the oldest institution of higher education in Boston is supported by the college's own claims. MCP’s website states that the college was "founded" in 1823 ( However this claim is flawed: Dec 8, 1823 represents the date on which the Boston apothecaries first met to organize their guild. Their reason for meeting was not to specifically to found the college. The college officers were only organized in 1830, and their charter granted in 1852. More importantly, MCP's first lectures were only held in 1867 and its first actual class graduated in 1869. Given that Boston College was holding classes as early as 1827 (albeit without a charter from the Commonwealth), this would still make BC the first institution of higher education established in the city of Boston. 23:19, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

From ( "MCPHS is the largest college of pharmacy in the United States. MCPHS was founded in 1823- the second oldest college of pharmacy in the United States and the oldest institution of higher education in the City of Boston-, and is located in the heart of the Longwood Academic and Medical area of Boston." Another source from ( : "Founded in 1823, MCPHS is the second oldest pharmacy school in the U.S. and the oldest college in the city of Boston. In response to change, MCPHS expanded its mission over time to include a number of science and healthcare programs. With its distinguished history and international reputation" It seem that MCPHS is, technically, the first institution of higher education in Boston. What reasons could MCPHS have to lie on its official site?

It is not lying per se, but PR-copy often involves tweaking the facts. Without the meeting of the Boston apothecaries in 1823, it is likely MCPHS would never have come into existence. By the same token, Boston College could point to the meeting of the first Jesuits in 1534 as the root of its existence. However, neither can be considered a founding date. For a detailed account of the history of MCPHS, see Ernest C. Marshall's Early History of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. 17:16, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

BU has only been in its present location since the 1940's, but has been in the city since 1867. It is not a "relative newcomer to the city." The education portion of this article is heavily slanted towards BC, as the writer clearly went out of their way to downplay BU's presence in the city and emphasis on how much of Boston College is actually within the city limits now.

Oxford of America / Oxford in America

The "Oxford of America" quote should probably be immediately scrapped, since I don't think anyone besides the writer of the article has ever used such language, and even if the quote can be culled from some outside source, it has been made towards many other more prestigious university's for both academic and aesthetic reasons and looks almost silly in its current context. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not your personal opportunity to validate your diplomas and settle rivalries.

Oxford of America? Bizarre. Academic boosterism gone utterly amok. I just searched an online database covering these newspapers
Boston Globe, The (MA) (1980-Current)
Boston Herald (MA) (7/26/1991-Current)
Republican, The (Springfield, MA) (1988-Current)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) (1989-Current)
for the exact phrase "Oxford of America." No hits. It's not called that. I've lived in the Boston area for about a quarter of a century and never heard BC referred to that way. Might as well call Harvard Stadium the Colisseum of America. I did find one lone Google hit on the BC website: [7]. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:56, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
I re-introduced the reference to Oxford in America in the body of the text since this was actually the title of the winning design in the architectural competition for the original BC campus [8]. BC's campus is historic precisely because it was the first comprehensive masterplan designed in the Collegiate Gothic style. The phrase "Oxford of America" isn't a subjective point of view, but was the phrase used to describe the BC campus in the Boston Saturday Evening Transcript, The American Architect and other US and British media outlets around the time the "new" campus opened. -- 05:08, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I've reworded it make it clear that "Oxford in America" referred to architecture, and that it was a 1907 name for an ambitious proposal (only partially realized). The BC website reference cited above makes it clear that the phrase "Oxford in America" referred to a plan for twenty buildings, not to the four that were actually built. While a reference to "Oxford in America" seems very appropriate for the article on Boston College it seems to me like unnecessary detail, for an article on Boston, Massachusetts, particularly when (see below) Simmons, Wheelock, Emerson don't get so much as a mention. Even so, I think the name "Oxford in America" is breathtakingly presumptuous. The "dreaming spires" of Oxford characterize the town in a way that the BC campus does not. Could anyone have seriously suggested that even the twenty buildings contemplated originally, much less the four that were built, are somehow comparable to the thirty-seven or so entire colleges of Oxford? Dpbsmith (talk) 18:20, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I incorporated your suggestion about it being "originally envisioned" as an Oxford in America. Also, the photo depicts more than one building. In general, I think the phrase is appropriate for the Boston article for a few reasons:
* It is consistent with other characteristically Bostonian (and no less audacious) titles used in the city, e.g. Hub of the Universe / Solar System, Athens of America, etc.
* It speaks to the primacy of higher education that is a central theme in the city's history and development and its lofty aspirations (realized or otherwise).
I think that the exact year in which the masterplan was drawn up is getting into details that are more appropriate for the Boston College article. -- 03:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
P. S. I just searched the same database noted above for "Oxford in America." No hits. As of 2005, BC is not widely referred as "Oxford in America," even within the Boston area. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:25, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Again, the phrase shouldn't be included because it's a current colloquialism (it's not, as your database search shows), but because of its historical significance. -- 03:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I have no problem with your current edits. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:24, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Even though the article has now been edited to make it clear that the "Oxford" line is a arcetectural reference, it doesn't change the fact that the arcitecture shown is in the City of NEWTON, Massachusetts, and not Boston. It is my understanfing that the Boston/Newton line within the Chestnut Hill neighborhood cuts through Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum. Anything higher on the hill is not relevant to the article. I'm sure far fewer people would have an issue if you moved the dubious and self-aggrandizing statement to the page reserved for NEWTON.

Colleges and universities

In an article about Boston, this section should include only brief descriptions of the city's main institutions with links to their individual articles and the general list of Boston-area schools. What is pertinent here is not each school's institutional history but its relationship to the city. BU's former religious affiliations and incarnations are not as relevant to a Boston article as the fact that the school is a relative newcomer to the city, having established its present campus only in the 1940s, and the fact that it is now one of Boston's largest employers. Statements such as "Boston University is now recognized internationally as a leading institution of learning and research" clearly do not present a NPOV. Likewise, the details of BC's real estate dealings are best left to the BC article. 17:59, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Actually, it seems to me that if the article is about Boston proper and not the Boston area that it is quite a stretch to include Harvard at all, and the BC section seems to be looking for excuses to consider it as being in Boston.
By these rules, one could include Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the grounds that it originated in Boston and is more conspicuously visible from Boston than BC is.
I agree that MIT deserves at least a brief mention. I incorporated this sentance earlier, but it was edited out on the grounds that MIT is not currently in Boston:
"MIT was originally established in Boston as the "Massachusetts Instutute of Technology and Boston Society of Natural History" before moving to its present campus in Cambridge." -- 03:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
You mistook my point. MIT should not be mentioned in the article on Boston. That's just silly. But neither should Harvard. And I think BC is dubious. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:37, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it's silly, since Boston is the birthplace of MIT and since "Boston" was originally part of its name. I am not an entirely neutral party in this case, so I'd be interested to see what others think. -- 05:42, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
On the other hand the article snubs Simmons and Emerson and Wheelock, to name three that come to mind, which are unquestionably in Boston by any meaning of the phrase. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:45, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
What about Northeastern? Suffolk? Emmanuel? Fisher? Berklee? Bunker Hill Community College? The Boston Conservatory? New England Conservatory? New England School of Law? etc.... Seems to me some "impartial" source should determine which schools are elaborated on here and which get lumped into the List of colleges and universities in metropolitan Boston. Here are two examples of neutral sources, though there are problems inherent with each:
* "Engines of Economic Growth" universities [9]: problem with this list is that half of the schools are not actually in Boston.
* US News and World Report [10]: a few problems with this list. First is that none of the schools in the top-20 and only in the top 50 is actually in Boston. Also, the list doesnt include all schools (like Berklee, or the New England Conservatory which are at the top of their specialties). -- 03:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
My point is that the article presently mentions BC, BU, and Harvard, and that's just absurd.
I'd propose as a qualification for inclusion that the name of the city in the institution's main mailing address be "Boston." The main mailing address to be determined by going to the website, and looking for, in order, a) any address appearing on the home page, b) an address on the "Contact Us" page if any, c) the address of the Office of the President. If that means including too many specialized schools, then I'd whittle it down by size as indicated by enrollment. I don't know yet what the effect of such a criterion would be... let's see... Dpbsmith (talk) 12:37, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
  • -- Contact US --Boston, MA 02215 -- OK
  • -- Contact Us: Chestnut Hill, MA 02467--Exclude
  • -- Contact Us -- Mailing addresses -- President's office -- Cambridge, MA 02138 -- Exclude

This criterion strikes me as problemmatic for a few reasons.

  • Mailing addresses within Boston ZIP codes, often substitute "Boston" with local nomenclature. For example, a postcard to Boston, MA 02129 can just as well be sent to Charlestown, MA 02129 [11]. The same holds true for places like "Brighton," [12] "Dorchester," [13] "Roxbury," [14] etc. Simply because a mailing address names its neighborhood instead of "Boston" doesn't make it any more or less a part of the city.
  • "Chestnut Hill" is not a town, but the name of a neighborhood that covers parts of Boston, Brookline and Newton. For example, this condo development [15] is entirely within Boston, but uses "Chestnut Hill" in its mailing address.
  • While Larry Summers' office may well be in Massachusetts Hall in Cambridge, Harvard University does not have a singular mailing address. Many of its principal addresses are in Boston [16]. -- 05:42, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
Your arguments are clever and sound, but you are deliberately stretching points here. I'm not sure why.
I'm just stating that I think there are problems with this criterion.
  • Harvard Medical School is in Boston and might well deserve mention. But Harvard is in Cambridge. Period, end of story. It would be absurd to say that MIT is in Dedham, Massachusetts despite owning property there.
MIT's Endicott House in Dedham is a conference and retreat center not an academic campus, so I don't think this is a fair comparaison. In addition to the Medical School, Harvard's Business School, Dental School and School of Public Health are all located entirely in Boston--as is Harvard Stadium and the Soldiers Field Athletics Area (i.e. all Harvard "home games" are held in Boston).
  • People who live in Chestnut Hill do not describe themselves as living "in Boston." Ditto Roslindale, West Roxbury, etc. The Boston mailing address is a convenient and neutral way to narrow down the list of "Boston" colleges and universities, and it is one that accords with how locals think of "Boston" (as opposed to "Boston-area."). Dpbsmith (talk) 09:58, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
My point is that this criterion is often ambiguous and arbitrary in many cases, leaving much room for debate. The flip side of the coin: Boston Baptist College [17] is located in Hyde Park, though it chooses to use "Boston" in its mailing address. -- 08:34, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


Please, editors, refrain from over-'summarizing' Boston's history. The current article, as of 11:24 CT on October 16, is very well-done, and gives readers a real sense of Boston's history. In recent months, the section has been poorly-written--an excessively brief hodge-podge of facts. Let us keep the most recent changes. They add narrative, depth, and color.

Sub-Sections and Neighborhoods

Someone added the following to the article, which is also mentioned in the demographics section. However, I am thinking of creating a sub-article on Boston's neighborhoods and have such information moved there. Any thoughts? Pentawing 03:20, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Boston proper is subdivided into a few major sections with smaller neighborhoods contained within them. The Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the South End form the downtown residential neighborhoods. The residents of these three neighborhoods are usually very wealthy, with the South End being the least wealthy of the three. To the east of these three neighborhoods is Downtown Boston, where the financial district, government structures, and the city's Chinatown are located. The North End of Boston and its neighbor, East Boston, form the Italitan section of the city. On the north bank of the Charles River is Charlestown, a predominately Irish enclave.
South of downtown Boston and the rich neighborhoods are the sections of the city that some residents consider "the real Boston." Dorchester, Roxbury, South Boston, and Jamaica Plain are much more socially and economically diverse than their counterparts to the north and contain block upon block of New England style "Triple-Decker" housing. Roxbury and Dorchester are usually percieved as the most dangerous neighborhoods of Boston, however both are becoming increasingly gentrified. Other sections of the city proper include Allston-Brighton, Mattapan, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Hyde Park.
Boston is both blessed and cursed by its small geographic size. Unlike other east coast cities like New York and Philadelphia, Boston former streetcar suburbs lie largely outside of its city limits. Independant cities like Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea are very urban and possess characteristics similar to Boston's, yet are seperated politically from the city. Boston's small size makes it walkable and manageable, but its lack of land area gives a population figure disillusion of its actual size.

Well, the spelling and grammar are atrocious, so whatever happens to this text, it needs a good copyedit. I think the best way to approach this topic is actually in an article about the territorial expansion of the city, including both land-making (North End, Back Bay, South End, Southie, Eastie) and annexation (Brighton, not Brookline, only half of Charlestown, Dorchester, part of Milton, Roxbury, West Rox). Particularly in the case of the annexations, it's vital to explain why these particular communities and not others, and in particular how much of a barrier the river was. There are several good reference works on the subject. 121a0012 04:29, 18 October 2005 (UTC)