Townie Tidbits

Thank God They Never Tore down Memorial Hall Fundraiser

Actually the above wasn’t the name of the fundraiser jointly put on by both the Charlestown Preservation Society and the Abraham Lincoln Post 11 GAR, which owns the Hall. However, with the way history has gotten razed in Boston, it might have been too late for this historic site had it been torn down during the 1950s or ‘60s when history wasn’t on the lips of everyone out there.

Memorial Hall is a piece of Charlestown history going back to post-Civil War America. Slowly over time, the GAR post members have been rebuilding the interior. The upstairs hall where the fundraiser was held is now a beautiful place. It has always been there all this time, but was unknown to almost all of Charlestown until very recently.

I’ll bet my mother, who grew up dancing Saturday nights at Rogan’s Hall, never knew about the dance hall on Green Street upstairs at Memorial Hall. I think I get my dancing moves through my mother’s DNA. I have seen photos of my mother from the Roaring 20s with her younger sister heading to the dance hall in their flapper dresses and flashy hats. Remember you always gotta look good, not just dance good!

The good news is that last Saturday’s fundraiser was successful and the first dance move to making Memorial Hall the place it should be.

Lydia Edwards Brings Campaign to the End of the World

The same day as the Memorial Hall fundraiser I made an appearance at the Tavern at the End of the World on Cambridge Street in The Neck.

Lots of people think Cambridge Street is East Somerville, but that’s not the case. Actually the last two tables and three bar stools are in Somerville, but everything else is in Charlestown.

Lydia is running for re-election unopposed. Two years back, most of the political makers and shakers wrote her off, but she surprised them all and has been a great district councilor all across District 1.

A Charlestown Master Plan Needed the Sooner, the Better

It is time Charlestown gets a master plan because too much is happening across the Town, and it needs to be organized rather than helter-skelter development. Too many projects are beginning or being mentioned, especially over by Hood Park, but elsewhere, too.

Time for City Hall to get moving and working with Charlestown neighborhood activists. Recently, I was over in Roxbury attending a meeting between City Hall officials and the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee folk. Community activists are completely involved in their community’s development and playing a vital role in furthering the neighborhood.

I grew up in Lower Roxbury and saw my old neighborhood destroyed by so-called “urban renewal.”

The Southwest Expressway that was halted by Gov. Frank Sargent was stopped too late for the neighborhood comprising St. Philip’s Parish. Today, the center of my life as a kid has been turned into Lots 2, 3 and 4, where employees of Boston Water and Sewer park their cars.

That’s right my old neighborhood was turned into a parking lot like the old song’s lyrics by Joni Mitchell.

Folks in Charlestown are now on the verge of pushing hard for a Charlestown Master Plan, and to do the work and fight the fight like their Roxbury counterparts.

About 10 years ago, I came upon an old Master Plan for Charlestown. Did you know that there was supposed to be a new fire house right near the Navy Yard and then Tobin Bridge? Even decades ago, someone saw what would happen to the Navy Yard, huh? I copied the architectural drawing of that “new” firehouse at the corner of Warren and Chelsea streets. The drawing appears to be late 1950s or early ‘60s with all those gas-guzzlers driving by the proposed firehouse.

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