Boston in Transit
Mapping the History of Public Transportation in The Hub
592 pp., 11 x 11 in, 942 color illus.
- Published: March 7, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A richly illustrated story of public transit in one of America's most historic cities, from public ferry and horse-drawn carriage to the MBTA.
A lively tour of public transportation in Boston over the years, Boston in Transit maps the complete history of the modes of transportation that have kept the city moving and expanding since its founding in 1630—from the simple ferry serving an English settlement to the expansive network of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA. The story of public transit in Boston—once dubbed the Hub of the Universe—is a journey through the history of the American metropolis.
With a remarkable collection of maps and architectural and engineering drawings at hand, Steven Beaucher launches his account from the landing where English colonists established that first ferry, carrying passengers between what is now Boston's North End and Charlestown—and sparing them what had been a two-day walk around Boston Harbor. In the 1700s, horse-drawn coaches appeared on the scene, connecting Boston and Cambridge, with the bigger, better Omnibus soon to follow. From horse-drawn coaches, horse-drawn railways evolved, making way for the electric streetcar networks that allowed the city's early suburbs to sprout—culminating in the multimodal, regional public transportation network in place in Boston today.
With photographs, brochures, pamphlets, guidebooks, timetables, and tickets, Boston in Transit creates a complete picture of the everyday experience of public transportation through the centuries. At once a practical reference, local history, and travelogue, this book will be cherished by armchair tourists, day-trippers, and serious travelers alike.
"If you want to know what Boston transit could look like in the future, it certainly helps to know what the city's trains, buses, trolleys, ferries, and other public transportation systems looked like in the past. And if you want to know what it looked like in the past — well, you're probably not going to find a better one-stop resource than this book."
The Boston Globe