Jamaica Plain Elevated Rail History
Written by William Brokhof on November 15th, 2012
Thanks to my friend Tracy Price for bringing the following information to my attention. For those history buffs out there you might be interested in a couple of exhibitions that are focused on the subject of the Orange Line Elevated Rail that once ran through Jamaica Plain. The first is a stop-motion movie playing at the Connolly Branch Library in Jamaica Plain and the other is a photo exhibit at the main branch downtown.
Former Elevated Rail at Egleston Square in Jamaica Plain
The Fall & Rise of Boston’s Elevated Subway
Screenings of Tim Wright’s 30-minute documentary film “The Conservation of Matter: The Fall and Rise of Boston’s Elevated” will take place on Monday, November 19, at 6 p.m. at the Connolly Branch Library, located at 433 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. The film traces the fate of 100,000 tons of steel from the Boston elevated rail system, which was shipped eight thousand miles away to Japan, melted, and reformed into steel bars. The steel was ultimately used to create a structure in the middle of Apache country in central Arizona. Wright, a Boston-based filmmaker, will attend and discuss his work. The screening is sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society and is free and open to the public.
Boston Public Library Orange Line Exhibition
The newest exhibition to open at the Boston Public Library’s Copley Square location is “An Elevated View: the Orange Line.” The exhibition features 65 photographs from a project that documented Boston’s elevated rail system prior to its 1987 dismantling. The Orange Line, known simply as the El, served as fast and dependable transportation above Washington Street from 1901 to 1987. “An Elevated View” is open through January 19, 2013. Two years before the El was dismantled, the nonprofit organization URBANARTS organized a program called “Arts in Transit” on behalf of the MBTA. One component of the program paired four photographers with photography students to document the transition of the Orange Line. The students and their teachers photographed the line and its architectural and social surroundings. See http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=5823
for more information.