The City of Boston

Author: O.H. Bailey & Co.
Publisher: Bailey, O. H. & J.C. Hazen
Date: 1879
Location: Boston (Mass.)

Dimensions: 65.0 x 109.0 cm.
Scale: Not drawn to scale
Call Number: G3764.B6A3 1879 .O43


The largest and most detailed bird's eye view of Boston proper, this view depicts the city from the southeast as if the bird's eye is positioned above South Boston. Consequently, the artist places in the foreground the rail lines terminating around present-day South Station and the busy eastern waterfront, with the central business district dominating the central portion of the drawing. By this time, the burned district had been rebuilt and Back Bay completely reclaimed, although this new real estate was only partially developed.

While this view observes the city from almost the same perspective as the 1872 and 1873 images, it displays a totally different style of presentation. Almost all the buildings within the city are shown in fine, realistic detail. Only structures in the distant suburbs of Brookline, Brighton, Newton, Cambridge, Somerville, and Charlestown are more impressionistic as these communities fade into the horizon.

The legend in the bottom margin identifies (by letter and number) 59 important buildings and localities dispersed throughout and on the fringes of the central business district, highlighting the political, commercial, transportation, religious and cultural activities in the city. These include the State House (A), Post Office (3), Customs House (4), City Hall (5), Faneuil Hall (8), the original Boston Public Library building on Boylston Street across from the Common (9), the original Museum of Fine Arts on Copley Square (11), and Boston Common (58).

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