Next Stop; Rowe’s Wharf Station

2 RowesWharfStation

Rowe’s Wharf Station, Early 40s

Rowe’s Wharf is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful developments on Boston’s waterfront. With its highly visible arch that connects Atlantic Ave to the harbor itself, it has become a landmark against which you can judge your placement in relation to other points of interest. Should you walk through that majestic archway, you can find a marina, restaurants, a water transportation terminal, and a floating stage offering free concerts and movies during the summer. You can take a ferry to Hingham or a water taxi to Logan. It is a strong addition to the New Boston.

But is it really an addition? When the Boston, Revere Beach, and Lynn Railroad was built in 1875, a ferry connector to the Railroad’s southern terminal in East Boston was established at Rowe’s Wharf. Then, when the nation’s first subway system was constructed in 1901, a stop on the Atlantic Ave elevated tracks was created at Rowe’s Wharf, connecting the wharf to the city-at-large. Boston was then a major East Coast port and point of trade.

However, for reasons unclear to this blogster, by mid-century, Boston had lost much of its lustre as a viable port of call. The railroad to Lynn closed, the Atlantic Ave elevated closed, and Rowe’s Wharf was left to twist in the water, weather and wind, causing it and the surrounding area to quickly fall into delapidation. Perhaps New York had left us capsized. In any event, our major point of entry from the Atlantic became irrelevant and seemingly was lost to time.

With the exception of Harbor Towers, considered heretical at the time of their construction in the early 70s, nothing much happened on the waterfront for nearly 40 years. The city’s connection had been sliced off by the behemoth known as the Central Artery in 1959. Rowe’s Wharf was slip sliding away. It wasn’t to get its new lease on life until plans for the Big Dig were finalized. This would give the Boston Waterfront its rebirth and visitors to the city a reason to see why Rowe’s Wharf should be called the Hub of The Hub. Too bad you can’t take an old trolley car up and down Atlantic Ave and have a new stop at Rowe’s Wharf Station…..Jim Botticelli

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