Chandler's Pond Interviews
This is one of a series of interviews by local historian William Marchione with long-term Allston-Brighton residents about the changing face of the community.
Chandler's Pond Interview December 15, 1998
Sandra (Sancuk) Corsetti
Emily Costello
Gertrude Dobbratz
Genevieve Ferullo
Peg Haggerty
Sandra (Cassazza) Kilbride
William Marchione, Interviewer
Gerry McGovern
Alan Morgenroth
Gloria (Tofinelli) Puccini
Antonette Salvucci
Lucy Sancuk
William Marchione: This is William Marchione conducting a group interview with residents of the Chandler's Pond area in relation to the history of the pond. We are going to begin by going around the circle here, and having each participant introduce himself or herself, and tell us when they or the members of their family first settled in the Chandler's Pond neighborhood.
Emily Costello: My name is Emily Costello. I married Thomas Costello whose home was built in 1932 at 120 Lake Street in Brighton. My first recollection of the pond was looking out the window in the wintertime, before we had ice skating rinks and all these facilities for people to go skating on, and seeing a magnificent scene---all these children out there skating, all the different scarves and what-have-you flying around, and it was just a nice, happy, peaceful feeling looking out the window. Add to that the fact that I go back long before Towne Estates were built, and my children played on Lake Shore Road, and there was no traffic down there then, only resident traffic and the milkman and the postman. The kids could leave their bicycles out there. And, of course, I don't have to mention, that I just adore having open spaces around. It gives you such a feeling of breath and fresh air and not being cloistered in.
W.M.: Your house is on Lake Street. It overlooks the pond.
E.C.: My front yard is on Lake Street. My back yard overlooks the pond. My garage is down back. My property extends all the way down to the pond. And I've rebuilt that six foot wall to hold that land. It used to wash away a lot. It was very slopy in the old days.
Sandra Corsetti: When did you move into 120 Lake Street?
E.C.: 1950, when I got married. I came in as a bride.
W.M.: Antonette.
Antonette Salvucci (to W.M.): What year did we move down here?
W.M.: I know because I was six months old at the time. 1942.
A.S.: I couldn't remember if it was 41 or 42. I've been living here since 1942. I love the area because we have no neighbors in the back and no neighbors in the front. We have a wall, the Cenacle. Its great. We've always enjoyed living here.
W.M.: That was after coming from a much more congested area, too, because the family previously lived on Market Street.
A.S.: My father built cement steps for us down to the pond so we could skate. And we used to skate there during the winter and we used to love it. They used to build fires to keep warm and it was very, very nice. But years go by, and we get older, and this is what happens. I enjoy living here. I hope I die here.
Genevieve Ferullo: My name is Genevieve Ferullo and I live at 52 Lake Shore Road, and I moved into number 88 Lakeshore Road when I was seven years old, and grew up on Lakeshore Road and I came here in 1930. It was a dirt road. Our greatest memory as a kid growing up was the skating. And we couldn't go on that pond until the seminarians said it was safe. When the parents saw the seminarians out there, they'd let the kids go skate.
W.M.: You know, of course, that the archdiocese owned the pond back in the twenties?
E.C.: When the archdiocese sold the pond private developers wanted to come in and fill the pond up and put housing in there, and I don't know what happened then.
W.M.: The church basically owned the entire area, from the Cenacle across the valley to St. John's.
E.C.: That strikes me as a dumb move on their part, frankly. It would have been magnificent, truthfully, to have that extend all the way out to the pond; aesthetically that would have been just a magnificent area.
W.M.: But none of us would be living here!
E.C.: I know it. Who knows where I'd be.
W.M.: Gerry.
Gerry McGovern: My name is Gerry McGovern. It was in 1954, September, between two hurricane that I moved in (#40 Lakeshore Road). The first storm was windy, the second storm was wet. My basement filled up with about two feet of water. And I had my doubts of whether I'd be living on Lakeshore Road a month later. But I'm still there.
W.M: Lucy.
Lucy Sancuk: My name is Lucy Sancuk. I moved onto [#88] Lakeshore Road in 1955. I was born in Brighton. I had a problem like [Gerry]. But it cleaned up very well and I'm still there. I had two children. They enjoyed the pond also, ice skating. And we're still there.
W.M.: Peg.
Peg Haggerty: My name is Peg Haggerty and I moved in in 1954, in September. I like it very much. I have two daughters, and four grandchildren that really enjoyed skating. And I'm still there and I love it.
W.M.: Gloria.
Gloria Puccini: My name is Gloria Tofinelli Puccini. My parents bought our house (#80-82) on Kenrick Street in 1942. I was raised in Brighton, and after that I was married, and then I came back. When my parents died I bought half of their house and I'm still there, and I love it here.
Sandra Corsetti: I'm Sandra Sancuk Corsetti and I'm here with my mother, Lucy, and I remember that it was the summer, of 1955, that we moved in to 88 Lake Shore Road. There were lots of ducks.
W.M.: And there still there. Not the same ones, of course. Alan.
Alan Morgenroth: I'm Alan Morgenroth, and we moved in sometime in the mid-forties, and we first rented the house from the Bercurys, and then in 1958 we bought the house from the Bercurys, and we've been there since that time.
Gertie Dobbratz: I don't know what year. I was nine years old. But, I've lived there (#63 Kenrick Street) sixty-three years and we've enjoyed the pond out in the back and we skated with the seminarians, and we've enjoyed it very much, and we still love it, and we're still living there.
W.M.: So your family is one of the older ones?
G.D.: When we moved here Kenrick Street was only a dirt road. It had the Keith barn and the horses and things like that, and we enjoyed it very much and I still love it. And I'm still here.
W.M.: Sandy.
Sandra Kilbride: My name is Sandra Cassazza Kilbride and my family bought the house on Kenrick Street (#80-82) in 1942 so I grew up here, did everything I could possibly do as a child, climbed the trees, went ice-skating, fished in the back. It was my play yard. Chandler's Pond and the park was my play yard, and I've got lots and lots of beautiful memories of growing up here.
W.M.: Great. In looking at the old maps that are in the historical society collection, in 1916 the only family that lived on the edge of the pond was the Sullivan family. They lived in the house that Alex Wajsfelner now occupies, 54 Kenrick Street.
G.D.: Yes, Genevieve Sullivan Brewer.
W.M.: What I was curious about was whether there was any recollection of the Sullivan family among those of you who have lived here the longest.
G.D.: She never mentioned her family at all. There was just her and her husband. But whether she had any other family, we never knew. We didn't know that she had moved until one of the other neighbors told us that she had gone.
W.M.: And how long ago did she move out?
G.D.: Quite a while ago. She lived here quite a few years before she moved.
G.F.: It seemed like she was there forever.
W.M.: That Sullivan connection is very old. The oldest map that we have is 1875 and, again, that's the only house on the edge of the pond, and I suspect that the man who built that house was an employee of William Strong, who excavated the pond, so there's a long-term connection there.
E.C.: Are you talking about the McNabb-Sullivan family?
W.M.: No, no. This is a different Sullivan family. Then, there's another Sullivan family that was very prominent up at the top of Lake Street, that built the Corsetti house.
G.F.: Daniel Sullivan.
W.M.: They were contractors, and so forth.
S.C.: 34 Lake Street.
G.M.: They did the contracting for the seminary for the archdiocese. Whether that Sullivan is related to that family....
G.F.: I don't think so.
W.M.: I don't know of any relationship between them. That's a fairly common name.
G.F.: I don't think there was any relation. But she kept very much to herself. Nobody ever talked to her very much, so you wouldn't know if she had a family or not, Bill. But I always remember the house. It was like a doll house.
W.M.: That's too bad. It really would be nice to be able to confirm that the family came to the site originally at the time of the excavation of the pond. That he was an employee. That's a supposition on my part.
G.F.: It could very well be.
W.M.: It's a logical deduction to make from the early maps.
Who were you neighbors in the early years? Why don't we go around and talk about the people who we remember as having lived here in the past, anyone who particularly stands out in your mind.
E.C.: Well, I lived next door to the Lorenzonis. And we had Judge Sullivan living just beyond them, who everyone knows has since passed away. Actually, that family, from going to Warren Sullivan's funeral services and getting to know the family very well.... Actually, you should get in touch with Richard (Sullivan). His father had magnificent pictures of old Brighton. His father used to work at the abattoir. They're an old, old family. There house was there long before ours was. Eleanor (Sullivan McNabb) tells me that across the street, at the entrance of the Theology House, which they've been renovating and working on for the past year, that there was a carriage house there, long before my house was built and the Lorenzonis and so forth and so on. And I know he showed me some magnificent pictures that they had. So Richard probably has them somewhere.
W.M.: I know Richard well, and I'll definitely contact him.
E.C.: His father started working at the abattoir there. And my grandfather, as a matter of fact, had a fruit store down on Market Street. This was way, way back when I was a small child. And Eleanor used to say to me, "I know your grandfather. We used to go down there and buy fruits and vegetables from him."
W.M.: Now, what was his name?
E.C.: Stefanelli. He was one of the first merchants down in North Brighton there, long before the stockyard and all that.
L.S.: Bill, I remember, way back in the twenties, when we used to go down and pick dandelions down there, and those houses weren't there. There were just two or three houses. The Crosby house was there, and the Harding's house was there, and I forget what other houses were there. But that was all a vacant lot, and we used to go in and pick dandelions. I was only about four then, and we used to walk down there with the dirt road, as I said before. It was very nice then. And it was a dead end street even then. And we used to go over to the well at the golf yard to get the spring water and we used to carry the spring water home.
W.M.: Where did you live at that point?
L.S.: I lived in Brighton Center, on Winship Street.
W.M.: So you were coming all the way down from there?
L.S.: Yes. I was about four or five. My house, Genevieve, you might remember, was built in 1929.
G.F.: Yes, 1929.
L.S.: And I was going down there in 1926.
W.M.: Any other recollections of neighbors?
G. F.: In 1926, my husband came when he was two years old and there were only four houses on the street. There was the house next door, Arthur Smith, and he and my father-in-law were both plumbers. They built side by side. the next house was Etta Flahive. Her husband was a fireman. I remember Etta. And then the next house, I don't remember the first people who had it, but then the second people were named Thompson. It was a husband and wife. They never had any children. And they lived there for quite a few years. And that was in 1926. And then after that, like in 1929, my house was built, Lucy's house now, and gradually the street was filled in.
P.H.: Mine was '29 and '30. Justine told me '29 and '30, her house was built, her house and mine. The Cardarettes lived there.
G. F.: Yes, the Cardarettes.
W.M.: Apparently, both sides of the pond were being built at about the same time.
G.F.: I think they were. They started to develop.
G.M.: If you look at the houses down here, they're all the same.
L.S.: At my end?
G.M.: Yes.
G.F.: Every other one is different. One has a sun porch.
G.M.: But the general shape is the same.
G.F.: Yes, but every other one is slightly different. You walk into the living room in one, and another one you walk into a hallway.
L.S.: Mine is a hallway.
G.F.: I think Russell was the developer at the time that they built all those.
W.M.: Russell. Any relationship to...
A.S.: The plumber.
G.F.: It could have been.
G.M.: A. I. Russell up on Oakland Street.
G.F.: Yes, I think he was the one, from what I can remember.
W.M.: That's interesting. Any other recollections of neighbors?
S.K.: Starting up Larch Street, and I never really knew if their address was Larch Street or Kenrick Street, was the Murphys, Maurice Murphy. He was a teacher at English High. Next was Mrs. Lynch.
A.S.: And the Imbrianos.
S.K.: That was on our side, but after Mrs. Lynch were the Bradys, and Mr. Brady was the air warden during the war. I remember him. Like, watch out for Mr. Brady! Got forbid that you should have a teeny light on in your house, and he'd be pounding on the door.
G.F.: On Lakeshore Road, Mr. Howard was the warden during the war. And he lived right near Eleanor (McNabb), maybe it was the house next door that belongs to that fellow from the gas station, DiCicco. His name was Howard, and they were very strict.
E.C.: Wasn't Mr. Ford a first sergeant down on Lakeshore Road? The kids used to run like hell every time they saw him. It was terrible.
G.F.: He had nothing to do with the war though.
G.M.: Eddie didn't move in there until after us, after '55.
L.S..: They had the house next to Peg, where the sister lived.
G.M: That was the sister, right.
G.F.: That was Irene.
L.S.: Irene and Eleanor.
G. F.: The mother lived there, Mrs. Ford, and her two daughters and her two sons. That's where Kathy Nesser is now, maybe, on the street. They were one of the original people that came to the street. And Eddie then got Arthur Smith's house when he sold it, and Paul went off someplace else. Irene stayed there and Eleanor stayed there.
P.H.: She was the only one left.
G.F.: Irene, yes. But Eleanor was there too, the two of them stayed together. They were the original owners and they stayed right through all the years.
G.M.: It seems that there was a migration here in 1942 on Kenrick Street and 1954 on Lakeshore Road. Gee, if you go down Lakeshore Road, the house beside me was owned by the Brodericks, and the Broderick house is just like mine, only in reverse, just like the other houses on the street. If you walk in my front door on the left is the large living room. If you walk in their front door, on the right is the large living room. The bedroom structure is the same upstairs.
E.C.: Were they here before you, Gerry?
G.M.: Within a couple of months. They were here before me.
G.F.: It was all about the same time.
G.M.: Then, the Hickeys stayed there. I don't know when they built their place.
G.F.: They were there before you people came.
G.M.: Oh yes, they were there a long time. They built that house on the other side of me.
P.H.: Is the daughter still living?
G.F.: No, I think she died.
G.D.: Is Jimmy still living, Gen?
G. F.: Jimmy is still living up in New Hampshire.
G.M.: About 1956, Ed Smith moved in, didn't he, to the Smith house?
G.F.: Yes.
A.M.: Bill, can I say something? A cousin of the Hickeys is public works commissioner in the City of Newton, Jim Hickey. I think Maureen is not living, from what I understand.
G.F.: No, she died.
W.M.: Well, maybe we should say a bit about our neighbors in this stretch here.
A.S.: Well, the Levi's lived next door to us.
W.M.: Right, that's 42, isn't it?
A.S.: And next door here (#24-26) were the McCarthys and the Fords.
E.C.: Were these houses already built before Lake Street?
W.M.: I think they were built at about the same time. The house, 36-38, which was the first house we occupied, was built about 1927 or '28.
A.S.: One of the McCarthy girls married Tom. He was a dentist. They had one apartment and the mother had the other apartment.
W.M.: You mentioned Dr. Ford being next door. He passed away recently.
A.S.: He passed away.
G.F.: Tom Ford? Yes. Oh yes, I've gone to him for years. His son is still practicing.
W.M.: His son, T.J., is a dentist now.
A.S.: I used to go to him. But I can't grab two busses to go to him. But I always liked him.
G.F.: T.J. is good, very good. He loved the area.
A.S.: Now I go up here, to the corner of Foster Street.
G.F.: Dr. O'Connor.
L.S.: He used to live down on the last house on my street when the children were growing up. Then he moved to Ward Street in Newton.
W.M.: Does anyone remember the dedication of the Alice Gallagher Park?
G.F.: I remember Alice Gallagher. It was either 1939 or '40 that they had the dedication and Tobin was there.
W.M.: Maurice Tobin was the mayor.
G.F.: Maurice Tobin was the mayor and they had the dedication. I don't know all the politicians. I think that Mr. Ward from up on Wallingford Road was there. What was his first name?
W.M.: Michael?
G.F.: Mike Ward was there. The politicians at that particular time. And, of course, they dedicated the park to Alice E. Gallagher.
E.C.: Was she an activist?
G.F.: Supposedly she was an activist. And I think I told you the story. I was trying to get the name changed to ? park.
W.M.: The story that I heard was that Maurice Sullivan, who was the City Councilor in that period, apparently suggested that the park be named for Alice Gallagher because he had defeated Eddie Gallagher for that City Council seat. Eddie Gallagher held that seat for many, many years. Maurice Sullivan told me this story himself. Maurice Sullivan felt sorry for Gallagher. He was a nice man, and so forth, and he'd deprived him of this position. His wife, apparently, developed cancer. She had been somewhat active, I guess, in the community.
G.F.: In Oak Square.
W.M.: So, that's where the initiative came from.
E.C.: And as an extension of that story, I think I told you, my youngest son lives in Stoneham, and this house across the street was purchased by a Gallagher family, and they began talking: "Where are you from, David?" David said, "I'm from Brighton." He said, "You're from Brighton. You must be familiar with the Gallagher Park." And, of course, as a kid what did the Gallagher Park mean to the kid? It's just a monument there, you know. And he said, "Yes, my mother still lives there." and he said, "You tell your mother I'm going to come visit her some day because I have good memories of that Gallagher Park." David said, "Find out what the history is in Gallagher Park. I'm really embarrassed." Isn't it funny? It's a small world.
W.M.: It really is.
A.M.: Bill, can I tell about some of the people on Lake Street that I remember?
W.M.: By all means.
A.M.: The house near Lakeshore Road, the white house that now has all the students, Mr. & Mrs. Herman lived there. the Neudels lived upstairs. She was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Herman. Next door to us there was the Knowles family and the Vickery family, who were the parents of Irene Knowles. She moved to Belmont.
G.D.: I tried to call her, but there was no answer. She fell down a flight of stairs and she hit her head. So Charlie said she was in a nursing home and she hasn't got much of a memory. But I haven't been able to get in touch to find out how she is. There's no answer there and I figure, maybe she's gone.
A.M.: And in the house next to ours there was a Mr. Braney living many years, until he passed away. And next to him, I think, was the Digginses and Driscolls. I think Sally Driscoll is still living in that house. I think it was her brother who built the foundation to our house. And somebody told me, I don't know how true this is, a man who lived in the house at the corner of Kenrick and Lake Street had something to do with inventing the Stanley Steamer. Had you heard that? Whether they were teasing me when they told me that, I don't know.
W.M.: No, that's interesting. Well, the Stanley Steamer factory was in Watertown, right on the Charles River.
A.M.: It was one of the Digginses who told me that when I was a little boy.
W.M.: Interesting. What I'd like to do at this point is to focus on how the pond was used over the years. Did anyone ever go swimming in Chandler's Pond?
G.F.: I fell out of a boat in there.
W.M.: An involuntary dip.
G.F.: And it was deep.
G.D.: It was very deep. My brother and I were ice skating and we were chasing the puck and we both went in. And I was up to here. There was no bottom. If it wasn't for the seminarians we probably would have drowned.
W.M.: Now the average depth is what, seventeen inches?
G.D.: It's not very deep. In certain parts. If you go over toward where we are it's a little deeper. It depends on where you are. It isn't as deep as it used to be.
A.M.: We had a boat when we first moved to the pond. I don't know if you knew that, Bill?
W.M.: You had a boat?
A.M.: What happened was, when we moved in there was a boat in the cellar. I don't know if you remember Joey Dagnal. He was the nephew of the Digginses. He and I fixed the boat. It was only an eight foot boat and we used it for three or four years when we went to school. And the deepest part was off Trudy's (GD's) house in this part here is what we found out, and even some springs, because in the hot weather you could put your hand in the water, you could feel the nice cold water. In the spring, I remember, you could go around and see the turtles. It was nice and clear, you could see all the flora down the bottom.
G.D.: They always told us, when they had the fire---it was a terrible fire---that they put the horses in the water, and they say you could probably find some of their bones in there. I've never been able to find out if it was true.
G.P.: My brother died, they said. My brother died at the fire, but it wasn't true. They took some horses and went out the other side and the thing caved in.
A.M.: We had six foot oars so around here was where we found was the deepest at the time and as you go to Lake Shore Road it gets shallower and shallower.
G.F.: It wasn't shallow where I fell in!
L.S.: Bill, I remember them saying that Mr. Hynes was a fireman, went to put out the fire, and one of his sons was one the boys he pulled out.
G.F.: That had nothing to do with the barn, or anything. This was two boys playing, Howard Gesmer, Eleanor Sullivan's nephew, and then the Hynes boy, Paul Hynes. They were playing with matches over the golf course, and they got a hold of something that caused an incineration, and both of the boys burned to death. But Frank Hynes was on vacation. He was a school teacher, and he ran over when the Fire Department came down, and then he rode back when they took one of the boys out. It was his son.
S.C.: What year was that, approximately?
L.S.: '46, '47?
G.F.: Yes, about that. About '47.
G.P.: I was pretty well grown. I was about fifteen years old then.
S.K.: I don't recall that. I remember the barn burning.
W.M.: There must have been stories in the paper.
G.F.: There were. You never thought to save anything at that time.
A.M.: Gen, wasn't that before Barbara passed away? Remember, Barbara Hynes passed away from some illness.
G.F.: Yes, Leukemia.
A.M.: But, I think Paul passed away before that.
G.F.: Yes, before that. Yes.
W.M.: What kinds of fish were in the pond back then?
E.C.: My son caught eels. I mean huge eels.
G.D.: Sunfish.
P.H.: Catfish.
S.K.: Carp.
E.C.: And of course, huge, huge turtles.
G.D. Enormous!
E.C.: Alex (Wajsfelner) said that they have to go into the reeds; that they bury themselves into the ground when they dredge it. Is that true?
W.M.: The plan is to recruit a group of people to actually go through the pond after it's been dredged and locate the turtles and move them to other locations.
E.C.: They should, because I don't think they'll survive. But they're massive.
W.M.: Well, they'll be looking for volunteers. I won't be one of the people volunteering!
G.F.: What they're going to do on that, that they had to make sure of the wildlife before they even moved ahead on the dredging, but they have to leave so much of a border around to protect the wetlands and when they start to dredge, those turtles, because of nature, will start to go to the wetlands, so they will burrow in so that they will save themselves, many of them. But they will have to take out some of them, won't they, Alan?
A.M.: Yes, but it's not an endangered species.
E.C.: It's not considered an endangered species?
A.M.: No.
E.C.: So it doesn't matter if they live or die, is that what you're saying?
A.M.: No I'm not saying that, but you won't have to take the precautions that you would if you had endangered species.
W.M.: There's been some discussion of moving them to Bullough's Pond (in Newton) temporarily.
A.M.: I hadn't heard that.
E.C.: You know, my question is, has this pond shrunk? I feel, in all the years that I've been here, this pond has shrunk. Has It?
A.M.: In what way?
E.C.: When I used to walk to the water's edge I didn't have to walk all that distance, say from the sidewalk into where the reeds start growing. It seems like the pond has shrunk.
A.M.: What I try to do is keep the water level as low as possible so that my yard doesn't flood. I made more of an effort than I used to.
G.F.: The reeds have grown. They've taken in a large part near Kenrick Street, there. But they can't touch them, that's the sad part of it. But they did tell us that when they dredge some of those will die off, naturally, but that's all right. But then, because it will be deeper, and those will be up higher, they won't spread as fast.
W.M.: Has the appearance of Gallagher Park changed over time?
S.K.: The trees were really small when I remember in 42.
E.C.: They planted a tree there. What else did they do there? I'm really not sure.
G.F.: It has changed to the extent of time. The people using it and so forth, Bill. Actually, the Park Department keeps it up so beautifully, you know. But, it's a difficult situation with all the people. They've created a path along the grass to walk their dogs and everything, and a lot of people don't use pooper-scoopers, so it has changed to that degree. But otherwise I don't think it's changed too much.
S.K.: I was just recently looking at a picture that was taken in 1950. I'm sorry that I didn't bring it, I forgot. But you can't imagine how barren the slopes were here on Kenrick Street. The trees were small. The benches. Hardly any of all the reeds and things that you see now....
E.C.: We've had tremendous growth. That's why I'm saying, I think the pond has shrunk, truthfully. That's my personal opinion. I'm talking in circumference.
W.M.: We used to have a beautiful view of the pond here. We can't see it in the summer when the trees have leaves.
E.C.: Can they cut some of that growth down?
W.M.: That's city land. We can't cut it down.
E.C.: They wouldn't care whether you trimmed the trees.
G.F.: I think I'd go out at midnight....
W.M.: We won't publish that, though.
S.K.: We don't even know who said that.
W.M.: Do any of you have any special memories of the country club?
E.C.: My sister-in-law got married there.
W.M.: We were married there, as a matter of fact.
L.S.: My son was a golf caddy until he was twelve or thirteen years old.
S.K.: Coasting. Coasting down among the trees.
G.P.: Tobogganing.
S.K.: They used to have a tram for the skiers. The ski lift.
W.M.: They had a tram there?
E.C.: Those were the good days. That was before Towne Estates.
G.M.: A good, big wire.
G.D..: That's all it was.
G.M.: It was on a wheel. You don't remember that?
W.M.: No, I don't.
G.P.: He was younger. He was the baby of the street, I think.
A.M.: They used to have night skiing too.
G.P.: With the big light on.
G.D.: We used to go and watch them ski down the hill and we used to go tobogganing.
E.C.: That used to be a nice sledding-ground for the kids.
S.K.: Yes, the sledding was great.
E.C.: They used to love that for sledding.
G.D.: Then, in the summer time my brother used to go golfing. That's when he cut his foot.
G.P.: It was a perfect area to raise a child, it really was.
P.H.: And it was a dead end street.
G.F.: It was beautiful before Towne Estates was built. When Boston owned that end of the golf course they had the most beautiful pear trees and all these gorgeous trees all around nearer to Kenrick Street. the kids would talk about climbing the trees and have a basket and bring home all the different pears and whatever there was to his mother and she'd make preserves and whatever. They used to have wonderful blackberries.
A.S.: I used to walk Billy (W.M.) down, remember.
W.M.: Yes, absolutely. That actually brings us to another topic that I wanted to raise, which is the Elliott Greenhouses here on Kenrick Street. I can just remember them (in the late 1940s) as abandoned greenhouses when I was little. Antonette used to walk me down there and we'd gather blueberries and blackberries. Does anyone remember that as an operating business? The Elliotts grew roses there, from what I understand. It was one of the biggest rose-producing businesses.
G.P.: Did the Antonellises take that over and put some of their things in there.
W.M.: The Antonellises?
S.K.: They had a farm.
E.C.: Are you talking about Joan Antonellis' family? She said that her father-in-law owned all of that land where all the Chandler Apartments were built.
A.S.: They did.
G.F.: They built the apartments.
E.C.: She said that was when they had the ice houses and all those good things on Kenrick Street.
S.K.: But, didn't they have a farm there on Kenrick Street, the land between Kenrick and Brayton?
G.P.: They did. they had their boys working there.
E.C.: Where was that?
S.K.: On Kenrick Street.
G.P.: Where all the little houses are.
E.C.: On the other side here?
G.P.: Right.
E.C.: Near where St. Sebastian's used to be?
S.K.: But not up that far.
W.M.: That was all part of the Elliott property. The stucco house up at the top of the hill which has since been taken down was the Elliott residence and in the late thirties they sold the property and they moved to New Hampshire where they carried on the business of growing roses. Up to three or four years ago it was still a going business up in New Hampshire. It may still be in operation. But no one actually remembers them in that location? Do any of you remember the ice houses? That goes back too far.
G.M.: It's funny, I was doing some digging out in my back yard, my neighbor up in back of me on Lake Street was over, a fellow by the name of Gaquin. He's an interesting fellow. He just passed on. He owned a business down on Commonwealth Avenue during World War II, a restaurant, the Old Vienna
G.F.: The Old Vienna Cafe.
E.C.: Your talking about the Gaquin? Didn't they have a liquor store in Oak Square?
G.M.: And then they had a liquor store down here in Oak Square. But as a retiree, when I moved into my house, I had the greatest gardener in Brighton for free. He must have been in his seventies at the time. He'd be out there, the hottest day of the summer, and he had it stepped, his back yard coming down to mine, and we'd look out our window, any time of the year, you'd have roses, whatever flower is in its season. When I started doing some digging to level off my back yard, I ran into a great big concrete plate, it almost looked like a sidewalk slab. And he had mentioned that he thought this was part of an ice house, may have been part of an ice house landing of some sort. I don't know whether it ever came over that far.
W.M.: The only ice houses that appear on the old maps---there were two of them---there was one at the corner of Lake and Kenrick Street, and it was huge, it occupied almost the entire extent from Kenrick to Lakeshore Road, and then there was another one on the site where the Keith Stables were later on. One of them was at the eastern end of Chandler's, the other in between the two ponds. I haven't seen anything on the maps on your side. There were some barns along Kenrick Street, on this side of the pond, that I think were associated with the ice company. Downing was the last owner.
G.M.: Him I remember.
G.D.: We used to have an ice box and buy a big piece of ice and you'd put it in....
G.F.: We had those.
A.M.: When we built our two-car garage, we found out the house was built in 1927 and I think the first one that was built was the Diggins house in that area before that.
W.M.: Which was?
A.M.: The dark brown house, two houses away from ours, toward Kenrick Street.
G.M.: Bill, the Sullivan house on Kenrick Street that you mentioned before (#54), my recollection was there was sort of a wall coming out toward the pond. It was bare in there.
S.K.: I remember that wall.
G.M.: Where he built his garage.
G.D.: Oh, yes, that used to be empty.
G.M.: A great big wall came out.
S.K.: Where the Harrigan house is now, there was a foundation there. There were two lots there and there was a foundation. And that was a great place to hang out and climb trees. That was our playground.
W,M.: It may even have been a house that was started in the depression period and they couldn't afford to complete it.
When the foundation of this house (30 Kenrick Street) was excavated in the 1950s, we found hundreds of milk bottles in the ground here.
A.S.: And turtle eggs.
W.M.: I found in the back issues of the Brighton Item an advertisement for an ice cream factory on Kenrick Street, and I wouldn't be surprised if the building stood on or near this site. So for a period of time they were apparently making ice cream here.
S.K.: A few years ago when Frank Sacchetti added onto his house and they were digging to put in a new foundation, they also dug up a lot of bottles. I got one.
W.M.: Really. Does it have an inscription on it?
S.K.: No. I'm trying to think. It's a small one.
G.M.: First ice cream house in Brighton was on your property!
S.K.: Its a little blue one. So I don't know where all those bottles came from. Frankie, the young boy, collected the bottles.
W.M.: Do any of you have any memories of the Keith Stables, apart from the fire?
S.K.: They used to have auctions there. Every Sunday they had the auction.
G.P.: Thursday.
S.K.: Sunday!
G.P.: Thursday!
W.M.: We'll have to have a debate.
G.P.: I never used to be frightened to go down there. I used to put on my uncle's boots, he was a little guy. I was about fifteen. Nobody ever bothered you. It was nice. They'd take the horses in, and start bidding on them. It was a lot of fun.
S.K.: They even had a few carriages that were parked, without horses and I can remember, as a kid, sitting on the carriage and pretending that I was a very wealthy person and the carriage going down the street. That was a lot of fun hanging out there. And when I was very young I used to hang out with two older cousins that were very adventurous and we would go into the stables and we'd climb the rafters. If my mother ever knew she would have killed me! I just followed after them, watching the rats scurry by, and what have you. But it was a great place for kids to hang out.
G.F.: Well, you know the Sullivans up on Lake Street were great horse riders, and they had a little stable up there on Lake Street, in back of 34. There was a little road that went through, and they used to come down through our property at 88 (Lakeshore Road), and they would ride over to the stables, and they would ride all the time. And they auctioned off a lot of these horses. There was Ruth, and Danny, the father. He was very active in the stables over here.
W.M.: We have, actually, an auction catalog in the historical society collection---the Pickens Stable---which I guess was part of this operation here. It says Kenrick Street.
G.F.: It was Pickens that we always knew it as.
W.M.: Oh, really. I always heard it referred to as Keith's.
G.F.: It was Keiths. But I remember it as Pickens when they first opened up the stables.
W.M.: I've often wondered if the Keiths here was related to Hastings Keith, the Congressman on the South Shore, because they owned stables on the South Shore.
G.F.: Could be.
S.K.: What was the family that lived...the woman who owned a couple of horses and I think she may have kept them at the stables, I'm not sure, but she used to let us kids ride them, take the horses out and let us kids ride them around the park area? I can't remember her name. They lived where Kenrick Street goes down into that alleyway. They lived down there in that alley. We used to call it the alley.
E.C.: I don't mean to change the subject, but Mr. Lorenzoni, who used to be my neighbor, and who since died, he told me that the archdiocese across the street has a book on the land that they own and it has a lot of details in it about this whole area.
W.M.: We have a copy of a history of St. John's Seminary. That's what he may have been referring to. It has a few photographs in it, including one of the pond, which shows some cattle grazing on the edge of Kenrick Street.
E.C.: No kidding.
W.M.: The quality is not very good, unfortunately, of the photograph. But that what he may have been referring to.
E.C.: Was that in Cardinal O'Connell's era?
W.M.: Well, they started developing the seminary in the 1880s. It goes back to the time of Bishop Williams, at the end of the 19th century.
G.F.: Cardinal O'Connell used to walk around the pond all the time and he had two French poodles, or one French poodle anyway. And he was a very demanding, not a lovable man.
W.M.: He had that reputation. They called him "Gangplank Bill" because he was always going on trips to different parts of the world.
G.F.: But he expected..., now I remember my grandmother, she was an elderly woman, and he expected that if you met him, and he came along, that she would kneel and kiss his ring. He was very demanding of the attention he should have.
W.M.: Well, now he's a permanent resident of the neighborhood. He's buried up there on the seminary grounds.
E.C.: Is there a burying ground up there?
W.M.: He has a crypt. Are there any graves? We have them up in the Cenacle. There was a graveyard in the Cenacle.
E.C.: They took those bodies out.
W.M.: They moved them.
A.S.: They did?
W.M.: When they sold the property.
G.F.: Yes, they took them out. They removed all the bodies.
W.M.: We visited the topic a little bit earlier on---recollections of the fire that burned the Keith Stables?
G.D.: They never did find out, did they Gen, no one seemed to know how it started, or who started it?
G.F.: It was a sheer accident that it started, but there was an awful lot of excitement and you didn't dare get too close because it was so horrible, the horses being burned, and the screaming of the horses.
G.P.: Oh, it was terrible!
G.F.: It was just a terrible night. And then, afterwards, to see it all smoldering, and to know that so many horses were killed. They did save a few, didn't they?
S.K.: There were a few that were saved. In fact, her (G.P.'s) brothers, my cousins, opened one of the barn doors...
G.P.: And went in one way and dragged them out the other way.
S.K.: And then the ones that were saved were all over the place. I looked out the window and one was in the driveway. That was pretty strange. But there were some that were saved. They didn't all die.
A.S.: There were a lot of horses in there.
G.F.: Yes, they did keep an awful lot in there.
G.D.: There were quite a few.
S.K.: And then I think they kept horses there even afterwards. They had the corrals.
G.F.: Yes, the corrals because the whole burned barn was destroyed. It was so sad to look at it and see it all smoldering the next morning.
W.M.: I wonder whether the stables building was the same building that housed the ice houses? I mean, we have no way of knowing for certain. The ice houses may well have been converted into stables.
G.F.: We don't have anybody still alive from that era that would remember.
W.M.: I'm sure there are people alive who remember the stables, who may even have worked at the stables, but whether they would know that these were the same buildings...
G.F.: Depending upon the age.
E.C.: Or even photographs or something to go on.
A.M.: The only trips that I ever used to make over there was when my father directed that I go over there and get some fertilizer with the wheelbarrow.
W.M.: It was good for the local gardens.
S.K.: And you know, they kept other things. There were goats there, and there were pigs there.
G.F.: Donkeys, too.
S.K.: I don't remember the donkeys, but I remember the pigs.
W.M.: The buildings that are down in the alley, so-called, were they associated with the stables?
S.K.: No, there was just one family that lived down there and I think they lived in that little, teeny house, or they kept their horse in there or something, next to the big house, the very last one.
P.H.: Did anybody live in those houses?
A.S.: That used to be Mr. Keith's house keeper. I used to go down and sew for her. She used to call me up and I used to go down and I'd pin her clothes, and then I'd take them home and do them and then I'd take them back. Her name was Doucette, I think.
S.K.: What was her name?
A.S.: Doucette.
S.K.: That sounds familiar. That might have been the lady that owned the horses.
A.S.: She was a housekeeper for Mr. Keith.
W.M.: Now, did he live there?
A.S.: He lived there.
S.K.: She didn't own a lot of horses. She owned maybe one or two horses.
A.S.: That I wouldn't know.
S.K.: And she used to let us ride. Maybe there's that connection.
A.S.: But she was an odd duck. She was really odd.
W.M.: Do you have any idea what building he lived in?
A.S.: She lived in the small house.
W.M.: But Keith lived there as well, the owner of the stables?
A.S.: Well, she was his house keeper. She used to keep the place.
G. F.: Was he in the larger house?
A.S.: I don't know where he lived. I know she used to cook and clean for him and take care of the house.
G.M.: Who lived in the big house?
W.M.: Maybe Mr. Keith lived in the big house.
S.K.: Yes, because that little house is very little.
I don't think he would have lived in that teeny little house.
G.D.: Stanley lives in there now.
S.K.: They used to live in the Brady House.
W.M.: What's his name.
S.K.: Bradbury.
W.M.: Stanley Bradbury. Did anyone ever drown in Chandler's Pond?
G.F.: Yes.
S.C.: There were rumors. I didn't know it for sure.
G.F.: There was a fellow committed suicide, from the Chandler Pond Apartments. Because my uncle was a photographer for the Record American and I remember him coming out. And his body was frozen in the ice.
G.P.: Was he naked?
G.F.: Yes.
G.P.: My mother saw them take him out of the pond.
W.M.: But this was a suicide rather than something that was an accident?
S.K.: What year was that, approximately?
G.F.: In the fifties.
G.M.: The Chandler Pond apartments, that are there now? Were they built in the fifties?
G.F.: I think they were.
G.M.: They were built after Towne Estates.
S.K.: You're right, they were after Towne Estates.
G.F.: 1965 that Towne Estates were built.
S.K.: Chandler Pond Apartments were after.
G.F.: I don't remember it's being after. It had to be before.
G.M.: Now, are they the Chandler or the Kenrick Apartments?
G.F.: Chandler Apartments.
G.D.: But isn't there one that says Kenrick, that street before you come, that says Kenrick Apartments? You know, when you walk down from our street...
G.F.: Oh I know, that goes down into the golf course. But those are elite condominiums.
G.D.: Oh, is that what they are?
G.F.: They belong to the City of Newton.
G.D.: They belong to Newton? They're nice looking apartments.
G.F.: They're tremendous. They were built at the time that they formed the association in Newton to preserve the golf course. And Newton built them. I don't know if it still happens now, or if they're independently owned, but all the rents went to this fund to maintain the Newton golf course.
W.M.: That's the clustered housing idea, that you maintain as much of the open spaces as you can. Actually, Newton, I think, has done a good job.
A.M.: They wanted to keep the eighteen hole golf course so they just reconfigured the greens and everything.
G.F.: I'm sure that it had to be in the fifties that they found that body.
G.P.: It was after I got married, because my mother mentioned it.
A.M.: Wasn't there a horse that drowned once in the pond?
G.P.: Oh yes, I believe there was a horse that drowned.
S.K.: We heard rumors that people had drowned in there. But there was nothing concrete. This is way back.
W.M.: The story when I was growing up was that it was a bottomless pond.
S.K.: Me, too.
E.C.: No bottom.
W.M.: And now we find out that its seventeen inches deep!
W.M.: Can anyone remember the Edison School being constructed?
A.S.: I remember that.
G.P.: It was a farm before.
A.S.: I can remember my girl friend Mary Leone's sister used to go there and work on the farm. So one day I said to my mother, "Ma, I want to go work with Loreta." So, I went and picked beans. My God! I said to my mother next day, "I'm not going back!" Fifteen cents a bushel! I picked two and a half bushels. And I took my brother with me, and he was stealing beans out of my bushel! I said, "That's it! No more!" I didn't go back.
W.M.: Was the farm on the actual site of the school or was it further up?
A.S.: Where the school is.
L.S.: It went all the way up to Foster Street.
A.S.: All the way up.
G.M.: Did it cross Foster Street, because I remember getting radishes on the other side of Foster Street?
A.S.: No.
S.K.: I thought that was part of the Antonellis' Farm.
G.P.: The kids who worked on the farm used to be let out of school early. And the teacher got the kids together and said, "Don't make fun of them. I was brought up in the country, and they have to work at it when the stuff is ready."
S.K.: Yes, that was the Antonellis Farm.
W.M.: By Antonellis, do you mean Connie Antonellis?
S.K.: The Antonellis that owned the farm down here. And they owned that too. But evidently they must have broken up the property and put the school up there. But when the school was there, there was still part of the farm.
W.M.: Do you realize that Glenmont Road was originally part of Kenrick Street?
G.F.: Was it?
W.M.: What they did was, when they put up the Thomas Edison School, they gave it a name that was associated with Edison.
G.P.: Yes, it was the street he lived on.
W.M.: Is that what it was? Something to do with him.
A.M.: Wasn't the principal from Glenmont, New Jersey or something?
W.M.: I hadn't heard that.
A.M.: First principal of the Edison School? That's what I was told.
G.P.: Thomas Edison's family home was on that street and that's why it was named after him, I was told in school.
W.M.: How about Lake Street? We haven't really talked about Lake Street. Were there any notable folk living up on Lake Street? You (E.C.) mentioned a judge.
E.C.: Judge Sullivan used to live just two or three doors (How many doors?) up? Beyond the Gaquins.
W.M.: What was his first name?
E.C.: John.
W.M.: Was he a judge of the municipal court?
E.C.: The Brighton District Court. He was a bachelor.
W.M.: When was he a judge?
G.M.: Sixties. He was the Associate Justice. I think Chick (Charles) Artesani was the judge.
G.F.: That's right. He was. He was the Associate Judge.
S.C.: And Dr. Hsieh, lived in the stucco house.
A.M.: The Chinese Justice of the Peace.
W.M.: Oh, sure, I remember him. He was apparently Ambassador from Nationalist China to the United States at one point.
S.C.: I remember my husband and I (we were engaged at the time), and my husband was very fond of Dr. Hsieh, and we visited him, and he showed us a picture of himself dressed in regal clothing that, as you say, he was an ambassador. And he was certainly a very wise man, and he had written some books about Confucius, etc. and he gave us some books. Interestingly, he had become a Christian, and his wife, who was a Caucasian, had become a Buddhist, or some Asian religion, and they were an interesting combination, and I remember that for our wedding they gave us some gifts, one of which was a very lovely hanky, that was very beautifully embroidered, which I still have.
W.M.: I remember going there trick-or-treating, and getting anti-communist literature in my bag! How was his name spelled? Do you know?
S.C.: I think it was H-s-i-e-h. I could probably find it.
A.M.: Females who I knew in Brighton would tell me that they'd walk by there, and he would offer to marry them free of charge.
G.D.: We used to see him when we'd go walking. He'd be out front. He seemed like a very nice man.
G.F.: Very mild.
G.D.: Very gentle.
A.S.: He was always working in the garden.
G.D.: Always was working in the garden, whenever we walked up the hill. He had a beautiful garden. Did you ever see his garden? It was absolutely gorgeous. Something I wish I had in my back yard.
G.F.: I can remember Undine Road when they didn't have any houses there. It was just all woods, all the way up to the first part of Undine Road.
G.M.: What about the Undine Spring water?
W.M.: That was my next question. I was about to ask if any of you had ever drunk the water from the famous Undine Spring?
G.F.: Oh, yes.
G.M.: That went right into the pond. That's where you'd go when you were skating and your throat was parched. You'd get on your skates and start heading up toward the golf course.
S.K.: There's a spring that's still running.
G.F.: It's all blocked in the Towne Estate. It doesn't get through at all.
W.M.: Apparently, the well is still up there in someones back yard on the north side of Undine Road.
E.C.: is it in use?
W.M.: No. I don't think anyone would drink the water at this point.
G.F.: I don't think so. Not at this point. I'd be afraid to.
E.C.: How old is Undine Road? When were those houses built there?
G.F.: Oh, I'd say they were built in the late forties. The first part, where Marion's house is (the late Marion Alford) was all built, except they used to have the Cat Farm there (the Ellen M.Gifford Home for Animals). And the Cat Farm was just beautiful. That house, it's a shame it was destroyed.
G.M.: Did a Gifford live there? Did she live there?
G.F.: Yes, she did. She was the one who left all her money to take care of these cats.
G.M.: I didn't know whether she actually lived there. And then a fellow by the name of Jello, and her daughter married John Melia, who was the rep, and John worked out of the cat farm during the first years of their marriage.
G.F.: They lived there in the house with Mrs. Jello. It was such a beautiful building.
W.M.: We have a beautiful photograph of it in the Historical Society collection.
G.F.: Yes, and I saw it.
W.M.: A magnificent piece of Victorian architecture. It's a shame to lose a building like that.
G.F.: Oh, it is, because it was so different.
W.M.: Of course, it came down before the city began to think about protecting these buildings. Especially in the neighborhoods. Now anything that's over fifty years old, if you go for a license to take a building down, a demolition permit, the matter has to be brought before the Boston Landmarks Commission. I sit on the Landmarks Commission. There's a measure of protection there. We can delay the process for ninety days, while we study the historical or architectural significance of the building. We never would have allowed them to take down a building like that.
G.M.: It was a spooky looking building, now as I recall it.
G.F.: It was.
G.M.: Gothic.
W.M.: Yes, Gothic.
A.S.: Who owned that house that was locked up for a good many years?
G.P.: On Lake Street?
A.S.: Yes, and this woman used to come out dressed in a real old fashioned---she was quite elderly---and she used to come out in an old-fashioned dress?
W.M.: Was that the Chandler House?
G.F.: The Murray House. We used to call it the Murray House, and the Chandler House. It could have been. How old were you then Antonette?
A.S.: A long time ago. I was just a kid. We used to go up to St. Ignatius Church. We used to see her.
W.M.: That's quite a house.
G.F.: Oh, yes. I haven't been in it it recently.
A.S.: Who owns it now?
G.F.: There's two young fellows. Those are the architects that own it. They've got five baths and seven bedrooms.
S.K.: Where is that?
G.F.: You know, Bob Murray's house. Next to Peter Curtin's house.
W.M.: That's the original house on the upper end of Lake Street.
E.C.: Right next to where Bill Galvin lives.
W.M.: The Chandler who owned the pond had an ice-cutting operation here and that was his house. He looked down from that site on the pond.
E.C.: I would love to go in it today and see how they restored that. I'll bet it's gorgeous inside. I wonder if they've finished.
W.M.: Incidentally, the three stucco buildings, including the Corsetti House, at the upper end of Lake Street were all by the same architect. His name was Guy Lowell, and he was the architect of the Museum of Fine Arts on the Fenway.
G.F.: Oh, really!
W.M.: A very distinguished architect was connected with these three buildings.
E.C.: So, you're talking about Siragusa's house, and your talking about Stevens' house, and that little house, that years ago there used to be a justice of the peace living there?
G.F.: That was in the back. Harry Rowan.
W.M.: I'm not sure.
G.D.: The Corsetti house was a beautiful house.
G.M.: What's the third one, the Stevenson house?
W.M.: There are three of them.
G.M.: The corner of Undine?
G.F.: Would that be like Marion Alford's house?
W.M.: No, all three of them were stucco buildings.
G.F.: You mean, Peter Siragusa's house... There were three of them. They were duplexes.
G.M.: Leo Corsetti had one.
G.F.: No, no, no...
G.M.: Where Galvin is now.
G.F.: No, no.
G.M.: There were three together.
E.C.: But, Gen, how about that little house that a justice of the peace used to live there years ago? The small stucco house. Wouldn't there be four stucco houses?
G.F.: That's what Sandra was talking about, Dr. Hsieh.
W.M.: (to E.C.) I don't believe the house that belonged to the Chinese gentleman was one of them. But there are three others further up.
E.C.: So its Stevens, Siracuga, and... What about Marian Alford's house? There are seventeen rooms in that house.
W.M.: I'm not sure. It's on the 1925 atlas, I believe. I'd have to check it.
E.C.: It's on the 1925 atlas? That's a magnificent house. You know where Marian Alford used to live? That is a mammoth house. That must have been a big estate at one time.
G.F. and G.M.: That was the Ed Sullivan house.
W.M.: I believe they built all those houses up there, didn't they? The three stucco houses were all associated with the Sullivan family.
G.F.: I think they owned a good portion of all that land.
E.C.: They owned Marian's house also?
G.F.: Ed Sullivan lived in Marian's house. Jack Sullivan lived in the Corsetti's house.
E.C.: Are they related?
G.F.: They were brothers.
E.C.: David (Alford) said that there were seventeen rooms I that house.
G.F.: The Corsettis had the same thing. The Corsettis had seventeen rooms, eighteen rooms.
W.M.: Let's talk a little about the institutional neighbors. St. John's Seminary. Do any of you have any recollections of going into the seminary buildings?
E.C.: I have wonderful memories. When I first moved in there that place was mobbed with seminarians. You used to see them walking in threes and fours down Lake Street all around the pond. They were constantly in and out. It was the busiest area I ever saw. Today I don't see one of them. There are some of them in there, I'm sure. They go to school there. On the back part, on the Foster Street side. I don't see a seminarian today. And they're claiming, Bill, that this is going to be one of the largest seminaries in the country. They're closing down seminaries.
G.F.: The third largest in the country.
E.C.: Brace yourself, B.C. is coming in there, because I don't see any sign of any seminarians coming in there.
A.M.: They have a hundred and fifty there now.
G.F.: Two hundred.
A.M.: Is it two hundred? Because I think they have a seminary on the east coast and one on the west coast.
G.F.: It's the third largest seminary in the country.
E.C.: Yes, it is, but where are all these seminarians that are supposed to be coming in?
G.F.: They are there. Two hundred.
E.C.: There are two hundred of them there?
G.F.: They're not seminarians, but they are students deciding if they want to become seminarians. St. Clement's Hall is mostly taken by B.C.
W.M.: Maybe they're no longer dressing in the clerical garb.
E.C.: They sure aren't, but I don't see any activity.
G.P.: They don't walk around like they used to in clerical clothes.
G.F.: They're students. There are about two hundred. No, maybe there's a hundred fifty, as Alan said. There's a hundred who are undergraduates. There are fifty who are in the theology school. They are paying to go there. And it's a campus. And they have a lot of courses in theology; anything that a seminarian might need, but then they decide at the end of their education---Do they want to become a seminarian? And they're counseled. Cardinal Law wants to keep everything within the seminary, even all your people in the churches, your lay people, are all trained up there. He wants to control everything from there.
E.C.: Are they going to B.C. to take their courses or are they taking their courses at St. Clement's?
G.F.: They might be taking a few at B.C.
E.C.: Because I don't see any signs of life there. The only good thing I see, truthfully, and I just really love it, because I can remember in the old days, in the summer time when I opened my windows, you could hear them all practicing for the cathedral choir. It would bring tears to your eyes.
A.S.: The bells. And they used to sing. It used to be so beautiful.
E.C.: It was really wonderful to listen to.
S.K.: Do you recall, they opened the place up, I remember it one year anyway, one summer, and they had like a fair. I was a kid, so I don't remember exactly what it was. They opened it up to the public and you could go through. Well, there were certain rooms you weren't allowed to go through, certain parts of the seminary in the big building you couldn't go in, but for the most part, they had displays and they had other orders of nuns coming in, and had displays of things, and just allowed the public to walk through.
W.M.: Did they let you into the chapel?
S.K.: Yes.
E.C.: You were so lucky because the architecture...
S.K.: It was so beautiful.
E.C.: Although now, with all this renovation going on, at least it shows signs of life in there, because at night time, at five o'clock in the morning, you see it all lit up, and that's a good
sign. I really am happy to see that.
G.P.: Maybe they're making it into a hotel!
W.M.: Genevieve and I have talked about approaching the archdiocese to see if we could make some sort of historical visit that would allow us to go inside the buildings. Maybe when the renovations are completed up there....
G.F.: Yes.
W.M.: Because we have so many really gorgeous institutional buildings, a lot of them are church-related, in Allston-Brighton that people don't normally get into unless they're a member of a parish.
E.C.: Is that Romanesque?
W.M.: No, I don't think you'd call it Romanesque. It's Norman (Gothic).
L.S.: My sister's husband was a cook up there for about sixty years.
W.M.: Oh, really.
E.C.: No kidding. Did he enjoy working up there?
L.S.: Very much.
W.M.: Who?
L.S.: My brother-in-law, Victor Aiello. And finally, they kind of brought him a lot of food that was pre-cooked and everything.
E.C.: Is it true, that rumor that went around that there were a few murders up there that they hushed up?
L.S.: There was one. There was a street man, bad man, or whatever you want to call him, that somehow he was murdered, but they never found out who did it. He used to go up there, and my brother-in-law used to feed him.
E.C.: But they never found out who did it?
L.S.: No, they never found out who did it.
W.M.: What about our other institutional neighbor here, the Cenacle?
G.F.: I remember going up there to mass when I was a child.
A.S.: They used to lock the door. If you didn't get there before 6:30 you wouldn't get into the church.
E.C.: Are they noisy? Do you hear them, the students?
W.M.: We do. They party up there. It isn't so bad that you can hear it inside, but if you're standing out in front of the house you can hear them.
A.M.: Wasn't Baroness Maria von Trapp up there for awhile?
W.M.: Was she really? With the children?
G.D.: Yes, she had some of the children with her.
W.M.: Was this just after the war?
G.D.: After the war. I used to go up with my brother. They were lovely children.
E.C.: So would you say they're good neighbors, Bill? Do you wish they weren't there?
W.M.: Well, I wouldn't go that far.
G.F.: It's a business.
W.M.: I think we have to be concerned about the possibility of them expanding there.
G.F.: Oh, Bill, it's expanding and it's getting frightening, because they have a lot of host families around. We had a meeting with them. Some of the people were there. They have no curfew, no restrictions on these people whatsoever. They're roaming the streets, on Lake Street, at four o'clock in the morning and the people are very upset. And especially the ones down, I've heard different ones, not so much you people, but in the summertime...
G.D.: A bunch of them go by our house at eleven or twelve o'clock, right by our house. I don't know where they go.
G.F.: You're lucky it's not four or five.
E.C.: They probably go to those Euro clubs. They come from wealthy families.
G.D.: There are usually four or five of them going up there, but I don't know where they go.
G.F.: They've got about three hundred of them up there now. They've got so many around in host families and, in fact, one of the students got into trouble down at Caldor's and stole a lot of things from there. She was picked up by the police. The police took her to the station and booked her, and so forth. Then they brought her up to the school, because the girl would not reveal the host family, and when they brought her up to the school, they left her in the custody of the school. The school would not tell the police the host family's name, so the police were very concerned that the host family would not be notified that this girl had been picked up for shop lifting. So they're keeping things a little too quiet to protect their students, when that's not right.
W.M.: And to protect their reputation, the school's reputation.
G.F.: That's very true. But on the other hand, the host family should have been notified, or maybe they were, but the police were concerned. At least that's the story that was told to me. But that was beautiful up there. Wasn't it beautiful?
S.C.: I used to go there for retreats when I was in college, and it was just very special.
G.D.: Yes, we used to go to the retreats, too, they were wonderful, my sister and I.
A.M.: I do remember that my father would call them regularly to shovel their walk, because it was very slippery walking by there sometimes.
W.M.: Do any of you remember what prompted the city to make Lake Street a one-way street?
E.C.: It was the traffic back then. That was a big fight. I remember that. Do you remember that? The thing is, when you're coming to that driveway at St. John's, where Theology House is, and you're flying down the street on a skiddy, icy day, when you're trying to make that curve, I don't know how many times they put curve signs there, and kids would just tear them down. And then you'd have somebody trying to come up the hill. I used to sit by the window, and I'd be there for hours, because it would be one smackup after another. And then they'd spin around...
W.M.: I heard that the archdiocese was approached by the city to widen Lake Street and there was a controversy about the wall, and who would be responsible for reconstructing it.
G.F.: It was the WPA that built the wall.
E.C.: Was that wall really built by the WPA? It's the most magnificent wall. You don't see a crack anywhere.
S.K.: The Cenacle walls were too.
W.M.: The best walls were built by the WPA. They had first-rate craftsmen.
A.M.: I think my father wanted to see it two-ways at one time. There were others, too. I think part of the problem where it's so narrow is that it was laid out incorrectly, so the city line goes within about five feet of the houses. So for the city to do it, all they would have had to do was take their own property, so it would have been hard to justify taking the wall down and putting it back. That's what I understand happened. It's not a problem where our house is, but where the street is so narrow.
Within five or six feet of the houses, where the hedges are, that's all actually city property.
E.C.: I understand some of our sidewalks extend way out on city property. Is that true?
A.M.: Right. Legally they could have done it, but I know there was a lot of objection at the time.
G.F.: There was. I remember, I was one of them. It was the best thing they ever did.
E.C.: Oh, absolutely.
A.M.: And I remember Miss Sullivan's, Eleanor's sister, comment at one of the meetings. I haven't forgotten it: "In these broad times, it is time for the street to be broadened."
W.M.: How did the neighborhood deal with the Towne Estates issue?
G.F.: We fought it tooth and nail!
L.S..: We even paid the lawyer, but didn't get any results out of it.
E.C.: We lost our privacy, everything.
W.M.: There was no neighborhood association at that time?
G.F.: No.
L.S.: We signed all kinds of petitions.
G.F.: We fought tooth and nail. Mayor Collins said, "No, we need a tax base. We definitely need a tax base." So, we gave them eight years free for no taxes!
W.M.: That kind of thinking is what led to the demolition of the West End---decisions that were made which we now realize were not in the best interest of the city.
G.F.: That was pathetic. Those people never really got over it.
E.C.: But, Gen, Boston always caved in and Newton always won, though. That part of Towne Estates, when they built that, why did Boston cave in and get rid of a golf course that was in the City of Boston? Why is it our city always gets rampaged?
G.F.: Because of the politicians.
A.M.: Its been thirty years now, but wasn't the architect, or somebody, related to someone on the Planning Board or something, that would need a variance?
W.M.: It's usually something like that.
A.M.: I think that was part of the story.
W.M.: Well, I've reached the end of the questions that I'd come up with, but I don't want to bring this to a close if any of you have anything more that you'd like to talk about.
A.M.: I remember when the Tofinelli kayak tipped over, or something, and my father and I went out to rescue them.
G.P.: Once they dipped in when I was skating and another time on the boat.
S.K.: I went out on that boat once, but it didn't tip over.
A.M.: I remember my father came home from work, and we took our boat, which was a wooden boat, and rescued that boat.
G.M.: Who was in charge of lighting the fireworks off? That guy ought to get a medal for the courage of getting behind those cannon going up in the air.
G.P.: That's Mike (Sullo) letting off the fireworks.
W.M.: Out here?
G.P.: Yes. On this side.
G.M.: He had the raft or something...
E.C.: Wasn't he pulling all those chestnuts out of the pond, too?
G.F.: Oh, he's been great!
G.D.: He cleaned all that yellow stuff off the pond.
S.K.: All the algae.
G.M.: Was he the one doing it, all that cleaning?
S.K.: Yes, that was Mike.
L.S.: What did he do with it?
G.F.: It's great fertilizer.
G.P.: You let it dry and you use it for mulch for your garden, if you have a garden.
[W.M.: In a subsequent telephone conversation with Genevieve Ferullo, I was told that golfing great Francis Desales Quimet lived on upper Lake Street for many years. Quimet, who was born and brought up in Brookline, won the 1913 U.S. Open, held at The Country Club in Brookline. In 1914 he won the U.S. Amateur and French Open. He lived in the Stevenson house, one of the stucco Guy Lowell-designed houses at the top of the street. See Hardwicke and Reed's, Images of America: Brookline for a photo of Quimet, p. 45.]
Home | AB Info | Interviews