One of the reasons I enjoy working on a birthday list every year is that it gets me out into my own neighborhood and city and helps me appreciate all that is at my doorstep.
A friend and I recently took a historic walking tour of a local neighborhood. I’ve lived in the same three-mile radius for 17 years, and this was the first walking tour I’d taken in the area. It was nice to take the time to look at local architecture and hear some historical facts about the neighborhood. One woman on the tour had grown up in the area, and it was cool to hear her share firsthand knowledge of the changes over time.
In the same time period, I took my first Boston by Foot walking tour. I don’t know what took me so long! I went on the “Dark Side of Boston” tour. The volunteer tour guide was great, and I learned some new things about Boston. I learned that the North End neighborhood used to be extremely dodgy and was called the Black Sea.
I learned that Charles Ponzi, the man behind the Ponzi scheme, created his scheme in Boston. I put a misconception to rest: I thought the Boston Strangler killed his victims in the 1800s; I guess I equated him with Jack the Ripper? Nope, the Boston Strangler was killing his victims in the 1960s. The tour guide grew up in the Boston area and remembered that his neighbors started locking their doors during that time.
There wasn’t much of a dark side to the story of the narrowest house in Boston…just your run-of-the-mill brotherly spite. A father left land to his sons when he died, and the one son built a huge house and left his brother very little land. That brother went ahead and built a house on the tiny spot. The guide said that the house recently sold for $800K. That’s Boston real estate for you…