Throwback Thursday: Scenes from Boston’s Open-Air Markets of Yesteryear

See Haymarket, Quincy Market, and Faneuil Hall in the good ol’ days.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

Haymarket has served as a gathering place and a source of nutrition for Bostonians for centuries. Merchants have been setting up shop along Blackstone Street since the 1830s, long before a trip to the area meant grabbing a bag of those irresistible Red Apple Farm cider doughnuts at the Boston Public Market.

As one of the oldest open-air markets in the country, Haymarket has held on to its roots. While vendors no longer pull carts of fruits, veggies, fish, and meat into the city by horse, they’ve maintained the same energetic spirit that’s fueled the marketplace for years. Today, a diverse group of more than 40 independent vendors set up at Haymarket every Friday and Saturday.

Here’s a look back at Boston’s open-air markets in the good ol’ days through the lens of Leslie Jones. Jones captured countless snapshots of daily life in Boston during his 39-year-long career at the Boston Herald-Traveler. Jones’ work is preserved on digitalcommonwealth.org, a digital archive of the Boston Public Library.

Check out photos of Haymarket, Quincy Market, and Faneuil Hall below to take a step back in time.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

A customer surveys the meat cart on Blackstone Street at Haymarket.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

Arlington meat vendor Richard Kingston stands with his cart and horse, Chucky.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

A busy corner of Quincy Market in 1930.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

A man inspects a celery cart in 1937.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

A fishmonger has a spill in 1939.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

A boy drives a cart full of watermelon to Quincy Market in August 1926.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

A “meat man” from Kelley’s Meats poses in Faneuil Hall.

boston markets

Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library

Customers take their pick from the crab cart at Haymarket on June 29, 1956.