Throwback Thursday: Eight Photos of Dicey Accidents in 20th-Century Boston
Massachusetts, it seems, has long been a home to terrible drivers. But in the early 20th century, Boston’s streets were even dicier than today’s, as lax traffic laws and top-heavy vehicles ruled the roads.
Fender benders and car crashes were frequent—and common enough for Boston Herald-Traveler photographer Leslie Jones to make it a point to photograph scenes from accidents around town. Jones captured countless snapshots of daily life in Boston during his 39-year-long career at the newspaper. His work is preserved on digitalcommonwealth.org, a digital archive of the Boston Public Library, with categories specially reserved for auto, train, trolley, and boat accidents.
In his photos—taken before the days of caution tape—onlookers stand alarmingly close to flipped-over cars, trains, and planes. They appear to possess a still calmness in the presence of mangled metal, from Back Bay to the South End.
Below, take a look back at mishaps in the city in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s through the lens of Leslie Jones.
A car flips at the corner of Newbury and Berkeley Streets on January 29, 1937.
A Bay State Dairies, Inc. truck collides with a car on a residential street.
An airplane crushes a home in Quincy in 1928.
Bystanders examine an auto accident sometime between 1950 and 1955.
The Cape Codder train derails.
A car crashes into a light pole on Albany Street opposite Randolph Street in the South End.
An airplane crashes in the Charles River in August 1929.