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Dorchester Illustration of the Day, November 24, 2010
Commercial Point Painting ca. 1840
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 Dorchester Illustration of the Day no. 1433

This is the last Illustration for this week. See you again on Monday.

Painting of Commercial Point ca. 1840 by H.H. Hollingsworth of Milton owned by the Dorchester Historical Society.

View from Meeting House Hill, towards Boston Harbor, circa 1840 – title used in exhibit catalog Portraits of New England Places (1984). The painting shows the area of Dorchester where the huge, colorful gas tank is now located near the Expressway. The painting reveals a scene of a residential and commercial area, called in the 1700s Preston’s Point and also Captain’s Point. It was home port to a fleet of whaling and fishing ships. The twin neoclassical mansions, white in color, at the center are located where the Dorchester gas tank stands, today. They were commissioned by the architect Charles Bullfinch and belonged to the Joseph Newell and the Ebeneezer Niles Families who were East India traders.

From 1859 History of Dorchester:

p. 375 & 585 About 1807 Messrs. Newell & Niles purchased Commercial Point and opened it as a place of business. A project was formed and a company raised to erect a dam from the aforesaid Point across Mill Creek to Leeds’s Point, in order to have water sufficient to erect a number of mills and establishments for manufacturing purposes. The owners of the old Tileston mill, situated above the proposed dam, not being satisfied with the arrangement, made objections, which defeated the plan, and a bridge instead of a dam was built. New & Niles having been unfortunate in business, the Point was neglected, the buildings became dilapidated, and the place was for a long while neglected. For a time during the War of 1812, a regiment of soldiers was stationed there. About 1832 the place was again put in order, the fishing business was carried on to a considerable extent and several whaling vessels were fitted out there. After a few years the concern was sold out, and the Point is now (1859) used for the coal and lumber business, and has a large forge erected on its north-eastern extremity.

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Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 1511 images.
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Do you know something about this topic? Do you have other pictures or items or knowledge to share? What about a personal story? Are you a collector? Do you have questions? Contact us here.
Created: November 24, 2010   Modified: November 24, 2010