From: Janice Cassani Re: Pope's Hill Station
My grandparents, aunt and dad lived in the apartment upstairs over the Pope's Hill Station (1922 -approx. 1932). In fact, my dad was born there in March, 1922. They are listed there in the 1930 census and paid a monthly rent of $13. My grandfather loved this home so much that he wrote a 2 page article with his memories when he was 85 years old in 1972. If you are interested, I will share. My grandfather worked as a clerk at the Neponset Station.
Here's the article:
Home, Home, Sweet Sweet Home!
There?s no place like Home!
There?s no place like Home!
John Howard Payne
The home of which I will write was not set in ideal surroundings, like the poet describes ? ?The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wildwood? ? No birds sang round the door or built their nests in the trees near the house ? there were no trees, - but many crows flew over it every morning from their nests further inland to pick up food along the shore and at dusk would fly back.
Four railroad tracks ran by the house with only the width of the platform between, and between two hundred and two hundred and fifty trains passed by it every day except Sunday.
Ninety telegraph wires went by it within a few feet of the house, and during a northeast storm they would sign a mournful song.
This was the place we went to live in on New Years Day 1922. It was the apartment on the second floor of the old railroad station at Popes Hill, Dorchester, provided for the agent and his family. There were no tickets sold there at that time and no agent worked there. I was rated as a clerk and worked at Neponset Station.
The apartment lacked all the material comforts, which we now think of as being necessary. It had no hot water, no electricity, no bathtub, and it was lighted by oil lamps and heated by stoves. But although it lacked these material comforts it was a place of affection, peace, and rest, and those are things, which make a house a home.
Edith was two years old when we went to live there and Franklin was born there in the Spring, so their earliest memories are centered in that home, and if what I write brings back these memories to their minds, that is reason enough for these things being written.
On account of the situation of the station we had a complete view of the surrounding district. It was high up near the railroad tracks and away from all other buildings. From the East we could look out over the Neponset River estuary and beyond that to the outer Boston Harbor. Northward our eyes could follow the railroad as far as Harrison Square where a curve took it out of sight. Southward we had a clear view of the tracks as far as the Neponset River drawbridge. The railroad and its activities were always with us. We couldn?t get away from it.
When Franklin was a run-a-bout, one of his pleases was to watch from the kitchen windows as a train came into sight and watch it go by the station and disappear toward Neponset.
The center of Neponset in 1922 was quieter than any town at the present time. There were no super highways or supermarkets then. These were the stores as I remember them; one grocery, one dry goods store, one hardware, one variety and two drug stores. Also the Minot School and the fire station were there. Except for the trains passing by, it was quieter where we lived than most streets at the present time.
When we left there, I was homesick for the place for a long time. For the activities which went on around us, but of which we were not a part. For the twinkling lights across the harbor at night and even for the rush of the trains with the smoke and cinders which went with them; for to quote another line from the poet, - ?Be it ever so humble there?s no place like Home!?.
The following lines are as they might have been written by one who lived his early childhood in the apartment over the old railroad station at Popes Hill during the 1920?s.
How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood
When fond recollection brings them back to my mind.
The boatyard, the railroad, the spot on the hill
Where the freights would get stuck and get pushed from behind.
The wide spreading dump, and the billboards upon it
The bridge and the beach where the kids used to wade;
The old Popes Hill Station, the tracks that run by it;
And even the ?Shoppe? where the doughnuts were made ?
The old fashioned do-nuts, the jelly-filled donuts,
The cinnamon donuts that ?Puritan? made.
Hugh Hubbard 1972
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Created: August 27, 2007 Modified: November 24, 2007