In 1954, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Kevin Lynch began his Perceptual Form of the City project, a five year endeavor funded by The Rockefeller Foundation. He was joined in it by Professor Gyorgy Kepes at the M.I.T. Center for Urban and Regional Studies and Nishan Bichajian, assistant to Professor Kepes, who shot these photographs. These are the first of a series on The Old Motor that will feature more of those photos.
Our top photo shows one of the many varied businesses located near the famous Red Sox baseball stadium in the Fenway-Kenmore area of the city before urban renewal began. While its connection to the team might have been tenuous, there can be little doubt that the name was not only instantly recognizable to potential customers, but also provided useful information about its location. We do wonder about the meaning of the top part of the great sign that immortalized Marcy in neon and describes her Dad as the owner of the business. Do any of our Boston area readers know the story behind it?
In our second image, the Virgil Exner-styled DeSoto on the billboard in the background provides a dramatic contrast to the older cars in the parking lot. These radically restyled Chrysler products had been at the dealers for just a few brief months when this photo was taken but everything else already looks quite dated by comparison. Of course, their appearance is not helped by the coating of winter grime on them that is so familiar to snow belt motorists. You can learn a little more about the study here. Nishan Bichajian’s photos courtesy of MIT Libraries.