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Busy Park Square District Parking Lot in Boston, Massachusetts

The Park Square District Parking Lot was located in the center of the City of Boston, just south of the Boston Public Garden. This circa mid-to-late-1920s photograph shows the facility packed with cars that the owners paid 35-cents a day to park there – while that price may seem cheap today, when adjusted for inflation the cost is $4.87. For comparison purposes with current rates, the Boston Common parking garage located nearby between the Boston Public Garden, and the Boston Common charges $28 for ten-hour daytime parking.

The photo demonstrates that the driving public in the Northeast, which suffers through cold and snowy winters, had moved away from open roadsters and touring cars and were driving mostly coupes and sedans even though the cost was higher to the thrifty Yankees that lived there. And to show that the car and truck had not totally replaced “Old Dobbin,” the image includes a horse-drawn delivery van; in some locations, the horse was used for deliveries as late as the fifties.

The enlargeable images below show the scene in detail. Tell us what you find of interest in the photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

15 responses to “Busy Park Square District Parking Lot in Boston, Massachusetts

  1. Behind the gentleman in the light colored suit, what is the car with the Veed windshield and the sloped radiator?

  2. The photographer is looking southeast. Just past the parking lot is Stuart Street [where “Old Dobbin” is stopped] . A little to the left, in the upper part of the picture, is the old armory at Columbus Avenue and Arlington Street.

    Sorry can’t identify any automobiles.

  3. Two rows ahead of the Enter Here sign, facing the camera, are two unusual looking cars with Renault-style sloping hoods. What really sets them apart is they each have a V-shaped windshield. What are these cars? My first guess was Franklin but those windshields are causing doubt.
    Great shot! Imagine the skill of the parking lot attendant who would need to know the myriad ways to start and drive each car.

  4. My bleary old blurry eyes show me perhaps, a dozen phaetons and two roadsters. I’d be happy to pay the parking fee to take one of them home.

  5. I am surprised that there aren’t more cars with sidemounted spares. I see one in front of the castle.
    Interesting station wagon at the end of the row behind the Enter Here sign. I think there is also a depot hack between the Franklins. Indeed a coupe version of that car would be very cool. Or a club coupe.

    • I always thought sidemounts were more of a very late 20s and into the 30s thing. They do hinder access to the engine and they needed a lot more access in those days.

  6. – I believe the Franklins are late Series 9’s. I find it odd to see two shovel nose Series 9’s, but not one horse collar Series 10. Of course, a Franklin was expensive enough that the owner of a Series 10 or 11 car would not park in a 35 cent/day lot.
    – I see a Whippet Model 96 Phaeton and a few “Improved Ford’s” but not a Model A in sight so it must be 1926-27. Just to the right of the “Enter Here, Parking 35-cents” sign on the left, is that a Chandler?
    – Below the Metropolitan Sales Company building, to the right of the drive coming into the lot, there is a Sport Touring with cycle type front fenders, aluminum step plates and a sloped windshield; like Templar, or HCS, etc, but it doesn’t look quite familiar.
    – You keep finding great stuff!

  7. What is the car, 3rd to the left of the Franklin; the one with the long roof? I know there’s another car right behind it and the roofs appear to be touching.

    • That would be a Model T with an aftermarket Station Wagon or Depot Hack type body. There were about 300 companies making aftermarket bodies for the Ford chassis.

  8. I am looking at Winter Time here ! About 99% of these Open cars have their tops erected and all “Eising Glass” Side Panels are in place!!! A cold day.

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