Motorcars outnumber horses, but not by very many in this crowded scene from Boston’s Quincy Market dating from the early to mid-1920’s. Easily forgotten today is how long dobbin lingered in our big cities as a viable hauler of freight. Also forgotten amidst the concern about air pollution during last few decades are the accolades the automobile received in the early part of the last century as the solution to a pollution problem of another sort, that left behind by thousands of horses in the urban environment.
For instance, by one estimate, in 1880 between three and four million pounds of manure were deposited on the streets of New York and Brooklyn every day and that each horse produced about a quart of urine daily, which added up to around 40,000 gallons per day. In that context, the automobile and motor truck represented real progress.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. Leslie Jones Collection © Copyright Leslie Jones.