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The weekly show where two Boston history buffs tell their favorite stories from Boston history.

The weekly show where two Boston history buffs tell their favorite stories from Boston history.
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The weekly show where two Boston history buffs tell their favorite stories from Boston history.






Jubilee Days (episode 102)

In 1869, an eccentric entrepreneur and musical visionary built one of the largest buildings in 19th Century Boston. It was a concert hall with twice the capacity of the modern TD garden, and it was built to house the largest musical spectacular the world had ever seen up to that point. It was the Boston Coliseum, built to house the Grand National Peace Jubilee celebrating the end of America’s Civil War. Show notes:


Riot Classics (episode 101)

For this week’s show, we’re revisiting three highlights from Boston’s long and storied history of rioting. We’ll include stories from past episodes covering the 1919 Boston police strike, 1747 impressment riots, and the 1837 Broad Street riot. Listen to the end to find out how you can get some free HUB History swag in celebration of our 100th episode! Show notes:


The Occupation of Boston (episode 100)

250 years ago this week, British troops landed in Boston. Author J.L. Bell joins us to discuss the British government's decision to send troops in an attempt to keep peace after Boston's years of upheaval. Instead of bringing peace, the tense occupation would culminate in the Boston Massacre less than two years later. Listen to the end to find out how you can get some free HUB History swag in celebration of our 100th episode! Show notes:


Boston's Wild West (episode 99)

Brighton is one of our westernmost neighborhoods, and it’s often associated with Boston’s large and sometimes unruly student population, but in the mid 19th century, Brighton was home to all the elements of a western movie. There were cattle drives, stockyards, saloons, and stampedes through the streets. Before it was tamed, unruly Brighton was our own wild west. Show notes:


Margaret Sanger, Uncensored (episode 98)

his week, we’re discussing Margaret Sanger’s thwarted attempt to present a lecture on birth control to the good citizens of Boston in April of 1929. The 1920s were a fairly liberating time for women – women were voting, drinking alcohol socially, cutting their hair short, and dancing the Charleston in short dresses. However, Boston was slow to let its hair down under the stern gaze of the Watch and Ward Society, and birth control remained one of the ultimate taboos. Show notes:...


Hunting the King Killers (episode 97)

This week, we tell a story from very early in Boston’s history, a story partly shrouded in legend. The cast of characters includes everyone from Increase Mather to Nathaniel Hawthorne, encompassing two kings, two continents, two colonies, and Royal governors Endecott, Andros, and Hutchinson. It is the story of two judges who signed the death warrant for a king, famously known as the regicides, or king killers. Edward Whalley and William Goffe became celebrities in Boston, before being forced...


September 1918, with Skip Desjardin (episode 96)

This week, author Skip Desjardin tells us about his new book September 1918: War, Plague, and the World Series. He introduces us to a pivotal month, when world history was being made in Boston and Bostonians were making history around the world. The cast of characters ranges from Babe Ruth to Blackjack Pershing to EE Cummings. During our discussion, you’ll learn about the Massachusetts National Guardsmen who fought the first American-led battle in World War I, you’ll hear about the...


Pandemic 1918! (episode 95)

On August 27, 1918 Boston became acquainted with the epidemic that has gone down in history as the “Spanish flu.” A more accurate name for this disease outbreak might be the “Boston flu,” because our city is where this influenza variant mutated and first turned truly deadly. The first cases of this new and deadly disease were reported in South Boston 100 years ago this week. Soon, Boston would suffer nearly a thousand deaths per week as the disease peaked. Before it was over, up to 20% of...


Amelia Earhart in Boston (episode 94)

You probably know about Amelia Earhart’s famous career as a groundbreaking aviator, and you almost certainly know about her famous disappearance over the Pacific. But you may not know about Amelia Earhart’s first career as a social worker in one of Boston’s many settlement houses. This week, we discuss her early exposure to aviation, the famed Friendship crossing, and also her reflections on her career of service to newly immigrated Americans. Show notes:


Folk Magic and Mysteries at the Fairbanks House (episode 93)

In this episode, we're joined by the curator of one of the oldest houses in North America. He'll tell us about evidence that's been uncovered that generations of residents may have believed in an ancient form of countermagic. The inhabitants of Dedham’s Fairbanks House used charms and hex marks deriving from Puritan, Catholic, and pagan religious traditions in an attempt to ward off evil forces that might have included witches, demons, and even disease. Fairbanks House Museum curator Daniel...


Bullets on the Boardwalk (episode 92)

On August 8, 1920, an epic brawl broke out on Revere Beach when police attempted to arrest a group of four disorderly sailors. In the chaos that followed, 400 sailors attempted to storm the police station to free their comrades, even stealing rifles from the beachfront shooting galleries and turning them against the police. Soldiers from nearby Fort Banks had to be called out to restore order at the point of a bayonet. It was the height of Revere Beach’s early 20th century popularity, when...


Boston’s Pickwick Disaster and the Dance of Death (episode 91)

On the evening of July 3, 1925, Boston’s Pickwick nightclub collapsed while couples packed the dance floor. Dozens were trapped in the rubble, while firefighters, police, and laborers worked desperately to free them. In the end, 44 people were killed and many more were injured. A rumor circulated that the disaster had been caused by a popular dance called the Charleston. This fake news soon became one of the most viral stories of the newspaper era, causing many cities to ban couples from...


Love that Dirty Water (episode 90)

For many people, summertime in Boston means canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and even swimming in the rivers that run through and around our city. To celebrate the season this week we’re coming three classic episodes about industry, adventure, and romance on the water. We’ll hear about the nearly 400 year history of corn, cotton, and condos on the Mother Brook; some late-nineteenth century fake news about Vikings on the Charles; and the early 20th century canoe craze that drove...


Boston's Barons of the Sea (episode 89)

In this week’s episode, we sit down with author Steven Ujifusa to discuss his new book “Barons of the Sea, and their race to build the world’s fastest clipper ship,” which will be out this Tuesday, July 17. Steven will tell us about 19th century drug smuggling, what it meant to trade for tea in China or gold in California, and why America’s most prominent families were involved in the shipping business. Most of all, he’ll tell us about the East Boston shipyard where Donald McKay built the...


The Wreck of the Mary O'Hara (episode 88)

In January 1941, the two masted fishing schooner Mary O’Hara collided with a barge in Boston Harbor. At least 18 sailors died in the ice cold waters of Boston Harbor, while they were almost in sight of their own homes. Only five members of the crew managed to cling to the exposed mast for hours until help arrived. At the time, headlines called it Boston Harbor’s worst disaster. Show notes:


The Charles River Esplanade (episode 87)

This week, over a half a million people from near and far will flock to the banks of the Charles River to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. Why did Boston decide to create new land dedicated to recreation along the river, and how did some of that land end up dedicated to a highway? The story begins with the Storrow family. Listen now! Show notes:


Immigration in Boston (episode 86)

In this week's episode, we use three classic episodes to turn the Trump administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric on its head. The President teaches us to be afraid of Central American and Middle Eastern immigrants and asylum seekers because of terrorism, crime, and an unfamiliar religion. Our ancestors had these same fears about earlier immigrant groups, groups that are today considered part of the fabric of America. In their day, Italian Americans were suspected of terrorism, Chinese...


When Darkness Veiled the Sky (episode 85)

This week’s show relates three incidents across three centuries when daytime turned to darkness in the skies over Boston. They weren’t solar eclipses. Instead, they were a different natural phenomenon, one that was completely unpredictable and each time led to speculation that the end of the world was at hand. Show notes:


The Broad Street Riot (episode 84)

The Broad Street Riot of 1837 was one of Boston's many historical melees. This one took place when a company of Yankee firefighters ran into an Irish funeral. Despite our reputation as a coastal liberal enclave, Boston has a history of hostility towards newcomers. When Irish immigrants began arriving in our harbor en masse, Yankee nativists welcomed them with violence and prejudice. Before long, a funeral procession in the wrong place at the wrong time led to a brawl with well over 10,000...


Wicked Proud (episode 83)

It's Pride Week in Boston, so we're bringing you the story of Boston's first Pride parade. While most early Pride celebrations were joyous occasions, Boston's 1971 Pride parade was a protest march. Inspired by Stonewall, activists confronted representatives of religion, policing, and government. Show notes: