• Boston

A Look Back: Boston and Commercial Real Estate in 1917

By Timothy Griffin

The city of Boston – along with the world-at-large – was a far different place a century ago.

In 1917:

  • A movie ticket cost 23 cents
  • A local ride on the Boston Elevated transit line cost 5 cents
  • The United States had just declared war on Germany in World War I
  • And Babe Ruth was still a member of the Boston Red Sox

Boston itself also looked far differently.

  • Huntington Avenue ran right through what’s now Copley Plaza
  • The (now) Red Line was still expanding to Broadway and Andrew
  • The Park Plaza Hotel was merely a dream
  • And the Hatch Shell’s home – not to mention the Seaport – would have been underwater

As we look back over what’s taken place in Boston this past year, here’s a look back to what the real estate landscape in Boston looked like back then.

Courtesy of the State Library of Massachusetts, here’s a map of the city from a 1917 atlas.

Cushman & Wakefield Interactive Map of Boston Commercial Real Estate in 1917

Click here to take a close look at any part of the city (*Note Large File)

Each section of the map below links to a more detailed view of that section of the city, where you can see an incredible level of detail – right down to who owned each building 101 years ago. Hover over each number to see the boundaries of each section of the city, and click to be taken to the full image and see more detail.

Who occupied the building where you work today? Was it even there?

Now look at this map of Boston today. What do you think that might look like 100 years from now?

Cushman & Wakefield Map of Boston Commercial Real Estate

We’ll have to wait and see.

Tim Griffin Cushman WakefieldTimothy Griffin

As Senior Marketing Coordinator for Cushman & Wakefield in Boston, Timothy Griffin creates a wide variety of internal and external communications pieces, such as presentations, proposals, and blog articles, covering commercial real estate trends as well as technology, finance, and other issues which impact the market.



  • Boston

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