October 07, 2009

Urban Myths

I got three of them for you. My Dad would always tell me these stories, are they true? Dont know for sure--Jahn?

  1. On Southbridge Street years ago there were two huge piles of Sand/Gravel. Some kids were playing there and they were buried alive.
  2. The Route 290 Bridge over McKeown Rd near the Holy Cross Football field collapsed during construction.
  3. A bunch of kids built a fort with one exit. Somehow a fire started at the door and they got trapped, could not get out and were all killed.

I am 99 percent number 2 is true but 1 and 3???


Jahn said...

In chronological order.

Circa 1960(?)the I-290 bridge beams cascaded into each other like Domino's (not Pizza Harry..!!) at College Sq. between Rotmans and HC. My memory is that Barletta was the contractor and Barletta supposedly morphed in Modern Continental (of Big Dig Fame) years later. Modern was bot out by Jay Cashman in the not too distant past. I think Barletta built 290 from college Sq to Burncoat St.

Couple tales I have been told re: 290 in that area

a. that the Jesuits wanted everyone to be able to drive past HC and Fitton Field and have a nice view of teh entire hillside campus vs. taking Fitton feild and having to re build the Football field up behind teh campus. If Fitton field was taken via eniment domain I 290 would not go in circles around Fitton Field and it would not be the treacherous stretch of road that it is. Here's a Hail Mary to St Christopher, the patron saint of travel...!!!!!!!

b. A good friends father was passing down Southbridge St at College Sq that day and he was stopped, I assume by a cop, right before the bridge collapsed and a minute later he sat there in horror as the beams domino'ed over crushing cars under the bridge. I believe some people were killed but in my old age my memory is fading. Talk about the luck of the Irish....years later he died relatively young from.....you gussed it.......Budweiser

c. another littel factoid unrelated to the College Sq incident... Rumor also has it State Mutual (Hanover) president H. Ladd Plumley (as in it takes a village) wanted I 290 to pass in front his campus on Lincoln St. As a result park land (North Park) was taken as was Holland Rink (a mud hole of a swimming place opposite what is now the Hand It Over Insurance Company. I believe they also took a school at 290 & Burncoat St...Adams Sq School replaced by Wawecus Rd school...taking more parkland to do so. ALso to the dismay of local teens 290 wiped out the wooded area behind the Former Lincoln Lanes at Lincoln Plaza which wooded area was numero uno drinking spot for kids.

I think it 1968...but I do recall it was Xmas time and up on Indian Hill kids had built a "fort" and had some kind of space heater in it that was fired by kerosene or whatever. Long story short some one went to add more fuel to the fire and evidentally the fumes exploded. I think 3 or 4 kids were killed. 1 or 2 kids got out. I could repeat other rumored stories or 2 about this tragedy but I wont.

Jahn said...

Sorry I had to back to your original post b/c I couildnt remeber what the third incident was that you referenced...Tell ya I am losing it. MY wallets been lost for a week now..misplaced I am 99% sure.

The sand & gravel pile you speak of is Possibly the salt pile that used to be stockpiled on Southb. St in what is now the P&W (Paulie & Wootown) RR property. I wont mention who stockpiled it but it was rumored to be an area trucking comapny. The salt was loaded and shipped to area city & towns as I recollect. I do recall kid(s??) getting buried there and it was back in the 70's sometimes.

I used to work parttime at that RR yard loading freight, dined at Ms Worcester for lunchtime, (braised beeef) and even drank at the old Lamplighter (now strip joint) on Saturday nights when they had a band there. Lotsa Winterhill type goons loading freight and drinking in that area back in my day. Scarey characters... I was only in it for the good wages for parttime work.

Jeff Barnard said...

Nominate Jahn as the area historian!

I remember when the half-constructed I-290 bridge collapsed. A guy I had gone to High School with, Frank Hayes, Jr., suffered serious injury but was able to rescue at least one other person. He was lauded in the paper as a hero.

The school Jahn mentioned that was taken out by I-290, Adams Square Elementary, was at the corner of Burncoat and Melrose, and this was where I attended first grade.

David Z. said...


All 3 of those are true. Jahn's recollection about the fort at Indian Hill was right. I was delivering newspapers at the time (yes, I'm older than dirt) and vividly recall the headline.

I remember the incident on Southbridge St. but the details are pretty fuzzy.

As for the 290 bridge collapse, my Dad worked at Lodding Engineering on Sword Street in Auburn at the time. At lunch he went on an errand to the bank. He drove right under the overpass just moments before the girders collapsed. Very close call. He is still with us and is 82 years young.

Jahn said...

I kinda knew Frank ,Jr and Sr, too from years ago Frank Jr was a one big guy. I think i read Jr's obit in the last few years? They were contractors from N Grafton area. They were in the paving bizz and also rented heavy equipment prior to getting into the paving bizz. Again i could tell a few kinda funny tales about the Hayes clan.......but I wont...LOL

(Assuming here there arent 2 Frank Hayes Jr's in our area??)

Hoping I dont PO paulie here but I am changing the subject. I am listening to Joe Obrein on Bluto........guy sure talks a good game for a McGovernite.........i hope no one takes what he says serioulsy about he being pro business......please dont forget McGovern gave us Deval..need i say any more about broken promises and canpaign rhetoric that is 100% Horse++++

With all due respect Joe O'Brien should only get on the radio after he has boarded a certain airline that is requiring passengers to lighten their "load" before boarding. Comprende'?

Jahn said...

God now I just read that Oct 4-10 is nationl FF'ers week or something to that effect. These guys got to get over themselves.

Soon there will not be enough weeks in a year for all the groups that want to snag a week and call it their own.

How about a Nat'l Abrasives Week for all teh guys At St Gobain that are dying young from all the crap they have inhaled after working there for 35 years.

How many license plates, Dalmations, statues, window decals, phallic like 60ft. monuments, dedicated weeks, and other honoria and memorabilia does one occupation want/need before the public gets fed up with it all. Like my parents used to tell me when I was a kid..it wouild be best right now if you're neither seen nor heard.

BTW ,where's all the dinero that was collected for that Institure Park Monument?

Paulie's Point of View said...

Modern Continental started out as a small company created by Len Marino - he was a painter..he died a few years ago of a heart attack...heavy influence in Cambridge...owned a great restaurant on Mass Ave in North Cambridge..my fave neighborhood restaurant

Anonymous said...

Here's another urban myth. The University Park Lofts Condo building, formerly Crompton and Knowles, was built on an old indian burial ground and is a cursed building because graves were torn apart for construction. I believe it. I live there.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Number 3 is definitly true....most real Worcesterites know people who died there. There is a memorial at the former Indian hill School.