In a recent Somerville News column reflecting on the career of former Mayor Eugene Brune, Mayor Curtatone quoted a Boston Sunday Globe insert (below) from October 17, 1965 entitled, “The New Somerville–Colonial Birth, Space Age Rebirth,” extolling a “new Somerville” with state-of-the-art infrastructure and institutions emerging from one of the birthplaces of America.
But as the mayor pointed out, the insert mentions developments and transit plans that didn’t get very far. And the Somerville of the 1960s wasn’t the multicultural mosaic it is now. That’s the value and charm of such pieces: they offer an eyewitness view of the past that puts the present into sharp focus.
Using SPL’s Historic Boston Globe database, I was able to find that insert using the keyword search “colonial birth space age rebirth” and choosing the “sort results by” option “Publication date (oldest first).” It shows a Somerville trying to find its way in the latter years of the industrial age, the Somerville of the Edsel and the Nerf Ball that would later evolve into the current Somerville of Taza Chocolate and the Artisans Asylum.
In addition to being great for homework and research projects, the Historic Boston Globe offers a window on history as it unfolded. You can read how Bostonians reacted to the end of Prohibition or the death of Elvis. Check it out.