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Urban ghosts

Boston is full of ghosts, reminders of the city's past that often go completely unnnoticed - unless you take the time to look. Take the photo above, showing the outline of a building that no longer exists on Oxford Street in Chinatown. It's right on Stuart Street, but how many people ever notice it?

Chinatown, in fact, is home to many of these building outlines. See a Chinatown parking lot? Look up and chances are you can get an idea of the shape of the buildings that were torn down to make way for cars:

Building outlines are hardly the only ghosts from Boston's past. All around you is evidence of institutions that once played important roles in the life of the city before giving up the, um, ghost. Take, for example, downtown's other department store, R.H. Stearns on Tremont Street.

Look up from Downtown Crossing and you can make out:

Once, Republicans actually ran Boston. And they read the Transcript, which survives today only in its Tremont Street building:

For some reason, the T never tore down the entrance to the old Orange Line stop on Washington Street that it abandoned in the mid-1980s when it opened the new Orange Line.:

Down in West Roxbury, large stone blocks are all that's left of a rail line that once crossed Spring Street:

Before billboards, companies often advertised their wares on the sides of buildings:

Times have changed. Could you imagine Beacon Hill residents agreeing to something today like this Quaker Oats ad at Grove and Cambridge streets?

Old ghosts do fade away:


i have been to that china town in boston and i have not seen anything.

samantha on November 14, 2005 11:56 AM.

Insane pictures! I never really noticed them! So you mean to tell me that the buildings that the "ghost" buildings are in are just additions to the original (ghost) buildings?!?! Crazy.

Adrian on December 3, 2005 04:48 AM.

Great pics there, I am looking forward to visit Boston in July.

Fino on June 27, 2006 11:32 PM.

I came all the way out from Brazil only to see the ghosts from Boston..........and the only thing I saw it was a fat old woman eating in MacDonald's that seens to be the ghost of my mother in law.

Rafael Alencar on July 2, 2006 10:31 PM.

So you mean to tell me ok , i seen those images as well in boston chinatown but are there really ghost activities is the question i ask?

ana RODRIGUERZ on March 13, 2007 11:29 PM.

No, no real ghosts that I know of. :-).

Adam Gaffin on March 20, 2007 01:43 PM.

I've lived in Boston my whole life and never looked up and noticed that stuff!! wow

Jess on December 25, 2007 12:43 PM.

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