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Eventually, the City of Boston annexed such communities as East Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Hyde Park.
Boston’s fast-growing population was the result of an active, growing economy and, just as its borders were expanding out, its skyline was also expanding up.
Then they prepared a composite drawing depicting the town to its best promotional advantage.
Cities and towns change and grow just like everything else .
In the Waltham view, we see that the focal point is the Boston Manufacturing Company at the heart of a large industrial complex on the Charles River.
New England’s coastal towns, many of which date back to the first European settlements in the 17th century, have long looked to the sea for their economic livelihood.
The exhibit displays a selection of approximately 50 views of New England towns and cities focusing on Boston, its suburbs, and a variety of communities in both coastal and interior settings extending from Cape Cod to the Connecticut River. By comparing these views with late 19th-century topographic maps, it is evident that the artists often displayed a perspective and bias in selecting a particular (non-north) orientation.
With the adaptation of the steam engine to transportation, trains and their associated iron rails became a major component of southeastern New England’s transportation network during the 19th century.
The contrast is clear between Freeman Richardson’s 1864 landscape view in which the Back Bay reclamation has not yet begun and Oakley Bailey’s 1879 map in which it is complete and new real estate developments are rapidly taking hold.
As Boston’s population outgrew its original physical location, the city also expanded beyond the peninsula into the neighboring townships.
By the last half of the 19th century when the bird’s eye views were created, these original industrial sites became large industrial complexes utilizing steam power.
Fulfilling their role as agents of boosterism, the bird’s eye view artists emphasized the fast-growing urban functions of their subject cities and towns.