Curious Boston Questions

So, what makes a good Curious Boston question? Here here some guidelines that might help:

Keep it local: Questions should be relevant to Boston and the area. Example of a local question: How many times a year does The Constitution leave its moorings?

Make it clear: Please read your question carefully to be sure it makes sense.

Here’s a list of questions we’ve received:

Why is there still a Boston accent?
Three questions about Jamaica Pond: (1) do they stock it with fish, (2) if so, why and of what sort, (3) what percentage of JP residents have skinny dipped with those fish, extant or not (the fish, that is, I know the residents are extant)?
This may not be unique to the Boston area, but that’s where I am most of the time and so it makes me curious (the nice way of putting it) when I am driving around. I’m sure street signs don’t grow on trees, (i.e. they may cost more than I know) but I find it astonishing that you can drive for blocks and blocks on the main street of a city or town, and there are simply no street signs. Often, all the side streets have signs, but you can go for ages with no sign telling you what street you are ON. And it’s the major thoroughfare. What is up with that?
Were there really any “minutemen”fighting at Lexington or were they all part of a trained militia….April 1775? And if so, how did the minuteman become the mascot of Lexington?
Why is Jamaica Plain called Jamaica Plain?
Which bridge to Cape Cod gets the most traffic, Bourne or Sagamore?
# cars daily, #cars peak summer weekend,
Which bridge backs up more frequently?
Has the Sagamore flyway worked?
will a third bridge help?
Could Boston REALLY handleto host a Summer Olympics? I have a hard time imagining where sites would be developed. Could Boston’s infrastructure, even with improvements, handle all the people? Would the spaces used for the Olympics be put to good use after the medals are handed out?
Isn’t it finally time to have an all-generation, all hands on deck series of civic “hackathons”, a summer of digital coops that identify and serve the basic, practical needs of the community and residents at large?Boston is a region of silos: geographical, social and tribal by industry and sector. The wheel gets reinvented constantly. Projects, fundraisers and events collide. We live in a fragmented hub. Let’s put it back together so we can pull together as one.

Why is there so little cooperation, why is there no simple tool like a central regional calendar online, a calendar that would help everyone to reduce conflicts. When tribes don’t talk, resources go wasted or underutilized. Benefits wind up on the same night. Publicity is diluted.

What are the earliest photographs of the historic sites of Boston? Especially ones that don’t exist anymore
Having just had my first walk on the delightful Greenway I realize that there are similar “formerly used” places I’ve been curious about since I was young.In Newton, and probably in many other communities, there are unbuilt ridges that run along streets, behind houses. etc. that we called “the aquaduct.” When were they built, how did they figure in the region’s water system, what replaced them?
Why is Green B-line not always staying at the center of Comm Ave? Instead, it is moving to the right side at Packards Corner, and moving back to the center at Warren Street (in outbound direction). Both sites are dangerous for cars, bicycles and pedestrians. They delay the T, as well as the traffic. Everything would be more efficient and safer if the railway always stood at the center.
Why are there so few street signs showing the name of a road?
Can someone explain how the Allston/Brighton boundaries came to be?
There are still some places around Boston marked as air raid/fall out shelters. I’d be interested in knowing are any of them still operational, or are they sealed or used for other things? Why were they put where they were and were they stocked with any supplies?
Why is the West Roxbury District Courthouse located in Jamaica Plain?
I have lived in Boston area for around three years, and I find myself wondering; Why are Boston drivers so appalling?
A colleague told me there is a history that explains Bostonian’s rather ‘independent’ attitude to red-lights, yellow lines, speed limits etc.
I would like to know more about the streetcar graveyard that’s somewhere in the area, as seen here: http://www.abandonedamerica.us/deus-ex-machina. Where is it? What is its story?
Many of the major streets through the suburbs of Boston have signs only for the cross streets at intersections, with no corresponding sign for the major street. Thus one can arrive at a major street from a cross street and have no idea what street it is. Was this a conscious money-saving decision by the towns around Boston, or is there some historical reason or precedent (or Communist plot to disorient visitors) for this?Thanks!
Why is Boston called Beantown?
What did the original Emerald Necklace look like?
Who was the old popcorn vendor?
With so much of the city of Boston built on fill, what would protect us in the event of an earthquake like the one in 1755?
Why doesn’t the orange line extend further into Boston to serve the Hyde Park & Roslindale residents?
Did you know there was an ornate very large grand marble staircase built in the middle of South Station in 1987?
Why do so many street signs indicate the street you’re on but not the intersecting street I’m looking for?
What’s up with all the Roast Beef and Pizza joints in Wilmington and Tewksbury? Who puts roast beef on their pizza? What do they have in common? It’s not like we have Dunkin’ Donuts ‘N’ Bologna, amIrite?
What idiosyncrasies distinguish the various accents of Boston and its surrounding towns? (Eastie vs Southie vs. Dorchester, e.g.) And How have these region-based accents evolved over the past 100 years? (e.g., do children of immigrants develop hybrid accents, e.g., Dorchester-Haitian Creole or Saugus-Dominican?)
Is it true that there is a theatre buried somewhere under the city?
Why are light switches on the outside of bathrooms, not on the inside?
Why is the silver line not a train, but rather an abominable hybridesque bus that cant let go of overhead wires?
Why do Boston-area schools have vacations in both February and April? (It’s not the case in most of the country.)
What’s with the dearth of street signs?
why isn’t there a D terminal at Logan? Was there ever one in the past and if so what happened to it?
Does the Stony Brook in Jamaica Plain still exist?
Why is porter square so much further underground than davis or harvard?
Do the Gardens Ducks have names?
How did it happen that Tremont actually crosses Tremont at one point?
How did Roxbury and West Roxbury get their names since they don’t border each other?
Why haven’t we renewed legislation that caps the amount leases can be raised annually since 1994?
Why are there multiple streets in multiple towns with the same names? (Beacon and Tremont to start)?
Why do some roads seem to be one lane or two or one and a half but no one is really sure?
Why does the area in south station at the bottom of the escalators to the Red Line, next to the shoe and luggage repair shop smell so BAD. Seriously it’s this terrible mixture of vinegar and something I’ll probably have my comment deleted for referencing. I walk through it everyday and wonder, do people’s shoes smell that bad? And if so how does the cobbler not have the worst job in the world?
Why are Bostonians so polite in person but so mean behind wheels?
Are the interior concrete walls of City Hall paintable?
Why were there so many candy factories in Cambridge? Several have gone, (bye-bye Squirrel Nut, NECCO, and whatever it was used to be near Lechmere station) but some (hello Tootsie Rolls) are still around. Why so much sugar in one place?
Anybody know the story of the lack of a “A” on the green line?
Why does Boston have so many commuter line stations (North, South, Back Bay) when other cities have one?
Story my Gram used to tell when I was a kid before passing away. Does Faneuil Hall grasshopper weather vane have a belly full of treasure? What is inside? How old is it? What’s the reason for the grasshopper?
Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
Most Popular