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Photos: A Look Back At Commonwealth Avenue's 'Auto Row'06:49
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BU Librarian and Brookline Historical Society President Ken Liss walks along Commonwealth Avenue in the stretch once known as Boston’s Automobile Row. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
BU Librarian and Brookline Historical Society President Ken Liss walks along Commonwealth Avenue in the stretch once known as Boston’s Automobile Row. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)

Before Commonwealth Avenue became the spine of the campus of Boston University, it served quite a different purpose. Starting in 1910, the stretch between Packard's Corner and Kenmore Square transformed into Boston's "Automobile Row" — a collection of ornate motorcar showrooms and dealerships.

Boston University librarian and Brookline Historical Society President Ken Liss walked along Commonwealth Ave. with WBUR Weekend Edition's Sharon Brody to take a look at what came before.

At 808 Commonwealth Ave., built as a Cadillac dealership and now a BU building, the old auto ramp remains. Just off the ramp, an early model Ford lingers, forgotten. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
At 808 Commonwealth Ave., built as a Cadillac dealership and now a BU building, the old auto ramp remains. Just off the ramp, an early model Ford lingers, forgotten. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
The Peter Fuller Building at 808 Commonwealth Ave. was built as a Cadillac dealership in 1927. Shown here in the 1950s, it’s now used by Boston University. (Courtesy of Brookline Preservation Department)
The Peter Fuller Building at 808 Commonwealth Ave. was built as a Cadillac dealership in 1927. Shown here in the 1950s, it’s now used by Boston University. (Courtesy of Brookline Preservation Department)
The Noyes Buick building showroom at 855 Commonwealth Ave. in the 1930s. Built in 1917, it now is home to Boston University's College of Fine Arts. (Courtesy Brighton Allston Historical Society)
The Noyes Buick building showroom at 855 Commonwealth Ave. in the 1930s. Built in 1917, it now is home to Boston University's College of Fine Arts. (Courtesy Brighton Allston Historical Society)
As BU’s CFA Building undergoes renovations in 2019, the original gargoyles of drivers and mechanics are still visible atop the columns of the old Buick showroom. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
As BU’s CFA Building undergoes renovations in 2019, the original gargoyles of drivers and mechanics are still visible atop the columns of the old Buick showroom. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
The Packard Building, built in 1910 at the convergence of Commonwealth Avenue and Brighton Avenue as a grand auto showroom and now housing apartments, still features the Packard Motor Car ornamentation. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
The Packard Building, built in 1910 at the convergence of Commonwealth Avenue and Brighton Avenue as a grand auto showroom and now housing apartments, still features the Packard Motor Car ornamentation. (Sharon Brody/WBUR)
The Packard Dealership (circa 1910-1916) at the Packard Building on Commonwealth Avenue at Packard’s Corner. The building, built in 1910, is now used for residences and retail. (Courtesy of Brighton Allston Historical Society)
The Packard Dealership (circa 1910-1916) at the Packard Building on Commonwealth Avenue at Packard’s Corner. The building, built in 1910, is now used for residences and retail. (Courtesy of Brighton Allston Historical Society)

Liss joins WBUR's Brody to share stories and photos about the history of Auto Row on Commonwealth Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 15 at CitySpace.

This segment aired on September 8, 2019.

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Sharon Brody Twitter News Anchor
Sharon Brody is the voice of WBUR's weekend mornings. On Saturdays and Sundays, she anchors the news for Weekend Edition and other popular programs.

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