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Boston 1850-1900: 'A City So Grand'13:31
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The Commonwealth Avenue Mall in a photo dating from the late 1870s, when the Back Bay reclamation project was still in progress. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Deparment)
The Commonwealth Avenue Mall in a photo dating from the late 1870s, when the Back Bay reclamation project was still in progress. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Deparment)

Historian Stephen Puleo says Boston began the second half of the 19th century as "an insular, large town," and ended it as one of the Western World's major cities.

In those 50 years, Boston built the Back Bay, the continent's first subway system, and rail connections to distant cities. It led the abolitionist cause and helped win the Civil War for the Union. It quadrupled its population through immigration and annexation.

Puleo tells us about what Boston achieved between 1850 and 1900 — and how the city did it.

Guest:

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