As a part of the Mapping Massachusetts: the History of Transportation in the Commonwealth grant that the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners awarded to the State Library, nearly 380 photographs of roads and highways in Massachusetts from 1892 to 1893 have been digitized. These images have been added to the library’s online repository and also to Flickr. The photographs in this collection accompany the Report of the Commission to Improve the Highways of the Commonwealth, which was published in February of 1893.
These photographs are interesting not only because they show the condition of the Commonwealth’s roadways in a time when travel by horse and buggy was commonplace, but also because they show some of the architecture in the cities and towns of Massachusetts during this time period. For example, some houses may be seen in the photograph below, which depicts a roadway in Cottage City.
In some of the photos the photographer’s shadow may be seen, along with the shadow of the camera set up on a tripod. Some of the towns’ inhabitants even show up in a few of the photos, posing for the camera, as seen below.
In addition to these highway photographs, the grant awarded to the State Library has also allowed for the digitization of a set of maps produced by the Board of Harbor and Land Commissioners in the late 1880s to the early 1920s and a set of images depicting the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel.