A most appealing pictorial map promoting the Boston Elevated Railway

Richard F. Lufkin / Walker Lith. & Pub. Co., The Central Part of BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, showing transportation lines of the BOSTON ELEVATED RAILWAY. Boston: Boston Elevated Railway, 1930.
Lithograph printed in color on recto, black and white on verso. 22”h x 30”w at neat line plus margins. Folds, some adhered paper residue on verso. Originally issued tipped in to an illustrated pocket folder, no longer present.

A most appealing pictorial map of downtown Boston, drawn by Richard Lufkin and issued in 1930 to promote the Boston Elevated Railway.

The map provides a detailed view of Boston’s intricate street plan—a terror to drivers even today–and uses different line forms to delineate the routes of rapid transit, trolley, and bus lines. Accompanying the very practical view of the transit lines are dozens of illustrations of Boston landmarks, including hospitals, hotels, theatres, public buildings, churches, and parks… just about anything a visitor might need. While most places are recognizable today, the presence of the old Boston Garden and the absence of the Prudential Center, Hancock Tower, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway remind us how much the city has changed. Above and below the plan are appealing bird’s-eye views of the surrounding areas, including Brookline, Cambridge, Charlestown, Dorchester, Newton, and South Boston.

First opened in 1901, the Boston Elevated Railway (BERy) was a privately-owned system of rapid-transit streetcars and later buses and trolleys that travelled on both elevated and underground tracks. By 1943, with WWII gasoline and tire rations in effect, ridership rose to 325,000 people a day. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts bought the privately owned BERy in 1947, operating it under the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and later the MBTA in 1964. Today, the BERy’s rapid transit lines are a part of what’s now the T’s Red, Blue, Orange, and Green lines (The last elevated streetcar pulled into North Station in 2004, though a few streetcars remain on the Green Line today).

The map was drawn by Richard F. Lufkin (1895-1963), a cartographer, general draftsman, engineer, and historian. Lufkin was born in Salem, MA and resided in West Medford for the majority of his life. He graduated from Mechanic Arts High School in Boston in 1912, studied at Besancon University in France, and served in the U.S. Army during WWI.

Lufkin was heavily involved with the historical community in Massachusetts, serving as the president of the Bostonian Society, president of the Lincoln Group of Boson, treasurer of the Boston Center for Adult Education, director of the Bay State Historical League, vice-chairman of the Boston Committee for Historic Sites, commander of the Bay State Camp No. 61, Songs of Union Veterans, curator of the Medford Historical Society, and member of the Freedom Trail Commission, Massachusetts Civil War Centennial Commission, and the Sons of the American Revolution, among others. He was an avid Abraham Lincoln scholar and civil war historian who published numerous maps and writings on the 16th President while delivering lectures on the subject throughout New England.

Beaucher, Boston in Transit, fig. 6.49. Background on Lufkin from “Guide to the Richard F. Lufkin Collection” on the web site of Bridgewater State University.