Boston’s Newspaper Row from the 1880s to the early 1940s was a noisy, hustling stretch of Washington Street where crowds gathered to catch breaking news about elections, boxing matches, the World Series or the Harvard-Yale football game. Newspapers didn’t just print the news on newsprint; they also announced it by megaphone, or on chalkboards and bulletin boards outside their offices.
When this photo was taken in 1907, Boston had a number of newspapers: the Boston Advance, the Boston Globe, the Boston Daily Advertiser, the Boston American, the Boston Morning Journal, the Boston Evening Record and the Boston Herald. They were all either on or near Newspaper Row, as were the Associated Press and the Boston News Bureau. There was intense competition to be the first with the story.
Adding to the Runyonesque feel of the street was Thompson’s Spa nearby, a popular restaurant that attracted politicians, lawyers, bankers, cops, bookies, bootleggers and reporters.
As newspapers were supplanted by radio and television, they either left Newspaper Row or folded altogether. The last newspaper to leave was the Boston Globe in May 1958. Newspaper Row is now on the National Register of Historic Places.