• Ownership of North Station/ Boston Garden/ 150 Causeway St.

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by Engineer Spike
How was ownership divided between North Station, and Boston Garden? Did B&M own the whole building? Was the Garden an air rights deal?

How about the Industrial Building (150 Causeway St)? I know other businesses were located there. Was B&M the landlord?
  by b&m 1566
Delaware North Company (Jeremy Jacobs) owned the Boston Garden and owns the current TD Garden. No idea if that includes the station and or the land.
  by ExCon90
The B&M owned 150 Causeway. I worked there in the late -50's; I was told it had been built as a warehouse just in time for the Depression, when there were very few wares to be housed, and was thus converted to an office building for the B&M and other (mostly railroad) tenants. Interestingly, virtually all the railroads renting off-line offices in the building were those desiring to haul B&M company coal back in steam days: D&H, DL&W, Erie, N&W, PRR. The ACL, SAL, SOU, ATSF, UP, etc., which were not in a position to haul coal for the B&M, had space in "real" office buildings downtown. The Pinsly railroads and the Rutland were there also. I have no idea how ownership changed during the subsequent reorganizations.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
b&m 1566 wrote:Delaware North Company (Jeremy Jacobs) owned the Boston Garden and owns the current TD Garden. No idea if that includes the station and or the land.
According to this tax-exempt property document from the city (see last page of PDF), everything is state-owned except the Garden building itself, the former Spaulding Rehab Hospital + parking, and the infamous undeveloped empty parcel in front of the Garden. That includes the driveway to parking garage and the station walkways on either side of the building and the entire area in back by the Big Dig ventilation building.

Now...all of this "who owns what" is complicated to hell by easements. The T obviously has an easement through the Garden basement for the Green/Orange Lines and the electrical substation down there that feeds them. I believe they have an easement through the Spaulding parking lot for future station expansion, though they'd have to buy the actual building to expand (it's now just used as 'expendable' overflow office space for Mass General, since Spaulding moved to Charlestown). And the Garden has easements in the back by the Big Dig ventilation building for the service entrance to its basement accessible from the access driveway off Beverly St. that slips under the Zakim. It took over 10 years to get all the agreements hashed out between the city and Jacobs over building the new Garden in the first place, with Jacobs repeatedly balking at the terms and the new building opening nearly a decade later than originally planned. So all the horse-trading about who got what easements was enormously intricate, and shaped by Big Dig-related planning that was going on hand-in-hand throughout that whole span.
  by edbear
I managed B & M property records 1973-85. South of the Charles River, the B & M owned an area bounded by Nashua St. (where the O'Neill Bldg. is now), Causeway St. over to Beverly St. and the Charles River. The property came from its various component B & M, Boston & Lowell, Eastern and Fitchburg. In the 1920s, the B & M rationalized the terminal facilities and built both a hotel and office building. The hotel was owned by North Station Hotel Building and offices by North Station Industrial Building, both 100% B & M owned subsidiaries. The subsidiaries were most likely created because as non-railroad entities, they could be financed and operated without interference by the Interstate Commerce Commission. The B & M's financial plight starting in the 1950s led to a number of property sales. First to go was the Hotel Manger, renamed Madison and owned by 120 Trust. Next was the area from behind the hotel to Charles River from Track 12 through to Nashua Street. It went to North Station Auto Park. Tracks 12-23 and 3rd and 4th drawspans retired and paved. Both went about 1960-61. Area behind North Station Tracks 1-11 with exception of a walkway, maybe 20 ft wide also went for parking and Tracks 1-11 shortened by about 3 passenger car lengths. Also went to North Station Auto Park. North Station went to outfit named 140 Trust, 150 Causeway went to 150 Trust. North Station was the last to go, just before MBTA began subsidizing commuter service in January 1965. B & M retained a landlocked parcel encompassing Tracks 1-11 (Track 1 was used for storage for things like tool or salt cars; had no usable platform) about 3 passenger car lengths from North Station to Charles River. This was sold along with most B & M lines in Eastern Mass. to MBTA on 12/27/1976. Far as I know MBTA still owns it; it is not easy to dispose of their property, especially if financed with Federal grant money. 150 Causeway was built as a general office and exhibition hall. A lot of the furniture, plumbing and electrical suppliers were headquartered in the area of North Station when 150 was built (opened over Bunker Hill day wkend, 1930). When the circus came to town, the sideshow was over on the 1st floor of 150, I think. The double height allowed lots of room for unusual exhibits. Original B & M (the 1847 road) had its original Boston terminus at Haymarket Sq. When it constructed 1894 North Station, it sold from Causeway St. to Haymarket to Boston Transit Commission which then used it as north to south access to what is today's Green Line trolley subway. Check some older maps of North Station area and you'll note that some of the streets have railroad related names. Beverly, Haverhill, Lowell, Lancaster, Billerica, Nashua, Portland and Minot (named after the superintendent of the B & M who went over to the Erie and gave the first train order.).
  by edbear
For many B & M property sales, rights to cross the sold property to access the railroad were given in easements spelled out in the deeds. However, if access was blocked or denied, it required the services of the B & M Law Dept. to resolve the matter. B & M Law was too busy in the 1970s and 1980s to get involved in access issues, especially if they did not directly affect B & M operations. A couple of examples. The owner of the former North Beverly station in 1970s decided there'd be no commuter parking (I think it was a pizza place or something similar). Someone in B & M General Office found the conveyance of the North Beverly station and it required parking. B & M Law did not pursue the issue, so it went nowhere. Kendal Green used to have free parking on north side of tracks past the station building which was empty for years. Station had been sold to a realty outfit and the building parcel included the driveway into the free parking. Realty outfit sold the building and it was remodeled into a dwelling. Owner of dwelling will not allow access to free parking area over her property. This happened after commuter lines went to MBTA in Dec. 1976. MBTA Law/Real Estate Dept. is probably even more reluctant than B & M to push access issues.
  by Engineer Spike
The historical ownership was what I was looking for. Obviously the B&M demolished the former North Station, which was a combo of the properties of B&M, B&L, FRR, and Eastern. In the late 1920s, the new complex was built. Edbear says that the North Station / Boston Garden was owned by B&M. My wonder was if it was separate, just like PC owned Penn Station, with a separate MSG overhead.

Thanks for the explaination.

  by hh660
Construction of a 40+ story building has started in the parking lot in front of North Station. It will house retail, office and residences.
  by Ocala Mike
What was the name of the hotel co-located with the Boston Garden? I remember staying there, circa early 60's, when a bunch of us college guys drove up from NY to see a Rangers/Bruins hockey game.

Is it still there?
  by Ocala Mike
Yes, that was it; Thank you, Dick, for that great article.

I have a vivid recollection of meeting and talking with some NY Ranger players in the coffee shop of that hotel - guess they were staying there too.
  by jaymac
There was also -- pre-1958 and truly not in the true spirit of the holidays -- the mention of going to see a babe in the Manger...
  by A320
Back in the 70's, 150 Causeway also served as the media entrance for the old Boston Garden.

You would enter the lobby off of Causeway St. (under the Charlestown El tracks) and take an elevator to a higher floor. Then, you would cross an enclosed bridge, connecting the two buildings and spanning the alleyway between them. A lone usher would check that you were on the list, and allow you to proceed through an area where various things were stored, such as the parquet floor when the Celtics weren't playing, and the various equipment used by the Bull Gang (forklifts, trailers, etc.). This was on the same level as the ice/court and the players' and officials' dressing rooms.

I still remember that there was a coffee shop in the lobby of 150 Causeway (which was always closed by the time one would arrive for a game), and the entire lobby area had that kind of Woolworth's lunch counter smell permeating it.
  by edbear
The bar inside North Station was the HORSE; originally the IRON HORSE. However, there already was an IRON HORSE on Route 1 in Norwood, made up of retired heavyweight passenger cars, somewhat on the idea of Victoria Station. So the Norwood IRON HORSE owners got the North Station bar to change the name. The North Station HORSE owner also owned the SIDECAR in South Station.