Bookmark and Share


For Educators


Always Something Doing
Boston's Infamous Scollay Square
David Kruh; Thomas H. O'Connor, fwd.




Northeastern University Press
1999 • 192 pp. 47 illus. 6 x 9"
Boston / American History / Social History

$19.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-410-3



A look at the notorious place that was demolished in 1961 to clear the way for the Government Center urban renewal project.

Boston's legendary Scollay Square is still fondly remembered today as the home of vaudeville and burlesque theaters, tattoo parlors, hot dog stands, barrooms, bookstores, shooting galleries, and other entertainment attractions. Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Scollay Square was a place where people of all ages and walks of life, from Harvard College students to transient sailors on shore leave, went to forget their troubles and have a good time.

Now the long, colorful, and occasionally uproarious history of “Good Old Scollay Square” is recaptured in this lively look at the notorious Boston district. David Kruh chronicles the story of the Square from its origins in the Colonial era, through its heyday as an entertainment mecca, to current plans for the redevelopment of City Hall Plaza. He interweaves the personal reminiscences of Bostonians and entertainers with historical narrative to re-create the flavor and essence of Scollay Square. Here one will revisit the Old Howard Theater, Crawford House, and Joe & Nemo's hot dog stand, and relive the days when vaudevillians, slapstick comedians, and stripteasers Ann Corio and Sally Keith ruled the Square.

Always Something Doing will refresh the memories of those old enough to recall the good times in Scollay Square, and it will provide younger Boston residents with a rich portrait of an enduring part of their city's fascinating history.



David Kruh earned his B.A. degree in American History from the University of Maryland and his M.S. degree from Boston University. He is a popular lecturer on Scollay Square and other historical topics, and co-author (with his father, Louis) of Presidential Landmarks. He lives in Reading, Massachusetts. Thomas H. O'Connor is Professor of History, Emeritus, at Boston College. He is the author of numerous books on Boston's history, including Boston Catholics: A History of the Church and Its People; Boston Irish: A Political History; Building a New Boston: Politics and Urban Renewal, 1950-1979; Civil War Boston: Home Front and Battlefield; and South Boston: My Home Town-The History of an Ethnic Neighborhood, all published by Northeastern University Press. He lives in Braintree, Massachusetts.






Wed, 5 Nov 2014 15:21:37 -0500