Music - Don't Look Back by Boston
Photographed in 1995 and 2002 using film and in August of 2013 using digital.
Boston Garden - Opened in 1928 and demolished in 1997. As of 2012, site was a parking lot.
In 2016, the city of Boston is developing the old site of the garden. Condos, mixed businesses and a hotel are planned for the sacred ground.
Location 150 Causeway St. Boston, Massachusetts -- Bounded by Canal St., US 93 and Portland St.
One of the most beloved and hated arenas was located at 150 Causeway Street in downtown Boston. The Boston Garden was located on top of the North station, a major hub for rail commuters in the Northeast. The garden was built in 1928 by Tex Rickard who also designed the third incarnation of Madison Square Garden in New York. The garden opened in 1828 with a boxing match, and closed 67 years later with an exhibition hockey game.
The GAHDEN, as Bostonians called it, was home ice for the Boston Bruins from its opening in 1928 till it closed in 1995. It also was the home for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. They played on the parquet floor from 1946 till its closing in 1995. The other major tenant (if you could call the WHA major) were the New England Whalers. The Whalers played at North station from 1972 thru the 1974 season. After the 1974 season, the Whalers relocated to Hartford Connecticut and became the Hartford Whalers.
The beanpot tournament was held at the Garden from 1954 till its closing. It has since been moved to the TD Banknorth Garden (also known as the Fleet Center). The tournament featured the hockey teams from the colleges in Boston. Harvard, Northeastern, Boston University and Boston College competed for the pot. All told, Boston University has won the most beanpots with a total of 28.
Boston Garden had its fair share of major rock concerts. From the Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen to local favorites, the bad boys of rock Aerosmith, the J. Geils band and Boston, the garden was THE concert venue of New England. The J. Geils band recorded most of their November 1975 concerts there that later became their live "blow your face out" album. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band recorded most of their live "nine tonight" album at the garden. Aerosmith played the garden 10 times. The Garden had its share of ice shows, boxing, circuses, religious rallies and political conventions.
The garden was loved by the Bruins, Celtics and the locals, BUT HATED by just about every visiting team. The garden had no air conditioning, so playoff games in the late spring would end up being a steam bath. The visiting locker rooms were notoriously small and usually ran out of hot water. The Los Angeles Lakers grew especially hateful of the old garden. Legend has it that Red Auerbach would turn the hot water off after games so the visiting teams would have to shower with cold water.
The garden was built with a lot of flaws. From pillars that blocked views, to seating that was too tight, to an ice surface that was too small, the garden had its problems. It did provide the home team with a very distinct advantage. It also had rats the size of cats in the basement.
The Celtics won 16 NBA championships on the parquet floor, while the Bruins captured 5 Stanley cups. Celtic teams boasted a who's who of basketball. Bill Russell, Bob Cousey, Satch Sanders, JoJo White, John Havlicek, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and the legendary Larry Bird all played on the Garden floor. The Bruins had their share of stars also. Starting with Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Dit Clapper, Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito, Raymond Borque and the greatest defenseman of all time, Bobby Orr, skated on Garden ice.
For years, the Celtics and Bruins were asking for a new building. The Garden was woefully outdated and in constant repair. Half the time, the electrical system barely worked. In 1995, the Garden had its final hurrah. After both the Bruins and Celtics bowed out of the playoffs in the spring of 1995, the old girl had one more gasp of life. On September 28th 1995, the Bruins and their bitter rivals, the Montreal Canadiens played an exhibition game to close out the Garden.
The Garden sat vacant for 3 years, while the city decided how it would be demolished. The main problem was the Fleet center. It was constructed a mere 12 feet in back of the old garden. The old building on Causeway Street was slowly dismantled, brick by brick, in 1998. She was a dump, but no new arena can match her for the home court or home ice advantage.
It's hard to believe that the garden has been gone for over 20 years now. I was fortunate enough to see a few games and a concert inside the Garden. The ghosts of the gallery gods still haunt the site at 150 Causeway Street. She was one hell of a building. Long may she be remembered!
My nephew Evan in front of the Bobby Orr statue.