Boston, 1853

This morning I’ve been reading this map and a description of Boston, from Phelps’ Hundred Cities and Large Towns of America, 1853, which I found on the Internet Archive.

The harbor’s “costly and splendid wharves” are particularly noted. “These marks of commercial enterprise and prosperity are about 100 in number, and of various dimensions. Long wharf is 1,800 feet long, and 200 feet wide; Central wharf, 1,397 feet long, and 150 feet wide; India wharf, 980 feet long, and from 246 to 280 feet wide; and Commercial wharf is 1,100 feet long, and 160 feet wide. These, like most of the others, are lined with extensive and magnificent warehouses, constructed of the most substantial materials.” Boston’s 1850 population, according to this text, was 138,788.

This is really useful for the history I’m working on right now, since some of my characters are merchants who work on the India wharf. Now I’ll be able to visualize where they are, and more importantly, describe it for my readers.