Main Ridge as it is today. Once it was all orchards and hedgerows.
side of the ridge, as far as the opposite side of Pen Street corner, consisted
of luxuriant orchards, with gardens attached, which in the spring blossomed into
a perfect little Eden. It was enclosed by a hedgerow along the whole length,
with the exception of a dwelling-house occupied by the owner or tenant, situated
nearly at the top end of the garden facing the roadway. Adjacent to the gardens
was pasture land with cattle grazing. The fields were called "Fancy" Fox's
fields, and they were "claimed" by the Ridge boys for recreative purposes. Many
times the appearance of "Fancy" caused a general stampede among the lads.
Fancy was a butcher, and most eccentric in habits. He was a prominent figure in
Boston beast market, with his long white slop and top hat, and was considered a
splendid judge of cattle.
Another familiar figure in the meat trade was "Shandy" Ryan, who was possessed
of a Shakesperian turn of mind. One day when he was in Pack and Linton's,
milliners, in Strait Bargate, he saw the curtains at the end of the room of the
establishment which separated that portion as a private department, and he took
possession of these curtains, drawing them on one side and delivering an
oration from Hamlet. Satisfying his own curiosity without the interference of
the assistants, he quietly closed the curtains and withdrew. His qualities as a
buyer of cattle were also well known.
Source : Boston Guardian 1906, Mr A.R. Parker looked back at the changes in Boston during
the years from 1850.