"Your Old Landmarks of Boston is a perfect storehouse of Information," Henry W. Longfellow told Samuel Adams Drake almost a century ago. That being true a hundred years ago, the praise is even more relevant today, when many of the old and venerated landmarks are gone, victims of time and progress in a rapidly changing world.
One hundred years ago the author bemoaned the disappearance of the really historic buildings of Boston. This monumental history of Boston work was his appeal to the historical conscience. He wrote: "For Fifty years our men of progress have been pulling down the old and building up the new city. The Great Fire of 1872 left few of its original features, except in the North End, and in and about Dock Square. It is only at the price of perpetual vigilance that a few of these old edifices, known throughout the whole world, remain on their foundation at this hour."
Drake not only deplored their disappearance but, like a proper Bostonian, did something about it, giving posterity an imperishable record.
This treasure of his historic Bostonian lore goes a long way in reconstructing the Boston of our forefathers, rebuilding in fact and fancy their habitations.