Archives Guide ~ Transit Department (8300)

Historical note
A commission to promote rapid transit for the City of Boston and its suburbs was created by Chapter 365 of the Acts of 1891. The expenses of the Commission were paid one-half by the Commonwealth and one-half by the City of Boston. The Commission made a report to the Legislature, April 5, 1892, and a supplementary and final report May 16, 1892. Based on the findings of the Rapid Transit Commission, the Massachusetts Legislature authorized the creation of the Boston Transit Commission in July of 1894. The Commission had charge of the construction of the Tremont street subway, the Charlestown Bridge, the tunnel to East Boston, the Washington street tunnel, the tunnel under Beacon Hill from the new Cambridge Bridge to the Park street station of the Tremont street subway, the East Boston Tunnel Extension, Boylston street subway, and the Dorchester tunnel for train service. The official existence of the Boston Transit Commission terminated on July 1, 1918.

The Ordinance of 1918, Chapter 3, approved by the Mayor on July 2, 1918, established the Transit Department under the charge of a board of three commissioners appointed by the Mayor, for the term of one year each. The board exercised the power and performed the duties formerly exercised and performed by the Boston Transit Commission as defined by chapter 185 of the Special Acts of 1918. The Acts of 1947, chapter 544 created the Metropolitan Transit Authority. In July of 1949, the Massachusetts General Court and the Governor approved chapter 572 of the Acts of 1949, entitled “An Act Amending and Revising the Act Creating the Metropolitan Transit Authority”. Section 3 of this law inserted in St. 1947, c. 544, a new section 8A providing for the abolition of the Board of Commissioners of the Boston Transit Department, and the transfer of that department and of Boston’s subways, tunnels, and rapid transit lines to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Section 8A became effective when it was accepted by the City Council and approved by the Mayor on July 25, 1949.

8300.001 Records 1891-1949 56 volumes and 1 folder

Scope and Contents note
Records of the Rapid Transit Commission, 1891-1892; Boston Transit Commission, 1894-1918; and the Board of Commissioners of the Transit Department, 1918-1949. Includes minutes of each entity, financial journal of the Rapid Transit Commission, photographs used in the 12th annual report of the Boston Transit Commission showing views of East Boston Tunnel and Tremont Street Subway and publications. The publications include the Report of the Rapid Transit Commission of 1892, annual reports and select contracts.

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