Aspiring writers are told to read; aspiring Common Boston organizers should walk. Or more accurately, walk to gain the direct experience of what an area feels like; talk to those who live in the area and are shaping the place through their work; walk some more to put their words in context.
Wandering up side streets and walking with an eye to detail helps me see the layers of a community. Though this is true of any neighborhood, I’ve especially felt it in walking around Dorchester (commonly known as Dot) Avenue. Turning off of Dot Ave in the Fields corner area, I was brought to the bright yellow gates of the Luc Hoa Buddhist Center. On a side street branching off of the other side of Dot Avenue, before the area turns heavily residential, I encountered Viet-AID’s Community Garden, circled by a bright-red fence. Both locations point to the large Vietnamese population that has been settling in the area since the 1970s.
Walking slowly along that same retail-heavy stretch there is several story brick building that is now a storage facility. If you turn the corner, and look up, you see bricks arranged in an arch – indicating what were once the windows of the Dorchester Music Hall. From the mid-1880’s to 1906 (right before it was converted into a storage facility) the hall was used for concerts, musical productions, political speeches and campaign events.
This June, I look forward to walking more around this area on June 2nd and June 8th. I hope you’ll join me.
Photo by Nicholas Caruso