Tag Archives: combat zone

Old Friends Never Fade Away

combat zone, check cabs, strippers, boston

THE SMELL OF MOONSHINE by Peter Nolan Smith

Back in the late 50s my Irish grandmother took my older brother and me for a monthly visit to downtown Boston. We left her house in Jamaica Plains and rode the trolley into Boylston Street. The El from Forest Hills to Washington Street was quicker, but Nana preferred the trolley. My late grandfather had driven […]

Combat Zone Amnesia

In the 60s urban social scientists in Boston created an adult entertainment area between the bus station on Boylston Street and Chinatown to contain the wickedness of mankind. The experiment green-lighted prostitution, drag queens, piano bars, go-go bars, rent boys, and pornography along Washington Street and the adjacent blocks. The Boston Record-American newspaper labeled haven […]

Goodbye Jacob Wirth

Last week the owners who been operating Jacob Wirth since 1975 announced that debt has forced him into selling the 150 year-old beer hall in Boston. Kevin Fitzgerald owes over $2,000,000 to the IRS and state as well as employees and food purveyors. Several years ago I met the owner during a slow Sunday and […]

SHADOWS OF THE COMBAT ZONE by Peter Nolan Smith

In the late 60s lower Washington Street was anointed Boston’s Combat Zone for sex and sin. Working-class drinking dives became go-go bars named the Naked I and Two O’Clock Lounge. Gay clubs like Jacques and The Other End flourished freely in the alleys. Porno theaters openly screened XXX-rated to enthralled men and the cops ceased […]