Greg's List: 1912

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March 29, 2012, 10:27 pm

(NECN: Greg Wayland) - The Oreo Cookie, the Girl Scouts, Boston's Fenway Park, Franklin Park Zoo and elegant Copley Plaza Hotel - just some of the people, places and things marking their centennary in 2012.

So 1912 must have been one heck of a year, ripe for adventure and invention.

"It's sort of saying goodbye to the pastoral, rural, simple America of the 19th century and kind of ushering in the modern urban, industrial era," said historian Bruce Shulman.

Cities like Boston were suddenly swarming with a rich ethnic mix.

Terry Goulding's Irish great-grandfather used to run trolley's along Boston's Tremont Street.

"He rode the trolleys up and down the street to what used to be called Scolley Square," said Goulding.

Ah, yes, Boston's Scolley Square - adventure down every alley.

Adventure was everywhere in 1912 - as was misadventure.

British Antarctic explorer Robert Scott set out for the South Pole. The RMS Titanic set sail for New York.

Boston was bustling, "Which is why we build a subway, to just get rid of some of that traffic," said Shulman.

The leg of Boston's T we call the Red Line is 100-years-old this year - it took me 100 years just to get my Charlie ticket to work.

While you're waiting, here's some other 1912 milestones: the Dixie Cup and the Oreo cookie were born, signaling the era of mass consumption.

When I was finally admitted to the century-old underground world of the Red Line, few people had cars back in 1912, making the subway vital - but it must have seemed like science fiction.

Explorer Robert Scott could have used something like that Red Line map, because the Norwegians beat him to the pole in 1912.

The Titanic was also in a hurry, sadly.

Bostonians in 1912 wanted life to slow down, and were asking, according to Shulman, how to sort of cool off and release the tensions of everyday life; thus, Fenway was born.

I celebrated the Fenway birthday with an Oreo.

Speaking of cookis, the Girl Scouts were having a centennial gala at the 100-year-old Copley Plaza Hotel, and some scout leaders were selling those famous cookies in the lobby.

Excuse me while I indulge in honor of the banner year of 1912.

Tags: Boston, fenway park, Greg Wayland, Red Line, Girl Scouts, oreo, gregs list, titanic, Dixie Cup, expedition, subways
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