The City Record and Boston News-Letter tipped us off to a great acquisition from Google Books: Bacon’s Dictionary of Boston, circa 1896. Tragically, the book is not a dictionary of cured pork within the Boston city limits, but it’s very entertaining and informative nonetheless. The book, written by Edwin Munroe Bacon, Bostonian par excellence, seems to have been intended as a sort of guidebook to our great city, helpful to tourists and residents alike. It makes for fascinating reading, filled with vivid descriptions of a long-ago city. Predictably, we were drawn to the entry on Boston’s restaurants. We were particularly intrigued by this complaint about the Boston dining scene, which, we would argue, remains fairly true today:
…the stranger in town, specially if he comes from the larger cities of the Middle States or the West, or from the great cities on the other side of the Atlantic, is heard frequently to complain of the lack in Boston of restaurants of the second class, whose prices are reasonable, and whose viands are of the best. Bostonians who know the city well, and those out-of-towners who have become intimately acquainted with it, find less trouble in meeting their wants in this respect ; but the same complaint is often heard from them, as well as from those visiting the city for the first time. There are many first-clans establishments, and more of the third class, especially for men ; but the third-class places too often assume the airs, and, what is more exasperating, demand the prices, of first-class establishments ; while the second-class places, making no lofty pretensions, are not easy to find.
[Photo: Celebrate Boston]