scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Shellfish beds, sulfur, and slot machines: The evolution of the Everett waterfront

A rail car headed to the Monsanto plant in Everett was hit by a diesel locomotive at a switchyard in Somerville, spilling 13,000 gallons of phosphorus trichloride, injuring more than 100 people, and forcing evacuations of 23,000 people. The spill closed Interstate 93, the Tobin Bridge, and parts of the Green LIne and the commuter rail system, spewing “searing, vinegar-like fumes” throughout the Boston area.Bob Dean/Globe Staff/1980 File

The site where casino mogul Steve Wynn wants to build his $1.6 billion gambling resort in Everett has a colorful, if sometimes toxic, history. The tidal flats and shellfish beds of the 1800s became a transportation and manufacturing hub in the 20th century before the area was largely abandoned. The elevated Orange Line, which terminated at Everett Station, closed in 1975, and Monsanto, which opened its plant in 1929, sold the site in 1983.

The photos and videos included here are drawn from the Globe archives; from the collection of Everett City Clerk Michael Mattarazzo, who maintains an archive of photos on his Everett history Facebook page; and from journalist and videographer Mark Micheli, who produced a documentary on the neighborhood, called “Down the Lynde.”


Everett history Facebook page

Circus elephants bathe in the Mystic River. According to the book “Boston’s Orange Line,” by Andrew Elder and Jeremy C. Fox, a circus visited the Sullivan Square park grounds in Charlestown every year around Bunker Hill Day. The elephants were taken down to the Mystic River in Everett to cool off. The Orange Line, which ran from Sullivan Square to its terminus at the Everett Station near the proposed site of the casino, is in the background. The book speculates that the photo was taken between 1919, when the elevated line was extended to Everett, and the mid-1930s, when Boston Mayor Frederick Mansfield banned traveling carnivals.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/1971 file

Everett Station served as the northern end of the Orange Line from 1919 until April 4, 1975, when the elevated tracks were shut down and the new Orange Line opened up. Instead of crossing the Mystic River after heading northeast from Sullivan Square, the current Orange Line goes more directly north to Malden and Oak Grove.

George Rizer/Globe Staff/1975 file
Everett history Facebook page

Above, an exterior view of Everett Station from 1918.



For years after Monsanto opened its plant in Everett in 1929, gigantic piles of yellow sulfur were a landmark in the area. After 1955, when the photos above and below were taken, molten sulfur was barged to the site, eliminating the need for the sulfur piles.

Handout/1955 file/Globe file photo
Everett history Facebook page

A view of the Monsanto site in the 1920s, with Route 99, also known as Alford Street, running left to right. The casino site is in the foreground.

Everett history Facebook page

Above, an undated photo of the Everett waterfront.

The Lynde is a gritty neighborhood of auto body shops, junkyards, factories, and ramshackle homes. But change is coming -- developers are eyeing the neigbborhood, and a resort casino could transform the area.

Mark Micheli spent time in the neighborhood filming a documentary for his master’s thesis at Northeastern University and writing about the changes that are transforming the area. The video above is the trailer from the documentary, “Down the Lynde: A Neighborhood on the Verge of an Industrial Breakdown.”

Bennie DiNardo can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bdinardo.