Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 28
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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cordage, roasting coffee, and a dozen other elements-all this
commotion set my youthful head spinning.
Today, I am told, Scollay Square has deteriorated into a slum,
a sort of Skid Row, with cheap lunchrooms and bars, penny
arcades and shooting galleries, tattoo parlors, cheap movie houses
and dine-and-dance spots. But at that time it was quite different.
Scollay Square was the site of three large and extremely respecta-
ble hotels, the Quincy House, the Crawford, and the Revere,
among the best hotels in Boston and handy to the main business
district. In the square stood a bronze statue of Governor Win-
throp, a memorial long since removed, I believe to a more fitting
spot in the Back Bay.
It was quite some time before I was able to adjust to my new
surroundings, to living in the same house with many others, to
seeing brick walls rather than grass and trees when I looked out
the window, to using an indoor toilet instead of the rural out-
house, to bathing in the common bathtub. My aunt Lavinia was
an ultra-respectable and laborious woman, who would have
looked with horror on such intrusions as the Old Howard
burlesque theater that later set up near Scollay Square on
Howard Street. Her roomers, all ten of them, either followed
her steady example, or sought quarters elsewhere.
The first urban object to stir my imagination was the huge
gilt teakettle suspended above the sidewalk to advertise the
Oriental Tea Company. This teakettle, still hanging in Scollay
Square, had been installed the year of my birth, I874. At that
time the tea company, so my aunt Lavinia told me, had offered a
prize of forty pounds of tea to anyone who could guess how
much it held. The correct guess, out of the thirteen thousand
submitted, turned out to be two hundred and twenty-seven
gallons and some more. The kettle was a marvelous thing. Every
time I passed it, I looked up to make sure that steam was still
purling from the spout. Sure enough, it always was.
As yet there were no trolley cars in Boston, though they came
about two years later, while I was still there. This exciting
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/40/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.