Old JP lives again in movies

February 2, 2007
By

JOHN RUCH

People ride horses on the green borders of a two-lane Jamaicaway. Jamaica Pond is glimpsed through trees that are noticeably smaller.

This nearly 70-year-old scene is just one of many remarkable moments captured on old home movies recently donated to the Jamaica Plain Historical Society (JPHS) and now available on its web site.

The 16mm movies date from 1939 to 1963 and were taken by Samuel Minot, who lived on Wyman Place in Hyde/Jackson square. His son Rick donated a DVD copy.

“We were blown away,” said JPHS president Charlie Rosenberg. “I’ve never seen any video of early JP at all, especially 1939. We were really flabbergasted by it.”

The four-minute sampling of images includes a visit to the Franklin Park Zoo. Elephants and a tiger are prominently featured. So is the historic colonnade at the zoo’s entrance, which the state began demolishing last month.

The movies also show bits of Centre Street. That includes the dedication of Peter Mutascio Square at Centre and Chestnut. Mutascio, Rick Minot’s uncle, was a solider killed in action, Rosenberg said. The square is still named for him.

Rick Minot’s full donation was 50 minutes of footage, but most of it was personal in nature—birthday parties and the like. Steve Garfield, Jamaica Plain’s guru of new media technology, edited the footage, added a an old movie reel sound effect and transferred it to a computer movie format.

The movies can be viewed at www.jphs.org/jamaica-plain-home-movies.