Boston has always been a city built on history: museums, iconic buildings, and monuments are an essential part of the city’s self-definition and tourism draw. Today more than ever, that history spreads beyond physical places. The Hub History Podcast tells the stories of Boston’s history through a medium that has surged in popularity. The podcast was created by Jacob Sconyers and Nikki Stewart in 2016; the first podcast, released on October 30th, focused on the historic “Pope’s Day” and other historic anniversaries from October 31 to November 6. Their efforts bring Boston history alive by making the past accessible and relevant to a wide audience, far beyond the bounds of familiar sites.
Each episode explores a topic in incredible depth and by demonstrating a wide variety of connections to associated topics and facts. Several hours of research and writing are required to create the thirty-minute to hour-long episodes each week. These center around many different aspects of Boston, tackling topics like the Marquis de Lafayette’s impact on the American Revolution in “Boston’s Favorite Frenchman,” myths like the smugglers’ tunnels running under the North End in “The Secret Tunnels of Boston’s North End,” and even the story of a tank in Downtown Crossing where whales were on display in the 1860s in “Whale Watching on Washington Street.”
“The Birth of Historic Preservation in Boston” explores Boston's centuries old preservation challenges, from the demolition of Hancock Manor in 1863 to the near loss of the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House just as the nation celebrated its centennial. The story continues to events of the recent past, including failed preservation efforts for historic buildings like Pinebank Manor (which held the original steps to Hancock Manor, one of the last surviving parts of the home) with preservation voices ignored until it was too expensive to realistically save.
“The means to engage people with the history of Boston have grown dramatically, and the Hub History podcast is a wonderful way to expand the connection of the broader public to our past,” says Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “The more people who are informed and enthusiastically connected to the stories of the places and people of Boston, the more engagement we have with the desire to preserve these places for future generations. To understand a historic place and the events that happened there is to recognize its value and its connections to lessons valuable to us today.”