As you may have heard, my employer The Boston Globe recently relocated from its longtime home at 135 Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester to a shiny new headquarters on State Street downtown. On our final days at the old building, armed with rolls of expired Tri-X film salvaged from a staff photographer’s locker, a colleague and I ventured around its many mysterious corridors to capture some some sense of the end of the era.
My day job at the Globe largely revolves around digitizing prints and negatives from the city’s history, much of which was seen through the eyes of Globe photojournalists working out of Morrissey since the mid-1950s. That building was nothing if not a relic from those days gone by. From the moment I first stepped through the doors as a co-op two and half years ago, it had a certain eerie gravity. Like its staff, the building had seen things. And for all the nostalgia doled out in the wake of the paper’s relocation (Mark Feeney’s insider piece is pretty fascinating), a frequently overlooked fact is that the place could be terrifying. It was a labyrinthine 800,000 square feet that sometimes felt like a survival-horror video game map you were never going to escape from. Spooky hallways seemingly leading to nowhere, abandoned train tracks, dimly-lit storage rooms and an auditorium that looked like a spot where Rod Serling would introduce a Twilight Zone episode greeted one just a few left turns off the newsroom. There were fun quirks, too – robots and a helipad chief among them.
I always loved the building’s visuals – a half-shuttered miniature city of industrial sprawl colliding with a functioning modern newspaper – and the intrigue was compounded by the final days of the move downtown. Documenting it on long-forgotten rolls of 35mm felt right.
Though it’s a diversion from this blog’s concert-centric content, I still felt like I ought to give these photos a proper home here. The Globe has been plenty influential on my music photography work, from the opportunities I’ve had shooting there to the knowledge gained from simply hanging around our talented photo staff. 135 Morrissey is where I first started taking myself seriously as a photographer, or feeling like that was even a possibility, and it’s a place I’ll miss. I am, however, glad to no longer be working in the presence of actual specters.