Created By: University of Massachusetts Boston
At this site, you will listen to audio and view images about the JFK/UMass Station, which was previously called Columbia Station from 1927-1982. The Columbia Point peninsula had many uses over the centuries, including as a cow pasture, a pump station for the city's sewage system, a city dump, and an internment camp for World War II prisoners of war. In 1954, the the Columbia Point Housing Development opened to support the growing number of families that needed public housing and it was located southeast of the station (beyond what is now an overpass for Morrissey Boulevard). The former Columbia Station (now JFK/UMass Station) dates back to 1927. Ridership at Columbia Station grew quickly in the 1950s and 60s, despite the MBTA's refusal to have a stop for the South Shore Branch. The Bayside Mall (later Bayside Expo Center) opened in 1967, UMass Boston opened its nearby campus in 1974, and the JFK Library opened in 1979; these developments led to increased passengers and the MBTA gave the station more attention. The MBTA completed a $13.5 million renovation of the station, including adding a stop for the South Shore branch, in 1988 (two years after demolition began on the former Columbia Point Housing Development). Does the JFK/UMass station appear to have been accessible to Columbia Point residents? What changes could have made it more accessible? Does it seem like a ‘neighborhood’ station?
Next, you can read more below about recent neglect by the MBTA of the station, including a derailment and several structural issues.
To learn more about the Columbia Point, you can watch this brief video about the history of this section of Dorchester from Boston News Network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMahHyWUaEs
This is a longer clip recorded in 1983 about the tensions between the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and tenants over choosing a developer to remake the Columbia Point, which was broadcasted on "Black Perspectives," which was a public affairs talk show in Boston's Black community. https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_345-88qbzvh6
This point of interest is part of the tour: Columbia Point Walking Tour