Beauty replaces Ugly: Two refurbished MBTA Stations in Dorchester 5

They used to be dark, dirty, damp, and depressing.  They looked like set pieces for The Dark Knight, especially at night, when a lonely bulb (or two) lit the outside of Field’s Corner station.  All of that has changed now.  Beauty-clean has replaced Ugly-dirt.

The new Field’s Corner and Shawmut Stations on the Red Line in Dorchester are great examples of how good design can transform.  They new stations are so beautiful, in fact, that they almost…almost obliterate the memory of just how dreary and depressing these stations were.

Field’s Corner is a brand new station with glass, neon light, an escalator and elevator.  There’s landscaping on the walk from the Geneva Avenue side, and a mural on the Dorchester Ave. side.

Shawmut Station is a restoration of an old brick station with grand windows.  (The windows were boarded up for years! I didn’t even know they existed!  Walking toward it from Centre Street one sees the adjacent new Epiphany School building.  Approaching from Melville Avenue, one sees the herb garden planted by neighbors along a path that used to be strewn with weeds and debris.

Ashmont is still under construction but the new Carruth Building is already a wonderful asset to the neighborhood – with a coffee shop (Flat Black Coffee Co.), restaurant/bar (Tavolo), and a branch of the Wainwright Bank. 

I use public transportation most of the time I travel away from home.  While there are still issues with our transportation system,(although I don’t hold the T responsible for the actions of the public part of public transportation).

I have to congratulate the MBTA on a job well-done on these stations.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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5 thoughts on “Beauty replaces Ugly: Two refurbished MBTA Stations in Dorchester

  • LeeAnn

    The student designers at my school will be happy to read this…not all people appreciate the skill, and money, that go into design and fewer still understand its impact on our individual and group psyche. I wish I could see these places!

  • Justin

    While I agree that it’s nice to see nice clean stations, I have to disagree with Fields Corner – the original design was functionally perfect – as were most of the old stations – transfering from line to line was easy and right in front of you, no stairs or elevators needed. You just walked a few steps and BAM there was your bus or streetcar.

    But yea, it was very very dirty at the end. If only they had just kept the funtional design with it, would have been perfect.

  • Can-Can

    I never liked the long ramps going up to Field’s Corner Station. I also saw a few things 15 years ago – muggings, etc., that made me avoid the station as much as I could. I think the new design is more user friendly.
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog.

  • joe c

    I also liked the old basic design of Field’s Corner. Now I can’t even tell for sure where the exits leave you. But the old station was really falling apart.

    Shawmut, my regular stop, had a realy amazing transformation. This is especially amazing because, a number of years ago, the T wanted to get rid of the attendant there all together to save money since it was supposed to be the least used station, which would have been a very scary proposition. I’m so happy the MBTA did such a complete change here which help from our neighborhood activists.

  • Barbara Bean

    Thank you! As one of the community members who worked for years on the rehab of Shawmut Station (i.e was a thorn in the side of the MBTA) it’s nice to see our efforts appreciated.