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Commissioner of Public Works correspondence files

Identifier: 5000.001

Scope and Contents

This collection includes the incoming and outgoing correspondence files of the Commissioner of the Public Works Department from 1961-2010. It includes the files of Commissioner James W. Haley (1961-1965), Commissioner John F. Flaherty (1965-1968), Commissioner Joseph F. Casazza (1968-2007), and Chief of Public Works and Transportation Dennis Royer (2006-2010) The files are arranged alphabetically by subject and include correspondence along with reports, publications, photographs and other materials. When the files were transferred from the Public Works Department to the City Archives, there were many gaps in the years. Files that included non-permanent records and records determined to not have historical value were disposed of by the Archives Staff. Topics covered include bridges, snow removal, street cleaning, street lighting and sanitation. Significant files include information on the city's incinerator at South Bay, solid waste disposal, the proposed Southwest Expressway, Long Island Bridge, Northern Avenue Bridge, the department's interaction with state agencies, such as, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and Massachusetts Department of Public Works, and the establishment of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.


  • Creation: 1961-2010 with gaps


Historical note

Chapter 9 of the Ordinances of 1910 established the Department of Public Works and abolished the Engineering Department, Street Department and Water Department. The ordinance took effect February 1, 1911. The water works system and the sewer works system of the Public Works Department were abolished and transferred to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission by Chapter 436 of the Acts of 1977.

The Public Works Department directs the general construction, maintenance, and cleaning of approximately 808 miles of roadways throughout the City. It also provides snow and ice control for all City streets. In addition, it operates drawbridges, maintains City-owned street lights, signalized intersections and supervises contracts for the removal and disposal of solid waste. The Department also operates the City's recycling program.


33 Cubic feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Commissioner of Public Works correspondence files
Kayla Skillin, Christopher Carter and Kristen Swett
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)