When I read – and write – books, I love historical trivia. For me, it makes the story richer.
So, since my first “Love at Sea” book, The Earl’s Engagement, starts in Boston, Massachusetts, I wanted to make sure my city details were accurate. (Growing up in the Boston area, I was familiar with the modern streets of Boston… but not so sure what they were like, or even named, in earlier times.)
The first surprise was how little downtown Boston has changed in over a century. Here’s a map from 1885.
So, when my hero and heroine were in Boston, most of the street names were the same as they are now. That made it easier for me to understand what kinds of businesses were in Boston… and where.
In my research, I learned that Filene’s department store opened in 1881 at 10 Winter Street in Boston.
And, by 1883, a sort-of circus (described as “sideshow freaks”) opened at 585 Washington Street. It was called Keith & Batchelder’s Dime Museum.
On the second floor, over their museum, the men created a vaudeville theatre. It opened daily at 10 AM and usually presented eight shows per day.
Then, when I researched pawnbrokers, I learned that the word was in use in that era, but some pawn shops were part of “collateral loan” institutions. (See the ad in the upper right corner of the following illustration.)
All of this makes writing historical fiction fascinating, and I hope my readers enjoy this kind of trivia – and accuracy – as much as I do.