November 2014

Somerville, Industry, November 2014


instant film fun (sonya kovacic)

instant film fun (sonya kovacic)

The Polaroid Corporation was founded in Cambridge in 1937 by Harvard drop out, Edwin Land. In 1947, Land presented the first instant camera, Model 95, after his daughter asked why she couldn't see a picture he took of her on vacation. In 1948, the first Model 95 was sold for &89.95 at the Jordan Marsh Department Store in Boston. In 1963, the first color film was introduced.

Although best known for instant cameras, Polaroid was also responsible for creating ski goggles, glasses (including 3D glasses), stereoscopic motion picture viewers, fog-free and dark-adapter goggles for the Army and Navy, and helped design optics for spy planes in the 50's. Edwin Land even advised President Dwight D. Eisenhower on photographic reconnaissance matters.

At one point Polaroid was making 1.3 billion dollars in sales but in 2001, Polaroid Corporation filed for bankruptcy.

Take a look at Edwin Land's prototype drawing for his first instant camera. 

Comparing Edwin Land to Steve Jobs, BBC created a short video about the Polaroid Corporation and its charismatic leader.

Brookline, November 2014


friendsgiving (erika jubinville)

friendsgiving (erika jubinville)

Today's photo comes from Erika Jubinville who lives in Brookline. Erika has this to say about Boston:

"What do I love about Boston? The food! Where I hang out in the city pretty much depends on what I'm in the mood to eat. There's always a new place to try and old favorites to keep going back to. I also have my car here and love zipping around from one neighborhood to the next in search of something yummy."

The first Thanksgiving was said to have occurred in Plymouth in 1621 between the Puritans and the Wampanoag people. The menu would have looked a lot different and included seafood and deer.

Thanksgiving didn't become a national holiday until Sarah Josepha Hale came into the picture. Responsible for raising funds for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument,and author of "Mary had a little Lamb", Hale convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday as a way to unite the country during the Civil War.

On Thanksgiving day in 1970, the first National Day of Mourning protest occurred in Plymouth. The United American Indians of New England (UAINE) organized the protest to raise awareness about the Native American experience during colonial puritan times.

Popular podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class, has an episode titled How the First Thanksgiving Worked.

Cambridge, November 2014


star market (sonya kovacic)

star market (sonya kovacic)

Before 1870, tropical fruit was mostly unavailable in the northern United States. A man named Andrew Preston owned a small fruit distribution business in Boston. In the early 1870’s, Preston teamed up with a sea captain named Lorenzo Baker and the two began importing bananas to the United States from Jamaica. Realizing the tremendous demand for tropical fruit, the Boston Fruit Company was formally established in 1885. Bananas, mangoes, avocados, oranges, and coconuts were introduced to the market in large scale by the Boston Fruit Company to cities along the east coast.  Headquartered in Long Wharf, they owned dozens of plantations and deep-water ports in Jamaica, as well as their own line of ships. Once these ships unloaded their cargo, they would frequently carry passengers back to the Caribbean, leading to a sparked interest in Caribbean tourism.

The Boston Fruit Company was the predecessor to the United Fruit Company, an international powerhouse in fruit production and distribution.  They were so powerful that they had long-lasting political, economic, and social impacts in many “banana republic”countries. Through several more mergers, the United Fruit Company ultimately became Chiquita Brands International.

Cambridge, Somerville, November 2014


entering cambridge by porter square (sonya kovacic)

entering cambridge by porter square (sonya kovacic)

Today's post was inspired by an e-mail correspondence with bostonology reader, Reed Savory. Reed kindly mentioned that as a Middlesex County resident (in Carlisle) he sees wild turkeys all the time. Yesterday's curated post was supposed to say Suffolk County instead of MiddlesexCounty. The Official Website of (Massachusetts) Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs states that "Turkeys are absent from Nantucket and Suffolk Counties." Reed responded by saying, "Well, if they are in Harvard Square, I doubt there’s much keeping them from crossing the bridge from Cambridge (Middlesex) into Boston (Suffolk). But maybe the turkeys have GPS and know they aren’t allowed in Suffolk County proper:)" That made us think about boundaries. Thanks for the conversation Reed!

Boundary- something (such as a river, a fence, or an imaginary line) that shows where an area ends and another area begins.

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Massachusetts was founded in 1630 as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became a state. Massachusetts currently has 14 counties, 50 cities, and 301 towns.

Geographic center of Massachusetts is Town of Rutland in Worcester County
Oldest town: Plymouth incorporated 1620
Oldest city: Boston incorporated 1820
Chestnut Hill is comprised of parts of the City of Boston, the City of Newton, and the Town of Brookline, as well as being comprised of the counties Suffolk, Middlesex, and Norfolk.

Massachusetts' 14 counties: Barnstable (established 1685), Berkshire (1761), Bristol (1685), Dukes (1695), Essex (1643), Franklin (1811), Hampden (1812), Hampshire (1662), Middlesex (1643), Nantucket (1695), Norfolk (1793), Plymouth (1685), Suffolk (1643), Worcester (1731).

According to Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development department, the cities and towns that make up the Greater Boston area include: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Cohasset, Dedham, Everett, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, Weston, Weymouth, Winchester and Winthrop.

Boston neighborhoods: Allston/Brighton, Back Bay, Beacon Hill/West End, Charlestown, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway/Kenmore, Financial District, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South Boston, South End/Bay Village, and West Roxbury.

Click on the interactive map to see boundary formations in Boston. 

Cambridge, November 2014, Reader Submission


window shopping in harvard square  (diane yang)

window shopping in harvard square  (diane yang)

Curated by Liz Williams

Although always an odd sight, it’s not uncommon to see wild turkeys roaming around Harvard Square. According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, wild turkeys were found across all parts of the state when Colonial settlers first arrived. But by 1851, the turkey population fell to such low numbers that they were believed to have disappeared entirely. In 1972, MassWildlife caught 37 turkeys in New York State and re-released them in Berkshire County, and in 1978 officials caught some of the re-established rafter and brought them to 10 other counties in the state. Today, 18-20,000 wild turkeys are believed to be living in most of Massachusetts except for Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Suffolk counties.

Wild turkeys are a particular nuisance in Brookline and Newton. Meetings have been held in both towns to discuss issues associated with the turkeys, including instances of the fowl violently attacking people, destroying property, and disrupting traffic. Earlier this year, Brookline Police distributed a list of tips to help homeowners deal with the turkeys.

Brookline, November 2014


vintage coat tag* (sonya kovacic)

vintage coat tag* (sonya kovacic)

The city upon a hill was founded by a group of Puritans from England  in 1630. Since then, immigrants from all over the world have made Boston their home.

According to the most recent demographic report from the city of Boston in 2009:

Irish and Italian are the first and second leading ancestries. Their recorded number decreased between 1990 and 2007, by 33.4% and 30.7%, respectively.
Puerto Ricans are the third leading ancestry. Their reported number increased by 12.7%, between 1990
Over the last two decades the share of Boston’s foreign-born population has increased at a faster pace than Massachusetts and the U.S.
In 1990, 114,597 immigrants accounted for 20% of the city’s total population.
In 2007, Boston had 608,352 residents, with the foreign born accounting for almost 28% of that population.
Boston’s foreign-born population comes predominantly from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa and represents more than 100 different countries.
Caribbean immigrants make up almost 53% of all immigrants from the Americas.
Chinese immigrants make up the largest share of Boston’s immigrants.
Since 1990, the Latino population has increased by 53.6% and the Asian population by 71.1%
Boston had the 5th highest proportion of foreign-born residents among the 25 largest U.S. cities in 2007.

*I'm a first-generation American. My family emigrated from the Former Yugoslavia in the 1980's. 

This past spring and summer, the Boston Public Library had an exhibition titled the City of Neighborhoods. The exhibition compares the neighborhoods of today’s “new” Boston with those of 100 years ago. The 45 photos, objects, and maps, many of which are based on recent census data, show us where newer immigrant groups have settled and how the streets and features of a neighborhood reflect who lives and works there.

Blake Gumprecht, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at UNH, had a map in the exhibition. His collection of maps, Peopling of New England, are found on flickr. 

Institutions, November 2014


longfellow bridge (sonya kovacic)

longfellow bridge (sonya kovacic)

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
-Opening stanza of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was a renowned poet and professor. He was born in Portland, Maine when Maine was still part of Massachusetts. Although he had a prolific career, he experienced a great deal of personal tragedy. His first wife died from a miscarriage while in Europe, and his second wife died when her dress caught on fire when she was sealing a letter with wax.

Longfellow's grandfather on his mother's side, Peleg Wadsworth, was a notable general during the Revolutionary War. At one point he was even taken prisoner by the British and escaped. It was said that Longfellow wrote his now famous "Paul Revere's Ride" as a call for courage, when the country was heading towards civil war.

The Longfellow Bridge connects Cambridge to Boston across the Charles River, and sees 28,000 motor vehicles, 90,000 transit users, and a large amount of pedestrians and bicyclists each day. It is made of steel and granite and is located on the site of the former 1793 West Boston Bridge. At the time of its completion, in 1908, the bridge was named the Cambridge Bridge. It was renamed the Longfellow Bridge in 1927, in part because of Longfellow's poem about the West Boston Bridge titled, "The Bridge."

In the summer of 2013, Mass DOT began its 3 and a half year, $255 million, Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitataion Project to "address the bridge's current structural deficiencies, upgrade its structural capacity, and bring the bridge up to modern code. " Mass DOT created an animation to demonstrate what the rehabilitation project will look like.

Institutions, November 2014, Bridge


kendall congeneration station from longfellow bridge (sonya kovacic)

kendall congeneration station from longfellow bridge (sonya kovacic)

The city of Boston has a "Greenovate Boston" goal of reducing Boston's greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. One solution is using steam produced from making electricity, to power heating and cooling devices through underground pipes. It is referred to as Green Steam. Veolia North America bought the Kendall Station power plant and has invested $168 million total into the Boston-Cambridge district energy network; including a 7,000-foot steam pipeline extension. It is predicted to reduce 475,000 tons of carbon per year, equivalent to removing 80,000 cars from the roads.

Although Kendall Station is the main power and steam plant, Veolia also has steam plants in Back Bay and Chinatown, as well as maintains and operates Longwood's MATEP (total energy facility and micro-grid).

According to Veolia, their customers include 250 commercial, healthcare, government, institutional and hospitality customers occupying 44 million square feet of building space within the central business district of Boston:

major hospitals (and in Boston, Veolia serves every major one),
biotech R&D facilities
data centers
office towers (including 70 percent of Boston's high-rise buildings)
colleges and universities
New England Aquarium
Faneuil Hall
City Hall
Holocaust Memorial
Prudential Building

To see a map of Veolia's energy network, click  here.

The Boston Globe created an infographic to explain the steam process. 

Back Bay, November 2014

"and this is boston"

reading in the pru (sonya kovacic)

reading in the pru (sonya kovacic)

The first paragraph of Eleanor Early's 1938 book, And this is Boston, goes like this:"Boston is like a nice old lady. If you don't know her very well, you might think her prosy, and a little dull. Old ladies are frequently misjudged, and Dame Boston--dear old thing-- doesn't always put her best foot forward. There is nothing loud about her, nor blatant. She's quiet and conservative, and she clings to her old fashioned things, and tucks them away in quiet corners, and shows them only to those who really love her." Sound familiar?

After visiting my 94 year old great-uncle Oliver in Maine, my parents gave me a copy of the book. Oliver is from Arkansas and visited Boston for the first time in 1941, while on leave from the Coast Guard (during WWII). It was there that he met his future wife Trina, and her sister Billie, gave him a copy of And this is Boston as a guide to the city. It was first published in 1930, and the second addition (the one I have) was completed in 1938.

Eleanor Early is opinionated and her prose is brazen. Along with being a guide book, it reflects the gender, racial, political, and economic realities of the time. It's a fun read and makes you think about how historical cities like Boston change throughout the years. If Eleanor was alive, maybe she would be a contributor for Bostonology. She describes her book as "just a friendly little thing--that's all."

A native of Newton, Eleanor Early was a journalist and travel writer. Her works include Ports of the Sun, Lands of Delight, And this is Cape Cod!, and And this is Washington! In 2006, Boston College organized an exhibition about her life and work. You can read more about her here. 

Back Bay, November 2014

bella lyon pratt

art and science sculpture in copley square (lauren walleser)

art and science sculpture in copley square (lauren walleser)

Today's photo comes from Lauren Walleser from Somerville. Lauren is a writer, comedian, and gender and sexuality scholar. She has this to say about Boston:
"One of the things I love most about Boston is that whether people have lived here for six months or 60 years, you see them stopping to take photos of the tulips in the Common, or the leaves as they turn fire red, or really any number of things that make the city so photogenic. No matter how long you've been a part of it, Boston always has something new to show you.

Also, I adore the Muse of Art. I think we're kindred spirits. I've taken photos of her from almost every angle, and I feel like she always smiles back."

Bela Lyon Pratt (1867-1917), was an American sculptor born into an artistic family in Connecticut. His grandfather, Oramel Whittlesey, founded the first conservatory of music in New England. In 1893, Pratt became an instructor in the Sculpture Department at the School of Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and continued working there for 25 years. Having lived abroad in Paris, as well as in Chicago and New York, Pratt settled in Boston, and had an active life in Boston's intellectual community. He is known for having produced more than 180 pieces of work and has made sculptures of notable Bostonians including: Boston Symphony Orchestra founder Henry Lee Higginson, Episcopal priest Phillips Brooks, and Colonel Henry Lee.

One of his biggest achievements was creating the sculpture "Art and Science" outside the Boston Public Library. The Boston Arts Commission describes the sculpture: "These two seated allegorical female figures—one representing Art, holding a palette and a paintbrush, and the other representing Science, holding a sphere."

Pratt's former student-turned wife, Helen Pray, was the daughter of Dudley Pray; owner of a steam tug boat named, "Dudley Pray", that traveled between Boston and Cuba.

Bela Lyon Pratt's grandchildren helped create a website in his memory. The website includes his biography, works of art, exhibitions, awards, articles, photo gallery, family tree, and personal letters. Apparently he wasn't a great speller and there is even a list of his most commonly misspelled words.

Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Institutions, Bridge, November 2014


waiting for the 66 under the jamaicaway overpass (sonya kovacic)

waiting for the 66 under the jamaicaway overpass (sonya kovacic)

"Parkways are an integral part of Olmsted’s design of the Emerald Necklace. Originally laid out as carriage roads, the parkways were intended as pleasure routes following the meanderings of the Muddy River, connecting the parks from the Back Bay Fens in the heart of the city to the more rural Franklin Park. Although the parkways have become major commuter routes, they continue to provide scenic glimpses into the parks and a more verdant experience for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians."

-Emerald Necklace Conservancy

Jamaicaway is a four lane parkway in Jamaica Plain, connecting the Riverway and Arborway parkways. The parkway has become a popular route for cars and its windy and narrow roads have caused many accidents.

The Jamaicaway overpass was constructed as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1934 (part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal). On the night of its opening, in August 1936, heavy rain caused damage, and the overpass was closed for repairs until the spring of 1938.

The Jamaicaway Towers and Town Houses is a 30 foot residential building that stands out in the JP landscape. Constructed in the 1960's, it was controversial at the time. Read the Jamaica Plain Gazette story and see a couple of before and after photos.

Jamaica Plain, November 2014, transportation

"e" branch

heath street stop (sonya kovacic)

heath street stop (sonya kovacic)

Heath Street is currently the last stop on the Green Line "E" Branch. Though, at one point, the electric trolley ran all the way to the Arborway stop (near the Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain). The trolley was an important means of transportation for residents of JP; allowing them access to hospitals, universities, and downtown Boston.

Because of societal changes like improved roads, reliance on cars, efficiency of buses, and subways; the electric trolley became less important. In 1985, the MBTA suspended trolley service from -- Heath Street to Arborway-- for maintenance reasons, and replaced it with the 39 bus. The suspension became permanent after much controversy (and a lawsuit) from JP community groups, and in 2008, the track vestiges were paved over. The 39 bus goes from Forest Hills to Back Bay, and runs parallel to the "E" Branch from Heath Street; raising questions about the future of the "E" Branch.

If you want to see what Centre Street in JP looked like with a trolley, check out this 1967 photo.

Jamaica Plain, November 2014

veterans day

statue outside the VA hospital, jp (brian mclean)

statue outside the VA hospital, jp (brian mclean)

Curated by Navy Veteran Brian McLean

Massachusetts has a rich military history. We are all familiar with the state’s role in the Revolutionary War, but did you know that Massachusetts was the location of a World War I naval engagement? German U-boats sunk a tugboat off the coast of Orleans in July of 1918. Several shells landed harmlessly on shore, marking the first, and only time, the US mainland was attacked during WWI. Although the event was isolated and nobody was killed, it still created widespread panic along the northeast coast.

The US Navy has had 6 ships and (most recently) one submarine bear the namesake BOSTON. The WWII era USS BOSTON (CA 69) was highly decorated, participating in the Pacific Theater of Operations. When the war ended the USS BOSTON was decommissioned until the mid-50’s. Due to Cold War threats, the ship was retrofitted as the first Boston-class guided missile cruiser. Re-designated USS BOSTON (CAG1), she helped usher the era of guided missiles in the fleet by being one of the first vessels equipped with that technology.

Thank you to all those who have served!

Here's a link to learn more about the USS Boston.

Jamaica Plain, November 2014, Orange Line

park square

old advertisement; stony brook station, orange line (sonya kovacic)

old advertisement; stony brook station, orange line (sonya kovacic)

Park Square was once the main hub of the Boston & Providence Railroad; the railroad, completed in 1835, connected Boston to Providence. After the opening of South Station in 1899, the Park Square Railroad Station was abandoned.

UMass Boston, the second university in the UMass system, also made its home in Park Square. After increased demands for a public university outside of Amherst, UMass Boston was founded in 1965, and was located in the Park Square Building. In 1974, it moved to its current location in Columbia Point, Dorchester. Currently, the Park Square Building is a commercial space, home to restaurants (Maggiano's anyone?) and businesses.

There also used to be a bus depot in Park Square where, the grasshopper weathervane from Faneuil Hall, was supposedly hidden.

Learn more about the evolution of Park Square and see pictures of the old Park Square Railroad Station here. 

November 2014, Reader Submission, Charlestown, Landmark


bunker hill monument (jenna mead)

bunker hill monument (jenna mead)

Today's photo comes from Jenna Mead, an MIT student living in Charlestown. Jenna has this to say about Boston:

"What I like most about Boston -- specifically Charlestown-- is its ability to be dynamic. My boyfriend is in the Coast Guard and our favorite activity in the city is running along the Charles. My boyfriend likes to observe people along the Esplanade marching to their own drum, and I enjoy the city's four seasons. Boston keeps me on my toes."

Prospect Hill Monument, in Union Square, Somerville, commemorates the supposed raising of the first American flag of the thirteen colonies, by George Washington, on January 1, 1776. Because of its panoramic views of Boston, Prospect Hill, was strategically important during both the Revolutionary and Civil War. Originally named, San Pit Square, and then, Liberty Pole Square, Union Square was re-named after it was used as a recruitment center for Union soldiers during the Civil War.

For those still in the Halloween spirit, Paranormal Hood, a paranormal group from Boston, investigated Prospect Hill Monument to see if there were any spirits left over from the Revolutionary War.

If that's not your thing, you can check out photos from last year's Raising of the Great Union Flag re-enactment ceremony.

Cambridge, November 2014


office calendar (sonya kovacic)

office calendar (sonya kovacic)

The first lighthouse in the United States was constructed in 1716 on Boston Harbor’s Little Brewster Island. Named Boston Light, it was rebuilt in 1783 after it was nearly destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Still in operation today, and continuously staffed by a resident lighthouse keeper, it is the last manned lighthouse in the US. Currently managed by the Coast Guard, it has had over 60 lighthouse keepers since 1716. The current keeper is Sally Snowman, the first female keeper in Boston Light’s history. She has been at her post since 2003.

Another historic Boston lighthouse, Graves Light, was deemed excess property by the federal government and sold at public auction in 2013.  The winning bid of $933,888 came from Dave Waller, a Malden resident. You can follow the restoration and see any future plans for Waller’s newly acquired lighthouse here.

November 2014, Cambridge

great fire

fire proof (sonya kovacic)

fire proof (sonya kovacic)

One of the largest fires in Boston’s history started on the evening of November 9th, 1872.  Known as the, Great Boston Fire of 1872, it burned 65 acres of downtown Boston and took over 12 hours to contain. It took 20 minutes for someone to strike a call box at which point the fire was already out of control. John S. Damrell, Boston’s Fire Chief at the time of the fire, was credited with saving lives and property through his heroic leadership. If not for Damrell, it could have been much worse.

One reason the fire was hard to contain was because of the horse flu. The Boston Fire Department used horses to pull fire engines, ladder carts, and hose reels. Unfortunately, at the time of the fire, most horses in Boston were sick with the flu; equipment had to be moved by teams of men, delaying the arrival of equipment to the scene of the fire.

Take a look at the Boston Public Library's print archive of the Great Boston Fire of 1872. The images are impressive. For context, this map, details the extent of the fire.

Cambridge, November 2014

election day

off to vote (sonya kovacic)

off to vote (sonya kovacic)

Today is Election Day. Have you ever wondered why elections are held on a Tuesday in November? Here's the story according to the History Channel:

"The answer lies with America’s 19th-century farmers. Americans first began the custom of weekday voting in 1845, when Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day. Before then, states were allowed to hold elections any time they pleased within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December, but this system had a few crucial flaws. Knowing the early voting results could affect turnout and sway opinion in states that held late elections, and those same last-minute voters could potentially decide the outcome of the entire election. Faced with these issues, Congress created the current Election Day in the hope of streamlining the voting process.

But why a Tuesday in November? The answer stems from the agrarian makeup of 19th-century America. In the 1800s, most citizens worked as farmers and lived far from their polling place. Since people often traveled at least a day to vote, lawmakers needed to allow a two-day window for Election Day. Weekends were impractical, since most people spent Sundays in church, and Wednesday was market day for farmers. With this in mind, Tuesday was selected as the first and most convenient day of the week to hold elections. Farm culture also explains why Election Day always falls in November. Spring and early summer elections were thought to interfere with the planting season, and late summer and early fall elections overlapped with the harvest. That left the late fall month of November—after the harvest was complete, but before the arrival of harsh winter weather—as the best choice."

According to American statistician Nate Silver; Ed Markey (Democrat), is predicted to win the senate race in Massachusetts with a +19 margin of victory. The Republicans however, have a 76.2% chance of winning a majority. Check out the rest of Silver's predictions here. 

Cambridge, MIT, November 2014


walk-in flu clinic, mit (sonya kovacic)

walk-in flu clinic, mit (sonya kovacic)

The Spanish Influenza of 1918 - also known as the Great Pandemic- infected between 20-40% of the global population. Boston was the first city in the United States to be hit when in August of 1918, sailors in Boston became sick with influenza. From there, the virus spread quickly into the city and then to the rest of the state. From September 1918 - January 1919, approximately 45,000 people died from influenza in Massachusetts alone.

The particular strain of Spanish Influenza targeted healthy young adults and because of World War I, there were shortages of medical personal to treat the virus. For those reasons and because there were no vaccines nor antiviral drugs, the virus spread quickly. The first influenza vaccine wasn't licensed in the United States until the 1940s, when it was used to protect World War II soldiers.

Some perspective:

37 million people (both military and civilian) died in World War I. The total number of casualties from the Spanish Influenza was thought to be anywhere between 30 and 50 million. 
Approximately 320,710 Americans died from World War 1. Around 675,000Americans died from the Spanish Influenza.

The Boston Children's Hospital helped create "Flu Near You," a community driven flu tracking website offering real time information to the public. Check to see if your neighborhood is impacted by influenza and keep safe!