Celebrating 120 Years in 2018: a brief look at our beginning

| Katherine Marr

THE EARLY DAYS

Daniel Marr arrived in America just before the turn of the 20th century.  A skilled sea captain from Ireland, he came by way of Nova Scotia to start a new venture.  

Daniel was able to transfer his seaman’s skills as a rigger and erector to business entrepreneur and in relatively short time, he and his son John opened their own construction business. Operations were limited to six, 10-hour days and were housed in an 8-foot by 16-foot office space.  Though the early years were difficult, Daniel Marr & Son was successful in securing several large construction projects from the outset, unsuspectingly laying a solid foundation for future generations.  Early projects included Commonwealth Pier 5 (1913); the Kneeland Street Power Station (1914); the Boston Commonwealth Armory (1915); and Braves Field (1915).

braves field photo

Braves Field 1915–Daniel Marr & Son built Braves Field, home of the National League’s Boston Braves from 1915 to 1952, just three years after Fenway Park opened. It was the largest stadium of its time and was built in under six months. Just before opening day, Jack Marr, above left, the “son” in Daniel Marr & Son, took to the field to try things out. Daniel Marr held a minority stockholder position in the team, accepted as payment at the completion of construction when the owner lacked sufficient funds to pay him. When the team was moved to Milwaukee by majority-owner Lou Perini, owner of general contractor Perini Corporation, the field was purchased by Boston University for student athletics and is still in use today as Nickerson Field.

 

construction photo old

The use of large wooden derricks gave way to truck cranes in the 1940s and in 1942, Marr Equipment Corporation was established to meet the growing demand for state-of-the-art construction equipment. Soon after in 1945, Marr Scaffolding Company was founded to provide scaffold products and services.

Originally built between 1887 and 1891, The Mass Ave Bridge or Harvard Bridge, has undergone many structural revisions in its lifetime. Repair work above occurred in the 1940s.

 

 
 

Daniel Marr & Son Company’s first South Boston office located at 384 Dorchester Avenue.

old south church boston photo

During the mid-twentieth century, Marr installed scaffolding on numerous Boston area churches including the Old South Church in Copley Square.

 

WE ARE GRATEFUL TO OUR CUSTOMERS

The Marr brand has expanded from one to five separate businesses through the leadership of six generations of family members and numerous others who have dedicated their professional careers to the company.  The sources of Marr’s longevity are clearly its people and the broad base of customers whom we have serviced for over a century.  

Our customers, ranging from subcontractors and general contractors to owners, developers and civic leaders, have allowed us to build their high-rises, restore their landmarks and maintain their properties.  We are grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the growth and development of the neighborhoods of Boston and surrounding communities.   

We spent a good amount of time in 2017 combing through past records and files of photographs of the people and projects that have been part of our 120-year history.  We plan to share some of these treasures with you during this anniversary year and hope you enjoy looking back at the construction of Boston through the lens of The Marr Companies. 

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