Off the Path from New York to Boston

Follow reporter Davis Dunavin as he travels the road from New York to Boston, looking for unusual stories and fascinating histories.

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Pulbic Domain / Sharp Photography

An eccentric 19th-century New Yorker had a strange fascination -- he wanted to bring every bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays to North America. He was very successful with one of them. A little too successful.

Courtesy of Friends of the Quabbin

The ghostly remains of four towns can be found at the bottom of Boston’s drinking supply. The townsfolk were forced to leave in the 1930s when the state of Massachusetts flooded the area to create a reservoir. But there are many who keep alive the memory of the Swift River Valley.

The Bone Wars

Feb 15, 2019

Two 19th century paleontologists spent decades in a bitter feud to find as many new dinosaur species as possible and destroy each other in the process. Their rivalry led to the discovery of many important dinosaur species we know today.

Davis Dunavin / WSHU

A young dentist in the 1840s is believed to be the first doctor to use nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to dull pain. But the father of anesthesia met a tragic end. His story begins in Hartford, Connecticut, and ends in New York City.

Reconstruction: Markley Boyer / The Mannahatta Project / WCS. Photograph: Stephen Amiaga /

There’s a place in Manhattan that makes you feel like you just took a trip on the Wayback Machine – to the 1600s, when European settlers first arrived. And you can find it all the way up on the northern tip of Manhattan Island in Inwood Hill Park.