The Jan. 17 funeral at Our Lady of Presentation Church in Brighton for Rep. Birmingham was a who’s who of Massachusetts politics, the Brighton Item reported (Jan. 25, 1936, JMC Scrapbook, Vol. 261).
Leading the way was James Michael Curley, a political opponent of Birmingham who had been elected governor in 1934.
The honorary pallbearers were House Speaker Leverett Saltonstall, Reps. Anthony McNulty, James W. Hennigan, Timothy J. McDonough, Bernard Finkelstein, Thomas Dorgan, John B. Wenzler, Bernard P. Casey, Owen Gallagher, Albert F. Bigelow, Michael Jordan, Christian Herter, Leo Landry, Thomas Barry, Frank Kelley, Thomas Goggin, Frank Irwin, Peter J. Fitzgerald, David G. Nagle, and Daniel J. Honan.
Active pallbearers were Reps. Martin Hays of Brighton, Horace T. Cahill, Ernest H. Sparrell, Joseph N. Roach, Thomas P. Dillon, Augustine Airola, Patrick J. Walsh, and Edward J. Kelley.
Ushers were Herbert P. Jones and George Muldoon.
Also in attendance were Lt. Gov. Joseph L. Hurley, Atty. Gen. Paul A. Dever, State Treasurer Charles F. Hurley, State Auditor Thomas H. Buckley, Gov. Councillors Daniel H. Coakley and Frank T. Brooks, Adjt. Gen. William I. Rose, and Maj. Joseph Timilty. Election Commissioner Francis B. McKinney represented Mayor Mansfield at the funeral.
A solemn high mass of requiem was celebrated by pastor, Rev. James J. Murphy, with Rev. Daniel J. Donovan as deacon and Rev. John M. Gibbons as subdeacon.
Rep. Birmingham was buried in Holyhood cemetery in Brookline, where prayers were read by Rev. Donovan.
Gov. James Michael Curley was expected to sign a bill sponsored by Rep. Daniel Coakley Jr. to name the Soldiers’ Field Extension between Western Ave. and North Beacon St. the Birmingham Parkway in memory of Rep. Birmingham, who passed away earlier in the year, the Boston Globe reported June 17, 1936, p. 2.
The bill (No. 1715) provided for a tablet bearing the designation Birmingham Parkway at each terminus by the Metropolitan District Commission.
Soldier’s Field Extension was firm opened in November 1929. Shortly after it opened it become a magnet for auto accidents. Within six months of its opening, there had been 20 serious accidents on the roadway, according to the Globe (March 14, 1930, p. 16). This characteristic continues to this day.
The parkway was close to the Brighton Abattoir, where cattle were housed and slaughtered. Shortly after it was renamed, the Globe reported (Aug. 24, 1936, p. 15) that cattle escaped from the Abattoir and were grazing on the “succulent green grass” along the parkway. Brighton’s finest had to herd the cows back to the Abattoir because they were causing traffic problems.
Leo M. Birmingham Parkway was officially dedicated on Oct. 26, 1941. Around 5,000 people attended the dedication exercises and parade, the Globe reported (Oct. 27, 1941, p. 8). Paul Everett was chief marshall.
Participating in the exercises were members of the Brighton-Allston Post, A.L.; Alston Post, V.F.W.; Brighton Council K. of C.; Allston Council, K. of C.; Boston Fire Department Band; Massachusetts State Guard; and the Junior Police Corps.