Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.) is generally credited as the first to call the Massachusetts State House "the Hub of the Solar System". Soon enough people (mostly newspapers, really, eager as always to shave three letters off a headline) started using "the Hub" to refer to Boston as a whole, and for some reason it tends to get expanded as "the Hub of the Universe" these days.

Strangely enough, actual people who actually live in the actual city of Boston seem to call it "Boston" instead.

The original Holmes quotation goes like this:

Boston State-house is the hub of the solar system. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crow-bar.

and appears in his Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, a series of columns in the Atlantic Monthly later collected in book form.


As ellF reminds me, Boston is also at the center of the ring roads Route 128 (mostly Interstate 95) and Interstate 495. As in many other cities, the fraction of its road system that is vaguely modern is laid out in a hub and spoke topology, except for the big bite taken out by the Harbor, so we could point to a map and call ourselves the Hub of the Boston Area if we were inclined to modesty.

The Hub is the main eating grounds at Kent State University. Any visitors on campus are directed to choose from these dining services which include: Subway, McDonald's, a Chinese restaurant, Deli and Bagel Shoppe, and a pizza place - which is also in the basement and offers other various Italian delicacies.

The Hub, unfortunately for KSU students does not allow to use their board plans until after 5pm (but is always subject to change). The thought behind this has been rumored to be that the cafeteria is afraid that money will be spent in the propietory restaurants instead of in campus dining.

The Hub is also a gathering place for students to: study, play cards, chat and what ever possible - and is also the home of peace rallies and protests.

The Hub has also been referred to 'The Duh' by many students. The view looking down a hallway from the inside of the room is a etched class window that upon entering reads 'The Hub'. The view from the inside hence is 'the duh'.

The Hub is the home of the Edinburgh International Festival, and one of the city's most visible landmarks; its tremendous Gothic spire is the highest point in central Edinburgh, towering over even the nearby castle.

Originally built as an Assembly Hall and offices for the Church of Scotland, from the outside the building has the appearance of an especially grandiose church. The rich architectural detailing and the spire were designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, author of 'The True Principles of Christian Architecture', though he is more famous for his work on the Houses of Parliament. The overall form of the building was the work of James Gillespie Graham, another leading light of the Gothic revival.

However, when the Festival moved in in 1999, much of the interior was radically redesigned, and the Hub now presents an interesting mix of stark, Gothic stonework and vivid primary colours, showcasing a collection of modern art and craft work. The juxtaposition is very characteristic of Edinburgh, and really, it probably shouldn't work; but oft-times it does, and this is one of those times.

The tremendously grand Main Hall was once the main debating chamber for the assembled Church of Scotland, and it shows; the room is dominated by a thronelike pulpit, from which a bishop might hold forth to audience of more than five hundred. This room now holds concerts, workshops, corporate gatherings and so on, and its walls are patterned with concentric triangles in The Hub's characteristic primary-colour palette.

Next to the Main Hall is the Dunard Library, which is strangely devoid of books - instead it houses a bar and enough space for up to 100 people to stand up in and mill around. This room is dominated by great stained-glass windows, and surprisingly green walls. Above these is the Glass Room, a smaller meeting room with quite lovely views across Edinburgh, through floor-to-ceiling windows.

On the ground floor is Cafe Hub, which serves very nice food and generally has a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere even during the hustle of the Festival. Although their range of vegan options is pretty limited, they are accommodating if you ask, and the general vegetarian range is decent enough.

Right on the top floor, which is closed to the public, are the offices of the Edinburgh International Festival. Before the Festival moved into the building, it was in a state of serious disrepair. Besides patching it up, the opportunity was taken to put in this new floor, which meant propping up the roof with hefty metal beams to replace the mighty wooden struts which had passed through the space where the floor would be.

At the very top of everything is Pugin's elaborate spire, shooting skyward, its peak visible for miles around.

External links:

Some other things called 'The Hub':

...yeah, it's a bit of a popular name these days, which is the main reason The Hub in Edinburgh often refers to itself as 'The Hub, Edinburgh's Festival Centre'.

I worked at The Hub when I wrote this, as Online Officer for the Edinburgh International Festival, but that doesn't mean this page necessarily reflects the views of the Festival or The Hub.

For as long as I'd been alive, my grandmother lived in Lubbock, Texas, which is sometimes nicknamed the "Hub City." It was really the kind of nickname that only a Chamber of Commerce would dream up -- supposedly, all the roads leading to Lubbock made the city look like a wheel hub, with many spokes coming off of it. In truth, the same could be said for any large-ish city. When I was little, I didn't understand what a hub was, so my grandmother explained it to me, and it made sense to me. But I always knew that the only reason Lubbock was a hub was because my grandmother lived there. And everyone went to Lubbock to see my grandmother.

My grandmother, Margaret Donley, died on Tuesday, January 10, 2012. She'd had her 100th birthday on Sept. 2, 2011. She'd suffered a steep decline in health during the months after her birthday, and when I saw her on Thanksgiving and Christmas, she told me repeatedly, often through sobs, that she wished she could die. To be honest, I had heard similar from her for years -- she had a flair for the dramatic and a complete inability to withstand pain or discomfort, so every time she got an upset stomach, she became convinced that death was on the horizon. After her birthday, however, she went from moaning "Oh Lord, help me" and "I think I'm going to die" to "Oh Lord, please let me die" -- which is a significant and terrible change for a grandson to hear.

Margaret Boston was born in Whitesboro, Texas, and grew up in the country, often under poor economic conditions. Her family didn't have much money, especially once the Great Depression hit, but they made do and were as successful as anyone might've been at that time and in that rural part of the world. She used to tell us about roaming the countryside around her home, about getting caught once in quicksand, about her family once taking in a child who'd been given up by his family because they couldn't afford to feed him. She graduated from high school in Wellington, Texas, and the family later moved to Lubbock.

The family did a variety of jobs around that time, but the one I always recall most is that they'd drive around West Texas towns selling candy to stores. During this time, one of her brothers almost got them in serious trouble at a small town cafe when he mischieviously asked her, "Want a cigar, Bonnie?" Of course, the news was full of accounts about Bonnie and Clyde back then -- and Bonnie was known for liking cigars and for having red hair like my grandmother's. She hustled him out of the cafe once they started closing the blinds in the windows and berated him all the way home for almost getting them killed.

She married my grandfather, Harrison Donley, in 1940. They had two kids, my mother, Lou Ann, and my uncle, Pat. My grandfather died in 1968, a few months before I was born. She got married again in 1974, to Martin Donley, her late husband's brother. I called him my grandfather from the moment they were married, and I think he always liked that. He died in 1981.

My grandmother outlived two husbands, all five of her siblings, and her son, who died in 2007 from diabetes complications. She was survived by my mother, a daughter-in-law, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and nine nieces and nephews.

One thing that kept running through my mind in the days and weeks after her death was that my grandmother had been, for decades, the hub that the family wheel revolved around. For decades, there would be a colossal noontime meal every Sunday at her home, and any family members in Lubbock would show up to eat, play canasta, watch TV, and nap. In recent decades, the numbers of people attending those dinners slowly diminished until we finally convinced her to stop them -- not many people were attending anymore, and she was too old to keep cooking immense meals every Sunday.

We always had a pretty big family -- lots of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and everything else. They, of course, spent a lot of their time with their own close families. But Christmas, Thanksgiving, and lots of other major holidays brought them all over to my grandmother's house, whether it was for supper, for a plate full of rolls and gravy, or just to sit in the living room and visit.

Now that she's gone, the hub that held our wide-ranging family together is gone. We won't have gigantic Christmas celebrations anymore, with every distantly-related aunt and uncle in half the state showing up for a slice of cherry cheese pie and a bag of my grandmother's homemade peanut brittle. New hubs will develop, with one set of cousins and aunts and uncles revolving around one, another set around another hub, etc. I don't think there's a very strong likelihood that I'll be seeing many of my more distantly-related cousins and aunts very much anymore -- they'll have their own hubs, and I'll have mine, and the hubs will only rarely intersect.

I expected that I would miss so much about my grandmother. I knew that I'd miss hearing her tell stories about her childhood. I knew I'd miss hearing her sing and laugh. I knew I'd miss watching her play with my brother's dog.

But it never occurred to me that I should miss her as the person our family revolved around. A wagon wheel that loses its hub will quickly fall to pieces -- families, luckily, are not quite so fragile. But losing our hub means our family wheel will never roll again, not the way we remembered it. It's strange to think that I have cousins, aunts, and uncles who I'll probably never see again after we sell my grandmother's house... but without her to unite us, what reason will there be for us to seek each other out?

I'd hoped to have something more profound to say about this. But I don't think I can do it. I miss my grandmother a lot. That's the only profound thing I can take from this.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.