|October 5, 2017|
The Boston Neck was a small strip of land connecting the mainland to the then-peninsular city of Boston. Over the years the area was filled in as the City of Boston popular grew.
The Boston Neck was an important part of the American Revolution as the British closed the access way into the City of Boston. This was part of the British Seize of Boston April 19, 1775 - March 17, 1776.
On the night of April 18, 1775, William Dawes snuck pass the checkpoint and rode south to warn the British were coming. Paul Revere avoids the checkpoint by crossing the Charles River by rowboat. Both patriots would meet up in Lexington and continued their journey to Concord.
Nearby the Boston Neck is where criminals, religious rebels, and other Colonial-era offenders were publicly hanged. Many published reports that hangings were done at the Boston Commons. This is probably because the area where the hanging was done was called the "Commons Land."
The bodies were then dumped or buried nearby, reportedly leaving unhappy ghosts to haunt the surrounding neighborhood.
There are no markers to indicate where the Boston Neck was. Historians that are looking for the exact location will find this overlay map very handy:
The neck was located between Peter's Park and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The only thing that shows the history of the area is at the Union Park Street (Silver Line MBTA station). There's a couple of permanent wall posters of this history of the area.
There is a small park nearby, Peter's Park, where a statue or monument could be placed on the history of the location. Perhaps something to mark William Dawes contribution to the American Revolution.
What do you think? Should the city of Boston put a historical monument about the Boston Neck?
|September 28, 2017|
The Boston State House is a great place for tourists to learn about the History of Massachusetts.
The State House tours are free and its a great way to learn about the historic building. One location not on the tour is the State House Library. (I suspect this is because people are asked to be quiet in the library.)
The library is open to the public, you don't need to be a researcher to visit the State House Library. If visiting Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library is on your agenda then I would recommend checking the State House Library.
When you're in the library, look up at the stain glass ceiling. You will notice three distinct years on the glass:
I had to ask the Librarian on what the significance of 1861. I thought it might be when the State House was moved. She told me that it’s there to remember the start of the Civil War. (The State House was moved from the Old State House in 1798)
The State House Library has temporary exhibits to highlight some of its collection. They are now showcasing Massachusetts Symbols, such as the official State Cookie and the Official State Book.
Find out what the: Official Sport, Recreational and Team Sport, State Berry, State Bean, State Beverage, State Groundhog, State Cat and many more!
Some future Massachusetts State Symbols under consideration: Country Song, Seasoning, Shellfish, Textile, Cupcake, Patriotic Song and more.
The exhibit will be on display until the end of the year.
The State House library is located in the back of the State House on the third floor. From Monument Court, go up the Grand Staircase and turn left. Keep walking until you see the State House door.
The Temporary Exhibits are outside of the State House Library.
|September 21, 2017|
The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the second oldest in the United States. The restaurant opened in 1826 and continues to be a favorite for locals and tourists.
Some things that I learned about this historic establishment.
The building that occupied by the Union Oyster House was built in 1714 and has been an oyster house since 1826. Before that, it was a dry goods store wherein 1769 Benjamin Thompson, conducted early experiments with gunpowder and pressure cabinets.
The building also serves as headquarters for revolutionary movements. Between 1771 and 1775 Isaac Rogers published there the famed Revolutionary "Massachusetts Spy"
Daniel Webster Sign: The Original U-Shaped Mahogany Oyster Bar where Daniel Webster was a Constant Customer. He Drank a Tall Tumbler of Brandy and Water with Each Half Dozen Oysters and Seldom had less than Six Plates
|September 14, 2017|
John Winthrop (1588-1649) was an English Puritan lawyer and one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He served twelve terms as Governor between 1630 and 1649 and he was one of the founders of the First Church in Boston, which was established in 1630.
John Winthrop died in 1649 and is buried at the King's Burial Grounds.
In 1880, the City of Boston commissioned a statue of John Winthrop and put it in Scollay Square at the 250th anniversary of the founding of Boston. (September 17, 1880)
The statue was moved in 1904 as the area was being refitted for the new MTA subway station. Scollay Square was renamed Government Center. The statue ended up in front of the First Church in Boston.
Note: I was able to figure out that Alessandro Nelli worked on the statue even though nobody gives him credit. His signature is on the back of the statue. His work on this statue isn't even mentioned on the Wikipedia page.
American Slave Trade
The first documented reference to the slave trade in Massachusetts is the journal of John Winthrop (the founder of Boston), who recorded on 26 February 1638 that the Massachusetts ship Desire had returned from the West Indies carrying "some cotton, and tobacco, and negroes, etc., from thence..."
John Winthrop has the earliest recorded written record of a UFO in America. In 1639, Boston Founder and Governor John Winthrop made a peculiar entry in his journal. Within, he describes how several sober men spotted an unusual object in the sky that shone as a great light. The object was large and moved across the night sky that suddenly took on the shape of a pig.
The statue located near the corner of Marlboro and Berkley Street in the Boston's Back Bay. (299 Berkeley Street, Boston MA)
|September 7, 2017|
Born a slave, Harriett Tubman (1822 - March 10, 1913) became a famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, leading hundreds of slaves to freedom.
At the age of 28, she escaped slavery in Maryland when her master died. She spent the rest of her life helping other escape to the North and be free.
She died poor on March 10, 1913 in Auburn, New York.
Harriet Tubman never lived in Boston. She visited the city many times to recruit people to help with the Underground Railroad. She frequently stayed at the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House at 66 Phillips Street.
Did you know that in 2015 Harriet Tubman was the "People's Choice" to be the next face on the $20 bill. She would replace Andrew Jackson. The last time the face on the $20 bill was changed was in the 1920s when Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland.
Sample design someone created
If she does replace Andrew Jackson, it could bring more attention to the Harriet Tubman Square.
In 1978, The United States Post Office included Harriet Tubman in their Black Heritage stamp Series.
|August 31, 2017|
The Boston Garden Footbridge is a small bridge that allows pedestrians a quick way to cross the lagoon at the center of the Boston Public Gardens.
Winter View of the Bridge
|August 24, 2017|
"Mr. Watson, come here -- I want to see you." Those famous words were uttered by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876, in Scollay Square in Boston. They were spoken at a workshop on the second floor of 109 Court Street.
On Court Street is a marker to where Alexander Graham Bell discovered the telephone
The marker reads, "Birthplace of the Telephone. Here, on June 2, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson first transmitted sound over wires. This successful experiment was completed in a fifth-floor garret at what was then 109 Court Street and marked the beginning of worldwide telephone service."
The marker is located next to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building. You can see it next to the blue sign on the Cambridge Street side of the building. Simply walk along the Boston City Hall Plaza towards Sudbury Street. You'll see the "John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building" sign. The marker is on the other side of the bushes.
While in Boston, Alexander Graham Bell lived at 38 W. Newton St., Boston MA. A petition was submitted to the Boston Landmark Commission to make it a landmark. The request was denied on April 1979. I assume that the original building was taken down to make room for modern buildings. It is now a private residence, there are no signs to indicated who lived there before.
Given the location of Alexander home and work, chances are that he might have walked the streets of Boston to get to and from work. He would know about the Great Elm of the Boston Commons and probably cut through the commons to get to his workshop.
Most people have been taught that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. However, there is controversy on who really invented the telephone.
The telephone design was the patent on March 7, 1876. On January 13, 1887, the Government of the United States moved to annul the patent issued to Bell on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation, a case that the Supreme Court found viable and remanded for trial.
Whereas Antonio Meucci, the great Italian inventor, had a career that was both extraordinary and tragic;
Whereas, upon immigrating to New York, Meucci continued to work with ceaseless vigor on a project he had begun in Havana, Cuba, an invention he later called the ''teletrofono'', involving electronic communications;
Whereas Meucci died in October 1889, the Bell patent expired in January 1893, and the case was discontinued as moot without ever reaching the underlying issue of the true inventor of the telephone entitled to the patent; and
Whereas if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged.
Note: Only the House of Representatives voted on this action. No Senate vote was taken.
Should Boston remove the Telephone marker near City Hall? Based on the actions by Congress, the marker gives false credit to Alexander Graham Bell as the inventor of the telephone.
|August 17, 2017|
Between Faneuil Hall and the Old State House is the Ames Boston Hotel. This building is the first skyscraper in the city of Boston.
View from the Old State House.
Four firemen lost their lives in the construction of the Ames Building during a massive "The Thanksgiving Day Fire" on November 28, 1889. The fire was started in the basement of a warehouse about 5 blocks from the Ames Building. The fire destroyed hundreds of buildings and killed fourteen people.
Following firefighters were found dead in the Ames Building:
At one time there was a Time Ball on the top of the Ames Building. The ball was used to help mariners entering Boston harbor for the correction of their chronometers. Each day at exactly at noon the ball would be hoisted to the top of the pole on the Ames Building. The ball was put up on December 30, 1902 and taken down on September 7, 1923. It was removed since the invention of radio time signal the service was no longer needed
The Bostonian Society placed the following marker on the building:
When the thirteen-story Ames Building was completed in 1889, it was the tallest building in Boston. Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the building exhibits both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. The Ames Building was constructed before skyscrapers were built of steel, and instead is supported by nine-foot thick masonry walls. It is considered a great technical achievement of its day, and remains the tallest example of the type of construction in the United States. In 2009, the newly renovated Ames Building reopened as the Ames Hotel.
The Ames Boston Hotel is located at 1 Court Street in Boston's Financial district. It's located directly across the street from the Old State House.
|August 10, 2017|
In the courtyard of the Old City Hall is a statue of a Donkey and a pair of elephant footprints.
They were the inventions of Thomas Nast, an illustrator who became America's preeminent political cartoonist. Nast's donkey first appeared as a Democratic party symbol in Harper's Weekly on Jan. 15, 1870. The elephant turned up in Harper's four years later.
|August 3, 2017|
Every day about 20,000 commuters travel through the Sumner tunnel from East Boston to Downtown Boston. Here's some information about the person that the tunnel is named after.
Five General Information Facts about William H. Sumner
Mentioned in Edward M. Kennedy: "Chappaquiddick" speech (Top 100 American Speeches):
The people of this state, the state which sent John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster, and Charles Sumner, and Henry Cabot Lodge, and John Kennedy to the United States Senate are entitled to representation in that body by men who inspire their utmost confidence. For this reason, I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. For me, this will be a difficult decision to make.
|July 27, 2017|
If you're taking the Green Line from Park Street to Copley Square you end up exiting up the street at a different location than the inbound trains. The outbound trains end up under the intersection of Boylston Street and Dartmouth Street. The inbound train ends up near the Boston Public Library Main Entrance.
What’s tricky is that as you walk through the terminal, there’s no clear indicator on where you appear at street level. This is important because you don’t want to exit to street level and then find that you have to cross the street because you came out of the wrong door.
The exit are separated by Dartmouth Street, and the exits are on opposite sides of the street.
Check out this picture:
There are no signs to indicate where the exits will take you!
You should go left if you want to go to the Boston Public Library, visit the Boston Marathon Finish Line, Apple Store or the Old South Church. Exit right if you want to go to Copley Square, Trinity Church and CVS.
Perhaps someday the MBTA will put up a sign to help people navigate out of the station properly.
Note: Some people may think this is a silly blog post. But it can be frustrating when you arrive at the station and have no clue on which exit to take.
|July 20, 2017|
When you enter the Boston Public Library from Copley square you may not have paid attention to the Bronze doors that you walk through.
These doors were created by Daniel Chester French in 1897, about 20 years before he did the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial.
It took a while for each door panel to be completed:
SVCG Sweet Compulsion Does in Music Lie To Lull the Daughters of Necessity and Keep Unsteady Nature to Her Law
True Poetry is Like the Loadstone Which Both Attracts the Needle and Supplies it With Magnetic Power
There is in Wisdom a spirit subtil, clear in utterance, loving what is good, pure, stedfast. By Knowledge Shall, the Chambers Be Filled with all Precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:4)
Truth is The Strength and The Kingdom and The Power and the Majesty of all Ages A Romance to Rede and Drive the Night Away from me thought it Better Play than Either at Chesse or Tables
|July 13, 2017|
Most people that visit the North End usually end up eating dessert at Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry. Both places are extremely popular and quite often you'll find long lines that overflow onto Hanover Street.
Next time you're in the North End and want a dessert to treat to try - Bova's Bakery. It's usually a lot less crowded and pretty much has the same food selection.
Bova's Bakery is a Family-owned bake shop, opened in 1932, offering up delicious loaves of bread, cookies & sandwiches 24 hours a day.
Description from their website:
Visit us and celebrate a family history made around the oven. North Enders will tell you, there's nothing quite so comforting as walking home in the early morning with a warm loaf of bread carefully cradled in the crook of your arm. Once home, you sit down at the kitchen table, sneak the butter from the fridge, and open a jar of jam. With mounting anticipation, you prepare for a delicious breakfast.
Not always crowded like some of the popular bakeries on Hanover Street.
Anthony Martignetti, of the Prince Spaghetti Boy commercial from the 1970s, worked at Bova's Bakery at night
You can see Bova"s Bakery in the Fever Pitch Movie. The main character lived right upstairs.
I have found that they have a better selection of desserts than Mikes Pastry. I have enjoyed their homemade Italian cookies and fig bars.
I don't have a go-to item, I just browse around and see what looks good.
Bova`s Bakery has sandwiches and pizza too, which I keep thinking of having but the desert treats are a meal in themselves.
The Whoopie Pie is really good, kids will enjoy the character versions such as Cookie Monster.
Always Open - Open 24 hours!
According to Google, the most popular time is between 6 and 9, but the bakery does appear to get considerable amount of late night traffic.
Bova's Bakery, located at the intersection of Prince Street and Salem Street. The Street address for Google/GPS is 134 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113
It's a quick 10-minute drive from Logan Airport via Taxi. Which is good to know if you have some layover time and want to grab some great Italian food.
|July 6, 2017|
The Boston Museum of Science has a lot of fun and interesting exhibits. Many of them are interactive which makes it fun to learn.
With all various exhibits to see, there are a few which you may miss. Here are a couple that I think are pretty interesting :
Have you ever touched Dinosaur Poop? Well you can at the Boston Museum of Science.
My six-year-old daughter always gets a kick out of the Dinosaur poop. We joke about it as we drive to the museum:
The "poop" is several million years old and is just a fossil remain. So touching it is just like touching any rock.
There is a sign next to fossilized remain to let you know what it is:
The photograph below is a magnified slice from the coprolite, fossilized dinosaur "poop". From the evidence, we can figure out the coprolite is from a plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. You can observe the cell structure from some of the indigested plant material.
Every time we go she feels that she has to take a picture of me touching the poop.
You can find the Dinosaur poop along the back wall in the Dinosaur Area on the first floor,
There is a large tree cross-section in the main exhibit area. This was once part of a 2000+-year-old tree.
There is a sign in front of the cross-section of the tree:
The cross-section is from a Giant Sequoia that was cut down in 1950 in Sequoia National Park, CA after being badly damaged. It was 240 feet tall and 2044 years old. The gap on the upper right was caused by a fire hundreds of years ago. Sequoias are well-adapted to withstand fire: they are covered by a thick, fibrous bark that has very little flammable resin. The tree survived and kept growing as the two sides curved around to protect the exposed wood.
Imagine all the winter storms and droughts that the tree had to live through over the past couple of centuries.
There are 9 points on the Giant Sequoia Tree that the museum highlights. You can press a button to see the year on the tree ring:
The Giant Sequoia is one of Michael Bloomberg favorite exhibits at the museum. Last year he donated $50 million to the Boston Science Museum.
It's not hard to miss the Giant Sequoia tree, its located in the main hall between the bathrooms and the back staircase.
Did you know: If you're interested in starting your own giant sequoia tree, you can purchase a starter kit in the museum gift shop. Just ask someone in the store if you need help finding it.
|June 29, 2017|
In the Boston Public Gardens, along Boylston Street, are four bronze statues on granite pedestals that have stood as a group for more than eighty years.
The first statue to be placed on this path is simply labeled, 'Sumner.' This is a statue of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner.
Today's post is about Senator Charles Sumner.
In 1876, the Boston Art Committee put out a formal notice that they were looking for a statue design for Charles Sumner to be placed in the Boston Public Gardens. They held a contest at the Old State House with several prominent designers showcasing their statue idea.
After much consideration, the committee picked the design done by Anne Whitney in a blind competition. However, when she went to collect her reward they rejected the design since the sculptor was a woman. The committee didn't like the idea of women designing a man's leg.
The committee then selected Thomas Ball designed instead. (Anne Whitney still kept the prize money.)
In 1902, the version of the statue Anne Whitney's created was placed in a small park across from Harvard University in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Anne Whitney got the last laugh as her version of Charles Sumner statue is seen far more than Thomas Ball version.
Charles Sumner fought hard for Civil Rights. One of the last bills he introduced to the Senate was a civil rights bill to guarantee to all citizens, regardless of color, "equal and impartial enjoyment of any accommodation, advantage, facility, or privilege." On his death bed he asked Frederick Douglas - "Don't let the bill fail!" and "You must take care of [my] civil-rights bill."
The Civil Right Act of 1865 passed on March 1, 1865, almost a year to the day that Charles Sumner died. The act was also known as the Butler-Sumner Act.
However, seven years later the Supreme Court threw out the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in four rulings: United States v. Stanley; United States v. Ryan; United States v. Nichols; United States v. Singleton; Robinson et ux. v. Memphis & Charleston R.R. Co.
It would be another 80 years before Congress could pass a civil rights act.
The tunnel between East Boston and Boston is called the Sumner Tunnel. However, it's named after William H. Sumner and not Charles Sumner.
William H. Sumner was responsible for building up East Boston, that's why the Tunnel is named after him. Charles Sumner had nothing to do with East Boston.
Both men did live around the same time, but they are not related.
The statue is located in the Boston Public Gardens along Boylston Street.
At the corner of Arlington and Boylston take the right most path in the Public Gardens. It will be the first statue on your left.
Tip: You can get some nice pictures of the Swan Boats from this location.