Boston Blog Posts

May 18, 2017

Memorial Day Flag Garden

Every Memorial Day weekend there are thousands of American flags that are placed in the grass on the Boston Commons.

Fieldof Flags

These flags are a memorial to each Massachusetts Soldier that died in battle.

Who places the flags?

Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is responsible for placing and maintaining the flags. In 2016, there was a sign:

Flag Sign

The sign reads:

This garden of 37,000 flags was planted in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Revolutionary War to the present. These flags will be on display throughout Memorial Day weekend for your observance and reflection. Please remember and honor the ultimate sacrifices of our local heroes.

Each flag represents a fallen service member; please respect the display.

Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund are looking for volunteers are needed to help out set up the flag, protecting the flags and taking them down. Download a Volunteer Information sheet for more information. If your able to help out, use their online sign-up form.

Flag Garden Timeline

Here's a timeline that I created of the Flag Garden events. Activities start on Wednesday, May 24th:

Timeline Memorial3

Finding the Memorial

You can find the flags between Frog Pond and Charles Street. The best way to see them is from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The flags are on display for a very limited time. This year the flags will be removed on Memorial Day - May 29th at 6 pm.

It's quite a sight to see 37,000 flags planted in the ground, and certainly worth seeing!

May 11, 2017

Pi Alley

Pi Alley Logo

Between the Old State House and the Irish Famine Memorial is a small alley called "Pi Alley."

When you walk down the alley you can learn some history of the Alley from a sign on the wall:

The Pi Alley Story

As downtown Boston evolved from a residential to commercial area by the end of the 19th century, the name of this alley evolved from the names of local landowners to one more descriptive of the area. Many small restaurants set up shop in the alley to serve the area's workers. A staple in many of these places was meat pies (often ordered by colorful names such as "Cat Pie" earning the alley the name "Pie Alley".

In the days when Washington Street was home to most of the city's newspaper printing plants, many of the printer and typesetters frequented a tavern in the alley called the Bell In Hand. In their haste to get refreshment, the newspapermen would often drop pocket full of mixed up loose type (called "pi" in the printing business) on the ground, leading to the current name "Pi Alley".

Today the alley continues the tradition of small businesses serving the people who work in the area.

It's Pi Alley Not Pie Alley

The sign is a bit misleading, locals have always referred the Alley as Pi Alley. The first printed reference to Pi Alley was in the Boston Globe in the early 1890s.

Pi is a terminology used by printers to describe type matter that has been upset or spilled. If a compositor had the misfortune to pi a line of type, they were expected to fix it at their own expense. Fixing the line of type was too much work. So many compositors just threw out the pi out the window into the alley - that is if no one was looking. It was that custom the alley got its name - Pi Alley.

In 1898, there was a restaurant called Dennett's that was located at 241 Washington Street - which is on the southwest corner of Pi Alley. Joseph Gridley food and hospitality was so good, that he was known as the "King of Pi Alley." His pies were good that people did consider changing the Alley to Pie Alley.

Pi Alley View

Things I learned about the Alley

  • Offical name was Williams Court
  • Was once called Savage's Court in the mid 1730s
  • Oldest By way in the City of Boston
  • Officially was recognized by the Boston Public Improvement Commission as Pi Alley on February 16, 1955
  • Locals have been calling it Pi Alley since the 1900s.
  • Alley is 100 feet long next to a 600-car garage.
  • Alley connects Washington Street and Court Square.
  • Pi Garage open for business on December 24, 1969

Newspaper Companies

Every major newspaper company had their offices nearby here, including:

  • Boston Globe
  • Boston Herald
  • Boston Post

Locating Pi Alley

You can find Pi Alley is located at 275 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108. It's located on the Freedom Trail. You can see the entrance to Pi Alley next to the Pi Alley Garage.

May 4, 2017

District Hall

District Hall is Boston’s public innovation center. It has the distinct honor of being the first building completed in seaport square.

District Hall

What is District Hall?

The answer is in the window as you walk by on Seaport Blvd:

District Hall is a not for profit civic innovation center, public workspace and event venue designed to inspire innovation, build community, and make your ideas happen.

Things I learned about District Hall

  • Officially open on October 24, 2013
  • Overall 12,000 square-feet
  • Cost $7 million to build
  • In June 2013, Global Investors financed the project and leased the building to the City of Boston for $1 a year for 5 years.
  • City has an option to renew the lease for an additional five years
  • Mayor Thomas Menino toured the facility before leaving office.
  • Rental space fees will be adjusted according to the groups means. Non-profits would pay less for the same space than a large corporation.

There's three main parts of District Hall

  • Lounge WiFi Hang out
  • Meeting Space
  • Lunch/Dinner (Brew and Gather)

District Hall Board
A Whiteboard greets you as you walk in...

Lounge - Free Wifi

If your looking for a nice quiet WiFi spot to get some work done, then District Hall is perfect.

There are plenty of tables and couches with a plug nearby. It does seem to get busy shortly after lunch time. Looks like most people use the Cafe Hangout to talk about projects they are working on.

Check the walls for the current Wiki name and password.

The smell in the Lounge is very nice, you don’t have the strong coffee smell that you find at Starbucks. The WiFi range is powerful enough to reach the outside patio.

Brew Cafe Hangout

Hungry? Thirty? Want to meet-up over coffee? Enjoy the Brew cafe. They brew Starbucks coffee and have a delicious selection of sandwiches. Prices are fairly reasonable. A single size pizza is $3.50.

There's hardly any wait at the cafe. The service is quick and the selection is excellent. Coffee is good.

Checkout the menu.

Gather

If your into some afternoon celebration try Gather. They have a great selection of beer and wine. They also have pizza and lots of other delicious entries.

You can sit outside and have a nice view of a park and the Boston Harbor in the distance. In addition, this summer there will be tall ships that will be dock close to District Hall. This will add a nice touch to the scenery.

Checkout the menu

Meeting Space

District Hall is a great venue to hold a meeting of just about any size. They have several large rooms with removable walls to accommodate big meetings.

As an added bonus, meeting rooms have whiteboard paint on some of the walls. You'll run out of ideas long before you run out of whiteboard space. Tip: If your hosting an event, bring a step stool so you can write high up on the wall.

They offer excellent catering services with a wide selection - including health and Gluten free options.

I attended several meetings in the Assembly Rooms, they were nice and quiet. Room temps were very nice, I attended meetings on a very cold winter day and a nice spring day. You may occasionally hear aircraft taking off from Logan airport. (They usually don't fly over the District Hall, but weather factors may change their take-off paths.)

Getting to District Hall

District Hall is located 75 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210 in Boston’s Seaport district.

It’s about an 8-minute walk from South Station, or you can catch the Silver Line and get off at Court House. It’s the first Silver Line stop after South Station. Once you get upstairs it’s a 1/2 a block walk to the District Hall.

District Hall is open to the public 8 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday. They are open other times for private events.

April 27, 2017

William Dawes

Old North Church

William Dawes was one of many critical messengers on April 19, 1775. William Dawes, Paul Revere, and Percy were task by Joseph Warren to warn John Hancock and John Adams that the British were coming to arrest them.

Dr. Joseph Warren was one of the leaders of the revolutionary forces that stayed in Boston as the British started to increase their size.

Many people may know Paul Revere because of Longfellow poem:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

The Poem was written in 1860 by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that commemorates the actions of American patriot Paul Revere on April 18, 1775, although with significant inaccuracies. It was first published in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. It was later retitled "The Landlord's Tale" in the collection Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Things I Learned about William Dawes

  • Born in Boston on April 6, 1745
  • Helped move artillery to Concord to be used as part of the Revolutionary War
  • Was very anti-British and refused to wear clothes made in Britain.
  • Member of the Sons of Liberty
  • William Dawes stole some British cannons and military equipment. He got injured at
  • Dr. Joseph Warren became aware of William Dawes commitment to the Independent cause when he had to treat William for the injury.
  • First person to be dispatched on the night of April 18, 1775.
  • One of the last people to leave Boston on foot before the British seized Boston.
  • Waited in Cambridge for his cue to warn others.
  • When the British were looking for the messengers, he Hid in Daniel Brown's house in Lincoln
  • Fought at The Battle of Bunker Hill
  • Died in Marlborough on February 25, 1799 (Paul Revere died on May 10, 1818)
  • Tablet was placed on the grave on April 20, 1899
  • A special Cross was placed on the grave during a small cerimony on April 19, 1929.
  • A painting of William Dawes is hanging in the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington.

There's a lot of great information on "William Dawes: The Forgotten Midnight Rider" over on HistoryofMassachusetts.com. It's certainly worth the read.

Still Remembered 200 Years Later

Despite being left out of Longfellow's poem, his name was mentioned at the 200th celebration on April 19. 1975. At a special 200th Anniversary ceremony at the Old North Church, President Ford mention him:

Remarks in Boston at the Old North Church Bicentennial Lantern Service. April 18. 1975

Ford 1975 Speech
Read the entire speech.

Only Mentioned Once

That was the only mention of William Dawes in a United State's president speech. Paul Revere's name has been mentioned in at least 20 speeches. Various Presidents from Benjamin Harrison in 1892 to Barack Obama in 2016 referenced Paul Revere's ride. Some of the speeches just referenced William Dawes and Samuel Prescott as his companions and not their name.

William Dawes Gravesite

Mystery of the William Dawes Grave at Kings Chapel

There is a gravestone in King Chapel graveyard with an inscription to William Dawes. However, he is actually believed to be buried in Forrest Hills Cemetery, 25 miles away. You can read up on all the research that one of the Descendants of William Dawes did to find the truth.

It's possible that there's nobody buried at William Dawes grave at the King Chapel graveyard.

The Ride of William Dawes

Over the years several people have written poems about William Davis, here's one that I found written by Mary J. Gladhill

The Ride of William Dawe

Listen, my children, for oft you will hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere But now, if you will but pause, You shall here the tale of William Dawes.

When the lights of the Old North Church flashed out Paul Revere was waiting about, But Dawes was already on his way To warn the farmers of the coming fray.

Through the still night down Washington street He rode on his steed, swift and fleet. Through Roxbury and Brighton rode he in huste. Swift as a courier in a chase.

Download the full William Dawes Poem.

April 20, 2017

Quincy, Josiah Statue

At the Old City Hall are two statues, Benjamin Franklin and Josiah Quincy. Two icons that help guide this country to the prosperity that we have today.

This post is all about the Josiah Quincy statue.

Josiah Quincy2

Things I learned about the Josiah Quincy III statue

  • Bronze Statue on Quincy Granite
  • The total height of the statue was to not exceed 18 feet.
  • The statue was dedicated on October 11, 1879 (Benjamin Franklin dedication was on October 11, 1856)
  • The statue was put up after the George Washington in the Boston Public Gardens. (1869)
  • Paid by Jonathan Phillips in his will - $20,000
  • Actual cost of the Statue was $14,00 ($379,618.32 in 2016)
  • The front tablet cost $125 ($3,389.45 in 20165)
  • Statue was made by Thomas Ball
  • Jonathan Phillips also funded the Benjamin Franklin staute in front of Faneuil Hall
  • Jonathan Phillips was also a Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts

Interesting Facts about Josiah Quincy III

  • Son of Josiah Quincy II, a distance relative of John Quincy Adams
  • Born on February 4, 1772
  • Died on July 1, 1864 in Quincy, Massachusetts. (City is not named after him.)
  • Founding member of the American Antiquian Society.
  • He opposed allowing Louisiana be admitted as a State.
  • The second mayor of Boston.
  • Quincy Market opened when he was the Mayor of Boston and it's named after him.

Front Tablet Statue

Quincy Front

Side Tablet Statue

Quincy Side

Note that there are a couple of blank sides which were intentionally left empty.

Finding the Statue

The statue is located on the front right side of the Old City Hall. Old City Hall is located at 45 School St in Boston, MA.

April 13, 2017

Kirstein Business Branch

In 2009, I wrote about how the Kirstein Business Branch was closing and being relocated to the main library.

After a few year of being in limbo, the Kirstein Business branch is in its new permanent home the basement of the Boston Public Library. The library had a grand reopening on July 9, 2016.

Old Kirstein
Old Kirstein Kirstein Business Branch at 20 City Hall Ave, Boston MA

Remembering the Past

The old library felt like your in a 19th Century reading room. The floors would creak as you walk around the library. The rooms were dark. There wasn't color, white walls with a dark frame.

The library was on multiple floors, so you would have to change seats if you were looking for something on a different floor. It also made it challenging to find someone to help you.

Despite its old look and feel it was nice because it was separated from the regular library. You knew everyone else that was there was business oriented.

New Kirstein

Focus on the Future

This week, I decided to check out the Kirstein Business section at the main library.

The area in the basement looks very nice and modern compared to the old branch. You don't feel that your in a basement of an old building.

The whole place is bright, despite having no outside windows. You certainly get a nice warm feeling as you walk around the area.

There are plenty of tables to sit down and read all sorts of books and magazines. Each table has a plug and USB stations so you can charge up your laptop or any electronic device while your doing research.

Why Visit the Kirstein Business Library?

If you have any dream of starting a business, this is the place to go to jump start your vision.

The new location has meeting rooms which the old location lacked. As I recall, when there were meetings they held them on one of the floors.

There are plenty of books separated into eight sections. There are books for Careers, Business Management, legal and so much more.

Opposite of the book shelves is numerous trade magazines and journals. You can read the current issue or lift the shelf cover and pick out an old one.

Great Place to Research Your Business Idea

When you come in, walk over to the information desk and they will help you get started.

Did you know
  • KBLIC has 8 workstations with the Adobe Creative Cloud
  • We can help you research funding sources for your nonprofit
  • KBLIS has resources to find old stock prices
  • You can reserve 1 hour blocks on the Bloomberg Workstation

In the Innovation Center

The Macintosh machines in the Innovation Center has much popular application. You are free to use the computers in a two-hour session per day. The following software applications are available on each machine:

  • Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master
  • Blender: An open source 3D creation suite
  • Comic Life 3: Turns your images into a comic
  • Balsamiq: Used to easily create interfaces, websites, software and mobile apps using wireframing
  • Final Cut Pro: Professional Video editing software
  • Office for Mac
  • XMind: The Most Popular Mind Mapping Tool on the Planet

3D Printing is Available

The Kirstein Business Center has a 3D Printer for public use! To use it, submit designs in STL format to get printed.

Checkout the website for more information.

Stop by and Say Hello

The next time your in Copley Square stop by the Boston Public Library and check out the Kirstein Business Center.

To access the KBC, enter through the main doors on Boylston Street. Walk straight in and where you see a staircase, go down.

April 6, 2017

Ether Monument

The Ether Monument, is a statue and fountain near the northwest corner of Boston's Public Garden, near the intersection of Arlington Street and Marlborough Street. It commemorates the first use of Ether in anesthesia in 1846.

Ether Monument

Things that I learned about the Ether Monument

  • Created by John Quincy Adams Ward, in 1868, its the second sculpture that he worked on.
  • The only Statue/Fountain combination in the Public Gardens.
  • Monument is also known as the Good Samaritan Monument
  • The fountain water is turned on the same time as the Boston Public Garden Lagoon is turned on. The third Sunday of April.
  • The Monument is 40 feet (12 m) tall. Which is 2 feet taller than the Washington Equestrian statue. (The Equestrian statue is taller because its on a hill.)
  • Its the oldest monument in the public garden, the next monument installed was the Washington Equestrian statue which was put in a year later.
  • There is a lion on each side of the monument. The symbol of a lion means strength
  • The figures on the top of the monument are looking away from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
  • MGH has the original room (Ether Dome) where the first anesthetic was performed. The Ether Dome is open to the public.
  • The distance between the Ether Monument and the Ether Dome is 0.9561 miles.

Monument Text

  • Around the monument four sides are the following sayings:
  • To commemorate that the inhaling of ether causes insensibility to pain. First proved to the world at the Mass. General Hospital in Boston, October A.D. MDCCCXLVI (1846)
  • This also cometh forth from the Lord of Hosts which is wonderful and excellent in working. Isaiah (28:29)
  • In gratitude for the relief of human suffering by the inhaling of ether a citizen of Boston has erected this monument A.D. MDCCCLXVII. (1867)
  • Neither shall there be any more pain.

Park Benches

  • Around the Monument are three park benches. Each of the benches has a remembrance plaque:
  • Gift of New England Life
  • Dedication in Loving Memory of Karl W. Johnson 1956 - 2008 We treasure the time that we had with you. With love from Ava, Erika and all of your family and friends.
  • Nadya and Alan Aisenberg - Lovingly Remembered

Preserving the Monument

At the base of the monument is a plaque on the ground that reads:

Preserved with support from local citizens, Save Outdoor sculpture!, Target Stores and The National Endowment for the Arts, SOS! is a Project of Project of Heritage preservation and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Locating the Monument

The monument is located in the North-West corner of the Boston Public Gardens. It's located near the intersection of Arlington Street and Marlborough Street. If you're on the Lagoon Bridge, walk towards the Washington Statue and turn right. Follow the path along the lagoon.

March 30, 2017

Newport, Oregon sign in Kenmore Square

Fenway park opening day is April 3rd. Fans traveling to Fenway via Kenmore Square will see something new this year:

New Port Sign

This past winter the City of Boston put up the unusual sign in Kenmore Square to signify the length of Route 20.

Things I learned about Route 20

  • Route 20 is the longest route in the United States.
  • Route 20 didn't connect both coasts until
  • According to Google Maps, it would take 48 hours to travel between Boston and Newport, Oregon. The best route isn't Route 20, but rather I-90 W and I-80 W.
  • In Sudbury, Henry Ford paid for a bypass road when trucks would go down the road really fast and caused structure issues at the Wayside Inn.
  • Route 20 makes a slight disappearance in Yellowstone National Park.

Finding the sign

The sign is a little small and may be hard to spot. The sign is located at the corner of Kenmore Street and Commonwealth Ave. It's located near the MBTA bus station at Kenmore Square.

If your driving into Kenmore Square, your better off seeing it coming in via Commonwealth Ave. The sign will be on your left just before you get into Kenmore Square.

If you're taking the Green Line to Kenmore Square, you'll want to use the Beacon Street Exit. Once you're at street level, head to the lights at Kenmore Street, away from the Citgo Sign, then cross the street. You'll see the sign as you look back towards the Citgo sign.

March 23, 2017

Boston Spring

Spring has officially arrived and pretty soon things will get busy in the City of Boston. Here are some notable openings that pretty much guarantee that the warmer weather is here to stay for a while.

February 25, 2017 Sullivan's at Castle Island
March 22, 2017 Duck Boat Tours
March 25, 2017 Greenway Carousel at The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove
April 3, 2017 Red Sox Opening Day
April 17, 2017 Boston Marathon
April 30, 2017 Christian Science Center Reflection Pool

Visual Graphic

Boston Spring
Download a higher resolution chart

Missing Anything?

Is there anything that I am missing that you think that should be mention here? Let me know in the comments.

March 16, 2017

Charles F. Hurley

Charles Hurley

Charles F. Hurley was the 54th Governor of Massachusetts and is the first Irish Governor of Massachusetts. He only served one term from January 7, 1937, to January 5, 1939. He represented the Democratic Party.

Since tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about Massachusetts first Irish Governor.

Things I learned about Charles F. Hurley:

  • Graduated from Boston College in 1913
  • Was the Massachusetts State Treasure for three terms and was the first to step up from that position to governorship.
  • He won 47.62% of the votes in the Massachusetts Governor Race in 1936.
  • Under Gov. Charles F. Hurley the state budget was $70,117,030
  • Has three Daughters Nancy, Ellen Sarah, Betty and a son Charles F. Jr.
  • As Governor he received a kidnap threat against his daughters.
  • Two days later Edmund E. Farrell was arrested for sending the letters. He admitted to sending the letter.
  • Was one of the few Democratic Governors to have concerns about the "New Deal" by President Franklin Roosevelt
  • He authorized a minimum wage for women and children
  • The Fair Trade Laws were passed - which allowed manufactures to set the minimum retail price on goods.
  • He was that the dedication of the Paul Revere statue in the North End.
  • Inherited a forty-acres estate in Ireland by his Uncle Timothy.
  • Lost at a chance for a second term to former Governor James Michael Curley in the gubernatorial nomination.
  • He died on March 24, 1946

Charles F. Hurley Building

Obviously was named after the former Governor. It is the only monument/building to honor the former governor.

  • Designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbott.
  • Constructed by the Vappi Construction Company
  • Building also known as the "Health, Welfare and Education Service Center for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
  • Opened in 1971
  • The front of the building was used in the movie 'The Departed' as the entrance to the Police Station.

Charles F. Hurley Painting

Charles Hurley Pano
The painting in the hallway of the Massachusetts State House.

You can see the painting of Charles F. Hurley, and other Massachusetts governors at the Massachusetts State House. Charles F. Hurley painting is on the third floor between the Secretary of State office and the State Library. You have to go up the stairs and all the way in the back of the building.

I learned that the sitting Massachusetts Governor can put any hallway painting in the Executive Office. They decorate the office with paintings of past Governors that they admire.

March 9, 2017

Irish Famine Memorial

The Irish Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. As a result of the Famine, the country population drop 25%.

The famine was caused by mold that was growing on the potatoes. Many Irish depended on potatoes as the food source due to strict land regulations. In addition, years of oppression on the Catholic Irish caused people to live just below the poverty line.

Boston was seen as a beacon of hope, and many Irish emigrated to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to escape the rough conditions in Ireland.

The Irish suffered job discrimination with people putting up signs in store windows which read, "Irish need no apply." People saw the mass migration as a threat to the skillful workforce.

In 1998, Boston dedicated a memorial to the Irish Famine.

Irish Statues

Things that I learned about the Irish Famine Memorial

  • Cost $1 Million to put together
  • Located on the Freedom Trail, across from the Old South meeting House
  • The original idea for the memorial started in 1991, but never amounted to any real project
  • Original location was to be someplace near Faneuil Hall
  • Thomas J. Flatley took ownership of the project in 1996 and made the memorial a reality.
  • More than 7,000 people attended the dedication on Sunday, June 28, 1998.
  • Dedicated as part of the 150th anniversary of THE GREAT HUNGER.
  • Cardinal Law visited the site after the Dedication Ceremony and blessed the memorial with Holy Water from Ireland.
  • Robert Shure, of Skylight Studios, made the two statues.
  • Robert Shure also created the statues at the Rhode Island Irish Famine Memorial which was dedicated on November 17, 2007.
  • Robert Shure also did the Boston Marathon Memorial (!996) and the Massachusetts Fallen Fireman Memorial (2007).
  • The two statues are Bronze on granite base.
  • Thomas J. Flatley, Committee Chairman, was an immigrant who arrived from Ireland in 1950 with $32 in his pocket.
  • Thomas J. Flatley, died on May 17, 2008 with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

What are the statues of?

There are two statue monuments in the memorial.

  • One of the statues show a family suffering from the Famine. ( It looks very similar to an 1849 depiction of Bridget O'Donnell and her two children during the famine.)
  • The other shows a family doing well.

Some people say that the two monuments demonstrate how the potato famine impacted the poor and the rich.

The Eight Plaques

There are eight plaques around the memorial which tells the cause and effect of the Irish Famine:

  • Dying of Hunger - Starting in 1845, a virulent fungus devastated the potato crop....
  • AN GORTA MOR - The Great Hunger of 1845-50
  • The People were Gaunt - Starvation and disease spread across the Irish landscape claiming 1 million lives
  • Boston Sends Help - On March 27, 1847 Boston sends a ship of supplies.
  • Crossing the Bowl of Tears -Two Million people fled Ireland in vessels that were called Coffin Ships.
  • Arriving in Boston - In 1847, 37,000 Irish arrived in Boston...
  • The American Dream - Today 44 million American claim Irish ancestry
  • Lest We Forget.- The conditions that produced the Irish famine...still exist today.

Memorial Location

The memorial is located on Boston's Freedom Trail at the corner of Washington St. and School St. It's right between the "Old Corner Bookstore" and the "Old South Meeting House."

The memorial is not an official site on the Boston Freedom Trail.

March 2, 2017

Coconut Grove Night Club Fire

In 1942 one of the world's worst nightclub fire happen in Boston. On the night of November 28, 1942, 491 people died at the Coconut Grove nightclub. This is still the worst nightclub fire in History.

Grove Street View

Twelve things that I learned about the nightclub fire:

  • The official cause of the Cocoanut Grove fires is being "of unknown origin"
  • Most people died because of inadequate exits and toxic smoke
  • One person killed himself at the hospital when he found that his wife died in the inferno. Official records count include this death in the records - 492 deaths as a results of the nightclub fire
  • 160 people were injured in the fire
  • The nightclub was zone to hold only 460 people.
  • The main part of the fire was put out within 30 minutes of it starting.
  • Buck Jones, a famous Movie cowboy star, died from injuries sustained from the fire
  • Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital treated burn victims
  • At one point patients were arriving at Boston City Hospital every eleven seconds.
  • Burn Hospital Victims were treated with penicillin the first time for the civilian population
  • Barney Welansky, the owner of the club was convicted of manslaughter in connection and sent to prison for 12-15 years.
  • Barney only served four years of the prison term.

As results of the fire

  • New safety codes require all revolving doors must have regular outward-swinging doors nearby.
  • New innovation to help burn victims
  • New Legal rules on building owners on maintaining safe conditions to the buildings.

Piedmont Street Today

Today the site of the former nightclub is a parking garage and a large empty lot. The area of the original main dining room is now a new street called Coconut Grove Lane.

In 1993, on the 50th anniversary of the fire, a memorial plaque was placed at the original location of the nightclub. The plaque is placed on the sidewalk near where the revolving door was located. (Many of the victims died as a result of the rush to the revolving door.)

The plaque reads:

Erected by Bay Village Neighborhood Association. In Memory of the more than 490 people who died as a result of the Coconut Grove fire on November 28, 1942. As a result of this terrible tragedy major changes were made in the fire code and improvements in the treatment of burn victims no only in Boston but across the nation.

"Phoenix out of the Ashes"

This plaque crafted by Anthony P. Marra, Youngest Survivor of the Coconut Grove fire. You can see a map of the nightclub on the plaque, and the revolving door

Anthony P. Marra was a Cocoanut Grove Club employee who escaped the fire.

Coconut Groveplaque

Location of the Plaque

The plaque is located at the corner of Piedmont Street and Coconut Grove Lane, (17 Piedmont Street.) It located just underneath the lamp post sign.

February 23, 2017

Oliver Ames Jr. Square

Oliver Ames Square Sign

At the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Charlesgate West, near Kenmore Square, is a sign indicating that it's Oliver Ames Jr Square. Did you know, that Boston had two famous Oliver Ames Jr?

  • Oliver Ames Jr (1807 - 1877) - President of the Union Pacific Railroad
    Key Accomplishment: Instrumental with completion of the first transcontinental Railroad in North America.
  • Oliver Ames Jr (1895 - 1918) - United States Army Officer
    Key Accomplishment: A courteous kindly gentleman and a true soldier

The square is named for Lieutenant Oliver Ames Jr. who served in the 165th United States Infantry Regiment, part of the 42nd Infantry Division in World War One. On July 29th, 1918, he gave his life at the Second Battle of the Marne.

Oliver Ames Jr (1807 - 1877) is the father of Oliver Ames Jr (1895 - 1918)

Some interesting thing that I learned about Oliver Ames Jr:

  • Born in Boston on April 8, 1885
  • Married Caroline Lee Fessenden before the World War I
  • Served in the 165th United States Infantry Regiment, part of the 42nd Infantry Division
  • The 42nd Infantry Division was mostly made up of National Guard units.
  • Served under Major "Wild Bill" Donovan
  • Was killed by a German sniper who was hiding behind a dead horse at the Battle of the Ourcq River during the second battle of the Marne.
  • He received the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously with the following text: "He fought gallantly until on the last day he was killed while going forward voluntarily through machine-gun and snipers' fire to the assistance of his battalion commander."
  • In 1922, a book about him called "OLIVER AMES, J R - 1895-1918" by Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe published by Harvard Press
  • The book contains actual letters that he wrote home from the frontline.

The Square View
You can see the new "Boston Strong" sign from the square. The square is between the cars and the "Boston Strong" sign.

Burial Location

Oliver Ames Jr buried at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Picarde, France. His grave reads:

Oliver Ames, Jr. 2nd Lt. Inf. U. S. R. Killed in action, July 29th, 1918 Act. Adjutant 1st Btn. 65th Inf.

February 16, 2017

Mario Susi & Sons Marker

On Court Street, near the Washington Street intersection, if you look around the sidewalk you will see the following:

Susi Side Walk Boston

You can see these sidewalk markers in various places around the city of Boston. Mario Susi & Sons is an excavating contractor that has performed construction projects for the city of Boston.

What is an Excavating Contractor?

Excavation Contractors perform site preparation, grading, trenching and other various soil-related tasks. They basically get to drive around very large pieces of heavy equipment to get the job done.

Things I learned about Mario Susi & Sons

I wasn't able to find a lot about the company, which is surprising since they do a good job with streetside advertising.

  • Company was founded in 1955
  • Founded by Mario Susi and his sons Raymond Phillip Susi and Joseph Susi
  • Approximately 20 full time employees
  • $4.1 million in annual revenue
  • Bids on various construction projects for Boston, Cambridge, Braintree and Milton
  • In 1983, they did work around Medford Square - another place where you may find the marker on the sidewalk
  • In 2007 they did some work Central Avenue/Eliot Street intersection in Milton where you may also find the above marker.
  • Mario Susi died October 27 2005
  • Raymond Phillip Susi died on March 20, 2014
  • Joseph Susi died on February 26, 2016
  • Website: msusi.com
  • According to various posts, the are "one of the most well known and respected contractors in the Boston area"

February 9, 2017

"Then & Now" MOS Exhibit

Did you know that the Boston Museum of Science has an exhibit that looks back at some of the histories of the museum? You can take a step in time and look back at some of the famous exhibits at the museum.

You can read all about how the museum transformed from the Boston Society of Natural History in 1860 to what it is today.

M O S The Now

Some of the features in this Exhibit

  • Pictures of the Boston Society of Natural History
  • Birds that were on display at the "Boston Society of Natural History"
  • Pictures of some old Exhibits, remember the Hatch Egg?
  • Pictures of the original Dinosaur and why they changed it.
  • Pictures of Spooky - The Museums Great Horned Owl
  • Turbidity Column Exhibit
  • Interact with The Tooth Exhibit
  • Interact with the first Interactive Exhibit, the Ermine.
  • Watch a classic 1980s commercial of the Museum - Where its fun to find out"

This is a cool place to walk through if you visited the museum when you were a kid. You can see many familiar things from the museum past.

Finding the Exhibit

The "Then & Now" exhibit is on Level 2 in the Blue Wing, just beyond the Science in the Park in the Theater of Electricity.

Thanks to the Sponsors!

The exhibit was made possible through the generosity of Joan and Herman Suit, and the George Willard Smith Endowment Fund.