|Earliest: March 16, 2003||Latest: May 16, 2019||Total: 274|
|November 17, 2016|
At the corner of Washington and State Street is Massachusetts Old State House building.
The building played an important part of the history of the United States. The Boston Massacre happened in front of the building on March 5, 1770. The Declaration of Independence was read for the first time in Boston to a crowd on July 18th, 1776. After the Revolution, the building was the location of the Massachusetts State government.
It served as Boston City Hall (1830 - 1841) and as a commercial building (1841-1881).
Since 1881 the building has been a museum run by the Bostonian Society.
The Queen of England gave a speech on the famous balcony on July 4, 1976.
Youth (6-18) are free, so there's nothing to lose by taking them to the Old State House.
There are a couple of rooms on the second floor where my five-year daughter had some fun in.
In the "State Room" there are some puzzles to put together. Kids can try to rebuild the Old City Hall with a tall puzzle, build a wall using soft bricks and try to piece together an old photo.
In the "Old State House: A Hands-on History" room kids can draw a small picture and then hang it on the wall. There are story books to read all about Boston history at a kids size table. Kids can re-create the process of having to fix the clock.
Average time in the museum is about 45 minutes, it depends on how much you're into Boston history and if you take the tour.
The souvenir shop has lots of goodies for kids. There are lots of colonial period items such as a feather pen and scrolls. On this trip, we picked up a large pencil since it's similar to the one she uses at school.
You do not have to go to the museum to visit the gift shop, so if your walking by the Old State House it's worth just stopping by for some unique Boston Souvenirs. Your purchase supports the museum, so it's for a good cause. (There's a good selection of Boston coffee mugs if you're looking something for the office.)
Parents with kids are always concern about bathrooms...
In the basement is a bathroom that was reasonably clean, you do have to purchase museum tickets to use the bathroom. It's a good pit stop if you're heading towards downtown crossing or the commons since good bathrooms are hard to find.
My five-year-old daughter had a fun time learning about history at the museum. She enjoyed learning about how colonial chairs were made, sitting at the head of the table, looking at the old clothes and seeing history up close. She had a fun time with the puzzles and was excited to put up a drawing on the board with her name.
|November 10, 2016|
How the recent renovation at the Government Center MBTA station killed a view of a Boston landmark.
Between King Burial Grounds and Granary Burying Ground is a small medallion on the sidewalk pavement. The medallion is a bit hidden and is probably missed by many tourists walking between King Burial Grounds and Boston Commons.
Here is a picture of the medallion that is in front of the Omni Parker House:
The inscription reads:
Today when you look up towards the King Burial Grounds, to see The North Church Tower, this is what you see:
When the MBTA redesigned the Government Center back in 2014, they added a 40-foot glass structure. However, didn't take into account blocking the North Church Tower. You can still see part of the church through the glass structure, but the view is definitely blocked. At night, the glass structure is blue, which would completely prevent you from seeing the Church tower.
I wasn't able to find any information on why Charles Hilgenhurst wanted the view to be visible from the Omni Parker House. There isn't any document online or at the Boston Public Library about installing the medallion.
The medallion is located 3,580.80 feet (1091.43 meters) from the The North Church.
The medallion is located on Boylston Street, near the intersection of School Street. The GPS coordinates is: 42.357675, -71.060633
|November 3, 2016|
WROR, Boston's Greatest Hits Station, continues to dominate the Boston radio market. Month after Month they are what Bostonians are listing to all day.
WMJX, Magic 106.7, is a mass appeal radio station that plays songs that have stood the test of time, along with the best new music in the contemporary arena today. You?ll hear Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Pink and Elton John?it?s the best variety anytime!
Boston is a huge sports town and people like to talk sports over local politics. WBZ, the Sports Hub, and WEEI are neck and neck fighting to entertain their listeners.
General Talk Radio is very limited in the Boston Market. It seems that WRKO is that last of the major stations to survive.
Download Boston's Radio Graphic to discover where the top 13 stations are on the radio dial. This is useful if you're setting up the station memory slots on your car radio.
If you want a higher resolution copy for print, let me know and I'll send you a high-quality PDF version.
I'll update the graphic anytime there are major changes to any of the stations.
For those that were disappointed about not learning anything about Boston's history. We'll go back to exploring various sites around Boston - next week.
If you have any site that you want featured, let me know!
|October 27, 2016|
In Boston, there are four major cemeteries that opened during the Colonial period.
|Place||Years in Operation||Number of Interments|
|King Chapel||1630 - 1660||1,500 people|
|Old Granary Burial Ground||1660 - 1856||5,000 people|
|Copp's Hill Burying Ground||1659 - 1968||10,000 people|
|Central Burial Grounds||1756 - 1836||5,000 people|
The one that is most likely to be haunted is the Central Burial Grounds. That is because of a couple of major events that have happened at the cemetery.
The need for a third burial grounds came about because of the continued growth of the city of Boston. It was established on the Boston Common in 1756. It is located on Boylston Street between Tremont Street and Charles Street.
The grounds were actually not all that desire of a place because it was further away from the main part of the city. Many of the city poor were buried here. Many children were buried here.
During the occupation of Boston, the British buried their dead in the Central Burial Grounds. They either died in combat or as a result of disease during the occupation of Boston, and the various battles around the city.
First Disturbance - Boylston Street Expansion
In 1836, Boston Mayor Samuel Armstrong requested extending Boylston Street to connect with Tremont Street. As a result, a considerable part of the cemetery had to be eliminated and a row of tombs had to be moved to make room for the street.
The tombs were relocated in a long barrow, which is called the "The Dell."
The Dell at the Central Burial Grounds.
In 1894, when the Tremont Street Subway was under construction, burials were discovered in the area near the cemetery. These were reinterred in a mass grave within the bounds of the burying ground.
Many of the 900 bodies that were found were the British soldiers who died during the Boston occupation 100 years earlier.
The mass grave has a slate table and three boundary stones to mark the spot of those that were relocated.
There were a couple of strange events that happened near the cemetery after the two disturbances.
On March 4, 1897, a gas explosion took place just a few feet from the Central Burial Grounds. In all six people were killed and at least sixty were injured. All the buildings in the area were shaken and windows in the area were broken.
The total damage cost, other than the loss of six people, was $10,000. (Equivalent to $287,196.15 in 2015) Most of that was for all the broken windows in the buildings.
At the time there was a well-known issue with a gas leak at the Boylston as many people reported the strong gas smell to the gas company. The gas company was negligent for not responding in time.
However, since it happened near the cemetery and shortly after the move of many graves, some think that a paranormal event occurred.
In 2006, a horrific accident occurred during construction at the Emerson Dormitory building on Boylston Street. This was the first building being constructed opposite the cemetery in roughly 80 years.
On April 6, 2006, a large scaffold collapsed, and three people tragically lost their lives. An investigation went into the accident and discovered that it was a worker procedure error that caused the crane to collapse.
There is a ghost story around the Central Burying Ground where a "Girl Without a face" has been spotted wandering around the graveyard. I heard about this story from various sources, and will need to research more for a future blog post.
|October 20, 2016|
On the eastern side of the Boston Commons is a landmark bandstand. The bandstand is named after George F. Parkman and is officially called the "Parkman Bandstand."
George F. Parkman was the last family member of the Parkman family, a wealthy Bostonian Family. The were consider one of the Boston Brahmin - a class of wealthy, educated, elite members of Boston society in the nineteenth century.
When George Parkman died on September 16, 1908, he gave the city of Boston $5 million for the purpose of taking care of the park. That would be equivalent to $133,064,476.27 in today's value.
This is the second monument that is named after George F. Parkman in the Boston Commons. In front of the visitor center is Parkman Plaza, a circular paved area with three bronze statues representing Industry, Religion, and Learning. The Parkman Plaza was dedicated in 1960.
When you walk up the stairs of the Bandstand there is a plaque on the floor that was placed during the 1912 dedication ceremony. The text is all uppercase using an old style too look "clean and classy." This is the old-world style text:
There is an interesting side story about George Parkman family.
In 1849, George Parkman father, Dr. George Parkman, was murdered at Harvard Medical School in one of the most famous murder cases in Harvard history.
On November 23, 1849, Dr. George Parkman, a successful surgeon, stopped by Harvard Medical School to collect some money from John White Webster, a Harvard professor. Mr. Webster had some problems with paying off the debt and ended up murdering Mr. Parkman. Mr. Webster placed his parts inside a brick wall. A week later the body was discovered by Ephrain Littlefield, a janitor at Harvard Medical School.
The crime and trial of Mr. Webster was an international sensation. Tickets were sold to those that wanted to sit in the courtroom, and six thousand tickets were sold. The trial lasted for 12-days and John White Webster was convicted of Parkman's murder on March 30, 1850 (127 days after the murder).
He was executed on August 30, 1850. That's 280 days after the murder, and 153 days after being convicted.
There are some historians that believe that John White Webster may not have been guilty of murder and that the murder might have been accomplished by Webster's accuser.
The Parkman Bandstand is a great place to take pictures of the Boston Foliage:
|October 13, 2016|
A few months ago I wrote about some information about the "Make Way for Ducklings" statue in the Boston Public Gardens. One of the facts I mentioned was that 2 of the ducklings that were stolen were never returned. I learned this week that one of them did get returned.
In the Children's section of the Boston Public Library Central Branch is "Quack", one of the missing ducks.
Quack might be hard to find when you bring a child to the Children's section you can play a game to find Quack. You can find Quack in a small window on the front right side as you walk in the Children's section. There might be couches or blocks that could make it hard to see when you walk in. (Simply walk along the right wall.)
After finding Quack, sit down and read the "Make Way for Ducklings" story. It's a lot easier to do it at the library than in the Public Gardens.
There is a little wall sign near the duck statue about the lone duck:
Quack was among eight ducklings and a mother mallard sculpted and cast for the Boston Public Garden by artist Nancy Schon in 1987. The bronze feathered family, one of Boston's most famous public art installations, pay homage to Robert McCloskey's famous children's book Make Way for Ducklings (1941). In the much-loved story, the ducks find their way to a new home on an island in the Public Garden's Lagoon. McCloskey (1914-2003) brought six ducklings to live with him in his New York studio while he was illustrating the tale; he webbed roommates modeled for a series of preparatory sketches that now reside in the Boston Public Library print collection.
Not long after the Public Garden statues were installed, young Quack (the last in the line of ducklings) went missing. Schon cast a duplicate sculpture to replace the figure. In 1988, Quack came back and soon make its way to the Boston Public Library's Children's Library, where it has become a beloved resident.
Gift of Nancy Schon, 1989.
Maybe someday Quack will get united with the rest of the family. Here's a link to the original "Make Way for Ducklings" blog post.
The original Mack statue is still missing! Bring Mack Back!
|October 6, 2016|
The first correctional facility in Boston was called the Boston Gaol and it was located between Court Street and School Street. The jail was in use between 1635-1822. The jail was created less than five years after the city of Boston was founded.
Some people called the Boston Gaol the Boston Stone Jail because of the thick stone walls.
The word "Boston Gaol" means a correction facility. the term gaol is used in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Since the facility was under the British rule, the name Gaol was used instead of jail.
Some notable people that spent time in the prison include:
Captain Kidd - Spent a year in the jail before heading to England to be executed.
Mary Dyer - Visited the jail many times to comfort fellow Quakers. She also sent to jail for refusing an order to leave town. She spent the last night at the Boston Gaol before being executed in the Boston Commons.
Religious Leaders - Quaker's such as Anne Hutchinson were held in jail for being outspoken about their religion.
Salem Witches - Accused Witches were held anyplace that jail space was available.
Solders involved with the Boston Massacre - Were held in the jail in hopes to calm people down.
James Lovell - He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1782. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. He was held in the jail as a likely dissident after the Battle of Bunker Hill.
John Leach - kept a journal of his confinement by the British Troops. He was in jail from July 2nd to 17th 1775.
The Boston Goal went through many revisions and relocations over the nearly 200 years of its existence. By the 1820s it was too small to handle the increased jail population.
The Leverett Street jail was the success to the Boston Gaol.
The Boston Gaol has been long gone and the former site is the Boston Public School administration building. Directions to the site of the Boston Goal:
There is a small sign on the front left of the building to indicate the past history of the location:
The first prison in Boston stood on this site, close to the center of government and trade in the early settlement. In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne describes its appearance: "The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than anything else in the New World...But on one side of the portal, was a wild rose-bush."
Did you know? Captain Kidd was brought here in 1689 after he was captured, and before he was shipped to England to be executed.
|September 29, 2016|
Faneuil Hall is a huge tourist attraction in Boston. Here are five key things that you shouldn't miss on your next visit:
Sitting on top of Quincy Market is the historic Golden Grasshopper. In 1761, a fire at Faneuil Hall damaged the grasshopper weathervane. Thomas Drowne, a blacksmith and the son of the original grasshopper's creator, repaired the weathervane and inserted a "time capsule" in its stomach. The capsule, which is engraved "Food for the Grasshopper," includes historical newspapers, coins, and messages. Whenever the grasshopper gets a major refurbishment the time capsule gets a small update from the sitting mayor.
In 1974, some people thought the Golden Grasshopper was stolen as it went missing for several days. It turns out that some construction workers took down the grasshopper under some flags.
The "Golden Grasshopper" is the last remaining artifact from the 1742 structure.
Secretary of state John Kerry got his start in the business world by baking delicious cookies.
If you like large premium cookies, in all sorts of flavors, check out Kilvert & Forbes near the East Market entrance. Get some for now and some for later.
When your placing your order, asked the server when they last saw the current Secretary of State, he usually drops by every once in a while.
The oldest continuing running restaurant is Durgan Park. They have two big signs outside; "Established Before you were born" and "our Grandfather and perhaps Your Great Grandfather dined with us, too!"
The restaurant opened in 1827 about a year after Quincy Market opened. There was a restaurant at that location since 1742, but it wasn't called Durgan-Park.
There's nothing like trying some classic New England recipes. Not all that hungry? Try some New England chowder with a beer from their large selection. Make sure to stop by the store and take home a souvenir bean pot.
There is a beer garden in the basement floor of the Durgan-Park building. On Wednesday nights there is a comedy show called "Woodstock Wednesdays" starring the local Boston comedy troupe "Just Suspects". Great place to go if you're looking for something to do on a Wednesday evening.
Durgan Park is located in the North Market building. They are open every day for Lunch and dinner.
On the walls underneath the Quincy Market dome are signs of some of the businesses that once call Quincy Market their home. Some of the business are still going strong today.
Some of the company names that are on the wall:
When you're standing on the first floor and looking up at the central rotunda, you can see a message in gold lettering. It reads, "This building has served the people of Boston as the central market of the city since its dedication in August 1826."
|September 22, 2016|
The reference reading room is named after Joshua Bates, who gave $50,000 so that a large reading room at the Boston Public Library could be built. The goal was to provide that "the building shall be such as to be an ornament to the City, that there shall be a room for one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons to sit at reading tables, and that it be perfectly free to all."
The reading room was created by Charles Follen McKim.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the library opened in 1852 as the first free, publicly supported municipal library in America. The library didn't open to the public until 1895.
In 2014, The Kirstein Business Library and Innovation Center took up temporary residence in the Bates Hall. The business center has been relocated to the lower level of the Johnson Building. From 1930 to 2009 it was located at 20 City Hall Avenue, in 2009 it was moved to be part of the central library. It was moved to Bates Hall during the reconstruction of the Johnson building.
Bates Hall makes a great venue for company parties and wedding receptions. You can get more information at the Boston Public Library event page.
Joshua Bates was born on October 10, 1788, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. He was an international financier. He acquired much of his wealth as a senior partner of Baring Brother & Company of London.
Hethe first major contributor to the country's first municipally supported library. He donation $50,000 in 1852 to help jump start the library. (That would be equivalent to $1,437,450.60 in 2015) He also gave 30,000 volumes to the library.
Joshua died on September 24, 1864, and is buried at the Kensal Green Cemetery in Kensal Green, Greater London, England.
|Joshua Bates||International Financier||October 10, 1788 - September 24, 1864|
|Wendell Phillips||American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, orator and lawyer||November 29, 1811 - February 2, 1884|
|Thomas Gold Appleton||American writer, an artist, and a patron of the fine arts.||March 31, 1812 - April 17, 1884|
|Sir Walter Scott||Scottish Historical Novelist, Playwright and Poet||August 15, 1771 - September 21, 1832|
|Benjamin Franklin||Founding Fathers of the United States||1706-1790|
|George Ticknor||American Academician and Hispanist||August 1, 1791 - January 26, 1871|
|Henry Wadsworth Longfellow||Author and Personality||February 27, 1807 - March 24, 1882|
|William Whitwell Greenough||Boston Merchant and Politician||1818 - 1899|
|James Fenimore Cooper||Popular Writer of the early 19th century||September 15, 1789 - September 14, 1851|
|Edward Everett||Massachusetts Politician||April 11, 1794 - January 15, 1865|
|John Joseph Williams||American bishop of the Roman Catholic Church||April 27, 1822 - August 30, 1907|
|Hugh O'Brien||31st Mayor of Boston||July 13, 1827 - August 1, 1895|
|Oliver Wendell Holmes||Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States||March 8, 1841 - March 6, 1935|
Some people think that Bates Hall is "internationally recognized as perhaps the single most beautiful room in America." On your next trip to Boston, stop at the Boston Public Library and check out Bates Hall.
|September 15, 2016|
In front of the Massachusetts State House are two women statues, the first two women statues in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Anne Hutchinson (April 14, 1922) and Mary Dyer (July 9, 1959).
Anne Hutchinson statue is by the West Wing and Mary Dyer is on the East Wing.
Here's a brief version of what happened to Mary Dyer:
In Colonial Massachusetts Puritans didn't have a favorable view of Quakers. Quakers would constantly interrupt Puritan's sermons with their own views.
In 1657 the General Court of Massachusetts who rules, "anybody who should lodge a Quaker should be fined for such offence at the rate of 40 shillings for every hour of such concealment...that every Quaker man after being once punished and banished should presume to return should have one of his ears cut off for the first offence, and for a second offence his other ear, and for a third offence should have his tongue bored through with a hot iron."
One night Mary Dyer, who became a Quaker while visiting England, was passing through Boston to her home in Rhode Island. She was arrested and imprisoned. She was released by the request of her husband.
A couple of years later, she returned to Boston to visit friends that were imprisoned. She was brought before the court, with her friends, and was told to get out of Massachusetts within the next 48 hours. If they were sill in the commonwealth after that time, they would be put to death.
Mary Dyer left Massachusetts to Rhode Island but returned to Boston 30 days later to visit other Quaker friends that were imprisoned. She was arrested and on October 27, 1659, was to be hanged.
Her son pleaded to the court for her release The court agreed and allowed her to return to Rhode Island.
In May 21, 1660, she returned to Boston. She was arrested and given the death penalty. The court wasn't going to accept any reprieve.
She was told by Governor John Endecott, the first Massachusetts Governor, "You will own yourself a Quaker, will you not? The sentence was passed upon you at the last General Court... now it is to be executed. Therefore prepare yourself tomorrow at 9 o'clock."
On May 22, 1660, at 9am she was taken from the Boston Gaol to the Great Elm of the Boston commons, a noose was placed around her neck, she was then asked if she would "go home and stay there."
She responded with "Nay. In obedience to the will have the Lord God I came, and in His will, I will abide faithful unto death."
Mary Dyer died minutes later. Her body was returned to her family in Rhode Island.
Zeno Ellis, a banker from Vermont, put the following in her will
"I give and bequeath to the State of Massachusetts the sum of $12,000 for the construction and permanent erection on the grounds of the Capitol or State House in the City of Boston in said the State of Massachusetts as appropriate statue of my ancestor Mary Dyer who died in the year 1660."
The figure on the Statue is looking towards the Boston Commons where Mary Dyer was hanged. Her back is to the legislature as if to make a statement about her death. She is wearing typical Quaker clothes.
The sculpture was created by Sylvia Shaw Judson. She is perhaps best known for the 'Bird Girl' sculpture which was used on the cover of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"