Boston blog postings

Boston Postings

Earliest: March 16, 2003Latest: November 8, 2018Total: 247

January 25, 2018

House of Blues

This year our company annual Holiday party was at the House of Blues, which is directly across Fenway Park.

Quick Facts about the House of Blues

  • First House of Blues Opened in Harvard Square on November 23, 1992
  • Maximum Capacity was 150 people
  • Closed in September 2003 as the popular chain was looking for a new location to handle larger audiences.
  • The current location opened on February 20, 2009 (First Act: Gipsy Kings).
  • The Maximum capacity of the current Boston's House of Blues is 2,500 people

House Blues

Nine things I learned at the House of Blues

We had a company party last night, we reserved the entire venue. Here are some notes about the event specific to it being hosted at the House of Blues:

  • Nothing like seeing the company name in bright lights on the stage. It was a great backdrop for photo opportunities.
  • Load Music - The music was loud no matter where you were in the main room. The only place that was fairly quiet was the restrooms and the area by the coat check in.
  • Coat Check - In order to check your coat, you have to enter your cell phone number. To pick up your coat you show them the text message - which has the hanger number. ( The actually take a picture of your jacket. )
  • If you need to check a coat, Don?t arrive on time, either arrive early or a few minutes late. The coat checking process takes a few minutes and the line will quickly back up as people arrive.
  • The food was plenty and good! There were lots of appetizers going around. Most people didn?t know that dinner was coming out shortly and some told me they were stuff from the appetizers. I liked the sliders and the ribs.
  • There was only one beer that was available on tap, everything else was in cans. They had bars going on both sides of the stage. There was another bar stand in the back but it wasn?t open.
  • There was a second floor, so if your company has a lot of people it?s an option. Maybe we?ll need it next year? The first floor seems plenty for about 300 people. We weren?t crowded.
  • There were a lot of employees working at the House of Blues. Trash cans were available everywhere and were never full.
  • The bathrooms were nice and clean. I thought it was a bit odd that the bathroom near the coat rack was much larger than the ones in the main hall.

January 18, 2018

John Endicott Resident Plaque

There are three states in the United States that don't offer residence to the sitting Governor: Arizona, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Once Set the President

When Massachusetts Bay Colony was originally founded, the forefathers thought having a Governor residence was a necessity. It was so important, that they made it the second item mentioned in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Record in 1655 (336 Years ago).

The founders did this because the locals complained that the current Governor, John Endicott, wasn't spending enough time in Boston.

Massachusetts Bay Colony Record

Here is the entry from the Record of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Vol III (May 23, 1655). (This is unedited in the original Old English spelling)

It is ordered by this Court, that who sour shale chosen Gounor from yeare to yeare shall, wth the first oppertunity, make his abode in Boston, or some adjacent town or place within fowre or fire miles of Boston, & shall there contynue his abode dureing the tyme of his government, that so he may be the more serviceable to the country in general, both in respect of straungers & otherwise ; & it is further order, that wither now or next sessions suteable acomodation may be pvided, which may encorage the same for the future, & for present doe desire the Governor to reside at Boston, or neere thereunto, as much as his own necessary occasions will pmitt.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Once Massachusetts Bay Colony adopted the rules, John Endicott moved to Boston where he spent the last year of his life serving the people of Massachusetts Bay Colony. He died a year after moving to Boston.

John Endicott contributed a lot to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He had a very impressive resume:

  • Governor, 1629-30, 1644-45, 1649-50, 1651-54, 1655-65
  • Court of Assistants, 1630-34
  • Conducted expedition against l'equot Indians, 1630
  • Deputy Governor, 1641--14, 1650-51, 1654-55
  • Major-general colonial troops, 1645

Residence Requirement Update: Not Important

When Massachusetts became a State, the need for a residence for the Governor was no longer an issue and was left out of the Constitution of Massachusetts.

Today, those that argue for a Governor's Mansion, have brought up the above rule of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They argue that it makes sense to have a nice secure location near the Governor office. "It makes just as much sense today than it did 336 years ago."

Plaque Commemorating House Location

In Pemberton Square, just behind the Center 3 Plaza, near Government Center is a plaque to remember where John Endicott house once stood.

John Endicott Plaque

The plaque was done by John Francis Paramino. It was placed in 1930 by the City of Boston.

John Francis Paramino other Artwork include:

  • Declaration of Independence Tablet (1925) - Boston Commons at Tremont Street.
  • Founders Memorial (1930) - Boston Commons at Beacon St and Spruce Street
  • Commodore John Barry (1949) - Boston Commons at the corner of Tremont St and Temple Street.

January 11, 2018

Blazing Paddles

If your looking for a fun practical place to take your team for team building - try Blazing Paddles. It's not your ordinary Boston Sports bar.

Blazing Paddles

Lots of Beer on Tap

There are a lot of choices on tap at Blazing Paddles, you don't have to settle for Bud Lite Lime (Unless that is your thing.) Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Harpoon, Harpoon UFO, Blue Moon, Stella, Sam Adams Seasonal, and Yeungling are some popular choices.

There's lots of really good food here too! Game On! has a great selection of stationed hors-d'oeuvres.

Great Ping Pong Tables

Ping Pong is a great strategy game. There are six tables around Blazing Paddles. You can create a Ping-Pong Championship bracket and see who is the best Ping-Pong player in the company.

Even if you're not serious about playing the game, it's a fun way to break the ice and have a little fun at a company event. (Nobody likes to sit around and chat about how the last project could have gone better.

Serious Gamers should bring their own paddles. The ones at Blazing Paddles are a bit used.

One more thing...

What makes Blazing Paddles unique is that you have the opportunity to practice hitting baseballs. No, this isn't some little arcade game. This is a real batting cage, real baseball, real fast.

Paddles has an exclusive access to the visitor batting cages of Fenway Park. That's right, you have the opportunity to try to hit the same baseballs as the major league's players do.

The Batting Cages isn't always open, it's closed on game days and other functions. You should call ahead to see if it will be open when you visit.

Finding Blazing Paddles

Blazing Paddles is located on the outside of Fenway Park in the basement of Game On at 82 Lansdowne Street, Boston Massachusetts.

January 4, 2018

Great Molasses Flood

The Great Molasses flood occurred in Boston in January 1919. A tank explosion causes a sea of Molasses to cover parts of the North End of Boston.

Boston Molasses
Location of the United States Industrial Alcohol Company is now a Park and Ice Rink.

Eleven things I learned about the Boston Molasses Disaster

  • Molasses was used to manufacture industrial alcohol for the First World War.
  • The Molasses Disaster occurred on the night of January 15, 1919 (406 days after the Halifax Explosion)
  • 2,500,000 gallons of Molasses was spilled around the corner of Commercial Street and Charter Street
  • Twenty One Lives were lost because of the collapse of the Molasses containers. (50 injured)
  • In 1925,the United States Industrial Alcohol Company settled a pending lawsuit and agreed to pay an unspecified amount of damages. (Estimated $500,000 to $1,000,000) That would be equivalent to $6,973,665.58 $13,947,331.16 in 2016 value.
  • Individual claims against death of victims got $7,000 each ($98,667.60 in 2017)
  • The cause of the disaster was the tanks weren't designed to hold more than 2,500,000 gallons. There should have been a "factor of safety" and the containers should have been built to hold more weight.
  • Boston Building Standards and Zoning laws were drastically changed because of the disaster.
  • The United States Industrial Alcohol Company had claimed that it wasn't an accident and was caused by anarchists. Several ships were lost at sea in mysterious ways.
  • The area where the tank was located is now the Steriti Rink. You may hear stories about locals still smelling Molasses on a hot day - it's a false lengend.
  • There is a proposal to build a monument to the victims on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

A list of the fatalities can be found on Wikipedia.

December 28, 2017

Best Boston Blog Post of 2017

This was a great year for creative Boston Blog post. Lots of great content was discovered this year.

It was a lot of fun researching different topics and learning more about the city along the way. Hopefully, the post was entertaining and informative.

Top Seven Boston Blog Posts

In no particular order....

There's still lots of great content planned for 2018. If you have any topics that you would like to see get covered let me know.

December 21, 2017

Largest Parking Garages in Metro Boston

There are lots of places to park in Boston. I thought it would be interesting to find out the size of the parking garages in and around Boston.

These were gathered from various sources:

  • Websites that manages the parking facilities - Not all facilities list parking spaces. Is it a big secret?
  • City of Boston - Lots of outdated information
  • Parkopedia.com - Didn't always show the accurate information.

Parking Garage

Lead the Field - Prudential Parking Garage

The Prudential Center Garage biggest claim to fame is they are the "Largest Parking garage in New England with 3,600 spaces." Actually the largest garage in New England is the Mohegan Sun garagewith spaces for 13,000 vehicles.

Parking Garages in the Boston Area

Here's an interesting list of other parking garages sizes in and around Boston. This information is accurate as of December 21, 2017.

Copley Place Garage 1,400 spaces
100 Clarendon Street Garage 2,000 spaces
Boston Commons Parking Garage 1,350 spaces.
Motor Mart Garage 1,037 parking spaces Once the largest Parking Garage in the World!
Government Center Garage 2,310 spacesAlso known as the One Congress Garage.
Harbor Garage (New England Aquarium)1,300 spaces
Parking Garage at North Station / TD Boston Gardens 1,275 spaces
Boston Museum of Science Garage 850 vehicles
Logan International Airport Central Garage 12,000 vehicles 1,700-spaces were added in 2016

Some Parking Garages along the MBTA routes:

Alewife Parking Garage 2,733 spaces
MBTA North Quincy Station 1,206 spaces
MBTA Wonderland 1,862 spaces
Amtrak Garage on 128 2,589 Spaces

Other Notable Garages

  • Disneyland parking garage holds 10,000 vehicles.
  • Disney Springs Strawberry Lot holds 1,130 vehicles.
  • Largest garage in New York City is the garage at Pier 40/West Street with 3,500 spaces
  • The West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada holds the record for the largest parking structure in North America with 20,000 spaces.

December 14, 2017

Phillips Brooks Statue

Next to the Trinity Church, in Copley Square, is a statue of Phillips Brooks.

Phillips Brooks

Things that I learned about Phillips Brooks and the Statue

  • Phillips Brooks was born on December 13, 1835, in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Attended Boston Latin School and then went to Harvard University in the Fall of 1851, graduated in the class of 1855.
  • Rector of Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, 1862 - 1869
  • In April 23, 1865, he read a sermon at President's Lincoln Funeral near Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC eight days earlier.
  • In 1865 he took a trip to the Holy Land. On Christmas Eve he took a horseback trip from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. It was this trip that inspired him to think about a song called "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
  • He officially wrote the "O Little Town of Bethlehem" song in 1868 when he was at the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia.
  • Phillips Brooks introduced Christianity to Helen Keller and then introduced her to Anne Sullivan.
  • One of the few Americans that preached at London's West Minister Abbey
  • Rector of Trinity Church (Copley Square), Boston, 1869 - 1891
  • Was the rector of the Old Trinity Church when it was on Summer Street in 1872. The Church burn down in the Great Boston Fire of 1872.
  • Some people regard the new Trinity Church as a memorial to Bishop Phillips Brooks.
  • Bishop of Massachusetts, 1891 - 1893
  • Died January 23, 1893.
  • The Hall of Fame for Great Americans has a replica of the Daniel Chester French statue of Phillips Brooks. The original can still be seen inside the Trinity Church.

Things that I learned about Phillips Brooks Statue

  • The bronze on marble base statue was unveiled on January 22, 1910
  • The Statue was done by Augustus Saint-Gaudens using Tennessee marble in Vermont.
  • Augustus Saint-Gaudens died before the work started and it was completed by his assistants
  • A committee of thirty-one people were in charge of fundraising and statue design.
  • More than $95,000 was raised for the statue, which was more than needed to build the statue.
  • A case was heard before the State Supreme Court on January 21, 1919, Charles W. Eliot & Others vs Trinity Church, about authorizing to move the statue to the Theological School in Cambridge, as there were some people that didn't like the statue created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
  • In court, Charles Eliot argued that a better statue was suited for the location. Bela Pratt created a different statue of Phillips Brooks and many people thought Pratt's statue had a better resemblance to the former preacher.
  • The Massachusetts State Supreme Court sided with the Trinity Church saying that it didn't have any power to force the Trinity Church to move the statue. The court said, "When charitable gifts can be administered according to the directions of the donors, the court "is not at liberty to modify it upon considerations of policy or convenience."
  • The statue done by Bela L. Pratt was placed in the North Andover common in 1925.
  • Today you can't see the statue because of construction going on around the Trinity Church

December 7, 2017

Map of the Boston Marathon Finish Line Locations

Last year I blogged about all the finish line locations for the Boston Marathon. It was a fun project to research the locations and the history of each site.

I looked at the blog content again and thought having a map would be a nice visual enhancement to the content.

Classic Boston Map

Back bay has changed a little over the past few years. So using a standard Google maps isn't going to help in this situation. Fortunately, there is a map in the Back Bay MBTA station that is about 20 years old. So I'll use that to show where the finish lines were located.

I took a picture of the map on the Commuter rail platform and then used Super Vectorizer 2 to convert it to an SVG image. I did this to allow the lines and shapes to be more define and make the map a bit clearer to read.

Finish Line Location Map

MarathonMap25.jpg
Click on image for a larger version of the map.

  1. 1897- 1898 - The Early Years
  2. 1899 - 1964 - Exeter Street Years
  3. 1965 - 1985 - The Prudential Years
  4. 1985 - Present - The John Hancock Years

November 30, 2017

Governor John Brooks

John Brooks was a well-admired doctor, respected military officer, and politician from Massachusetts. He served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts from 1816 to 1823 and was one of the last Federalist officials elected in the United States.

There is no statue or monument in Boston for John Brooks. There is just a simple painting that is hanging at the Massachusetts State House a few feet from where he once held office. In Medford, there is a tablet honoring her famous resident.

John Brooks
Picture of John Brooks hanging in the Massachusetts State House.

Fourteen things I learned about John Brooks

There's a lot to tell about John Brooks, here are a few things that I found interesting.

  • There is no record on when John Brooks was born. He was baptized on May 4, 1752. In the 18th century, parents usually baptized their children within 5 days of being born.
  • At the age of 14 he studied medicine under Dr. Simon Tufts in his practice in Medford.
  • He was a very active in the local militia. His military experience was basically watching the British army conduct military operations and practiced various military exercises on Dr. Simon Tufts yard.
  • When he turned 21, he left Medford to his own practice in nearby Reading, Massachusetts.
  • While in Reading he married Miss Lucy Smith. They had three children; Lucy, Alexander Scammella and John.
  • On April 19, 1775, he was alerted about the British marching to Concord from Paul Revere and lead a company of minute-men to Concord and Lexington. He arrived in Concord as the British were retreating back to Boston. His team of minute-men chased the British back to Charlestown. His calm courage was seen by many revolutionary leaders and he received the commission of a major in the newly formed Continental army.
  • He also fought at Bunker Hill and at the Heights of Dorchester, which victory caused the British to evacuate Boston.
  • He was praised for his loyalty to the Continental Army and promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment.
  • Served under George Washington in the New York and New Jersey campaigns of 1776 - including the Battle of Saratoga.
  • Was praised by George Washington and by Gen. Lafayette
  • After the war he went back to his practice as a hero to his fellow Medford citizens.
  • On January 13, 1800, he gave the eulogy for George Washington to Medford saying, "Thus was our much-loved friend, the Father of His Country, great in war, great in peace, great in life, and great in the moment of his defoliation."
  • Served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts 1816 to 1823.
  • His biggest accomplishment as Governor was selling off 30,000 square miles of Maine became a state. The Government of Massachusetts sold off the land to help pay off the War debt.
  • He was the president of the Washington Monument Association, the Bunker-hill Monument Association.

Rev. Mr. Foster says of John Brook services of April 19, 1775,:

"On the morning of the 19th of April, just at sunrise, alarm-guns were fired. The regulars had gone to Concord. I ran directly to Major Brooks and asked if he were going to Concord, and when. 'Immediately,' was the answer."

"As the enemy passed the road from Bedford, they met a body of minute-men, commanded by Major John Brooks. A little below Bedford Road there was a sharp action, and several of the British were killed."

General Lafayette says of John Brooks in a letter dated September 20, 1824,:

My dear Friend, Col. Huger, my noble deliverer from the Olmutz prison, whose enterprise and sufferings you well know, is going to Boston. I am sure you will be glad to see him (John Brooks), and I take this opportunity to let you hear from me Receive, my dear Friend, the affectionate and grateful wishes of your old brother soldier. Remember me to family and friends, and believe me forever most tenderly attached to you.

November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1817

It?s a tradition for a state governor to have a proclamation for Thanksgiving. It?s a special way to give thanks and encourage people to spend time with their families.

Every President has given a Thanksgiving Proclamation - with the exception of William Henry Harrison as he only served office for 32 days in 1841.

Governor John Brooks was the 11th Governor of Massachusetts. He served from 1816?1823.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Proclamation

This is part of the Thanksgiving Proclamation that John Brook gave back on October 29, 1817 (200 Years ago!):

A Proclamation

For a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer.

The innumerable mercies and blessing which the great Ruler of the world and Disposer of events, has been pleased to vouchsafe, in the course of his providence, to the people of this State, the past year, demand their best tribute of praise and gratitude.

I have therefore, in conformity to ancient usage, thought fit to appoint and, by with the advice and consent of the Council, I do hereby appoint THURSDAY, the Fourth Day of December next, to be observed throughout this Commonwealth, as a Day of Praise and Thanksgiving to God, the Father of lights, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift. And the people of all religious denominations, are requested to assemble in their respective places of public worship, on that day, that with United and devout affection, we may acknowledge our dependence upon the Divine favor, and present a willing offering to the Lord, the source of all our mercies; more especially that, when the hearts, not only of this people but of a large proportion of the civilized world, were sinking within them, from an apprehension of scarcity and want. He has been graciously pleased to manifest his great benignity, in granting us a favorable seed time ; in blessing and rewarding the labors and toils of the husbandman, in causing the earth to yield its increase, and giving us occasion to rejoice in the fulness of the former, and of the latter harvest: That He has been please to grant signal success to our fisheries, and permitted us to partake largely of the abundance of the seas: That our navigation and commerce has experienced so great a degree of safety and success: That He has been pleased to preserve us from wasting sickness, and all other desolating judgements: That our Nation has been preserved in peace and internal tranquillity, and in the enjoyment of a high degree of social happiness; and that the year has been richly crowned with the goodness of God: But above all, that, in infinity compassion to us as sinners, He has seen fit to continue to cheer, to animate, and bless us with the light, the influences, and the homes of the Gospel.

Download the Entire Speech

When this speech was given, there were only 19 states in the United States! The State of Maine was still part of Massachusetts, it wasn?t until March 15, 1820, when Maine became an independent state.

Thanksgiving in December

Thanksgiving wasn't moved to November until 1942. On December 26, 1941, a joint resolution of Congress designated the fourth Thursday in November to be the new Thanksgiving Day.