Boston blog postings

Boston Postings

Earliest: March 16, 2003Latest: November 7, 2019Total: 299
January 31, 2019

Winter Stick Garden

As you walk along Boylston Street in the winter, you may notice a strange looking garden in front of the Old South Church. It's the famous Winter Stick Garden:

Red Stick Garden

Four things I learned about the Winter Stick Garden

  • Garden first appeared in the winter of 2010 and was created by Jim Hood and Diane Gaucher
  • There are 600 sticks in the Winter Stick Garden.
  • This was an inspiration for a similar display around the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in 2012.
  • The Red Osier Dogwood can be found around the Charles River and in the Back Bay's Emerald Necklace.

Sign in front of the Winter Stick Garden

Red Osier Drift

Spruce, solid casein stain, salt marsh hay

A winter garden of color for Old South Church's street front. This stick garden is a sculptural abstraction of a drift of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) a native shrub found across the eastern United States, and appearing in our planters boxes near the front door.

The sticker was stained and installed by a team of members of Old South Church as a labor of love and gift to the city. Besides being a thing of beauty, the stick garden is also a proclamation of our faith: that beauty will spring from barrenness, form out of chaos, life out of death. Here in the coldest and darkest time of year, we make bold to proclaim that spring and life are on the way.

January 24, 2019

The Founders Memorial

At one of the Beacon Street entrances to the Boston Commons, is Boston's Founders Monument. It's a special monument to the founders of the City of Boston.

The sculpture shows William Blackstone (also known as Blaxton) greeting John Winthrop and his company. TO the right of Winthrop, are John Wilson, clergyman; Ann Pollard, first white woman to arrive in Boston, and a female figure representing Boston. At the left are two Native Americans. In the background, men are pulling the boats onto the shore.

Founders Monument

Nine Things I Learned about The Founders Memorial

The memorial was requested by the City of Boston to commemorate the Boston's Tercentenary.

The 15' by 45' by 20' monument with a 5.5' by 11' bronze relief sculpture was created by sculptor John Francis Paramino.

It was dedicated on September 16, 1930 at 2:30 pm.

The memorial cost $45,000 ($661,139.47 in 2018) and paid for by the City of Boston.

The two men on the memorial are William Blackstone (also spelled Blaxton), the first white settler and owner of the Boston Commons and Gov. John Winthrop the official founder and organizer of both the Bay Colony and Boston.

The memorial is located at the location of the ancient freshwater spring. The spring is the main reason people came to Boston - they weren't going to drinking the water, the early settlers wanted the water to make beer.

The memorial features a small fountain which is symbolic to the spring that was at the site 300 years ago.

According to Henry Lee, the former president of the Friends of the Public Gardens, there's one interesting quirk about the memorial. The image of Blackstone looks very similar to James Michael Curley - the mayor of Boston when the statue was unveiled.

The memorial was restored in 1982 by the City of Boston Environment Department.

Text on the Back of the Monument

The text on the monument may be hard to read. here's the quote from

John Winthrop gave this as part of a speech as his crew was disembarking the Arabella to the shores of Boston for the first time:

For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty on a hill the lies of all people are uppon us so that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke we have undertaken...Wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world - john winthrop on board the Arbella 1630

William Bradford about Plymouth Plantation

thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by his hand that made all things out of nothing...and as one small candle may light a thousand so the light here kindled hath shone to many yea in some sorte to our whole nation - William Bradford at charles-towne 1630

Finally a quote during the dedication

in gratitude to god for the blessings enjoyed under a free government the city of boston has erected this memorial on the three hundred anniversary of its founding -- September 17th 1630 - 1930
james michael curley mayor
charles allerton coolidge architect - john francis pararmino sculptor

Finding the Memorial

The Monument is located at the entrance to the Boston Public Commons at the intersection of Beacon Street and Spruce Street. There is a traffic light on Beacon Street.

Public Transportation: Take the Green Line to Park Street, and take the paths to Frog Pond. Then take Brinner Path towards Beacon Street and walk down the Beacon Street Mall. It's about a 5-minute walk.

January 17, 2019

Great Molasses Flood Sign

Last year I blogged about some interesting facts on the Great Molasses Flood. However, one of the things that were left out was the mention of a small sign at the site.

The sign is small and is somewhat hidden along a stone wall. Most people may not notice the marker.

Great Molasses Flood Marker

Molasses Flood Full Sign2019

Here's the text on the marker:

Boston Molasses Flood

On January 15, 1919, a molasses tank at 529 Commercial Street exploded under pressure, killing 21 people. A 40-foot wave of molasses buckled the elevated railroad tracks, crushed buildings and inundated the neighborhood. Structural defects in the tank combined with unseasonably warm temperatures contributed to the disaster.

- The Bostonian Society

Finding the Green Marker

The marker is located between the two baseball fields on Commercial Street. Here's a picture of the area with a red arrow pointing to the Great Molasses Flood Marker.

Molasses Flood Sign

If you want to set your GPS, heres the exact location on Google Maps.

January 10, 2019

King Memorial at the Boston Public Gardens

The Boston Public Gardens will soon get a new memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. The memorial is to not only commemorate the work that Marin Luther King and Coretta Scott King did but also to demonstrate that much work needs to be done.

The memorial will be located in the Boston Public Commons between the Armstrong Path and Liberty Mall near the State House.

King Monument Location
Location of the King Monument.

Why Boston?

Boston was where Marin Luther King and Coretta Scott King met for the first time while they both were going to school. Martin Luther King went to Boston University and Coretta Scott King went to New England Conservatory of Music.

Funding the Memorial

The King Boston organization plans to raise $15 million for the Boston Commons project. So far, the group has raised about $4.5 million. Paul English, technology entrepreneur, donated $1 million, and the Lewis Family Foundation had also donated $1 million.

Finding the right designs

Early last year, the King Boston organization put out a design requests for the memorial. They received 126 submissions from around the world. In May, they narrowed the field down to five finalists.

Final 5 Designs

Design1
'Boston's King Memorial'
David Adjaye and Adam Pendleton with FuturePace

Design2
'Empty Pulpit Monument'
Barbara Chase-Riboud with Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Design3
'The Embrace'
Hank Willis Thomas with MASS Design Group

Design4
'The Ripple Effects'
Wodiczko + Bonder and Maryann Thompson Architects

Design5
'Avenue Of Peace'
Yinka Shonibare

Designs came from the King Boston foundation's website - added the team names to the images.

Next Steps

King Boston was to announce the winner of the design in December 2018. No announcement has been made yet. (Perhaps an announcement will be made on Marin Lither King day?)

January 3, 2019

OneIda Football Club Monument

The Oneida Football Club, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1862, was the first organized team to play any kind of football in the United States.

In 1925, a monument was placed nearby the field that the OneIda Football club played.

Oneida Football Club Monument

Ten Interesting Things I learned about the OneIda Football Club

  1. Games were played from 1862 to 1865.
  2. The monument on the Boston Commons was placed on November 20, 1925. Seven of the original members attended the dedication.
  3. The OneIda Football Club never lost a game - they were undefeated for 3-years!
  4. Each game would play to whoever scored first. Since they were undefeated, no team was able to score a goal.
  5. The football used was practically round - and one of the original footballs is stored at the Boston Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. You can see the football design on the top of the monument.
  6. The uniform was a pirate-type - a red bandana on the head.
  7. There were 15 members of the Oneida team, as follows: Hon Gerrit Smith Miller (captain), Edward Lincoln Arnold, Edward Bowditch, Dr Francis Greenwood Peabody, James D'Wolf Lovett, Dr Robert Means Lawerence, Winthrop Saltonstall Scudder, Malcome Forbes, R. Clifford Watson, Huntington F. Wolcott, Walter Brooks, Louis Thies, John P. Happ, Alanson Tucker and George Davis.
  8. Huntington Walcott was the only member of the Oneide team to die for his country - he was killed during the Civil War.
  9. Games were played against Boston Latin, English High, Roxbury High, and Dorchester High. The captain put in a request to play against some Harvard Freshmen but the request was denied by Harvard as they were fearful of the undefeated record.
  10. The Great Boston Commons Elm Tree was still standing nearby the field. It came down a year after the games stopped.

Text on the Marker

On this field the Oneida Football Club
of Boston, the first organized football
club in the United States played against
all comers from 1862 to 1865
The Oneida Goal was never crossed.
This monument is placed on Boston Commons on November 1925,
by the seven surviving members of the team.

Finding the Monument

The monument is located near the Beacon Street Mall path in the Parade Grounds area of the Boston Public Gardens. It's between the Solder's and Sailors Monument and Beacon Street. The nearest T stop would be the Boylston Street station.

December 27, 2018

Top 8 Boston Post of 2018

This year there were a lot of great Boston blog posts. It was really hard to find the ones that stood out more than others.

Top 8 Blog Posts

These were selected based on posts that the most amount of traffic.

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial - Inspiring place to remember fallen hero's.

Gerrymandering - Think congressional districts layouts are strange, learn where it all started from.

Marvin Goody Memorial - A flagpole tuck in the corner of the Boston Public Garden is a memorial to someone that help shape the garden to what it is today.

Boston Chinatown Gate - Discover some interesting history about the Chinatown Gate

MillStone by Haymarket - Historic Millstone is missing a marker. Stone has around longer than the city of Boston.

World War II Memorial in Boston - Many people don't know this large size memorial exist.

First Independence Day Toast - Learn how people celebrated on July 4th 1777.

Acorn Street - One of the last streets in Boston that still has cobblestones.

Goals for 2019

The tradition continues in 2019 - Every Thursday expect to see another exciting Boston post. There are still a lot of topics to cover on Boston - lots of forgotten stories to retell, and monuments that people don't pay much attention to.

I'll focus on better photos, unique stories and try to make each post interesting for those that are visiting the city.

If you have any post that you would like to see, let me know!

December 20, 2018

One Pinckney Street

While walking around Boston's Beacon Hill, you may notice several houses that seem a bit are out of place. One such house is at the corner of Pinckney and Joy Street, it's 1 Pinckney Street.

One Pinckney Street

Eight Things I Learned about the 1 Pinckney Street House

  • The Townhouse was built in 1789 - making it one of the oldest houses on Beacon Hill (Other homes with similar age include 5 and 7 Pinckney Street and 43 South Russell Street)
  • To put it in perspective, the Massachusetts State House, which is barely visible from the house, was built in 1795.
  • The house was built before the brick row-style houses of the 19th century.
  • There is a downstairs entrance under the porch on Joy Street.
  • This one bedroom 2 baths house is 991 square feet of living on a lot size of 435 sq feet
  • At one point the first floor was a store and there was an apartment upstairs.
  • According to the National Park Service, at one time 1,5 and 7 Pinckney Street were all one property. They were split up around 1875, when 3 Pinckney street building was built.
  • The house was put on the market in December 2015 for $1,200,000 by Gibson Sotheby's International Realty. The house was sold for $1,150,000 in April 2016.

Note: This is a still a private residence house.

December 13, 2018

Boston Gas Lamps

As you walk around the streets of Back Bay, you can't help but notice the lamps that line up the streets. These lamps have decorated the streets of Back Bay and Beacon Hill for many years.

Boston Gas Lamps

Ten Fun Facts about Boston Gas Lamps

In the early part of the 19th Century, many of the streets in Boston were lit with colonial Oil Lamps

By the 1890s, the City of Boston had converted many of the oil lamps to gas lamps

In 1909, Boston began the process of installing tungsten electric lamps. By 1913, all the lamps along the major streets in Boston were converted to electric lamps. Gas lamps were still used in residential districts.

In the 1940s and 50s, the City of Boston took over the lamp maintenance and converted all the remaining lamps to electric to maintain a city-wide standards.

In the 1960s, the City started the process of reverting the lamps back to gas in various Boston historic neighborhoods.

In 1965, It cost $100 per lamp to convert the electric lamps back to gas. ($100 in 1965 would cost $800 in 2018.)

Today are approximately 67,000 lamps in the city of Boston and 2,800 of them are gas lamps.

Each gas lamp cost the city $2 a day or $180 a year in gas usage when it's on all day.

In 2011, 600 gas lamps were modified so they would go on at dusk. Prior to 2011, the gas lamps were always on. Some locations were manually controlled by residences or the gas company.

Having an auto-on/off igniter switch has saved the city $140,000 a year - or $980,000 since 2011. The city got a grant from the state's Department of Energy Resources to fund the switch over. The igniter switch cost $750 per lamp.

December 6, 2018

Tip O’Neill Christmas Tree

On the Massachusetts State House lawn is an evergreen tree that was donated to the state as the official state Holiday Tree.

Who Was Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.

Tip O'Neill is known as the longest serving speaker in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is best known for negotiating deals with President Ronald Reagan.

Tree in front of the State House

O Neil Christmas Tree

Five Things I Learned About the Tree

The tree is a 22-foot tall white fir

When the Tip O'Neill tree was announced there was some backlash about it being a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree.

Then Gov. Deval Patrick told the public that he calls it a Christmas Tree - despite the lighting ceremony calling a Holiday Tree lighting. The official invitations to the ceremony came from the governor's office.

At the time, politicians were using "Holiday Tree" as a separation of Church and State. Many legal experts, such as Harvey Silverglate said that it didn't make sense. He said that politicians still used the term "Chanukah Menorah Lighting."

The original tree planted in 2012 didn't make it. It was infected with a fungus called Cytospora fungus and had to be taken down. It was replaced on October 24, 2017. Oddly enough the O'Neill tree replaced another tree that also had to be taken down.

Sign next to the Tree

The sign next to the tree makes no reference to it being a Christmas Tree:

The Commonwealth dedicates the Holiday Tree to:

Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr.

Massachusetts House of Representatives 1937 - 1953 Speaker 1949 - 1953 United States House of Representatives 1953 - 1987 Speaker 1977 - 1987

Given by his family to commemorate the centennial year of his birth December 9, 2012

November 29, 2018

Boston Marathon Memorial

Last year, the City of Boston announced that they planned to have a memorial on Boylston Street for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. The original ribbon cutting date was to be a few days before this year's Boston Marathon - 5 years after the bombing.

If you visit the sites today, you'll see that there is no memorial. The City has already laid out the spot for the memorial, but construction for the memorial is still a ways away.

Boston Memorials 2018

Latest Boston Marathon Memorial Update

  • There will be two memorials at the location of the two bombs that went off on April 15, 2013. On both sides of the memorial will be Japanese Cherry Trees that may bloom each year around Patriots day.
  • Should be ready by 2020 - the eighth anniversary of the Marathon Bombings.
  • The memorial is being designed by Pablo Eduardo. His last work in Boston was the Kevin White statue at Faneuil Hall in 2006.
  • Initial project cost of the project was $2 Million. More than $100,000 has been spent on the design process.
  • Cost of the Memorial was raised by the victim families. Money collected as part of the Boston One fund, special fund set up after the bombing, will not be used for the memorial.
  • There are plans for a much larger memorial, but the exact location hasn't been announced yet.

The Boston Globe has a story with pictures of what the memorial will look like.

Bill Campbell Quote

Remembering Those that Lost Their Lives

  • Martin Richard, an 8-year-old third-grader from Dorchester
  • Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China
  • Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford.

264 others were injured including 16 people who lost limbs