|Earliest: March 16, 2003||Latest: January 17, 2019||Total: 257|
|June 29, 2017|
In the Boston Public Gardens, along Boylston Street, are four bronze statues on granite pedestals that have stood as a group for more than eighty years.
The first statue to be placed on this path is simply labeled, 'Sumner.' This is a statue of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner.
Today's post is about Senator Charles Sumner.
In 1876, the Boston Art Committee put out a formal notice that they were looking for a statue design for Charles Sumner to be placed in the Boston Public Gardens. They held a contest at the Old State House with several prominent designers showcasing their statue idea.
After much consideration, the committee picked the design done by Anne Whitney in a blind competition. However, when she went to collect her reward they rejected the design since the sculptor was a woman. The committee didn't like the idea of women designing a man's leg.
The committee then selected Thomas Ball designed instead. (Anne Whitney still kept the prize money.)
In 1902, the version of the statue Anne Whitney's created was placed in a small park across from Harvard University in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Anne Whitney got the last laugh as her version of Charles Sumner statue is seen far more than Thomas Ball version.
Charles Sumner fought hard for Civil Rights. One of the last bills he introduced to the Senate was a civil rights bill to guarantee to all citizens, regardless of color, "equal and impartial enjoyment of any accommodation, advantage, facility, or privilege." On his death bed he asked Frederick Douglas - "Don't let the bill fail!" and "You must take care of [my] civil-rights bill."
The Civil Right Act of 1865 passed on March 1, 1865, almost a year to the day that Charles Sumner died. The act was also known as the Butler-Sumner Act.
However, seven years later the Supreme Court threw out the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in four rulings: United States v. Stanley; United States v. Ryan; United States v. Nichols; United States v. Singleton; Robinson et ux. v. Memphis & Charleston R.R. Co.
It would be another 80 years before Congress could pass a civil rights act.
The tunnel between East Boston and Boston is called the Sumner Tunnel. However, it's named after William H. Sumner and not Charles Sumner.
William H. Sumner was responsible for building up East Boston, that's why the Tunnel is named after him. Charles Sumner had nothing to do with East Boston.
Both men did live around the same time, but they are not related.
The statue is located in the Boston Public Gardens along Boylston Street.
At the corner of Arlington and Boylston take the right most path in the Public Gardens. It will be the first statue on your left.
Tip: You can get some nice pictures of the Swan Boats from this location.
|June 25, 2017|
This summer, as you walk to Fenway Park from Kenmore Square, if you look down on the sidewalk you may see a strange red character:
This has nothing to do with the Boston Red Sox, it?s actually the Grateful Dead Dancing Bear. Apparently, a fan painted it on the sidewalk.
The Dancing Bear is as much a part of the Grateful Dead experience as the Steal Your Face logo or the Skull and Roses design. Artist Bob Thomas' Dancing Bear is on just about every Grateful Dead T-Shirt.
Fenway Park has a very busy summer, aside from the usual baseball fun.
|June 22, 2017|
Have you ever walked around in the Boston Commons near the Park Street station and looked over at the State House building. Have you wondered why you can't see the State House building? In the summer you can only see the top of the gold dome.
What are those ugly trees there? Why don't they just cut them down and let everyone see the beautiful State House building?
Those ugly trees are confirmed to be the Oldest Elms trees in the Northeast.
In 1780 John Hancock sought permission to plant trees in the park across his residence on Beacon Hill. The city of Boston agreed with his request
Yes, that John Hancock. The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence and who later became the first governor of Massachusetts. Not to mention that he played a critical role in the revolutionary war. He planted those trees that you see at the Shaw Memorial.
Tree experts estimated that they were planted sometime between 1772 and 1812. I believe that the trees were planted someplace else and then transported to the Boston Gardens in 1780.
This year the set of trees will be at least 237 years old.
Last year I wrote about the famous Great Elms of the Boston Gardens. Nobody knows exactly when that tree was planted, and by whom. (Some say it was planted by Capt. Daniel Henchman in 1670)
When the Great Elm of the Boston Commons came down in 1875 it was estimated to be about 206 years old.
The Shaws Memorial Elms is currently at least 237 years old. (Based on being planted on 1780 ) This makes it the oldest Elm on the Boston Commons.
This means that the Oldest tree in the Boston Commons is the set of Elm Trees around the Shaw Memorial.
While researching about the trees in the Commons and Gardens, I did learn that there is another tree that is older in the Public Gardens. Public Gardens officials have not disclosed which tree it is so that no harm will come to that tree.
In a Illustrated music sheet cover from 1830, you can see the three Elm Trees right in front of the State House. This was done about 50 years after the trees were planted.
You can see the small trees growing up in front of the State House.
Since the 1970s these trees have received the VIP treatment. The special tree experts check out the trees every couple of weeks and make sure that they are doing well.
Bricks were placed in one of the trees to keep the tree stable and to prevent any damage to the inside of the tree.
There was concern about the trees when the Shaw Memorial was built in xxx. The memorial has actually helped prolong the tree's life by protecting the tree from tree diseases that have killed many Elm trees in the Public Gardens.
View of the trees from Park Street Station in the Winter and the Summer.
The trees are located on Beacon Street directly across the Massachusetts State House.
|June 15, 2017|
One of the most popular photo spots in Boston is the buildings along the waterfront with the harbor in front. People take this photo from Boston Fan Pier in the Seaport District. It's a nice place to get a harbor side view of the city skyline.
The Boston Harbor Association describes Fan Pier:
From the HarborWalk on the Fan Pier, visitors can enjoy one of the best panoramas of the city, with unobstructed views of downtown to East Boston and the Harbor Islands.
Harborwalk, the area in front of Fan Pier Park, was inaugurated on July 4, 1982.
The easiest way to get to the Fan Pier is to take the Silver Line to the Courthouse stop.
Once you get up to the street level, head towards Boston (walk with the direction of the car traffic). You will see a lot of tall buildings in the distance.
At the first light take a left towards a brick building (That's John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse)
At the end of the road, take a left towards a couple of old bridges, this is the Old Northern Ave Bridge.
Then take a right and walk along the Boston Harbor. This is the Harborwalk.
As you continue to walk, you'll see a sign that welcomes you to the Fan Pier Park.
|June 8, 2017|
Recently, 116 Huntington Ave updated the sideway. In the process, the plaque about the figurines on the building was removed.
Here's a copy of the plaque that I took back in 2011:
Plaque text, from my 2011 blog post:
The CARYATIDS that support the arch over the large oculus of this building were designed by Boston Artist, Syma. The figures reference the original sculpted Caryatids who supported the pediment of the Temple of Diana in ancient Greece. Diana was the Greek Goddess of dance and dreams. Seven stars adorn each panel, a reference to the Pleiades, which, according to Greek Mythology, were the seven Caryatids or Princess of Diana who were places among the stars by Zeus. Each of the stars has six points, a traditional symbol of harmony and transformation. The waves underfoot recall 19th century Back Bay, once covered with water.
This is what the Caryatids look like on the building:
You can see the Caryatids walking on the Huntington Ave Pedestrian over path. Which is located between the Prudential Mall and the Copley Square Mall.
|June 1, 2017|
Long before the English had settled in Boston, the Indians were fishing off Boston Commons.
About 3,000 years ago the area known as the Boston Commons was waterfront property.
Boston in the Early Days.
Indians use to fish right around the Boston Commons and much of Back Bay. They would build Fishweirs to trap fish as they swam with the tides.
A fishweir is a dam or "fence" on stakes set in a stream or waterway to trap fish.
Fishweirs were first discovered in 1913 during the construction of the Boylston street subway system. Construction workers didn't know what they encountered and inadvertently destroyed many valuable stakes. Some were saved and were discovered to be about 2,000 years old.
This fishweir location is commonly called the "Boylston Street Fishweir."
Fishweirs were also discovered at 500 Boylston Street in August 1939, when setting up the foundation for the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. Scientists have calculated that they go back to 1700 B.C.
Hand-sharpened stakes, roughly about 5 feet in length and about an inch in diameter were found in the clay. The Robert S. Peabody Foundation discovered 65,000 stakes in the two-acres location.
The Archaeology of Philips Academy in Andover, Mass discovered that there were seventeen different types of wood use. Including Sassafras and Sycamore. Scientists were able to figure out that the wood was cut between the middle of April and the middle of June.
During construction of the tower, several vertical wood stakes were discovered. Scientists were able to slowly map out a pattern of how the fishweirs might have been used. The weirs were built to trap certain type of spawning fish in shallow water tidal areas.
Some experts say that the Back Bay is loaded with ancient Fishweirs buried deep - many at least 3000 years old. The clay has helped preserve the wood that was used. Scientists have been studying the wood to learn about the fishing habits of Indians.
Every time a new building is constructed, a team of experts checks out the soil for any signs of Fishweir.
While the Indian's were capturing fish, in what would be the future location of the city of Boston, the last Wooly Mammoth we still walking around in Russia.
There is an artwork panel at the platform level. The diorama panel explains how the ancient Boylston Street Fishweir worked. You can learn a little bit of local history while waiting for the next train.
According to my research the original wooden stakes found in the 1913, 1939 and 1946 sites are kept in the The Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology. They are kept out of public viewing.
Every spring students at the Boston public school take a field trip to the Boston Commons and spend a day building a replica of the Fishweirs in the Boston Commons.Students learn about the Fishweirs and some of the cultures from Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers. Some Information about the annual event:
The Ancient Fishweir Project combines public art, educational programs, and community events in celebration of the contemporary Native American community.
3,700 to 5,300 years ago, near what is now Boston Common, Fishweirs were built along the tidal flats to catch fish during the spring spawn.
The Fishweir Project's annual building of a Fishweirs on Boston Common brings this ancient activity into the current imagination, expanding the time frame of history told in Boston, and honoring the people who lived in the place we now call Boston.
Learn more about the fishweir at the TEDcBeaconStreet Ted Talk.
The final results of the kid's work are on display at the Charles Street entrance to the Boston Commons. (Near the Baseball Field)
|May 25, 2017|
The Wang Center is one of the most popular places in New England to see traveling Broadway Shows. In addition, the theater is a good location for Company gathering and weddings.
In 2016, the theater was rename the Boch Center.
Tanglewoood in Lenox, Massachusetts is the largest concert hall in New England. It holds 5,100 seated inside. It has the ability to handle up to 18,000. ( That's 12,900 people sitting on the lawn outside.
The Dress Circle seats are not available for the general public. They are reserved for Boch Center Members. Generally, these seats are for corporate sponsors of the show or major sponsors of the Wang Center.
You can park at the Tuffs Shared Services Parking garage next door.
We like to park at the Motor Mart Garage on Stuart Street. It's very easy to get to off the Massachusetts Turnpike. Simply Take the Prudential Exit. Stay right on the ramp heading towards Copley Square. You'll be on Stuart Street. Simply drive about 5 blocks and the garage will be on your left. You'll see the garage sign by the time you get past Berkeley Street.
Both garages charge $28 a day. (Sunday Rate)
|May 18, 2017|
Every Memorial Day weekend there are thousands of American flags that are placed in the grass on the Boston Commons.
These flags are a memorial to each Massachusetts Soldier that died in battle.
Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is responsible for placing and maintaining the flags. In 2016, there was a 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.
Here's a timeline that I created of the Flag Garden events. Activities start on Wednesday, May 24th:
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|
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.
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.
Every major newspaper company had their offices nearby here, including:
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 is Boston?s public innovation center. It has the distinct honor of being the first building completed in seaport square.
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.
A Whiteboard greets you as you walk in...
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.