Boston blog postings

Boston Postings

Earliest: March 16, 2003Latest: April 2, 2020Total: 320
April 2, 2020

Haffenreffer Walk

Every paved path in the Boston Public Garden has a name. One of the most traveled paths is the Haffenreffer Walk.

Boston Gardens Haffenreffer Walk

Haffenreffer Walk is a straight route from the Boston Commons to the Commonwealth Mall. It cuts the Boston Public Gardens in half.

There are three main things to see on Haffenreffer Walk:

  • George Washington ? equestrian statue [Installed in 1869].
  • Foot Bridge [Created in 1867] ? once the world?s shortest suspension bridge.
  • ?Seasonal flowers ? The flowers are constantly changing to reflect the changing season. In the spring you'll see pretty tulips and in the summer you'll see palm trees.

Fun Facts about Haffenreffer Walk

Named after Theodore Carl Haffenreffer ( l880 - 1956) who was a member of the Board of Park Commissioners from 1930 - 1956. He served when major changes were being made that have been the foundation of what you see in the Garden today.

He was born on December 13, 1880, and died on

He served in World War 2.

He lived in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Along with his brother Rudolf Haffenreffer, they took over the Haffenreffer Brewery from their father. The brewery produced a lot of popular brews such as "The Green Monster" and "Haffenwrecker".

Theodore Carl Haffenreffer passed away in 1956, at age 76.

March 26, 2020

Edward Everett Hale Statue

As you walk from the Boston Public Commons and enter the Boston Public Gardens, you'll see a life-size statue of Edward Everett Hale.

Edward Everett Hale (April 3, 1822 ? June 10, 1909) was an American author, historian, and a Unitarian minister. He is best known for "The Man Without a Country" to help the Union during the Civil War.

Edward Everett Hale

Eight Things I Learned about the Statue

  • The bronze statue was made by Bela Lyon Pratt - approved by the Hale family and closest friends. Those that knew him said that the statue was an excellent resemblance of the preacher.
  • The statue is a heroic size (just slightly larger than real life.) show Dr. Hale in a long frock coat, walk with one foot slightly advanced, a large cane in his right hand and a hat in the left hand.
  • He is on top of a stone base that is three feet high. On one side of the base is an inscription that reads, "Edward Everett Hale, Man of Letters, Preacher of the Gospel, Prophet of Peace Patriot. 11822-1909" on the other side is "Look up and Not Down, Look Forward and Not Back, Lookout and Not in, Lend a hand"
  • Fundraising started in June 1910 and was done through the Edward Everett Hale Fund which was manage by Kidder, Peabody & Company.
  • A total of $30,000 ($833,606.68 in 2019) was successfully raised in 12-months. This was done by using circular letters mailed to various members of the Arlington Street Church.
  • During fundraising no specific location was set for the statue. The Edward Everett Hale Committee did ask the city for a place in Copley Square, but that was rejected as other designs were being considered for the area.
  • It was unveiled on May 23, 1913 - at least 3,000 people attended the ceremony which started at the Arlington Street Church. The statue was draped in an American flag and was removed by Edward Everett Hale Jr - the 7-year old grandson of the preacher.
  • Other people in attendance include Bela Pratt - the designer of the statue, Dr. Hales Widow who was 83 years old and many members of the Hale family.
March 19, 2020

Woodrow Bench

The park along Commonwealth Ave is a beautiful place to take a walk any time of the year. There are lights in the trees in the Winter and in the Spring you can appreciate all the flowers and tree buds.

There are benches along the trail on the Commonwealth Ave, which allows Bostonians to sit and enjoy the beautiful day.

Next to one of the benches is a white pale with a picture of a Dog. Seems out of place, but it's a special tribute to a dog, Woodrow, that once enjoyed sitting next to the bench and enjoying the day.

Dog Treats

Interesting Things About the Bucket

  • Woodrow was born in 2004 and died on December 7th, 2019.
  • The bucket contains some of Woodrow favorite treats and bacon.
  • The note outside the bucket says, ?Please help yourself, courtesy of Woodrow.?
  • The Bucket has been out there since December - someone dig around the bucket.
  • The metal bucket is tied to the bench so no one takes it.
  • Woodrow has his own Facebook Page - Woodrow the George Clooney of Dogs.

Finding Woodrow's Treats

The bucket treat is located next to a bench on Commonwealth Ave. It's between Berkeley Street and Clarendon Street - near the General John Glover Statue.

Interesting Find

Woodrow2017

You can see Woodrow sitting by the bench on Google's Picasaweb.

March 12, 2020

Top of the Hub and SkyWalk Closing

On April 18, 2020, the top three floors of the Prudential Tower in Boston will close. This is your last chance, for a few years, to get one of the best views of Boston.

The Skywalk Observatory is located on the 50th floor, while Top of the Hub Restaurant & Lounge is located on the 52nd floor and has been in operation for nearly 55 years.

The 50th-floor observation deck is the highest observation deck in New England open to the public.

The good news is that the owner is upgrading the property, the bad news is that it will take some time before you can get a Skyview of the city.

Sky Walk2020
You can buy tickets in the Prudential Mall next to the Prudential Tower.

Six Fun Facts

The restaurant closure announcement was made on January 15, 2020, by Select Restaurants, Inc., owner and operator of the Restaurant and Observatory.

They made every attempt to keep ownership of the property- including promising to invest $1 million into the Top of the Hub.

Boston Properties, who manages the top three floors, will be investing $125 million to renovate and upgrade the top three floors.

The renovation should take about 2 years to complete and is expected to open in the summer of 2022.

The SkyWalk Observatory cost $21 for Adults, and $15 and children. In 1980, a ticket cost $1.75. Had the price been adjusted with inflation going to the top would cost $5.50 today.

The SkyWalk first opened on April 19, 1965, and will close on April 18, 2020. That's 20,089 days of operations, or 55 years or 660 months.

View of The City

Boston View Sky Walk2016
Best View of Boston will soon be unavailable.

March 5, 2020

Boston Marathon Monuments

The Boston Marathon Bombing monuments have been completed on Boylston Street. These monuments remember the lives that were lost on that day.

The bombings killed 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 23-year-old Lingzi Lu, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, all of whom had gone to the finish line to watch the race.

First Site Marathon
Monument at the First Bomb Explosion site.

Second Marthon Bomb Monument
Monument at the Second Bomb Explosion site.

Eight Facts About the Monuments

Project cost $2 Million dollars and took four years of planning and developing

It was supposed to be ready by last year's Marathon - which was the 5th anniversary. The project was met with last-minute design changes and delays. It was officially completed on August 2019.

The Monument was designed by Pablo Eduardo, who also designed the statue of former Mayor Kevin White in Faneuil Hall.

One pillar stands at the site of the first bomb, where Campbell was killed, and two pillars at the site of the second bomb, where Richard and Lu were killed.

When you're at the monument, notice the area outside the inner circle, here is the second circle of a different shade of granite, representing the 16 people who lost limbs and the others who suffered wounds that day. A third, larger circle, of yet another shade of granite, represents all those who were in the immediate area.

The circle is broken with a large black diamond - a symbol of violence done on that day.

Each Pillar is a special tribute the three deaths:
Martin Richard's pillar - Stones taken from Franklin Park, where he loved to play.
Lingzi Lu's pillar - Stones from Boston University, where she was going to school.
Krystle Campbell's pillar - Stones from Spectacle Island, where she worked and enjoy visiting.

Near the monument are Cherry trees that will bloom each year around the time of the Boston Marathon.

February 27, 2020

Sacco and Vanzetti Plaster Sculptor Mold

In 1920, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are two Italian immigrants who were charged with murdering a payroll clerk and a guard.

Many people felt that they did not receive a fair trial. There were charges that the prosecution suppressed evidence and the judge might have some bias to their anarchist views.

Dispite large protests and request from around the world, the pair were executed on August 23, 1927, in the state prison in Charlestown.

In the Boston Public Library, there is a large plaster sculptor to remember the two men.

Gutzon Borglum Plaster Work

Things I Learned about the Plaster Sculptor Mold

President Calvin Coolidge denied a stay of execution for Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti on the same day that he dedicated the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota.

Gutzon Borglum, who it is most associated with the creation of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, was not happy with President Calvin Coolidge's decision not to stay the execution. He volunteered his time and services to create a special plaster sculptor to remember the two Italian immigrants.

A special committee tried to present the Plaster Sculptor and bronze sculpture to several Massachusetts officials in 1937, 1947 and 1957. Each time they were turned down. The politicians didn't want to be part of the Sacco-Vanzetti story.

At the 1947 request, Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Einstein made public statements that the state display the sculpture.

Sometime after the last attempt both the plaster cast and the original bronze sculpture went missing. The plaster mold turned up mysteriously in 1960 at the home of Aldino Felicani, a Defense Committee treasurer. He donated the cast to the Community Church in Copley Square. The original bronze sculpture whereabouts are still not known.

In 1977, Michael Dukakis issued an official proclamation indicating that Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti did not get a fair trial.

In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of the executions, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and then-acting governor Paul Cellucci formally accepted the sculpture at the Boston Public Library.

The plaster sculptor is now located next to the Wiggin Gallery and the Rare Book Room of the Boston Public Library at Copley Square.

The area of the Wiggin Gallery and Rare Bookroom is currently under construction. I have been told that the public won't have access to see the Plaster Sculptor Mold until sometime in 2021.

Three aluminum copies were made from the Plaster mold. One now hangs in the Community Church in Copley Square, another one is at the Gardner Jackson Library at Brandeis University, and a bronze can be found at the Gutzon Borglum Historical Center near Mount Rushmore.

Text on the Plaster Sculptor

The paster mold is seven feet long and three and a half feet high, it showed the men in profile next to a quote from Vanzetti's final prison letter.

What I wish more than all in this last hour of agony is that our case and our fate may be understood in their real being and serve as a tremendous lesson to the force of freedom so that our suffering and death will not have been in vain.

Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti

More informaiton about the trial and it's impact in Boston's History will be in a future blog post.

February 20, 2020

Early Signs of Spring

Boston has had a mild winter this year. While, February 5th is the official the middle of Winter. Many Bostonians feel that its usually not until the end of February when you get a sense of the kind of winter it will be.

Yesterday I saw an early sign of Spring in Boston's Back Bay:

Back Bay02192020
Yes, those are early Spring flowers popping out of the ground.

This was taken on St. Botolph Street, which is located next to Coply Place mall.

How Much snow accumulate in Boston?

According to Current Results Boston tends to get very little snow in March and April.

Fun Facts About Snow and Boston

Fun Fact: in the 123 year history of the Boston Marathon there has never ever been a cancelation because of the amount of snow that was on the ground.

Fun Fact: According to the Farmers' Almanac's Extended Forecast 2020 the Northeast is expected to more than the average amount of snow fall for the remainer of the season.

Fun Fact: The most snow that has fallen in Boston was during the 2014-2015 Winter season when 108.6-inches of snow fell. It was also one of the most challenging times for the MBTA Commuter rail as there were numerous train delays and cancelations.

Fun Fact: One of the worst days was February 17th, 2015, where trains were experiecing more than 60-minute delays.

February 13, 2020

Poems of the Southwest Corridor Path

As you walk from the Back Bay Station to the Copley Mall, you may notice some stone markers with words on them. No this isn't a graveyard, and these aren't a monument to soldiers. These are the poems and stories of Southwest Corridor Path.

Southwest Corridor Poems

Five Things

  • There are 18 poems and stories along with the 4.1 mile-long parks Southwest Corridor Path. The trail begins at the south entrance of the Back Bay station and ends at the Forest Hills T-station.
  • The poems and stores were selected by community groups that selected the best ones for that area. Winners not only got their work engraved in stone but they also were given $1,000.
  • The stones were put up in the early days of October in 1987, (There doesn't appear to be an official ceremony.)
  • Orginally Funded by the Department of Transportation's Urban Mass Transportation Administration ( now called the Federal Transit Administration) as part of the Arts in Transit - The Southwest Corridor. (Comrehensive pubic art program manages by UrbanArts, Inc. for the MBTA.)
  • The poem "If My Boundary Stops Here" was written by Ruth Whitman. She wrote this poem as she imagined the journey of Tamsen Donner (Donner Party) to California in 1846. The Donner party attempted to travel to California but ended up snowed in the for six months in the Sierra Nevada.

If My Boundary Stops Here

Poem By Ruth Whitman

If my boundary stops here
I have daughters to draw new maps on the world.
They will draw the lines of my face.
They will draw with my gestures my voice.
They will speak my words thinking they have invented them.

They will invent them.
They will invent me.
I will be planted again and again.
I will wake in the eyes of their children?s children.
They will speak my words.

Counterpoint by Jane Barnes

This is part of the "Counterpoint" story on several of the stones:

Tom and Kate were walking home and Kate, the more responsible one, was scowling Tom for not having paid their rent on time. They argued walking down First Street going up the stairs to their apartment building and inside while they took off their coats.

"But Karie," he said, "I wanted to make sure it had cleared first."

"But you had four clear business days, Tom count them!"

Kate flung her coat on a hook in the vestibule and went to the piano. She opened the music to Bach's First Interception which she was working on. She began to plan the opening as she said, "And anyway, that'll be the second time we been a few days late. It's embarrassing."

Tom was walking around the living room turning on the lights while she played. "To who?" he said. "The super? The accounts are done by some old guy in a skyscraper. It's not like we rent from a real person."

February 6, 2020

Massachusetts Enters the Union

It was on this date in 1788 that Massachusetts officially ratified the Constitution of the United States and became part of the Union.

Massachusetts Map

Five Fun Facts About Massachusetts Entering the Union

  • The Constitution was ratified in the Old State House. Every year on July 4th, at 10am the Constitution is read from the balcony.
  • The Massachusetts Constitution was adopted in 1780.
  • John Hancock was elected as the first governor on October 25th, 1780 and was the sitting governor when Massachusetts ratified the Constitution.
  • Population in Massachusetts was 378,787 in 1790 (The first census)
  • Boston was the third largest city in America - New York was number one and Philadelphia was number 2. Today Greater Boston is the 21st largest city in America.

Massachusetts Compromise

Today is also when the Bill of Rights became a requirement of the United States Constitution.

Many people may not know that Massachusetts didn't easily adopt the Constitution. Anti-Federalists felt that the Constitution didn't give many individual rights. It took a lot of convincing by notable Federalists John Hancock and Samuel Adams to get the members of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention to accept the United States Constitution.

The Massachusetts Compromise was to amend the Constitution with the "Bill of Rights." A set of rights that ensured that the Constitution didn't give powers to the elite and remove the individual ideas that so many people fought for.

The compromise help ratify the Constitution on this day in 1788 by a vote of 187 to 168.

Five other States soon passed the Constitution with four of them using the Massachusetts model of recommending amendments along with the ratification.

The Constitution was officially ratified on June 21st, 1788. George Washington inauguration was on April 30, 1789.

January 30, 2020

A. Philip Randolph Statue

In the Back Bay Station, near the ticket counter, is a larger than life-size statue of A. Philip Randolph.

Brief Background About A. Philip Randolph

Asa Philip Randolph (April 15, 1889 - May 16, 1979) was a civil rights organizer. In 1925, he organized several Harlem railroad sleeping car porters into the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. It became the first black union to be recognized by the American Federation of Labor.

He directed several marches on Washington, including the famous 1963 march with Martin Luther King Jr where he delivers the famous "I Have a dream speech."

You can learn a lot more about A. Philip Randolph life on the A. Philip Randolph Institute Website. There is also a short video of A. Philip Randolph on YouTube.

Philip Randolph

Fun Facts about the Statue

Here are some fun facts that I found about this statue:

Statue was Commissioned in 1986.

Statue was unveiled on Saturday, October 8, 1988 - as part of the redesign of the Back Bay station. In attendance was Transportation Secretary Frederick P. Salvucci, James F O'Leary general manager of the MBTA, Norman Hill president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Richard Womack director of the civil rights program of the AFL-CIO. Also present was John Dukakis the governor's son. At least 400 people were at the ceremony.

23 retired members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters were also in attendance.

Governor Michael Dukakis wasn't able to attend the ceremony as he was running for President of the United States.

In October 1987, Governor Michael Dukakis dedicated a station on the Orange Line to A. Philip Randolph.

Back Bay station was select for the statue because many of the early members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters settled in the area.

The entire waiting area is named after A. Philip Randolph. The purpose is to turn the space from a waiting room into an education room.

The statue was done by Tina Allen. This was her first project. You can see her signature on the pants fold on the shoe that is touching the ground.

Text at the Base of the Statue

At the base of the statue is the following text, this is a bit hard to read since over the years, people have been sitting on the words.

Salvation for a race, nation, or class must come from within. Freedom is never granted; it is won. Justice is never given; it is exacted. Freedom and justice must be struggled for by the oppressed of all lands and races, and the struggle must be continuous, for freedom is never a final fact, but a continuing evolving process to higher and higher levels of human, social, economic, political and religious relationships.

Tina Allen Signature on the Statue

Shoe Signature