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
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
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.
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.
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
Beantown Pub Feature
The BeanTown Pub is a unique restaurant that features all your favorite comfort foods. They have one special attraction that is unique to the restaurant location, you can toast to three signers of the Declaration of Independence - Samual Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine.
BeanTown Pub is located directly across the street from the Granary Burying Ground. You can see the grave of Samual Adams from the restaurant.
With over a dozen draft beers to choose from and a burger that has been recognized as one of the best in town, you won't find a better local spot for lunch, dinner, or a night out! We are the only pub in Boston where you can drink a Sam Adams while viewing the grave of Sam Adams!
Finding the BeanTown Pub
The Beantown Pub is located on 100 Tremont Street, directly across the street from the entrance of the gates of the Granary Burying Ground. There is no public parking. The closest T stop is Park Street, just make sure to cross the streets when you come up at the train station.
Engine 33 and Ladder 15
At the corner of Boylston and Hereford Street, is a picturesque building that houses one of the busiest firehouses in the city of Boston.
Seven Things I Learned About this Fire House
This firehouse first opened on February 20, 1888, when Engine Company 33 and Ladder Company 15 were organized in this new firehouse.
Boston's Great Blizzard of 1888 happened on March 11, 1888 - it's one of the worst snow storms that hit the Northeast.
The Firehouse was designed by city architect Arthur H. Vinal in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.
This is Bostons Oldest Firehouse.
Engine 33 responds to approximately 4,100 incidents per year, making it one of the most active firehouses in Boston. That comes out to 11 calls a day.
Ladder 15 responds to approximately 3,800 incidents per year. That's about 10 calls per day.
This firehouse is part of the Boston Fire Department District 4 Unit
Four Plaques on the Firehouse
There are four plaques on the firehouse to remember those that have died at the line of duty: Cornelius J. Noonan (d. 1938), Richard F. Concannon (d. 1961), Richard B. Magee (d. 1972), and Stephen F. Minehan (d. 1994).
These only represent a small group of the fire fighter's who have died in the line of duty.
Fire Fighters Killed in the Line of Duty from this firehouse.
Engine 33 (5)
Lt. Michael D. Greene - Killed on the Line of Duty January 13, 1913.
Cornelius J. Noonan - Killed on the Line of Duty February 10, 1938.
Malachi F. Reddington - Killed on the Line of Duty November 15, 1942.
Richard B. Magee - Killed on the Line of Duty June 17, 1972.
Lt. Edward Walsh - Killed on the Line of Duty March 26, 2014.
Ladder 15 (4)
Will C. Swan - Killed on the Line of Duty September 28, 1922.
Richard Concannon - Killed on the Line of Duty January 23, 1961.
Stephen F. Minehan - Killed on the Line of Duty June 24, 1994.
Michael Kennedy - Killed on the Line of Duty March 26, 2014.
Love Locks on Massachusetts Ave
When you walk on the Massachusetts Ave overpath of the Massachusetts Turnpike you may notice some locks on the fence. This is called the Locks of Love. Its a way for couples to show their love for each other.
Nobody knows why the Massachusetts Ave bridge was selected as the location for the Love Locks.
Five Facts on the Locks of Love in Boston
The Boston tradition appears have started in the summer of 2013, when three heart shape locks appears for the death of DOMA.
This is a tradition that has been going on for years in other countries, it began in Paris on the Pont Des Arts bridge.
New Residential towers are expected to be built next to Massachusetts Ave Green Line and will result of the removal of the Love-Lock fence.
The Massachusetts Ave bridge is the most common place where you'll see the love locks. There is no indication on where people may put locks once construction starts for the new residential towers.
The Locks on the bridge are removed by the city as they fear for the safety of the bridge. The locks are destroyed and can not be claimed.
The Midtown Hotel
The Midtown Hotel, a small hotel located opposite the Christian Science Center in the Back Bay, is on the market. It was officially placed on the market this past summer.
Nearby two new luxury condos high-rise were recently put up. It's expected that whoever purchases the hotel property will tear it down and put up yet another a high rise.
Seven Fun Facts About the Midtown Hotel
Open in 1961 and cost $2.5 million to build
There are 157 guest rooms on 3 levels.
According to various sources the hotel has a 80% occupancy rate.
This year, the Midtown Hotel hosts 36 Northeastern students. Last Spring, was the first semester that Northeastern used the hotel for occupancy.
One of the Midtown bell captain, Kevin O'Leary has been there 35 years.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist currently owns the land on where MidTown resides. They are the same owners who sold the land where 1 Dalton Street is now being built.
Some estimates have the one-acre site going for as much as $80-million.
Cows on the Boston Commons
In Colonial Boston, grazing cows use to roam freely on the Boston Commons. Some locals even joked that cows were the first official residents of the Boston Commons. It was so common to see cows, that once a young Ralph Waldo Emerson escorted his family cow to the Boston Commons.
Not only were Cattle allowed to roam, so were pigs, sheep and goats.
The city was growing rapidly that Mayor Harrison Gray Otis decided in 1830, to ban all Cows on the Boston Commons. This was done so that the Boston Public Commons could be a full-time public park and a recreational grounds - which officially happened in 1837.
Cows were officially banned on the Boston Public Gardens on May 1st, 1830. Making April 30th, 1830, the last day the cows were free to roam on the Commons.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Cows make their yearly appearance on the Boston Public Gardens on the first week of June to celebrate National Dairy Month. Usually, they appear near the Park Street station.
Five Napkin Burger Closes in Boston
Last month 5 Napkin Burger at the Prudential Center closed it doors. It was a favorite location for my daughter as she loved the gluten free rolls. (Read the Blog post from October 4, 2016.)
While some people might be surprised that the restaurant closed, it really didn't come a surprise to me because it was never busy. When the wait time for the Cheesecake Factory would be 45-minutes, there would be no wait at 5-Napkin and they are just doors apart.
The last time I ate there was at lunch time - just days before closing. I was very surprised of the number of tables during a busy lunch hour.
When I started working the Back Bay, it was the place to go to after work. I can remember going and sitting at the busy bar and ordering one of their famous burger. It was a busy happening place.
Five Things I Learned about 5 Napkin in Boston
- Opened at 105 Huntington Ave on April 9, 2011
- Previous Tenant was Daily Grill, before that it was Applebee's
- When it opened, there were nine burgers were on the menu. They were priced from $7.95-$12.95 (Last year I got a Five Napkin Burger for $14!)
- Officially Closed on September 14, 2018
- There are current 4 other locations - which are all in New York City. (Closest one is 209 Miles away)
Land Parcel on Scotia St
Open land space in the Back Bay is getting very scarce - with the red-hot economy, developers are trying to grab as much open space as they can for building high rise luxury apartment.s
Just off of busy Boylston Street, there is a piece of open land that will soon have high rise development. This will be the new location for 1000 Boylston Street apartments.
This open Parcel land will soon be gone.
Ten Things I Learned about the Open Space Parcel
Official address of the land is Scotia St Boston Ma 02115. The City of Boston Parcel ID is 0401345000
The lot size is 11,109 sq ft.
The land was previously owned by the St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church. In May 2008, the Archdiocese of Boston sold the land to ADG Scotia LLC for $13.85 million. ADG Scotia LLC is sometimes known as "Scotia Parcel."
ADG Scotia is a joint venture between John Fish's Suffolk Ventures and Weiner's Weiner Ventures.
While it was owned by St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church the land was tax exempt. Since 2009, the City of Boston has collected $41,000 each year in additional tax revenue. The land is currently assessed at $3,301,600.
The St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church used the funds from the sale to do a major interior renovation - new floors, pews, painting and a redesigned entrance.
ADG Scotia LLC has plans to build a new tower in the space. Ideas of the Hotel/Retail/Parking complex first came out in 2008 but was shelved because of the "great recession."
In January, ADG Scotia LLC paid $30,000 to Travaglini Eisenberg Kiley LLC to lobby so the Massachusetts General Laws 6C could be changed to allow air rights by sale or by lease.
The original Plans for 1000 Boylston Street have been changed a lot since 2008. Original plans had 2 towers - One 566 feet and 39 stories, the other 283 feet, and 24 stories. The new plan has a single high rise - 484 feet and 27 floors. The new tower would be just as high as the State Street Bank. It will be the 21st tallest building in Boston.
Plans for building 1000 Boylston Street are underway. Trees in the parcel have been taken down.
MillStone by Haymarket
As you walk along the backside of the Boston Public Market, you may encounter a strange stone wheel and a cement path heading towards Faneuil Hall.
While it might look like an artistic display, it's actually a piece of Boston's history that is more than 300 years old. It's an original Millstone that helps colonial Bostonians grind up grain.
Six Things I learned about the Mill Creek Millstone
- On November 16, 1999, During the construction of the "Big Dig," two Millstones were found near the Dock Square Parking Garage. (Which is next to the Hard Rock Cafe)
- According to one archeologist, the discovery of the millstones and colonial trash nearby is the "finest such artifacts ever found from Colonial Boston - the true treasure is encased in the creek bottom"
- The Millstones each weighed 2,200 pounds and are believed to be dated from the 1700s.
- In Colonial Boston, there was a large pond near the area near Faneuil Hall. The millstones were found in an area where a creek was created from the pond to the ocean.
- The rise in tide would how the the grist mills were powered.
- There use to be a sign next to the Millstone, but it's been removed for many years - leaving the history and story of the Millstone a mystery to those that walk by.
Colonial Boston Map
A map of Boston that shows the location of Millpond.
You can learn more about the Millstone on the Massachusetts Historical Commission page.
Source: Information was gathered from various sources including the Boston Globe which covered the story in 1999.