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Elm Bark Beetle Trap

As you walk around the Boston Public Gardens you may see a strange white box on some of the Elm Trees. This is Elm Bark Beetle trap. The beetles transmit Dutch Elm disease which have been killing trees.

Elm Beetle Trap

Six Things I learned about the Elm Bark Beetle

  1. The Boston Public Commons use to have a lot of Elms trees but many of them had to be cut down because of the Elm Bark Beetle.
  2. There's only two known natural predators to the Elm Bark Beetle: Woodpeckers and Wasps.
  3. The beetle is originally from Europe and was first spotted in 1909. By 1933 the beetles were spotted in seaports of Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
  4. The Friends of the Public Garden removes ailing trees to prevent the spread of the disease. (Several trees near the Park Street Station were removed because of the Dutch Elm disease.)
  5. You can learn a lot more about how to Identify and Manage the Dutch Elm Disease on the United States Department of Agriculture document.
  6. In 2010, one of the oldest Elms Trees in New England had to be cut down because of the Dutch Disease: https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Gardening/2010/0112/New-England-s-oldest-elm-tree-to-be-chopped-down

Text of the Sign below the Beetle Trap

This is an experimental trap to monitor Elm Bark Beetles. These beetles transmit Dutch elm disease which threatens the health of our historic elm tree population. There are no pesticides or harmful chemicals in this trap. Any questions or concerns can be answered by calling the Boston Parks Department Tree Division: 617-635-7275. More details online at: www.boston.gov/parks

This program is made possible through the Friends of the Public Garden. 617-723-8144 or www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org


Kip Tiernan Memorial

On Dartmouth Street, between the Boylston Street and Newbury Street, is a special memorial to one of Boston's community activist Kip Tiernan.

Kip Tiernan Monument2018

Four things I Learned about Kip Tiernan

  1. Kip Tiernan was born on June 17, 1926 in West Haven, Connecticut. She moved to Boston in the 1940s to work as a writer.
  2. In 1974, She opened Rosie's Place - the first shelter for homeless women in the United States.
  3. In 1981, She founded the Greater Boston Food Bank - an organization to help create Easter Massachusetts hunger-free.
  4. Kip Tiernan died on July 2, 2011 in the South End of Boston.

Nine Things I Learned about the Kip Tiernan Memorial

  1. The memorial title is "Passages"
  2. According to Rosie Place, The three arches represent personal growth and raising awareness to issues. On each of the arches are quotes by Kip Tiernan.
  3. The memorial height is 14-feet
  4. The design won against 50 other architects who submitted bids.
  5. The Boston Art Commission Approved the design on March 22, 2016.
  6. The words of Kip Tiernan were chosen by a team at Rosie's Place. They represent Kip, the Person, Justice, Hope, Faith, Compassion and Risk/Challenges.
  7. The memorial was complete self funded by private donations. It's estimated the memorial cost $150,000.
  8. The memorial opening was on Saturday, October 6, 2018, and the public was encouraged to attend. Boston Mayor Walsh did the official dedication.
  9. The Kip Tiernan Monument is only the fourth memorial to honor a women in Boston.

Sample of the Quotes on the monument

Cui Bono? Who sets the terms of the debate around poverty and homelessness? Who decides who gets the condo and who gets the cardboard box?

The pain of being homeless- the endless waiting in welfare offices, the thoughtless dismissal, the terror of the streets the endlessness of the long, dreary days, especially Sundays. The burdensome struggle to carry every you own with you, the desperation of loneliness, the fear when the sun goes down, the dining cold of a careless February afternoon. The longing to have just five minutes alone with your kid for just one night, the distant memory of shared moments of joy and peace a long, long time ago. These are all real thing that happens to real people.

All words are taken from Kip Tiernan's writings.


Boston Public Gardens Japanese Lantern

As you ride on the Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden, you may spot a large lantern near the pond island. There's a lot of history behind the lantern.

Bunkio Matsuki Lamp

Seven Things I learned about the Japanese Lantern

  • In 1905, the Lantern was a donation by a Japanese Art Dealer name Bunkio Matsuki (1867 - 1940) as a gift to Boston.
  • Bunkio Matsuki was the first Japanese person to establish a Japanese art and antique store on Boylston Street in Boston. He later built the first Japanese house in Salem, Massachusetts.
  • The lantern was constructed in 1587 - Making the lantern 432 years old. It's even older than Boston's Fenway Japanese Temple Bell (344 years old). The Millstone by Haymarket might still hold the record as the oldest item on public display in Boston.
  • The Lantern is 10 1/2 feet high, made out of heavy iron.
  • It was originally made for Emperor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. For many centuries, it stood in the gardens of Moyoma in Japan. (The garden doesn't exist anymore)
  • At one time people saw the lantern as a lighthouse on the pond in the Boston Gardens
  • Tip: If you look carefully at the lantern you can see monkeys climbing trees.

Merchant Marine Monument

In Boston's North End is a small monument to the Merchant Marines that died in World War Two. The monument is located in Langone Park.

Duty Done Monument Boston

Some Notes About the Monument

  • It's the first monument to Radio Officers of World War 2.
  • Monument was initially dedicated 1944 in the Fenway area
  • It was rededicated in November 11, 1988 (Veterans Day) by Gladys Reed a Sea Captain Widow
  • The top of the monument is a small boat in an angle as if it was sinking.
  • It's located in a grassy area of Langone Park with views of the USS Constitution.
  • The location of the monument was once where the 1890 Massachusetts training ship Nantucket was created.
  • If you look carefully at the monument you'll see a morse code signifying the the famous radio sign off.

On one of the side, where the bush is growing next to the monument, you can see a U.S. Maritime Service Logo with the slogan, "By Their Deeds Measures Yours"

Duty Done (Front Side)

Names that appear on the front side:

  • Alonzo Carter
  • James T. Cotton Jr.
  • Richard V. Carlson
  • Stone V. Lowry
  • James J. Flynn
  • Walter Skiba
  • Milford G. Bloom
  • Herman R. Mosler
  • James Clark
  • Edwin W. Ardzienski - Radio Officer, S.S. Paul Hamilton, U.S. Merchant Marines during World War II.
  • Andrew J. Tocco
  • Vincent A. Kirk
  • Thomas S. Porter Jr
  • George S. Hord

On the bottom it says, "Presented to the people of Boston by the U.S. Maritime Service"

Country Served

Names that appear on the right side:

  • Arnold L. Tangen
  • Roy O. Thomas
  • William H. McLaurin
  • James A. McGill
  • Dean H. Cook
  • Martin Kuger
  • John P. Leahan
  • Theodore R. Scrivener
  • Carl S. Dalbey Jr
  • Isidore J. Weinberg
  • William R. Fletcher
  • Daniel P. Singer
  • Andrew L McLeod
  • Fred C. Handson

Happy Place

This past weekend we visited Happy Place in Boston. It's a temporary exhibit designed around creating interesting Instagram photos. There are various stations where you can interact with the exhibits to create interesting photos.

Happy Place opened on April 5th. It was supposed to close on June 1st, but due to popular demands, they have extended the time until the 30th.

It's a fun place to go with the whole family. It's a quick trip as the whole experience probably won't last longer than a 1/2 hour - depending on the crowd size.

Happy Place

Things we learned

  • Recommend make a reservation and show up at least 10-minutes early.
  • You can easily see the bright colorful Happy Place sign from Boylston Street.
  • The Internet isn't great by the ticketing desk - so make sure to have your digital confirmation loaded up before you get to the place.
  • This is a wait and shoot event. There are some places where you'll have to wait for the party in front of you to complete their pictures.
  • No matter where you are, look around as there may be interesting backdrops that you may not have thought of.
  • There isn't an attendant at every station. You may need to ask someone from another group to take your group picture. (It actually would have been nice to have someone come up with creative ideas and help with group shots.)
  • After seeing the giant cookie, you'll see a long hall with the words "Don't Worry Be Happy." The best pictures spot is near the cookie room exit.
  • Upside Down Room - Try holding on to the lamp to make it look like your avoid falling.
  • Flower Room - We found better shot opportunities with the shorter ladders. This is a hard place to shoot because other people may inadvertently get in the picture.
  • Confetti Room - The air in the room doesn't move much. To get the best effects you'll have to scoop up some confetti and throw it high in the air.
  • Ball Pit - There is someone there to take your picture. You will have to take your shoes off and remove any loose clothing. They will use the camera burst mode to capture you jumping into the ball pit.
  • Ball Pit Area - Don't miss the unicorn near the waiting area for the ball pit. Also, the Wallpaper clouds make interesting backdrops.

Before You Go

  • Make sure to have plenty of disk space of your digital camera. (You'll be surprise on how many pictures you take)
  • You can bring a DSLR - it's not just for smart phones.
  • I didn't see any charging stations. Make sure your device is well charged or bring a portable USB charger.
  • Bring a selfi stick for the few room shots after the kiss couch.

Finding Happy Place

Happy Place is located at 500 Boylston Street. The nearest T stop is the Green Line Copley station. Parking is available at the Clarendon Street garage.


Symphony Community Park

Located between Berklee College of Music and Boston's Symphony Hall is a small community park. This park is mostly for the seniors that live in the near-by Morville House.

Five Things I Learned about the Park

Park has been around for many years, I wasn't able to find any history of when it started. I did find some events mentioned in the mid-1970s but overall it's not a park with a lot of history.

Since 2007, local organizations, such as the Fenway Civic Association, has been busy updating the park.

Jacob Kulin's musically-theme artwork is the largest visible artwork in the park. The design is 16-foot tall made of granite, Corten sweet, bronze and stainless steel. The design helps tie the connection of the park with nearby musical surrounding. The sculpture was unveiled on August 18, 2016.

There are free fitness classes, morning Yoga and Line Dance classes going on regularly in the park. All classes are free and open to the public. See the schedule on the plaza for today's events.

On Tuesday Evenings, Berklee College of Music takes over the park and selectively invites alumni to perform in the park. (Check out this summer's schedule.)

Finding Symphony Community Park

The park is located near the Edgerly Road and Norway Street in the Fenway section of Boston. The nearest T stop would be the Orange Line's Symphony Station.

This is a nice quiet park. If your visiting Boston, this might be a nice Tuesday stop on a nice Summer Night concert. (Not a lot of events happen on Tuesday nights.)


American Congregational Building

Next to the Massachusetts State House is a building with some unusual architecture. This is the home of the American Congregational Library.

American Congregational Building

Six Things I learned about the American Congregational Library.

  • The Congregational Library began in 1853 with 56 books, but they didn't have a physical building until 1898. (The original 56 books are still in the collection!)
  • In 1957, the Congregation headquarters moved from Boston to New York - leaving lots of office space. Over the years Non-profits had occupied the space.
  • On August 3, 2017 the Association sold it 14 Beacon Street to Faros Properties for $25.4 million. The library will stay in the building. The money from the sale will be used to maintain the reading room. The sale may impact business that occupy the above floors.
  • The library is home to New England's largest Clergy Obituary Database - Researchers can search over 30,000 obituary listings for clergy and missionaries spanning more than three centuries. Great way to learn more about clergy and missionaries that might have started your Congregational church.
  • This is a interesting stop for Boston Tourist as you can learn a lot of about how religion shaped this nation.
  • Building is not on the Boston Historic Landmarks - there has never been a petition to preserve the building architecture.

Did you know: A Massachusetts law of 1659 punished offenders with a hefty five shilling fine for celebrating Christmas. It would be interesting to read up on documents from that time period about this - something that can only be done at the American Congregational Library.

Congregational Building Sign
Sign on the Building

Building Plaque

This is the transcript of the sign on the building:

The primary purpose of this building, The Property of the American Congregational Association, is to provide housing for Congregational Societies and other religious and Charitable Organizations. It is the Fifth home of the Congregational Library. The building was dedicated on December 21, 1898 to the last ideals lived by those First Congregationalists to settle on American Shores.

The carvings above represent four of those ideals:

  • Rule under law by consent of the Governed - The signing of the Mayflower Compact, 1620.
  • Worship According to the Conscience - the First Sabbath on Clark's Island, 1620.
  • Education for Leadership - Act of the General Court of Massachusetts Appropriating Funds for a "Schoole or Colledge," Harvard, 1636
  • Community Witness - The Apostle Eliot preaching among the Indians. 1646.

Finding the American Congregational Building

The American Congregational Building is located next to the Massachusetts State House. It's located on the second floor of 14 Beacon Street.

The library collection is open to the public.


Read Your Way to Fenway 2019

Every year the Boston Public Library has a contest with the ultimate goal to encourage students to read and write over the summer break. It's called "Read Your Way to Fenway."

This contest encourages students to read over the summer and get a chance to see the Red Sox. This contest is open to all Boston Public Library holders.

Read Your Way to Fenway

Four Fun Facts about the Contest

  • In the past, the Library usually announces the contest right around the last week of school.
  • This annual event started in 1995. This year is the 24th annual tradition.
  • In 2017, 624 children participated in the program and more than 500 winners were chosen.
  • There are 54,312 students in the Boston Public Schools. So your chances of winning is actually pretty good!
  • Some of the readers actually get to go on the field before the game and meet some of the Red Sox players.

Important Dates

  • Contest usually starts: June 1
  • Essays due to a Boston Public Library location: Friday, July 27
  • Winners notified: August 6-10
  • Pick up your tickets at your branch library: August 13-17
  • Game day: Sunday, August 19, at 1:05 p.m., Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park

Vendome Hotel Fire Monument

This year marks the 47th anniversary of the Vendome Hotel fire. The hotel was located on Commonwealth Ave Mall, near Dartmouth Street.

On June 17th, 1972 the building caught on fire. Nine firefighters were killed while trying to put out the fire. To this day it is still the worst fire in Boston's history.

Hotel Vendome

Eleven things I learned about the Hotel Fire

Hotel Vendome was completed in 1871 - named after a similar hotel in Paris. In 1882, it was the first hotel in America to have electric lights - Thomas Edison stayed at the hotel to personally see it.

The hotel suffered during the depression. On December 28, 1969, a fire broke out in the hotel - when the top three floors were badly damaged. The owners couldn't recover from the fire and sold the hotel a couple of years later.

The new owner was upgrading the hotel to the apartment and a two-floor shopping area.

At the time of the fire, the building was still under construction. There were 100 people in the cafe and some construction workers upstairs. An electrician was the one that reported the blaze by pulling a local firebox around 2:35 pm

By 3:06 the fire went to four alarms.

At 5:20 pm, the southeast corner of the building collapsed trapping and crushing nine firefighters. (The southeast corner faces Dartmouth street.)

The collapsed occurred during a shift change when a large number of firemen were out of the building. There were 25 firemen in the building when it collapsed occurred.

The fallen were Thomas W. Beckwith, Joseph J. Boucher Jr., Joseph P. Saniuk, John E. Hanbury Jr., Thomas J. Carroll, Paul J. Murphy, Richard B. Magee, John E. Jameson and Charles E. Dolan.

It took 50 firemen nine hours to recover all the bodies from the fire.

One other woman died in the fire.

The actual cause of the fire has never been determining. In addition, Fire Marshal also wasn't able to determine where the fire started. It is believed that it was an accident and not intentionally set.

You can learn a lot more detail about the fire on the Boston Fire History website.


The monument was dedicated on June 17, 1987 - the 25th anniversary of the fire.

It is located diagonally across the street of the former Hotel Vendome.

There is a timeline on the monument, as you read through it your facing towards the former hotel.

The memorial was designed by Ted Clausen and architected by Peter White.

Other Tragic Fires

November 15, 1942 - Six Firemen died at the 110-year-old Lyceum Hall in East Boston.

October 1, 1964 - Four Firemen died at a toy factory on Trumbull Street in the South End.


Pope John Paul II visits Boston

Pope John Paul visited the United States of America on October 1st-8, 1979 - the first visit of the Pope to America. His Apostolic Journey began in Boston.

Pope Monument1979
A monument of Pope visit is near the location of where the Pope Spoke in 1979.

Ten Things I learned about the Pope's Visit to Boston

In July 1976, Cardinal Wojty-a spent the summer traveling North America giving speeches - including one at Harvard University. In 1979, he was elected Pope and took the name Pope John Paul II.

Pope John Paul left Ireland the morning of October 1st, and landed in Boston and kiss the American soil at 3:02 pm. Was greeted by Mrs. Rosalyns Carter along with other distinguish Massachusetts politicians.

It took 55-minutes to get from Logan Airport to Dorchester - as the motor cage traveled slowly as people wanted to see the Pope.

He said his first Mass in the United States at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross with 2,000 local priests in attendance.

Later that day, Pope John Paul II celebrated his first North America outdoor Mass at the Boston Public Commons - an estimated 400,000 people attended the service.

The Mass was to start at 5:30 pm, but he was about 20 minutes late

The service lasted an hour and a half as the crowd stood during a heavy rainstorm. His homily lasted 37-minutes.

He gave communion to 160 individuals - while 300 priests served communion to the crowd.

After saying the Mass, he left to spend the night at the Cardinal Medeiros home in Brighton.

You can read all the speeches that he gave in American on the Vatican website.

Monument Installation

A Monument was proposed to the City of Boston Park and Recreation Commission on February 12, 1981 (5-Months after the Pope visit) The initial request was turned down because they didn't have the correct approval from the Art Commission and Friends of the Public Garden.

Once the monument team got the correct approval, they met with the City of Boston Park and Recreation Commission again and received approval on May 27, 1981.

The monument was installed near the location of the altar during the Mass.

The monument was paid for by funds raised by the Order of the Alhambra.

Large Crowds

The fact that 400,000 people attended the Mass at the Boston Public Gardens is impressive. Consider the following:

  • Weather Factors: The heavy rainstorm certainly was a reason for people to avoid outdoor service. (In fact, some people had to seek shelter because of the lightning storms.)
  • Day of the Event: October 1st, 1979, was a Monday - people would have likely taken the day off - even for a 5:30 service.
  • Getting to Boston: Public Transportation today is much better than it was in 1979. Today the MBTA is able to handle the 3.2 million fans turning out for the 2004 Rolling Rally to celebrate the 2004 Red Sox. Most people would have driven into the city - I am sure the traffic was busy with the evening commute. (No Red Sox game as they failed to make the playoffs)

Interesting Discovery

The Boston Public Library has a collection of documents from the Pope's visit. These are on reserved and not for checking out of the library.

When I went to the library earlier this week, I was told that the documents have gone missing. The librarian informed me that this occasionally happens when people misplace certain documents.



Various fun facts about places and things around Boston, Massachusetts.


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