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Japanese Temple Bell

In Boston's Fen area, near the World War 2 memorial, is an old Japanese Bell. I have discovered that there is a bit of history on how this 343-year old bell ended up in Boston. (You won't find this on the sign at the Bell.)

Japanese Temple Bell

Ten Things I Learned About the Japanese Temple Bell

The Bell weights 450-pounds and is four foot tall.

The Bell Came from crew members of the USS Boston from Japan after the Second World War.

The Bell was discovered by US Navy crew members in a scrap yard in Yokosuka, Japan.

After the war, the USS Boston docked at San Francisco and the Bell was shipped to Boston - cost $42.80 in transportation charges. ($557.94 in 2019 value)

The Bell was given to the City of Boston by Captain Marion R. Kelly - who had retired after the War after nearly 29-years of service.

Originally installed on the Boston Commons on April 25th, 1946. It was moved to the Back Bay Fens in 1953.

There is a small plaque that says the bell was cast in 1675 - Making the Japanese Temple Bell the oldest man made object on display in Boston. (The only this possibly older is the MillStone by Haymarket)

Shortly after the Bell was moved to the Fenway to a permanent location. Some Bostonians wanted the Navy Department to take another look on how the Bell was obtained after the war. Some people thought it was looted from a Buddhist or Shinto Temple in Japan.

The Navy department did an investigation and determined that Boston is the rightful owner of the Temple Bell.

The Bell sits near the World War 2 Memorial, and has face some tough times over the years. The surface is badly corroded. The base has been painted to cover graffiti. The bell is also cracked in several locations.

Plaque beneath the Bell

Temple Bell from Japan
Cast in 1675
Brought to the City of Boston by the Officers and Men of the United States Ship Boston
With the Blessing of the Manpukuji Temple-Sendai as a Symbol of Friendship and a Bond of Peace

Note: Did you notice that the plaque text downplays how the Temple Bell was discovered in World War 2. It makes it sound like it was a gift, when in fact it was taken from Japan during the war. Only later did Japanese officials allow Boston to keep it as a way to rebuild friendship.


Duck Tours in Boston

If your a first time visitor to Boston, one way to get a quick history of the city is to take one of the famous Duck Boat tours. They are a great way to get some high level understand of what makes the city special and for tourist its a good way to understand the layout of the city.

The Duck Boats are a great way to get pictures of the city skyline from the Charles River.

Old Description from their Website

You've never toured Boston in anything that comes close to Boston Duck Tours. The fun begins as soon as you board your "DUCK", an authentic, renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle, at the Prudential Center in Boston's historic Back Bay. First, you'll be greeted by one of our legendary tour ConDUCKtors, who'll be narrating your tour. Then you're off on a journey like you've never had before. You'll cruise by all the places that make Boston the birthplace of freedom and a city of firsts, from the golden domed State House to the Boston Common, the Old North Church to fashionable Newbury Street, Quincy Market to the Prudential Tower, and more. And, as the best of Boston unfolds before your eyes, your ConDUCKtor will be giving you lots of little known facts and interesting insights on our unique and wonderful city.

Duck Tours Boston

Twelve Fun Facts

  • The first Boston Duck Tour was founded on October 5, 1994.
  • Each year 600,000 passengers take the tour - making it the most popular tour in Boston.
  • All the duck boats run on bio diesel.
  • The Boston Duck Tours depart from the Prudential Center, New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science.
  • The tours that depart from the Prudential Center and the Museum of Science have the same route.
  • You see the same sites on both tours. (The Prudential/Museum of Science tours shows more Copley Square, where as the Museum of Science take you through the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Financial District.)
  • In 2001, it cost $22 to take a tour, in 2019 it cost $42.99.
  • Tour tickets do sell out early - usually by noon. To avoid disappointment and running around - buy your tickets in advance.
  • You can purchase a Discounted Family pack from tours leaving the Museum of Science.
  • If you take the Duck Tour from the Museum of Science you can get discounts on Museum attractions such as $10 off the Exhibit Hall and 10% at the Museum Store.
  • You can buy tickets at the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, Boston Commons and the Prudential Center.
  • Tours last 80 minutes.

Tour Tips

  • Make sure to talk to the driver about your interest in Boston - Colonial History, Sports etc. The tour guide will be sure to mention the topic during the tour.
  • Arrive at the Duck Tour waiting area early for the best seating.
  • Before you board the Duck Boat, you'll be given an opportunity for a group picture. (A better picture opportunity is on the boat or in Front of the vehicle where you can get the name.)
  • When your on the water, the driver may ask kids if they want to drive the Duck Boat for a bit. (Great Photo opportunity!)
  • The Boats were used in the 2018 Red Sox Parade and the 2019 New England Patriots parade.
  • Be sure to look at the inside roof for player autographs!

Which Tour is Better?

So... Which tour is better? The Prudential Center and the Museum of Science route or the New England Aquarium route?

I would recommend taking the Tour from the Museum of Science, as you'll see more Back Bay History and you get better discounts at the Museum - especially if you plan on visiting the Museum.

Is the Tour Worth it?

I believe anyone visiting Boston for the first time should go on the Duck Tour. It's a great way to see the city and get an understand of the lay of the land.


Rachel Revere Park

Rachel Revere Park is a community play area and meeting place. It's located just across the street from the "Paul Revere House" in Boston's North End.

This 3,484.8 SqFt park is owned and maintained by the City of Boston Parks and Recreation.

Rachel Revere Park

Five Things I Learned about Rachel Revere and the Park

1 Rachel Walker was Paul Revere's second wife. They married on October 10th, 1773.

2 They had eight children:

  1. Joshua Revere (December 7, 1774 - August 14, 1801)
  2. John Revere (June 13, 1776 - June 27, 1776)
  3. Joseph Warren Revere (April 30, 1777 - October 12, 1868)
  4. Lucy Revere (May 15, 1780 - July 9, 1780)
  5. Harriet Revere (July 20, 1782 - June 38, 1780)
  6. John Revere (December 25, 1783 - March 13, 1786)
  7. Maria Revere (July 17, 1785 - August 22, 1847)
  8. John Revere (March 27, 1787 - April 29, 1847)

All the children were born before the United States became a country. The United States Constitution officially took effect on March 4, 1789.

3 Rachel Revere died on June 26, 1813, at Sixty-Eight. There is a painting of her at the Museum of Fine Arts that was done just weeks before she died.

4 When Rachel was alive the park was a colonial marketplace.

5 The City of Boston Park and Recreation acquired the park in 1945. The park naming ceremony was at 4 pm on April 19, 1945.

Wall Plaque

At the back brick wall of the park is a plaque that was placed a year after the park was dedicated.

Rachel Revere Plaque

Text of the plaque on the wall:


Here in North Square
Lived Paul Revere and his wife
Rachel Revere for whom this overlook is named

Here lived Major Pitcaim
of the soldiery
Occupying Boston in 1775
Governor Thomas Hutchinson
Sir Harry Frankland
William Clark
The alarm that British troops
Were marching to Concord
To seize patriot stores

Was given by Paul Revere
Many men of North Square
And its neighborhood
Joined the Boston Tea Party
At Griffin's Wharf
And threw the tea overboard
This public open space built
And this tablet erected
By the Boston Park Coinmission
Erected August 1946
Hon. James M. Curley Mayor of Boston
VJilliam P. Long Chairman the Park Commission
Theodore G. Haffenreffer
Frank R. Kelley Park Commissioner


Charlie Card

If you traveling to Boston this summer and planning on using the MBTA for any travel - you should know about the Charlie Card.

CharlieCards are reusable cards that can be loaded with cash value or passes to pay bus and subway fares. CharlieCards are available at select MBTA subway stations.

Charlie Card Promo

Six Tips on the MBTA Charlie Card

Using a Charlie Card can save you $.50 an every subway travel. The MBTA actually doesn't recommend visitors to carry the MBTA card because they want locals to use it. They recommend the [CharlieTicket](https://charliecard.mbta.com) which can be purchased at any MBTA station.

The only way to check the balance on your CharlieTicket or CharlieCard is at fare vending machines located at any subway stations.

The MBTA doesn't offer any refunds on any unused fare on a Charlie Card.

You can buy Charlie Cards at various stores ([Back Bay Star Market](https://www.yelp.com/biz/star-market-boston-4)) and at various MBTA stations - such as Park Street, North Station, South Station, and Back Bay. The CharlieCard Store at Downtown Crossing is another place to go. (Sorry Charlie no souvenirs here.)

The Charlie Card expires after 10 years. The T can extend the date for another 2 years. (Student CharlieCards expire on the last day of school.)

Two people can share a single CharlieCard with a specific stored value. If you have a monthly or weekly pass, it will only work for one person.

At Logan Airport, there is a CharlieCard Machine near the baggage claim area. You can buy a 7-day pass.


Joseph A. Langone Jr. Memorial

At the far end of the North End is Langone Park, a medium size park ( 2.34 acreage ) of fun activities. There's a little league baseball field as well as a couple of Bocce Courts. It's a great place to view the Bay as well as the bridges between Boston and Charlestown.

As you walk around the Park may spot a strange white memorial. This is a special memorial to commemorate the people that the park is named after - Joseph A. Langone Jr and Clementine Langone

Langone Monument Boston

Ten Things that I Learned About the Park and Memorial

  1. Old Name

    The Park used to be called North End Park then it was North End Beach then WaterFront Park.

  2. In 1975 the park was renamed after Joseph A. Langone Jr. (1896-1960) and Clementine Langone (1896-1964)

  3. Who was Joseph Langone

    Joseph Langone was a Massachusetts state senator from 1933 to 1940 and then a Boston Election Commissioner in the 1940s.

  4. Who was Clementine Langone

    Clementine Langone was a civic leader from the North End and was well known for her service to the Italian-American community.

  5. Naming Ceremony Date

    The official naming ceremony occurred on September 13, 1975. Over 200 local residents attended and Mayor Kevin H. White played Cymbals in the band marching around the park.

  6. Something Strange I Found

    In my research, I found that while the dedication ceremony happened on September 13, 1975 - it was in a Boston Globe article. A formal request for the naming occurred five days later at the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Commission meeting - September 18, 1975. (Not at all sure why this is the case.)

  7. City of Boston Error

    On the City of Boston Parks and Recreation page it list the park as being Established in 1973. It's not, as indicated above the park new name was established in 1975. In 1973, the Waterfront Urban Renewal process created the Waterfront Park.

  8. Sundial

    There is a sundial on top of the Langone memorial and the dial is pointing due north. (Also towards the USS Constitution Boat in Charlestown.)

  9. Sundial Inscription

    Inscribed on the sundial are a "tempus fugit" hourglass with wings as well as the saying "I count none but sunny hours."

  10. Park May Disapear!

    The biggest threat to Langone Park is rising tides. As part of the Imagine Boston 2030 program, $1,000,000 is now being recommended to add sea level rise mitigation features to Langone Park to prevent flooding. It's also needed to create a resilient waterfront as part of the City's Resilient Boston Harbor and Climate Ready Boston.


Boston Courtyard Copley Square hotel

As you walk down Exeter Street from Boylston, you may encounter a strange looking building. This is the Boston's Courtyard Copley Square Hotel. This 3-Star rated hotel has 63 king rooms, 14 Queen-double rooms, and 4 suites on 10 floors. It's also 128 years old, one of the oldest hotels on this street.

Courtyard Copley Square
View of the Courtyard Copley Square from Boylston Street.

The Boston's Courtyard Copley Square hotel and Copley Square Hotel are not the same business. They have similar names but are two different businesses.

Six Things I learned about the Courtyard Copley Square

  • The was once called the Exeter Chambers Hotel, which opened on October 1, 1891. It closed on November 8, 1931.

  • The Hotel was established by Frederick Samuel Risteen - former Massachusetts State Senator. He was also the owner of the Clarendon Hotel.

  • When Frederick Samuel Risteen died in 1903 the hotel was taken over by John Lacey, then it was owned by Ernest Spracklen. In 1907, the hotel was sold at an auction for $327,000 ($8,896,470.33 in 2018 dollars)

  • There isn't much information on the hotel activity between 1907 and 2004. I checked various sites around the web and couldn't find any information about it.

  • Hotel was fully restored in 2004 after the Marriot purchased the property. (There is a sign next to the main entrance)

  • The building exterior features Victorian Eclecticism and Richardsonian Romanesque architectural elements.

The Stained Glass Window

Inside the hotel is a stained glass window that greets every guest.

Stain Glass Window

Our century-old arched stained glass window has served as a beautiful entryway greeting hotel guest since 1891.

The emblem EC, can be seen in the center of the glass as the initials of the original hotel called Exeter Chambers.

THis window is representatives of the stained glass that was introduced in the Victorian and Edwardian eras of the 1800's.

However in the late 1800s, American glass makers expanded upon the European cathedral glass. Their creations during this American Art Nouveau period is known as the opalescent glass.

From 1891 to present day, this kaleidoscope of color is a preserved symbol of over 100 years of hospitality here at 88 Exeter Street, Boston.

This window symbolically reflects the illumination of visions for tomorrow guests who have pursued their dream at this residence over the years.

"88 Exeter...the Dream Continues..."

Want a good reason to stay here?

The Courtyard Marriott at 88 Exeter has been ranked #5 in the nation of all Courtyards based upon guest's service scores.


Boston Memorial Update

Here is an update on the upcoming memorials being built around Boston:

The Boston Marathon Memorial - on two locations on Boylston Street.

The Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King memorial on the Boston Commons

Boston Marathon Memorial

Boston Marathon Memorial2019
Picture taken on February 27, 2019.

The work on the Boston Marathon Memorial is well underway. Work on the memorial started shortly after posting about it back in November. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has stated that the memorial should be ready by this years Boston Marathon.

Pablo Eduardo received a grant of $1.15 million to create and install the memorial.

The 123rd Boston Marathon is only 45 days from now on April 15th. This will the six anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

April 15th is also Boston One Day - where wreaths are placed at the sights of the bombing and citizens are encouraged to perform an act of charity.

MLK Memorial On Boston Common

There has been some issues raising money for the Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King memorial on the Boston Commons. The cost of the memorial is estimated to be $5 million. (See the proposed designs on the original blog post.)

In January, Two organizations have helped jump-start the community commitment to having a memorial:

  • The Boston Foundation, a 104-year-old philanthropy, pledged to donate $500,000.
  • Boston University, where Martin Luther King Jr attended school, pledge to contribute $250,000 to the memorial.

King Memorial2019-update

The final design has still not been selected. Two designs have been eliminated: 'Avenue of Peace' and 'Empty Pulpit.' The Boston Parks And Recreation Department has asked a special engineering firm to figure out the real cost of the remaining 3 designs.

The project appears to be on hold pending the results of the independent firm.


Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center

If your looking for any type of map, chances are you'll find it at the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center in the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.

BPL Map Room

Four Reasons to Visit the Map Room

  • Lots of Historical Documents

    There are 200,000 historic and contemporary maps and 5,000 atlases. The Largest Collection in New England is the Osher Map Library at the University of Maine - 300,000 maps

  • Lots of Books on Maps

    There are all sorts of map books - from Maps of the Holy Land to detailed printed maps of every city and town in New England. Looking for a road map of Aruba? You'll find it in the Map Room.

  • Lots of Map Games for Everyone

    There's plenty of creative map games in the back of map room - fun for all ages! What a fun way to spend a few hours - playing map games in the Map Room. (Try the Scrambled States of America Game!)

    Enjoy learning about geography with a large collection of maps to help with the learning.

  • Boston Map Overlay

    You can see a old map of Boston overlay to what the city looks like today. You can see how Washington Street was an important street.


Memorial Hall

Located in the center of the State House is Memorial Hall. This is where some historical paintings and historic flags are located. The hall was created as a memorial to those that fought and died in the Civil War.

Memorial Hall

Five Reasons to Not Miss the Memorial Hall at the Massachusetts State House

  • Battle Flags - At one time there were 300 different types of battle flags on display. Now you can see the actual battle flags from the Spanish-American War and the two World Wars.
  • Stars and Stripes Flag (1781) - A 13-star flag was created in 1781 for Jonathan Fowle. This is the oldest flag in the Massachusetts Flag Collection.
  • Historical Paintings - On the balcony above Memorial Hall are several paintings. There's the 'Mayflower', 'John Eliot Preaching to the Indians' and 'Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775"
  • Stain Glass Window - Above the Hall is a large stain glass skylight which displays the all the seals of the original colonies.
  • Marble - It cost $309,118 to build the hall. There are six different varieties of marble on the floor - White Italian, Pavonazzo, Grand Antique, Languedoc, Siena and Vert Campan.

Massachusetts Senate Chamber

The Massachusetts Senate Chamber is an interesting place to visit. A lot of history has been made in this room. When the Senate is not in session you can walk on part of the Senate floor.

The Senate Room

Some interesting things about the Senate Chamber

The Senate Chamber is located directly below the Massachusetts State House Gold Dome.

There are 39 chairs around the circle of desks. The Senate President sits at the rostrum under a golden eagle and American Flag.

There are nine busts in the Senate Chamber

  1. George Washington - the Oldest bust in the Chamber - created in 1810
  2. Abraham Lincoln - Purchased in 1867
  3. Marquis de Lafayette - the only non-American bust. He was an American icon who help the Thirteen Colonies defeat the British in the American Revolution. Marquis de Lafayette visited the chamber in 1825 - the bust wasn't installed until 1898. He was on his way to lay the Bunker Hill Monument cornerstone.
  4. Charles Sumner - Donated by A. A. Lawrence in 1869. Senator from Massachusetts. (Read more on a previous Blog Post.)
  5. Ben Franklin - Donated by Horatio S. Greenough in 1898.
  6. George S. Boutwell - Acquired in 1871. Initialed to be installed in the State Library.
  7. Henry Wilson - Donated by William Whiting in 1872. He was the 18th Vice President of the United States.
  8. Col. Gardiner Tufts - Acquired in 1892. Massachusetts Colonel in the Civil War
  9. Rev. Samuel F. Smith - Purchased in 1896. He was an American Baptist minister, journalist, and author. best known for having written the lyrics to "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."

Guns in the Gallery

There are two guns that are hanging in the gallery - both from the early days of the American Revolutionary War:

  • "Parker Firearm" - An original Musket used by Captain John Parker at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775.
  • "Kings Arm" - A Musket used by the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. (The British's soldiers that fought at Lexington/Concord) The sign underneath the gun indicates that this was the first firearm captured in the War of .


If you look at the arches above you can see pendants with emblems for Commerce, Agriculture, Peace and War.

From January 1798 to June 1896 all the Senate meetings were held in the Old Senate Chamber - now the Senate Reception Room.

In 2017, the Massachusetts Legislator approved a $23 million renovation. This will be the first major renovation to support the standard of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project was completed last month.



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


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