|August 11, 2016|
The Boston Stone is set into the wall of a building on 9 Marshall Street. It is really two stones - a rectangular base, with the carved inscription "Boston Stone, 1737," surmounted by a stone ball.
The Boston Stone has been a local landmark since it "magically" appeared in the 1700s. In 1835, it became an official Boston Landmark.
There was no record of the "Boston Stone" until around 1770.
On the 'Boston Stone' is the year 1737. In my research, no one was able to identify the meaning of the date.
I came up with two possibilities:
Some people think that the stone was use as the central point of mileage measurement from the city of Boston. It's only a legend, as the new State House has always is the central point of mileage to Boston.
The stone actually had a purpose it was originally a paint mill, imported from England around 1700 by Painter Thomas Child (1655-1706), who owned the property. The long stone in which a painter would ground and mixed his paint by rolling a circular stone ball back and forth.
When Thomas Child died, John Howe purchased the property and place the long stone and stone ball to the corner of the property to protect it from passing carts.
The wooden house that Thomas Child and John Howe lived in was taken down in 1835. The stone was relocated and put into the new brick building that is standing today.
The top circular stone use to have an eagle on it. (Probably placed sometime 1875 - America Centennial Celebration)
The Boston Stone was was originally stops of the Boston Freedom Trail in the 1950s.
Around the turn of the century, when people would ask about the stone they were given a pamphlet with the following description:
The old wooden house now standing, has for many generations been occupied by a Painter. When the grandfather of the present owner. Mr. John Rowe purchased the house, a large stone was found in the yard. It was hollowed out on one side, used to grind paint. Being of no use in the yard, it was removed to the corner of the house to prevent carts from injuring the building. When I was a boy, in passing the building, I saw a lad named Joe Whiting, whose father occupied the shop, writing on the stone these words - "Boston Stone, Marshall Lane." After I became a man I asked Mr. Whiting who set the boy to work on the stone. He said, "Marshal Lane" at that time no being named, it was difficult to designate his place of business. A Scotchman who opened a shop for the sale of Ale and Cheese directly opposite made a complaint of the difficulty. He said, in London there was a large stone at a certain corner, marked "London Stone," which served as a direction to all places near it, and if I would let Joe write the words "Boston Stone" on this, people would notice it, and it would set them guessing what it meant, and it would become a good landmark.
Now you know. The Boston Stone is nothing more than an 18th Century marketing tool to get people to go down Marshall Street.
|August 4, 2016|
The Sacred Cod is a four-foot, eleven-inch carved-wood effigy of an Atlantic codfish, hanging in the public viewing gallery of the House of Representatives chamber in the Boston's Massachusetts State House. It was placed in the House of Representative chamber ceiling in 1784 to commemorate the importance of the fishing industry to the Bay State.
There have been three versions of the Sacred Cod:
There have been two cases of people stealing the Sacred Cod:
In 1941, the Sacred Cod became a topic when President Franklin D, Roosevelt visited Boston during a time when there was a push to use aluminum as part of the World War 2 defense. President Roosevelt was invited to visit Boston to start the nation-wide aluminum drive.
According to the Boston Globe, Franklin R. Roosevelt said, "I have been informed that the Sacred Cod emblem of Massachusetts, which hangs in your august chamber, is made of aluminum, or of aluminum sections. I think it would be a generous gesture and an example to the rest of the citizenry if the members of your honorable body voted to contribute the code to the cause of the defense."
The Sacred Cod is under the Massachusetts State Art Commission control, and they did not approve of removing it from the chamber. (There's no indication that they actually took President Frankin D, Roosevelt offer seriously.)
You can see the Sacred Cod on a tour of the Massachusetts State House. Tour of the State House is free. You are allowed to take pictures inside the State House.
|July 28, 2016|
One of the oldest family businesses in Boston is the family that runs the Peanut cart near the Gate 'A' at Fenway Park. The Jacobs family have been serving bag fresh roasted peanuts at Fenway park since April 20, 1912. That's 104 years of service. As far as I know, the Paget family, who own the Swan Boats at the Boston Public Gardens have a longer family tradition. (The Paget family started back in 1877.)
Currently the cost of a Peanut bag at the Nicky's Cart cost $5. Nicky Cart is not the original cart from 1912, he built the current art in 2000 using some of the parts of the original carts. Nicky still has the original cart.
Unfortunately Nicky's Peanut cart business about to end. In 1999, the management team at Fenway Park has requested that all outside food vendors be removed from Fenway park. Nicky's Peanut stand can still run, but when he dies or retires, the license can not be transferred to another person.
Currently there are 18 vendors that fall into the legacy category with Nicky's Peanuts being the oldest continuous outside vendor at Fenway Park. Vendors pay anywhere from $360 to $900 a year for the privilege to sell their goods.
The next time your at a game at Fenway Park, why not enter at Gate 'A' and just before you enter, support one of the oldest Fenway Park tradition. You'll find the cart directly across the Red Sox ticketing area on Yawkey Way.
|July 21, 2016|
Thompson Island is the only Boston Harbor island to have a private graveyard. The graveyard is located on the southern tip of the island.
The sign at the site reads:
In 1842, 23 students who were being rewarded for good behavior with a fishing trip perished tragically in a boating accident. To honor these students the school created this cemetery. Nearly five decades later another boating mishap took the lives of seven more students they too are buried here. The cemetery also includes students or island residents who passed away from illness or accidents, as well as several pre-contact Indians whose remains were discovered on the island.
People that are burried here:
|Charles W Ackers||1870||August 10, 1879|
|James Roach||Nov. 20, 1873||September 6, 1885|
|Charles Lind||October 1, 1902|
|Unknown Wampanoag Indiana||(Skeleton remains were reburied in 1941)|
23 of the 29 Individuals that died in April 29, 1842, boating accident
Specific names were not found.
Seven of the 9 Individuals that died in April 10, 1892, boating accident
A view of Thompson Island Cemetery with overgrown weeds.
Some interesting information about the graveyard
|July 14, 2016|
Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The island is open to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day; otherwise access is by arrangement only.
The only way to get to the island is to use the Charter Boats. Private boats are not allowed to dock on the island.
The Island is 157-acres on Boston Harbor.
This is a good brief summary of the history of the island found on one of the trail signs on the island:
In 1626, David Thompson established a trading post to barter with the Neponset Indians. Over the next 200 years, farmers leased the island to graze sheep. In 1833, the educational mission began when a group of philanthropists purchased the island and open the Boston Farm school, a vocational school for Boston orphaned or otherwise at-risk boys.
There were two fatal boating accidents which resulted in the death of several students and faculty at the Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys:
April 29, 1842 Boating incident. The student’s boat, called the Polka, capsized after a fishing trip to the outer harbor. 29 individuals died. (I wasn’t able to find any specific names.)
Sunday, April 10, 1892 - A similar type of boating accident, when a small gust of wind capsize the boat. According to stories at the time, everyone on the boat survived the capsized. They all held on to the boat waiting for a rescue. The wait was long and they kept talking to each other for encouragement. The rescue boat took too long and nine members died:
A. F. Norbert (40) Instructor, Frank F. Hitchcock (19), George F. Ellis (16), Thomas Phillips, (16), William W. Curran (17), Charles R. Graves (17), Harvey E. Loud, (16), Adelbert H. Packard (16)
In 1941, Skeleton remains were found, possibly belonging to Wampanoag Indiana which lived on the island.
Most of the victims of the two boat accidents, the Indian skeleton remains are buried at the graveyard on the south side of the Island.
You get to the island from a private boat shuttle at the EDIC Pier in South Boston. Boat service is only available on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, or via private events.
Ferry service is cash fare. Adult: $17.00 per person, round trip. Children 3-12: $10 per child, round trip / under 3 years ride free. There are no island fee charges.
Thompson Island is an excellent place for a summer outing. They offer excellent catering services and there is plenty of room on the island for any social gathering.
Be sure to check out Challenge Field as it’s a really cool team building exercise. If you don't do it, at least walk by the Challenge field to see what your missing!
Each Thompson Island venue comes equipped with the following:
|July 7, 2016|
On July 6, 1950, Boston got a replica of the famous Liberty Bell. The was inside the entrance, Dorris Hall for about 7 years before it was moved outside the front doors of the Massachusetts State House.
The front of the State Building is a secure area and only the "President" can go out there. At least that what I was told by one of the Serjeant-at-arms that stood by the front door. You can't get a good look at the Bell without a good camera zoom.
Prior to September 11, 2001, tourist visiting Boston were able to walk up the front steps and touch the bell. This would be the first thing they would encounter before they enter the building.
Today, the Liberty Bell is barely visible from Beacon Street. When you're looking at the state house the bell is just to the left of the front doors, underneath the second window to the left of the door.
While you can only see the Liberty Bell from the steps of the State House, if you go inside to the second floor, you can get a slightly better view of the bell. You do have to ask permission to get behind a desk to see the bell.
A plaque near the bell reads "In standing before this symbol you have the opportunity to dedicate yourself as did our founding fathers, to the principles of the individual freedom for which our nation stands."
The replica Liberty Bell was cast by the Paccard Bell Foundry, which is based in France, in 1950. They produced 300 replicas, and there's one in every state of the USA.
The Liberty Bell in Puerto Rico is in the Polvorin de San Geronimo in the Parque Luis Munoz Rivera in the Porta de Tierra area.)
In Washington DC, The Liberty Bell is on display outside at Union Station. Where anyone can walk up and ring the bell.
You can buy a replica copy of the bell from Paccard Bell Foundry for your home for $3,000. They have a Bronze Bell N*2 - Wooden Handle version for around $25.
The golden dome of the State House serves as the official location of Boston to mapmakers. A sign that says "50 miles to Boston" really means fifty miles to the golden dome.
|June 30, 2016|
Are you thinking about a unique team building activity in the Boston area? Checkout Boda Borg in Malden for a fun 3 hour adventure.
You are on a quest to solve some very creative mini-challenges.
There are various rooms will all sorts of tasks for you to complete in order to move to the next room with another similar challenge.
Some of these tasks might involve you to think logically, while others are physical challenges.
When you successfully complete a challenge, you unlock a box and then you can stamp your passport to show everyone that your team succeeded.
This is certainly a good way to get the team to think together and figure out how to solve the non-business type of problems. You really do need to think outside the box.
If you're looking for a good decompression place to go and talk after the event, visit the Malden Station. It's a great burger bar that has a lot of microbrews on tap. It's only a block away from Boda Borg.
Boda Borg is located in Malden Center, just a few blocks away from the Malden T station. It's about a 30-minute ride on the Orange line from Back Bay to the station.
There is parking across the street for $2 with validation from Boda Borg.
If you're searching the Internet for hints for some of the quests adventures, you're missing the point:
Details of each challenge must be shrouded in secrecy, - if a guest knows too much, what's the point of questing.
"We don't sell success, we sell failures." David Spigner CEO Boda Borg
Boda Borg is located on 90 Pleasant St, Malden, MA 02148, you can call them at (781) 321-1081.
|June 23, 2016|
The Swan Boats on the Boston Public Gardens is a popular attraction for tourist and locals. It's still run by the Paget Family who started peddling the boats back in 1877.
The whole concepts of the boats started back in 1861 when Robert Paget went to the Opera to watch Lohengrin. In the show, Elsa, the daughter of the king, is accused of murder and the dashing knight comes to save her in a Swan boat.
|June 16, 2016|
The Equestrian Statue of George Washington is a beautiful statute of George Washington in the Boston Public Gardens. Many tourists use the statue as a background in their Boston photos.
The Equestrian Statue of George Washington was unveiled at a small ceremony on Saturday, July 3, 1869, at 5:30 pm. This unveiling was close to the 70th anniversary of George Washington's death.
Former Mayor Alexander Hamilton Rice, the chairman of the George Washington Statue committee, spoke at the ceremony.
The statue was paid for by a mix of public and private funds. Most of the money was raised at a fair in 1859. The fair, called the "Washington Statue Fair", raised $10,000 in only eight days. The entire project cost $42,000, of that $34,000 was raised in private funds.
$42,000 was a lot of money in 1859, that's equivalent to more than $7,000,000 dollars today!
Thomas Ball was the sculptor. The Washington Statue Committee wanted a local artist to do the work.
In 1880, Thomas Ball published an autobiographical book, My Threescore Years, which he updated in 1890 as My Three Score Years and Ten. In his autobiography, he provides “A brief history of the equestrian statue of Washington."
Some things I learned from reading his Autobiography:
He attended the ceremony and was honored for his work with the status.
The horse that he used was Colonel T. Bigelow Lawrence’s Black Prince, the mount ridden by the young Prince of wales for the military reception on the Commons during his 1860 visit.
Early on during the planning, a group of prominent citizens were impressed with Thomas Bell work and had a hard time deciding if he deciding if should put together a statue of Daniel Webster or George Washington. It was decided that the Washington Statue was the more appropriate.
Thomas Ball was asked to create the Minuteman statue in Lexington, Massachusetts. The town had just about finished raising money for the project when the civil war broke out. After the war, the town had to start again because many key investors died in the war. The town evidently awarded the contract to Daniel Chester French.
In 1900, Daniel Chester French created a statue for Washington in Paris.
The Statue is located in the Boston Public Gardens, near Commonwealth Ave and Arlington Street. The statue greets people as they enter in the Public Gardens from Commonwealth Ave.
The nearest T stop is the Green Line (Arlington Station.)
George Washington first appeared on the dollar bill in 1869.
One person in attendance during the unveiling - Timothy Dodd, actually saw George Washington in Hartford, CT when he was 15 years old.
The Great Elm on Boston Commons was still standing when the Equestrian Statue was placed in the Boston Public Gardens. (It came down 7 years later)
The model for this statue is held by the Boston Athenaeum. You need to be a member of the Boston Athenaeum to see the model.
Total height of the monument is 35 feet, of which 16 feet is taken up by the pedestal.
The figure of Washington is 2,000 pounds, and the weight of the horse is 5,000 pounds. The entire weight of the monument is 10,500 pounds.
The garden beds around the statue are always changing. If you visit around Mothers day you'll be sure to see blooming tulips.
The face of Washington looks towards the West. If you plan on taking pictures, your better off seeing the statue in the afternoon. (The face won't be in the shade.)
The Washington Statue is one of the most popular photo spots in the Boston Public Gardens. Other spots nearby include the Make Way for Ducklings and the Swan Boats from the Lagoon bridge. Nearby is the Boston’s 9/11 memorial, Ether Monument, and the park bench that Robin William sat on in the ‘Good Will Hunting’ movie.
The following letter was given to the mayor at the ceremony as formal declaration that this statue is for the people of Boston.
Boston, July 1, 1869
Hon Nath'l B. Shurtleff, Mayor of Boston.
Sir, - The Washington Statue Committee, a corporation under the laws of the Commonwealth, composed of the following named persons: Alexander H. Rice, Thomas Russell, Francis A Underwood, Warren Sawyer, George H, Chickering Benjamin S. Rotch and George Wm Wales, has this day voted to authorize it officers to convey the equestrian statue of Washington, by Thomas Ball, executed in bronze, and the pedestal upon which it now stands in the Public Garden, to the City of Boston, to be held in trust for its citizens forever, as an ornament to the public grounds. By virtue of this authority, the undersigned respectfully convey said statue and pedestal, through you, to the City of Boston, in accordance with the terms of said vote; as we remain your ob't servants, Alexander H. Rice, Presiden. John D.W. Joy, Treasurer. F. H. Underwood, Secretary.
|June 9, 2016|
High above the streets of Kenmore Square in Boston's Back Bay is the famous Citgo Sign. The sign has been lighting the Back Bay night sky for roughly 76 years.
The sign get's most of its notoriety from the Red Sox TV coverage. You see it on TV every time someone hits a home run over the green monster.
The sign was installed in 1940 on top of the building on 660 Beacon Street. In 1940, there was a Cities Service Station on the ground floor.
The sign is 200 feet above street level and the red light can be seen as far way as the hills in Belmont - about 10 miles away.
The sign is 60 feet by 60 feet.
The sign is approximately 1,200 feet from Fenway's Home plate.
In 1976, the lighting hours was reduced from all night to 9 pm to 11 pm to conserve energy.
Sept. 4, 1979, Governor Edward King, ordered the sign to be turned off as part of energy crisis.
The sign was off for 4 years. At the time, it cost Citgo $60 a week to have the lights on.
In 1981, after years of neglect, Citgo announced that they were removing the sign, but was met with a public outcry. On November 16, 1982, as workers were moving tools to the roof they were stopped by the commission's cease and desist order.
In 1982, ten voters petitioned the Boston Landmark Commission to make the Citgo sign a landmark. It was denied on January 25, 1983.
CITGO had agreed to spend $450,000 to keep the sign maintained and shining brightly for at least three years.
On August 10, 1983, just before 9:30 p.m., the sign was re-lit.
CITGO saved $12,300 by having the lights off. (Sign was off for a total of 205 weeks and 2 days)
The sign is not designated a protected national historic landmark or on a National Register of Historic Places.
Marty Foley is the official keeper of the Citgo Sign, he has been responsible for making sure that the sign works every day since 1965. He has his own company - Foley Electric.
The words "Foley Electric" appears just below the sign.
In 2006, the sign was in the middle of controversy when Jerry McDermott, a Boston city councilor, proposed that the sign is removed in response to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's insults toward American President George W. Bush. The proposal didn't go far as it was rejected by Governor Mitt Romney.
|June 2, 2016|
Make Way for Ducklings is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCluskey. It was published in 1941. The book was very popular and has since sold more than 2 million copies. On Amazon, it currently ranks 96,890 in the Kindle Store.
It has won numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal which has been featured on the book cover since 1942.
The idea for the statue came from Suzanne DeMonchaux, an urban planner, who thought the statues would make the park more kids friendly. The statues were created by Nancy Schon in 1985.
It cost $85,000 to build the statues and cobblestone landscape. All the money raised was from private donors - no public money was used. Donators from all over the United States contributed to building the statues.
The Statues inauguration was on October. 4, 1987.
Nancy Schon's other work in Boston include:
According to current copyright laws, the book will be in the public domain in 2037.
Make Way for Ducklings is the official children's book of Massachusetts. Dr. Seuss is the official children's author of the commonwealth.
The names of the Ducks (in order of appearance) are Mrs. Mallard, Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack.
Each duckling weighs about 30 pounds.
There are public sculptures of the ducklings both in Boston and Moscow. The Ducklings were Installed on July 30, 1991, in Novodevichy Park, Moscow, USSR. Presented by Barbara Bush.
David Mugar purchased the rights to the "Make Way for Ducklings" in 1983.
June 9th, 1984 -When Donald Duck came to visit Boston on his 50th birthday he got a copy of the Make Way for Ducklings book as a gift from the City of Boston.
The Swan Boats have been running in the Boston Gardens since 1870, by the Pagets family.
Every Mother's Day there is a parade to celebrate "Make way for Ducklings." Over 1,000 people parade through the parks dressed like characters from the story.
Robert Mccluskey died on June 30, 2003, at his home in Deer Isle, Maine
There is no perfect time to visit the statues for pictures. If you arrive in the early morning you can get nice pictures of the Swan boats in the background.
Despite being very welded into the ground people have successfully stolen some of the Ducklings.
Here are some of the well-known reported cases:
When Quack was stolen in 1992, children around Boston we very disappointed and came up with the following slogan: "Bring Quack Back." T-Shirts and Bumper stickers were made to bring awareness to the missing statue. The statue was never found and was replaced.
Stealing the statues is a serious offense since it cost between $8,000 to $10,000 to replace any one of the ducklings.
If you know the whereabouts of the original Quack and Mack, please contact the local police. You can use their anonymous hotline. Please "Bring Quack Back!"
The "Make Way for Ducklings" statues are located in the northeast corner of the Boston's Public Gardens. It's near the gate at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street.
The Boston Gardens is open every day of the year from Sunrise to Sunset.
|May 26, 2016|
Boston is a very large spread out city with 23 neighborhoods. From Charlestown to Hyde Park, and Brighton to East Boston, the City of Boston is very well spread out. There are 850 miles of city streets across Boston.
The largest length, 13.8 miles is between the Suffolk Downs Infield of East Boston to Neponset River Reservation in Hyde Park.
The largest width, 7.75 miles, from Marine Park shore to the corner of Nonantume Street and Cuffins Street in Brighton.
Boston started small until it added towns under its belt. Over the years, it added different neighborhoods:
The center of Boston, Massachusetts is in Roxbury, far away from where people would associate being part of Boston.
The exact location is at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Westminster Avenue in Roxbury.
This is a picture of the intersection looking East:
You will not find any special marker that this is the Geographic Center of the City of Boston. Basically taking pictures of the corner intersection is the only thing you can do to record your visit.
If you're looking for something different to do after a Sam Adams Brewery tour, it might be worth driving by just to say you visited and saw the Geographical Center of Boston. There's plenty of street parking for a quick picture.
The corner of Walnut Avenue and Westminster Avenue is a five-minute drive from the Sam Adams brewery.
From the Brewery, head to Brookside Ave for .2 miles and then turn left onto Cornwall Street. Turn right on Washington Street then immediately take the first left onto Peter Parler Road. At the end of the road, take a left on Walnut Ave. About a 1/2 mile later you'll come to the Westminster Ave intersection.
Walnut Avenue & Westminster Avenue is a 15-minute walk from the Orange Line at the Stoneybrook - Outbound stop.
|May 19, 2016|
The Prudential Mall is known for it’s fine shopping and dining experience. Did you know tuck away in the Huntington Ave wing is a small memorial for Sándor Petőfi.
This is the only memorial in the entire Prudential Mall. It was placed on March 17, 2013.
Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) was a Hungarian poet and one of the key figures in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. He is considered Hungary's national poet.
He is the author of the Nemzeti dal, which is said to have inspired the revolution in the Kingdom of Hungary that grew into a war for independence from the Austrian Empire.
Petofi’s lifetime dedication to freedom and democracy make Boston, home of the American Revolution, an appropriate location for this monument.
The Consulate General of Hungry is a few steps away from the memorial, they are at 111 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02199.
Many countries have Consulate General in various cities in the United States as they work with the country’s Embassy supporting issues to citizens living in the city or traveling to that city. There are Hungarian Consulates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston. The Embassy of the Republic of Hungry is in Washington DC.
Here are the quotes that you will find at the top of the memorial:
They are all I need.
For love I sacrifice my life,
For Liberty I sacrifice my love.
|May 12, 2016|
Last week I wrote about some of the historical significance of Boston Great Elm. This week I'll share how you can see and touch a piece of American history, even though the tree fell 139 years ago.
After the tree fell, William W. Greenough had the foresight to do something so people would always remember the tree. He took some parts of the trend made it into a chair. He donated the chair to the Boston Public Library.
The chair ended up in the library because Mr. Greenough was the President of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Public Library. He was a Boston Merchant and Politician.
Note: The chair is located in the "Special Collections Reading Room" in the Boston Public Library. All visitors to the "Special Collections Reading Room" will need a library card and a photo id to go in. There are some other minor restrictions - no bags or notebooks are allowed in the room. You are allowed to bring in your camera.
The Great Elm Chair is located in the rare book department of the Boston Public Library main branch. This department has the responsibility to preserve all the Boston Public Library rare artifacts. There are lots of very important documents in this department, including William W. Greenough writings, and Koussevitzky works and his desk.
The Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts is located on the third floor of the Research Library. To get to the Rare Book Department, enter the library from Copley Square and go up the grand staircase. Once your on the second floor walk over to the Boylston Room, and on your right you'll see another set of stairs going to the third floor. (Look for signs for the Wiggin or Sargent Gallery) Once on the 3rd Floor, walk through the Wiggin Gallery Door, Through the Music CDs collection and continue walking by the Arts collection.
If you feel lost, simply ask for directions to the Rare Book Special Collection room. Someone will help you get there.
There are two rooms in the Rare Book Department, Special Collections, and Special Collections Reading Room. The Special Collections Reading Room is a limited access room, to get in the room, you need to talk to the person at the desk in the Special Collections. Tell them you are interested in seeing the "Great Elm Chair."
While in the Special Collections room, if you look through the glass doors you may see the Great Elm Chair against the wall. The chair is on wheels and the librarians may move it anytime.
The Great Elm Chair looks like any fancy wood chair. This particular chair stands out because there is an engraved picture of the Great Elm on the backrest of the chair. Once you see the chair, you have no doubt about what it is.
This is a picture of the chair in the Special Collections Reading Room:
On the back of the chair there is an engraving plate. The etching has started to fade and it's hard to make out it out. I asked for special permission to use flash on my camera to see if it would help and with some Pixelmator help, I was able to read what it says:
made from a branch of the
GREAT ELM ON BOSTON COMMON
which fell in the gale of February 15, 1876,
was given to the Boston Public Library, July 13, 1878,
by WILLIAM W. GREENOUGH.
What's really interesting about this plate is that the words, "Boston Public Library" are in a completely different font style than the rest of the text. Not sure why that would be the case.
Useless Factoid: The chair is now sitting 1.272 km west of its original location.
The Rare Book Department is only open Monday - Thursday 9 to 5. You can only access the chair when the department is open.
I didn't think about checking to see if there's any special under the seat. If you're going to check out the chair, look under the chair to see if there's anything special under it. Could be a National Treasure Clue or something.
Let me know if you do check out the chair or if this post inspired you to discover a part of Boston that most people wouldn't have known about.
|May 5, 2016|
The Boston's Great Elm was a famous tree that stood in the middle of the Boston Commons for about 200 years. It finally came down on February 15, 1876, when it was destroyed by a huge gale storm. The tree was a popular spot for people to visit in the 1800s. It also was part of Boston's early history.
Nobody knows when the tree was planted, but rumors suggest that it was planted around the Kings Philip War around 1670 by Capt. Daniel Henchman.
In colonial times, the Boston Commons grounds were mostly a cow pasture. Cows use to lay down underneath the tree to get out of the summer sun.
The Boston's Elm was one of three trees show on early maps of Boston, which was engraved in 1722. The Boston Elm would be the last tree to fall.
Some people confuse the Boston Elm as being the famous Liberty Tree. Actually, the Liberty Tree wasn’t in the Boston Commons. The Liberty Tree was in Hanover Square, which is currently the corner of Essex and Washington Street.
The “Great Elm” was known as "Boston Oldest Inhabitant."
Early town records indicate that Quakers and “witches” were hanged on its branches. Mary Dyer was one of the colonial American hang from the tree.
The Sons of Liberty hung lanterns on evening during festival occasions.
Citizens use to gather near the tree to protest the British Occupation of the town.
During the early days of the American Revolution, British Solders camp underneath the Elm when they occupied Boston.
In 1825, the tree was measured, 65 feet in height and a circumference of 24 feet 2 inches.
Before the tree came down, a small fence was built around it to prevent people from climbing the tree.
The tree was in tough shape after the storm in 1860 damaged the tree. It was a strong gale wind in a storm on February 15, 1876, that brought down the tree.
After the Boston Elm tree was taken down, a sizable relic was given to the Children's Museum in Jamaica Plain. Note: This is not the Boston Children's Museum. That started out in Jamaica Plain but not until 20 years later.
A chair made of the wood from the Boston Elm is in the rare book room in the Boston Public Library. Worth checking out if you're interested in Colonial Boston history.
The Boston Great Elm was located in the middle of Boston Commons, between the Boston Common Visitors Center and Frog Pond. The marker is in the ground. The center of the marker is green surround by light brown cement. (See the picture above)
From the ‘Park Street’ T stop, head towards the Brewer Fountain, then head towards the Boston Gardens. You’ll be walking on the “Mayor’s Walk.” In about a 100 yards, you’ll come to a walkway intersection. Take a short walk up the grassy hill and you’ll see the marker for the “Great Elm Site."
The Marker reads:
Site of the Great Elm
Here the Sons of Liberty Assembled
Here Jesse Lee, Methodist Pioneer,
Preached in 1790.
The landmark of the Common, the Elm
blew down in 1876.
Placed by the
N.E. Methodist Historical Society.