Boston Blog Posts

March 21, 2019

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.

March 14, 2019

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.

March 7, 2019

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.

February 28, 2019

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.

February 21, 2019

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.

February 14, 2019

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.
February 7, 2019

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 .

Misc

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.

January 31, 2019

Winter Stick Garden

As you walk along Boylston Street in the winter, you may notice a strange looking garden in front of the Old South Church. It's the famous Winter Stick Garden:

Red Stick Garden

Four things I learned about the Winter Stick Garden

  • Garden first appeared in the winter of 2010 and was created by Jim Hood and Diane Gaucher
  • There are 600 sticks in the Winter Stick Garden.
  • This was an inspiration for a similar display around the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in 2012.
  • The Red Osier Dogwood can be found around the Charles River and in the Back Bay's Emerald Necklace.

Sign in front of the Winter Stick Garden

Red Osier Drift

Spruce, solid casein stain, salt marsh hay

A winter garden of color for Old South Church's street front. This stick garden is a sculptural abstraction of a drift of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) a native shrub found across the eastern United States, and appearing in our planters boxes near the front door.

The sticker was stained and installed by a team of members of Old South Church as a labor of love and gift to the city. Besides being a thing of beauty, the stick garden is also a proclamation of our faith: that beauty will spring from barrenness, form out of chaos, life out of death. Here in the coldest and darkest time of year, we make bold to proclaim that spring and life are on the way.

January 24, 2019

The Founders Memorial

At one of the Beacon Street entrances to the Boston Commons, is Boston's Founders Monument. It's a special monument to the founders of the City of Boston.

The sculpture shows William Blackstone (also known as Blaxton) greeting John Winthrop and his company. TO the right of Winthrop, are John Wilson, clergyman; Ann Pollard, first white woman to arrive in Boston, and a female figure representing Boston. At the left are two Native Americans. In the background, men are pulling the boats onto the shore.

Founders Monument

Nine Things I Learned about The Founders Memorial

The memorial was requested by the City of Boston to commemorate the Boston's Tercentenary.

The 15' by 45' by 20' monument with a 5.5' by 11' bronze relief sculpture was created by sculptor John Francis Paramino.

It was dedicated on September 16, 1930 at 2:30 pm.

The memorial cost $45,000 ($661,139.47 in 2018) and paid for by the City of Boston.

The two men on the memorial are William Blackstone (also spelled Blaxton), the first white settler and owner of the Boston Commons and Gov. John Winthrop the official founder and organizer of both the Bay Colony and Boston.

The memorial is located at the location of the ancient freshwater spring. The spring is the main reason people came to Boston - they weren't going to drinking the water, the early settlers wanted the water to make beer.

The memorial features a small fountain which is symbolic to the spring that was at the site 300 years ago.

According to Henry Lee, the former president of the Friends of the Public Gardens, there's one interesting quirk about the memorial. The image of Blackstone looks very similar to James Michael Curley - the mayor of Boston when the statue was unveiled.

The memorial was restored in 1982 by the City of Boston Environment Department.

Text on the Back of the Monument

The text on the monument may be hard to read. here's the quote from

John Winthrop gave this as part of a speech as his crew was disembarking the Arabella to the shores of Boston for the first time:

For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty on a hill the lies of all people are uppon us so that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke we have undertaken...Wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world - john winthrop on board the Arbella 1630

William Bradford about Plymouth Plantation

thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by his hand that made all things out of nothing...and as one small candle may light a thousand so the light here kindled hath shone to many yea in some sorte to our whole nation - William Bradford at charles-towne 1630

Finally a quote during the dedication

in gratitude to god for the blessings enjoyed under a free government the city of boston has erected this memorial on the three hundred anniversary of its founding -- September 17th 1630 - 1930
james michael curley mayor
charles allerton coolidge architect - john francis pararmino sculptor

Finding the Memorial

The Monument is located at the entrance to the Boston Public Commons at the intersection of Beacon Street and Spruce Street. There is a traffic light on Beacon Street.

Public Transportation: Take the Green Line to Park Street, and take the paths to Frog Pond. Then take Brinner Path towards Beacon Street and walk down the Beacon Street Mall. It's about a 5-minute walk.

January 17, 2019

Great Molasses Flood Sign

Last year I blogged about some interesting facts on the Great Molasses Flood. However, one of the things that were left out was the mention of a small sign at the site.

The sign is small and is somewhat hidden along a stone wall. Most people may not notice the marker.

Great Molasses Flood Marker

Molasses Flood Full Sign2019

Here's the text on the marker:

Boston Molasses Flood

On January 15, 1919, a molasses tank at 529 Commercial Street exploded under pressure, killing 21 people. A 40-foot wave of molasses buckled the elevated railroad tracks, crushed buildings and inundated the neighborhood. Structural defects in the tank combined with unseasonably warm temperatures contributed to the disaster.

- The Bostonian Society

Finding the Green Marker

The marker is located between the two baseball fields on Commercial Street. Here's a picture of the area with a red arrow pointing to the Great Molasses Flood Marker.

Molasses Flood Sign

If you want to set your GPS, heres the exact location on Google Maps.

January 10, 2019

King Memorial at the Boston Public Gardens

The Boston Public Gardens will soon get a new memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. The memorial is to not only commemorate the work that Marin Luther King and Coretta Scott King did but also to demonstrate that much work needs to be done.

The memorial will be located in the Boston Public Commons between the Armstrong Path and Liberty Mall near the State House.

King Monument Location
Location of the King Monument.

Why Boston?

Boston was where Marin Luther King and Coretta Scott King met for the first time while they both were going to school. Martin Luther King went to Boston University and Coretta Scott King went to New England Conservatory of Music.

Funding the Memorial

The King Boston organization plans to raise $15 million for the Boston Commons project. So far, the group has raised about $4.5 million. Paul English, technology entrepreneur, donated $1 million, and the Lewis Family Foundation had also donated $1 million.

Finding the right designs

Early last year, the King Boston organization put out a design requests for the memorial. They received 126 submissions from around the world. In May, they narrowed the field down to five finalists.

Final 5 Designs

Design1
'Boston's King Memorial'
David Adjaye and Adam Pendleton with FuturePace

Design2
'Empty Pulpit Monument'
Barbara Chase-Riboud with Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Design3
'The Embrace'
Hank Willis Thomas with MASS Design Group

Design4
'The Ripple Effects'
Wodiczko + Bonder and Maryann Thompson Architects

Design5
'Avenue Of Peace'
Yinka Shonibare

Designs came from the King Boston foundation's website - added the team names to the images.

Next Steps

King Boston was to announce the winner of the design in December 2018. No announcement has been made yet. (Perhaps an announcement will be made on Marin Lither King day?)

January 3, 2019

OneIda Football Club Monument

The Oneida Football Club, founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1862, was the first organized team to play any kind of football in the United States.

In 1925, a monument was placed nearby the field that the OneIda Football club played.

Oneida Football Club Monument

Ten Interesting Things I learned about the OneIda Football Club

  1. Games were played from 1862 to 1865.
  2. The monument on the Boston Commons was placed on November 20, 1925. Seven of the original members attended the dedication.
  3. The OneIda Football Club never lost a game - they were undefeated for 3-years!
  4. Each game would play to whoever scored first. Since they were undefeated, no team was able to score a goal.
  5. The football used was practically round - and one of the original footballs is stored at the Boston Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. You can see the football design on the top of the monument.
  6. The uniform was a pirate-type - a red bandana on the head.
  7. There were 15 members of the Oneida team, as follows: Hon Gerrit Smith Miller (captain), Edward Lincoln Arnold, Edward Bowditch, Dr Francis Greenwood Peabody, James D'Wolf Lovett, Dr Robert Means Lawerence, Winthrop Saltonstall Scudder, Malcome Forbes, R. Clifford Watson, Huntington F. Wolcott, Walter Brooks, Louis Thies, John P. Happ, Alanson Tucker and George Davis.
  8. Huntington Walcott was the only member of the Oneide team to die for his country - he was killed during the Civil War.
  9. Games were played against Boston Latin, English High, Roxbury High, and Dorchester High. The captain put in a request to play against some Harvard Freshmen but the request was denied by Harvard as they were fearful of the undefeated record.
  10. The Great Boston Commons Elm Tree was still standing nearby the field. It came down a year after the games stopped.

Text on the Marker

On this field the Oneida Football Club
of Boston, the first organized football
club in the United States played against
all comers from 1862 to 1865
The Oneida Goal was never crossed.
This monument is placed on Boston Commons on November 1925,
by the seven surviving members of the team.

Finding the Monument

The monument is located near the Beacon Street Mall path in the Parade Grounds area of the Boston Public Gardens. It's between the Solder's and Sailors Monument and Beacon Street. The nearest T stop would be the Boylston Street station.

December 27, 2018

Top 8 Boston Post of 2018

This year there were a lot of great Boston blog posts. It was really hard to find the ones that stood out more than others.

Top 8 Blog Posts

These were selected based on posts that the most amount of traffic.

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial - Inspiring place to remember fallen hero's.

Gerrymandering - Think congressional districts layouts are strange, learn where it all started from.

Marvin Goody Memorial - A flagpole tuck in the corner of the Boston Public Garden is a memorial to someone that help shape the garden to what it is today.

Boston Chinatown Gate - Discover some interesting history about the Chinatown Gate

MillStone by Haymarket - Historic Millstone is missing a marker. Stone has around longer than the city of Boston.

World War II Memorial in Boston - Many people don't know this large size memorial exist.

First Independence Day Toast - Learn how people celebrated on July 4th 1777.

Acorn Street - One of the last streets in Boston that still has cobblestones.

Goals for 2019

The tradition continues in 2019 - Every Thursday expect to see another exciting Boston post. There are still a lot of topics to cover on Boston - lots of forgotten stories to retell, and monuments that people don't pay much attention to.

I'll focus on better photos, unique stories and try to make each post interesting for those that are visiting the city.

If you have any post that you would like to see, let me know!

December 20, 2018

One Pinckney Street

While walking around Boston's Beacon Hill, you may notice several houses that seem a bit are out of place. One such house is at the corner of Pinckney and Joy Street, it's 1 Pinckney Street.

One Pinckney Street

Eight Things I Learned about the 1 Pinckney Street House

  • The Townhouse was built in 1789 - making it one of the oldest houses on Beacon Hill (Other homes with similar age include 5 and 7 Pinckney Street and 43 South Russell Street)
  • To put it in perspective, the Massachusetts State House, which is barely visible from the house, was built in 1795.
  • The house was built before the brick row-style houses of the 19th century.
  • There is a downstairs entrance under the porch on Joy Street.
  • This one bedroom 2 baths house is 991 square feet of living on a lot size of 435 sq feet
  • At one point the first floor was a store and there was an apartment upstairs.
  • According to the National Park Service, at one time 1,5 and 7 Pinckney Street were all one property. They were split up around 1875, when 3 Pinckney street building was built.
  • The house was put on the market in December 2015 for $1,200,000 by Gibson Sotheby's International Realty. The house was sold for $1,150,000 in April 2016.

Note: This is a still a private residence house.

December 13, 2018

Boston Gas Lamps

As you walk around the streets of Back Bay, you can't help but notice the lamps that line up the streets. These lamps have decorated the streets of Back Bay and Beacon Hill for many years.

Boston Gas Lamps

Ten Fun Facts about Boston Gas Lamps

In the early part of the 19th Century, many of the streets in Boston were lit with colonial Oil Lamps

By the 1890s, the City of Boston had converted many of the oil lamps to gas lamps

In 1909, Boston began the process of installing tungsten electric lamps. By 1913, all the lamps along the major streets in Boston were converted to electric lamps. Gas lamps were still used in residential districts.

In the 1940s and 50s, the City of Boston took over the lamp maintenance and converted all the remaining lamps to electric to maintain a city-wide standards.

In the 1960s, the City started the process of reverting the lamps back to gas in various Boston historic neighborhoods.

In 1965, It cost $100 per lamp to convert the electric lamps back to gas. ($100 in 1965 would cost $800 in 2018.)

Today are approximately 67,000 lamps in the city of Boston and 2,800 of them are gas lamps.

Each gas lamp cost the city $2 a day or $180 a year in gas usage when it's on all day.

In 2011, 600 gas lamps were modified so they would go on at dusk. Prior to 2011, the gas lamps were always on. Some locations were manually controlled by residences or the gas company.

Having an auto-on/off igniter switch has saved the city $140,000 a year - or $980,000 since 2011. The city got a grant from the state's Department of Energy Resources to fund the switch over. The igniter switch cost $750 per lamp.