|November 9, 2017|
In the center hall of the Massachusetts State House is the ‘Hall of Flags’ in the center ceiling is a clock. Many people may not know about the history around this clock.
|November 2, 2017|
On the corner of Dartmouth Street and Commonwealth Ave is the Ames-Webster Mansion.
The Mansion is located at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Commonwealth Ave. The building isn't open to the public but worth walking by to see the outside architecture.
|October 26, 2017|
Weird ghost stories that get told don't usually have much weight. Usually, it's told by people that want the attention.
However, the ghost story at the Boston Athenaeum is not only scary but the person who encountered the ghost was a pretty famous author.
Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris was a Harvard librarian, Unitarian minister and was a lifetime member of the Boston Athenaeum.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is a well-established author famous for many books including The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables.
In early spring 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne was in the library doing some research for his book "The New Adam and Eve".
He visited the library on and off for several months and encounter other authors in the Athenaeum readings rooms. He even saw Reverend Harris sitting in his favorite chair reading the Boston Post.
One day, As he was leaving the reading room a librarian informed him that Reverand Harris had passed on. Nathaniel Hawthorne was sad to hear the news as he wanted to introduce himself to him but never got a chance.
The next day he returned to the library and sat down and looked over to the Reverand chair by the fireplace and spotted Reverend Harris reading the newspaper by the window. He was probably reading his own obituary.
This went on for weeks, as every time Nathaniel Hawthorne visited the library he would see Reverend Harris sitting in the chair reading a newspaper.
Nathaniel Hawthorne never saw Reverend Harris enter the room or leave. No one else appeared to see the Reverend.
Nathaniel Hawthorne has claimed that it appeared like the Reverend wanted to talk to him but remained silent waiting to be spoken to first. After a few weeks, Reverend Harris stopped showing up in his chair.
About ten years later, while visiting friends in Europe they convinced him to put the story in writing. It would eventually get published in the Living Age magazine on February 10, 1900. (The Ghost of Doctor Harris, page 345
Download The Ghost of Doctor Harris and read the story of the encounter by Nathaniel Hawthorne by the author.
The Boston Athenaeum is a private library and the oldest library in Boston. In order to access the reading rooms mentioned in the story, you need to take a tour of the library. Currently tours start at $10.
Individual Membership to the library is $315 a year.
|October 19, 2017|
In the Boston Common's Graveyard is a gravestone that stands out among all the other ones. It belongs to Gilbert Stuart.
Gibert Stuart has quite a story
You can learn more about Gilbert Stuart history at the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum.
The Gilbert Stuart gravestone is located in Central Burying Grounds in the Boston Commons. Directly across from the GrubStreet. You can read more about Central Burial Grounds from my post last year.
|October 12, 2017|
John Smibert (Also known as John Smybert) was a Scottish American artist. You can find John Smibert paintings in various art museums:
The painting at Yale University was John Smibert favorite painting as it hung in his Boston office for everyone to see.
Next to the entrance to the Granary Burying Ground is this monument:
Here lies John Smibert
Painter 1688 - 1751
Cherish A Man Such As This
Erected by the City of Boston
John B. Hynes, Mayor
In tiny print you can see: "Ca Ascieri Adi Biccari." I wasn't able to find the date that the Bronze monument was placed, but I suspect it was in 1951 which would have been the 200 anniversary of John Smibert death.
|October 5, 2017|
The Boston Neck was a small strip of land connecting the mainland to the then-peninsular city of Boston. Over the years the area was filled in as the City of Boston popular grew.
The Boston Neck was an important part of the American Revolution as the British closed the access way into the City of Boston. This was part of the British Seize of Boston April 19, 1775 - March 17, 1776.
On the night of April 18, 1775, William Dawes snuck pass the checkpoint and rode south to warn the British were coming. Paul Revere avoids the checkpoint by crossing the Charles River by rowboat. Both patriots would meet up in Lexington and continued their journey to Concord.
Nearby the Boston Neck is where criminals, religious rebels, and other Colonial-era offenders were publicly hanged. Many published reports that hangings were done at the Boston Commons. This is probably because the area where the hanging was done was called the "Commons Land."
The bodies were then dumped or buried nearby, reportedly leaving unhappy ghosts to haunt the surrounding neighborhood.
There are no markers to indicate where the Boston Neck was. Historians that are looking for the exact location will find this overlay map very handy:
The neck was located between Peter's Park and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
The only thing that shows the history of the area is at the Union Park Street (Silver Line MBTA station). There's a couple of permanent wall posters of this history of the area.
There is a small park nearby, Peter's Park, where a statue or monument could be placed on the history of the location. Perhaps something to mark William Dawes contribution to the American Revolution.
What do you think? Should the city of Boston put a historical monument about the Boston Neck?
|September 28, 2017|
The Boston State House is a great place for tourists to learn about the History of Massachusetts.
The State House tours are free and its a great way to learn about the historic building. One location not on the tour is the State House Library. (I suspect this is because people are asked to be quiet in the library.)
The library is open to the public, you don't need to be a researcher to visit the State House Library. If visiting Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library is on your agenda then I would recommend checking the State House Library.
When you're in the library, look up at the stain glass ceiling. You will notice three distinct years on the glass:
I had to ask the Librarian on what the significance of 1861. I thought it might be when the State House was moved. She told me that it’s there to remember the start of the Civil War. (The State House was moved from the Old State House in 1798)
The State House Library has temporary exhibits to highlight some of its collection. They are now showcasing Massachusetts Symbols, such as the official State Cookie and the Official State Book.
Find out what the: Official Sport, Recreational and Team Sport, State Berry, State Bean, State Beverage, State Groundhog, State Cat and many more!
Some future Massachusetts State Symbols under consideration: Country Song, Seasoning, Shellfish, Textile, Cupcake, Patriotic Song and more.
The exhibit will be on display until the end of the year.
The State House library is located in the back of the State House on the third floor. From Monument Court, go up the Grand Staircase and turn left. Keep walking until you see the State House door.
The Temporary Exhibits are outside of the State House Library.
|September 21, 2017|
The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the second oldest in the United States. The restaurant opened in 1826 and continues to be a favorite for locals and tourists.
Some things that I learned about this historic establishment.
The building that occupied by the Union Oyster House was built in 1714 and has been an oyster house since 1826. Before that, it was a dry goods store wherein 1769 Benjamin Thompson, conducted early experiments with gunpowder and pressure cabinets.
The building also serves as headquarters for revolutionary movements. Between 1771 and 1775 Isaac Rogers published there the famed Revolutionary "Massachusetts Spy"
Daniel Webster Sign: The Original U-Shaped Mahogany Oyster Bar where Daniel Webster was a Constant Customer. He Drank a Tall Tumbler of Brandy and Water with Each Half Dozen Oysters and Seldom had less than Six Plates
|September 14, 2017|
John Winthrop (1588-1649) was an English Puritan lawyer and one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He served twelve terms as Governor between 1630 and 1649 and he was one of the founders of the First Church in Boston, which was established in 1630.
John Winthrop died in 1649 and is buried at the King's Burial Grounds.
In 1880, the City of Boston commissioned a statue of John Winthrop and put it in Scollay Square at the 250th anniversary of the founding of Boston. (September 17, 1880)
The statue was moved in 1904 as the area was being refitted for the new MTA subway station. Scollay Square was renamed Government Center. The statue ended up in front of the First Church in Boston.
Note: I was able to figure out that Alessandro Nelli worked on the statue even though nobody gives him credit. His signature is on the back of the statue. His work on this statue isn't even mentioned on the Wikipedia page.
American Slave Trade
The first documented reference to the slave trade in Massachusetts is the journal of John Winthrop (the founder of Boston), who recorded on 26 February 1638 that the Massachusetts ship Desire had returned from the West Indies carrying "some cotton, and tobacco, and negroes, etc., from thence..."
John Winthrop has the earliest recorded written record of a UFO in America. In 1639, Boston Founder and Governor John Winthrop made a peculiar entry in his journal. Within, he describes how several sober men spotted an unusual object in the sky that shone as a great light. The object was large and moved across the night sky that suddenly took on the shape of a pig.
The statue located near the corner of Marlboro and Berkley Street in the Boston's Back Bay. (299 Berkeley Street, Boston MA)
|September 7, 2017|
Born a slave, Harriett Tubman (1822 - March 10, 1913) became a famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, leading hundreds of slaves to freedom.
At the age of 28, she escaped slavery in Maryland when her master died. She spent the rest of her life helping other escape to the North and be free.
She died poor on March 10, 1913 in Auburn, New York.
Harriet Tubman never lived in Boston. She visited the city many times to recruit people to help with the Underground Railroad. She frequently stayed at the Lewis and Harriet Hayden House at 66 Phillips Street.
Did you know that in 2015 Harriet Tubman was the "People's Choice" to be the next face on the $20 bill. She would replace Andrew Jackson. The last time the face on the $20 bill was changed was in the 1920s when Jackson replaced Grover Cleveland.
Sample design someone created
If she does replace Andrew Jackson, it could bring more attention to the Harriet Tubman Square.
In 1978, The United States Post Office included Harriet Tubman in their Black Heritage stamp Series.
|August 31, 2017|
The Boston Garden Footbridge is a small bridge that allows pedestrians a quick way to cross the lagoon at the center of the Boston Public Gardens.
Winter View of the Bridge
|August 24, 2017|
"Mr. Watson, come here -- I want to see you." Those famous words were uttered by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876, in Scollay Square in Boston. They were spoken at a workshop on the second floor of 109 Court Street.
On Court Street is a marker to where Alexander Graham Bell discovered the telephone
The marker reads, "Birthplace of the Telephone. Here, on June 2, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson first transmitted sound over wires. This successful experiment was completed in a fifth-floor garret at what was then 109 Court Street and marked the beginning of worldwide telephone service."
The marker is located next to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building. You can see it next to the blue sign on the Cambridge Street side of the building. Simply walk along the Boston City Hall Plaza towards Sudbury Street. You'll see the "John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building" sign. The marker is on the other side of the bushes.
While in Boston, Alexander Graham Bell lived at 38 W. Newton St., Boston MA. A petition was submitted to the Boston Landmark Commission to make it a landmark. The request was denied on April 1979. I assume that the original building was taken down to make room for modern buildings. It is now a private residence, there are no signs to indicated who lived there before.
Given the location of Alexander home and work, chances are that he might have walked the streets of Boston to get to and from work. He would know about the Great Elm of the Boston Commons and probably cut through the commons to get to his workshop.
Most people have been taught that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. However, there is controversy on who really invented the telephone.
The telephone design was the patent on March 7, 1876. On January 13, 1887, the Government of the United States moved to annul the patent issued to Bell on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation, a case that the Supreme Court found viable and remanded for trial.
Whereas Antonio Meucci, the great Italian inventor, had a career that was both extraordinary and tragic;
Whereas, upon immigrating to New York, Meucci continued to work with ceaseless vigor on a project he had begun in Havana, Cuba, an invention he later called the ''teletrofono'', involving electronic communications;
Whereas Meucci died in October 1889, the Bell patent expired in January 1893, and the case was discontinued as moot without ever reaching the underlying issue of the true inventor of the telephone entitled to the patent; and
Whereas if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged.
Note: Only the House of Representatives voted on this action. No Senate vote was taken.
Should Boston remove the Telephone marker near City Hall? Based on the actions by Congress, the marker gives false credit to Alexander Graham Bell as the inventor of the telephone.
|August 17, 2017|
Between Faneuil Hall and the Old State House is the Ames Boston Hotel. This building is the first skyscraper in the city of Boston.
View from the Old State House.
Four firemen lost their lives in the construction of the Ames Building during a massive "The Thanksgiving Day Fire" on November 28, 1889. The fire was started in the basement of a warehouse about 5 blocks from the Ames Building. The fire destroyed hundreds of buildings and killed fourteen people.
Following firefighters were found dead in the Ames Building:
At one time there was a Time Ball on the top of the Ames Building. The ball was used to help mariners entering Boston harbor for the correction of their chronometers. Each day at exactly at noon the ball would be hoisted to the top of the pole on the Ames Building. The ball was put up on December 30, 1902 and taken down on September 7, 1923. It was removed since the invention of radio time signal the service was no longer needed
The Bostonian Society placed the following marker on the building:
When the thirteen-story Ames Building was completed in 1889, it was the tallest building in Boston. Designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, the building exhibits both Romanesque and Byzantine architectural styles. The Ames Building was constructed before skyscrapers were built of steel, and instead is supported by nine-foot thick masonry walls. It is considered a great technical achievement of its day, and remains the tallest example of the type of construction in the United States. In 2009, the newly renovated Ames Building reopened as the Ames Hotel.
The Ames Boston Hotel is located at 1 Court Street in Boston's Financial district. It's located directly across the street from the Old State House.
|August 10, 2017|
In the courtyard of the Old City Hall is a statue of a Donkey and a pair of elephant footprints.
They were the inventions of Thomas Nast, an illustrator who became America's preeminent political cartoonist. Nast's donkey first appeared as a Democratic party symbol in Harper's Weekly on Jan. 15, 1870. The elephant turned up in Harper's four years later.
|August 3, 2017|
Every day about 20,000 commuters travel through the Sumner tunnel from East Boston to Downtown Boston. Here's some information about the person that the tunnel is named after.
Five General Information Facts about William H. Sumner
Mentioned in Edward M. Kennedy: "Chappaquiddick" speech (Top 100 American Speeches):
The people of this state, the state which sent John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster, and Charles Sumner, and Henry Cabot Lodge, and John Kennedy to the United States Senate are entitled to representation in that body by men who inspire their utmost confidence. For this reason, I would understand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. For me, this will be a difficult decision to make.