|January 19, 2017|
At the 177 Huntington Ave Office Building you can still see signs of the old building owner. On the back stairs, at each floor landing is a "Certificate of Occupancy." This is a copy of one of the documents:
This particular Certificate of Occupancy defines the max load for all floors in the building as 50 lbs per square foot.
Some information about the Building Code in the City of Boston:
The act was changed a few years later:
In older building, built before 1975, you will find in one of the stairwells, most likely not a heavy traffic one, a Certificate of Occupancy.
|January 12, 2017|
In the early 1950s, Martin Luther King lived in Boston while he was attending school at Boston University of Theology.
He lived at two locations:
Apartment at 170 Saint Botolph Street, Boston Mass.
Martin Luther King lived on St. Botolph Street for his first semester at Boston University of Divinity. He lived between Albemarle and Blackwood Street. (170 Saint Botolph Street)
397 Massachusetts Ave, Boston Mass.
Next Semester he and a student at Tuffs moved to an apartment nearby on Massachusetts Ave, just beyond the Mass Ave Orange Line station. While living there met his wife Coretta Scott of Alabama. ( 397 Massachusetts Ave)
He received his Ph.D. degree on June 5, 1955.
Note: Both locations are priviate residences.
|January 5, 2017|
While waiting for the commuter rail at any of the seven tracks you will see a map of Boston's Back bay. While some of the maps are showing 'Old Boston Town," there are a few modern maps. I am guessing that the maps are there to help people located various points in the Back Bay.
Commuters waiting for the Framingham/Worcester trains may not pay much attention to the maps in the terminal. They are located in various places along the train tracks. The maps may seem fine, but if you take a close look at the map and you may discover something doesn't look quite right.
Example of some of the Oddity that you may see on the map: (This is the top left section)
Looks like the maps are from the Dukakis Administration.
The outdated maps are somewhat useful to get a rough idea where they are to other points in the Back Bay such as Boston Public Gardens and Newbury Street.
However, the maps are outdated. The MBTA can take three courses of action:
You can see the old Boston map between Track 7 and 5 at the Back Bay Commuter rail station.
When you walk into the station from the Dartmouth Street entrance, enter the doors with "South End" and walk by the Dunkin Donuts stand.
Turn left after Dunkin Donuts and go down the stairs where you see "Tracks 5 & 7."
Take a right at the bottom and then another right. Take a short walk along the train tracks.
Walk to the overhead digital clock look to the right and you'll see the classic map.
|December 29, 2016|
In the movie "Good Will Hunting" there is is a scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon talk on a bench at the Boston Gardens.
In Boston, this is known as the Robin William's bench. Bostonians placed flowers and other memorabilia on the bench when he died on August 11, 2014.
"Some people think they know everything - yet they UNDERSTAND nothing"
Someone doing Yoga on the Robin William's bench at the Boston Public Gardens.
Robin Williams park bench is located in the Boston Public Gardens, near the George Washington Statue and the Public Garden's Foot Bridge. There is no marker or indicator that this is Robin William's bench.
There are two markers in the stone at the bench. As your facing the bench and look on the ground:
|December 22, 2016|
In October 10 2016, the City of Boston named the bridge between Fenway Park and Kenmore Square the David Ortiz bridge. The bridge was formally known as the "Brookline Avenue Bridge."
David Ortiz sign to the Boston Red Sox on January 22, 2003. In a few short years he became the most important clutch hitter for the Boston Red Sox. He is regarded as one of the best clutch hitters of all time, Ortiz had 11 career walk-off home runs during the regular season and 2 during the postseason.
He became the MVP of the 2013 World Series by getting the team focus on winning.
Most people are familiar with the bridge they probably walked on it going to a baseball game at Fenway Park.
The city of Boston wanted to make a big deal of the bridge so they put up four bridge signs. The signs are located on each end of the bridge.
There are several good photo opportunities of the 'Ortiz Bridge' sign. There a great opportunity with the sign, Fenway Park and the Prudential building. The best opportunity is crossing the Brookline Ave at Fenway Park and taking a picture with the landmark Citgo Sign.
Great shot of the Ortiz sign and the Citgo Sign in Kenmore Square.
After you cross the bridge, there is a bonus sign just as you get down the stairs. The sign is in the window at a perfect height for selfies.
The best way to get to the bridge is to catch the Green Line to Kenmore Square and walk to Fenway Park. The signs for the 'David Ortiz' bridge are very large and you won't miss it!
|December 15, 2016|
At the corner of Dartmouth Street and Stuart Street is one of the entrances to the Copley Place. Over the past year, many commuters have had to use this entrance to access the Bay Bay station from Copley Place due to the constructions of another entrance closer to the station.
In front of this entrance is an art display featuring two horses.
The two horses that are in the area in front of Copley Plaza are named Henry and Paint. Both of them have a plaque underneath them.
There is a plaque underneath both horses and they both have the following inscription:
The horses are made of cast bronze armature using traditional lost way process, with overlapping sheets of copper then welded on a bronze armature.
The two-pieces abstract equestrian sculpture is the artwork of known "constructivist" Deborah Butterfield. The sculptor has focused on horses for over 20 years and has never made any use of drawings or sketches. Although, the artist is not captivated with mimicking any certain aspect of the horse, be the way she carefully chooses her materials she suggests some of the most delicate and surprising characteristics of the horse.
The artist born in San Diego, CA on May 7, 1940, makes use of two important ideas in art: unity and variety. These two principles serve as a fitting compliment for the centerpiece of the mixed-use complex entrance.
The plaque also gives the dimension of the two horses:
|Paint||1987 Bronze & Copper||86"h x 118"w x 36"d|
|Henry||1987 Bronze & Copper||89"h x 94"w x 43"d|
The future of "Henry" and "Paint" is uncertain, as Simon Property Group planned to build a 52-story tower at the corner of Dartmouth Street and Stuart Street.
Boston Redevelopment Agency approved of the 52-story tower on May 14, 2015. The 52-story tower was due to include 542 condos and apartments as well as retail and had been a long, long time planning.
In October 2016, Simon Property Group halted any forward progress of the new tower due to rising construction costs and concerns over the rising supply of luxury housing.
|December 8, 2016|
For many Bostonian's the Holiday Pops is a popular annual tradition, this year marks the 43rd year of celebrating Christmas music. Tickets are extremely hard to get, and usually sell out within hours of going on sale.
The show features many popular Christmas songs, as Keith Lockhart conducts the orchestra and encourages the crowd to sing-a-long. The crowd favorite was the 12 days of Christmas and the singers add a bit of humor to the classic song.
We sat on the first balcony near the stage and enjoyed the music and watching Keith Lockhart. We highly recommend sitting between rows 1 - 20 on the first balcony. The nice thing about the balcony is that kids can see the performance because there's no obstruction view. If you sit at the tables on the orchestra floor you can't see the all the orchestra clearly.
Camera and recording equipment are prohibited in Symphony Hall during concerts. However, there were plenty of guests that were taking pictures of the performance using their smartphones.
View from the First Balcony, Seat 10
The Holiday Pops is considered a Special Event and qualifies for discount parking. This means that the Prudential garage is the best place to park for the Holiday Pops.
The parking situation at the Prudential has recently changed to now include automatic checkout. I inquired to the Prudential parking staff on how to take advantage of the discount parking with the new changes.
This is the response I received:
Make sure when you exit the garage to call over the attendant to get your parking discount. Failure to do so will result in a higher parking rate.
Valid for evening and weekend events only, at Symphony Hall, Berklee, Huntington Theater, Jordan Hall
Special $18.00 Event Rate
Enter after 2:00 p.m. Mon-Fri
Enter after 7:00 a.m. Weekends
Exit by 3:00 a.m.
Customer must surrender ticket event stub at garage exit
Symphony Hall is a 5-minute walk from the Prudential Center.
|December 1, 2016|
One of the best views of Boston is from the 50th floor of the Prudential Building. That's where you'll find the Skywalk Observatory - Boston's only 360 city view.
Along with the amazing view of Boston are several interactive exhibits that will inform you about the history of Boston. Some of the exhibits that you'll see when you're walking around the floor:
Visit in the afternoon if you looking for views/pictures of Fenway Park, Metro West and Back Bay
Visit in the morning if you want good pictures of Downtown Boston. Otherwise, you may end up seeing the Prudential shadow in your pictures.
Downtown Boston from the Skywalk Observatory at 3pm on November 11, 2016.
|November 24, 2016|
The Halifax Explosion occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the morning of December 6, 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin.
The low-speed collision caused a series of chain reactions that resulted in a fast moving fire on the SS Mont-Banc. The fire caused a ignited the cargo on the SS Mont-Banc, causing a large explosion that devastated the seaport district of Halifax. Nearly 2,000 people were killed by blast and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.
As soon as the news hit Boston, locals scrambled to send help to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Within 24-hours after the accident, a train was loaded up with medical supplies and was sent up north. Unfortunately, a major snow storm hit and the train was delayed and didn't arrive until December 9th.
The train arrived in Halifax just in time as supplies were badly needed, in addition, the medical staff on the train was able to cover for many of those that were working since the explosion occurred.
Nine years after the incident, the city of Halifax sent a Christmas in appreciation of the support by the people of Boston. The tree was also a way to promote Christmas Tree exports from Nova Scotia. The annual gift was soon taken over by the Nova Scotia Government as a way to promote the goodwill gesture and to promote Nova Scotia to Boston.
Here's the timeline that happens every year:
There are certain requirements for the Christmas Tree, as not just any tree will do:
This year marks the 99th of the Halifax Explosion.
It cost Nova Scotia $250,000 (Canada) a year to send a tree to Boston.
The Nova Scotia CA story has a complete cost breakdown of the true cost of sending the tree to Boston.
Most of the Christmas trees come from the open land and not from Christmas Tree farms. Landowners that agree to give up their tree get some compensation, last year a family was paid $500.
An average Balsam Tree grows less than 12" a year. Which means that a qualified Balsam Fir would have to have been planted at least 40 years ago to be eligible for Boston.
Nova Scotia pays for the lighting ceremony in Boston.
|November 17, 2016|
At the corner of Washington and State Street is Massachusetts Old State House building.
The building played an important part of the history of the United States. The Boston Massacre happened in front of the building on March 5, 1770. The Declaration of Independence was read for the first time in Boston to a crowd on July 18th, 1776. After the Revolution, the building was the location of the Massachusetts State government.
It served as Boston City Hall (1830 - 1841) and as a commercial building (1841-1881).
Since 1881 the building has been a museum run by the Bostonian Society.
The Queen of England gave a speech on the famous balcony on July 4, 1976.
Youth (6-18) are free, so there's nothing to lose by taking them to the Old State House.
There are a couple of rooms on the second floor where my five-year daughter had some fun in.
In the "State Room" there are some puzzles to put together. Kids can try to rebuild the Old City Hall with a tall puzzle, build a wall using soft bricks and try to piece together an old photo.
In the "Old State House: A Hands-on History" room kids can draw a small picture and then hang it on the wall. There are story books to read all about Boston history at a kids size table. Kids can re-create the process of having to fix the clock.
Average time in the museum is about 45 minutes, it depends on how much you're into Boston history and if you take the tour.
The souvenir shop has lots of goodies for kids. There are lots of colonial period items such as a feather pen and scrolls. On this trip, we picked up a large pencil since it's similar to the one she uses at school.
You do not have to go to the museum to visit the gift shop, so if your walking by the Old State House it's worth just stopping by for some unique Boston Souvenirs. Your purchase supports the museum, so it's for a good cause. (There's a good selection of Boston coffee mugs if you're looking something for the office.)
Parents with kids are always concern about bathrooms...
In the basement is a bathroom that was reasonably clean, you do have to purchase museum tickets to use the bathroom. It's a good pit stop if you're heading towards downtown crossing or the commons since good bathrooms are hard to find.
My five-year-old daughter had a fun time learning about history at the museum. She enjoyed learning about how colonial chairs were made, sitting at the head of the table, looking at the old clothes and seeing history up close. She had a fun time with the puzzles and was excited to put up a drawing on the board with her name.
|November 10, 2016|
How the recent renovation at the Government Center MBTA station killed a view of a Boston landmark.
Between King Burial Grounds and Granary Burying Ground is a small medallion on the sidewalk pavement. The medallion is a bit hidden and is probably missed by many tourists walking between King Burial Grounds and Boston Commons.
Here is a picture of the medallion that is in front of the Omni Parker House:
The inscription reads:
Today when you look up towards the King Burial Grounds, to see The North Church Tower, this is what you see:
When the MBTA redesigned the Government Center back in 2014, they added a 40-foot glass structure. However, didn't take into account blocking the North Church Tower. You can still see part of the church through the glass structure, but the view is definitely blocked. At night, the glass structure is blue, which would completely prevent you from seeing the Church tower.
I wasn't able to find any information on why Charles Hilgenhurst wanted the view to be visible from the Omni Parker House. There isn't any document online or at the Boston Public Library about installing the medallion.
The medallion is located 3,580.80 feet (1091.43 meters) from the The North Church.
The medallion is located on Boylston Street, near the intersection of School Street. The GPS coordinates is: 42.357675, -71.060633
|November 3, 2016|
WROR, Boston's Greatest Hits Station, continues to dominate the Boston radio market. Month after Month they are what Bostonians are listing to all day.
WMJX, Magic 106.7, is a mass appeal radio station that plays songs that have stood the test of time, along with the best new music in the contemporary arena today. You’ll hear Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Pink and Elton John…it’s the best variety anytime!
Boston is a huge sports town and people like to talk sports over local politics. WBZ, the Sports Hub, and WEEI are neck and neck fighting to entertain their listeners.
General Talk Radio is very limited in the Boston Market. It seems that WRKO is that last of the major stations to survive.
Download Boston's Radio Graphic to discover where the top 13 stations are on the radio dial. This is useful if you're setting up the station memory slots on your car radio.
If you want a higher resolution copy for print, let me know and I'll send you a high-quality PDF version.
I'll update the graphic anytime there are major changes to any of the stations.
For those that were disappointed about not learning anything about Boston's history. We'll go back to exploring various sites around Boston - next week.
If you have any site that you want featured, let me know!
|October 27, 2016|
In Boston, there are four major cemeteries that opened during the Colonial period.
|Place||Years in Operation||Number of Interments|
|King Chapel||1630 - 1660||1,500 people|
|Old Granary Burial Ground||1660 - 1856||5,000 people|
|Copp's Hill Burying Ground||1659 - 1968||10,000 people|
|Central Burial Grounds||1756 - 1836||5,000 people|
The one that is most likely to be haunted is the Central Burial Grounds. That is because of a couple of major events that have happened at the cemetery.
The need for a third burial grounds came about because of the continued growth of the city of Boston. It was established on the Boston Common in 1756. It is located on Boylston Street between Tremont Street and Charles Street.
The grounds were actually not all that desire of a place because it was further away from the main part of the city. Many of the city poor were buried here. Many children were buried here.
During the occupation of Boston, the British buried their dead in the Central Burial Grounds. They either died in combat or as a result of disease during the occupation of Boston, and the various battles around the city.
First Disturbance - Boylston Street Expansion
In 1836, Boston Mayor Samuel Armstrong requested extending Boylston Street to connect with Tremont Street. As a result, a considerable part of the cemetery had to be eliminated and a row of tombs had to be moved to make room for the street.
The tombs were relocated in a long barrow, which is called the "The Dell."
The Dell at the Central Burial Grounds.
In 1894, when the Tremont Street Subway was under construction, burials were discovered in the area near the cemetery. These were reinterred in a mass grave within the bounds of the burying ground.
Many of the 900 bodies that were found were the British soldiers who died during the Boston occupation 100 years earlier.
The mass grave has a slate table and three boundary stones to mark the spot of those that were relocated.
There were a couple of strange events that happened near the cemetery after the two disturbances.
On March 4, 1897, a gas explosion took place just a few feet from the Central Burial Grounds. In all six people were killed and at least sixty were injured. All the buildings in the area were shaken and windows in the area were broken.
The total damage cost, other than the loss of six people, was $10,000. (Equivalent to $287,196.15 in 2015) Most of that was for all the broken windows in the buildings.
At the time there was a well-known issue with a gas leak at the Boylston as many people reported the strong gas smell to the gas company. The gas company was negligent for not responding in time.
However, since it happened near the cemetery and shortly after the move of many graves, some think that a paranormal event occurred.
In 2006, a horrific accident occurred during construction at the Emerson Dormitory building on Boylston Street. This was the first building being constructed opposite the cemetery in roughly 80 years.
On April 6, 2006, a large scaffold collapsed, and three people tragically lost their lives. An investigation went into the accident and discovered that it was a worker procedure error that caused the crane to collapse.
There is a ghost story around the Central Burying Ground where a "Girl Without a face" has been spotted wandering around the graveyard. I heard about this story from various sources, and will need to research more for a future blog post.
|October 20, 2016|
On the eastern side of the Boston Commons is a landmark bandstand. The bandstand is named after George F. Parkman and is officially called the "Parkman Bandstand."
George F. Parkman was the last family member of the Parkman family, a wealthy Bostonian Family. The were consider one of the Boston Brahmin - a class of wealthy, educated, elite members of Boston society in the nineteenth century.
When George Parkman died on September 16, 1908, he gave the city of Boston $5 million for the purpose of taking care of the park. That would be equivalent to $133,064,476.27 in today's value.
This is the second monument that is named after George F. Parkman in the Boston Commons. In front of the visitor center is Parkman Plaza, a circular paved area with three bronze statues representing Industry, Religion, and Learning. The Parkman Plaza was dedicated in 1960.
When you walk up the stairs of the Bandstand there is a plaque on the floor that was placed during the 1912 dedication ceremony. The text is all uppercase using an old style too look "clean and classy." This is the old-world style text:
There is an interesting side story about George Parkman family.
In 1849, George Parkman father, Dr. George Parkman, was murdered at Harvard Medical School in one of the most famous murder cases in Harvard history.
On November 23, 1849, Dr. George Parkman, a successful surgeon, stopped by Harvard Medical School to collect some money from John White Webster, a Harvard professor. Mr. Webster had some problems with paying off the debt and ended up murdering Mr. Parkman. Mr. Webster placed his parts inside a brick wall. A week later the body was discovered by Ephrain Littlefield, a janitor at Harvard Medical School.
The crime and trial of Mr. Webster was an international sensation. Tickets were sold to those that wanted to sit in the courtroom, and six thousand tickets were sold. The trial lasted for 12-days and John White Webster was convicted of Parkman's murder on March 30, 1850 (127 days after the murder).
He was executed on August 30, 1850. That's 280 days after the murder, and 153 days after being convicted.
There are some historians that believe that John White Webster may not have been guilty of murder and that the murder might have been accomplished by Webster's accuser.
The Parkman Bandstand is a great place to take pictures of the Boston Foliage:
|October 13, 2016|
A few months ago I wrote about some information about the "Make Way for Ducklings" statue in the Boston Public Gardens. One of the facts I mentioned was that 2 of the ducklings that were stolen were never returned. I learned this week that one of them did get returned.
In the Children's section of the Boston Public Library Central Branch is "Quack", one of the missing ducks.
Quack might be hard to find when you bring a child to the Children's section you can play a game to find Quack. You can find Quack in a small window on the front right side as you walk in the Children's section. There might be couches or blocks that could make it hard to see when you walk in. (Simply walk along the right wall.)
After finding Quack, sit down and read the "Make Way for Ducklings" story. It's a lot easier to do it at the library than in the Public Gardens.
There is a little wall sign near the duck statue about the lone duck:
Quack was among eight ducklings and a mother mallard sculpted and cast for the Boston Public Garden by artist Nancy Schon in 1987. The bronze feathered family, one of Boston's most famous public art installations, pay homage to Robert McCloskey's famous children's book Make Way for Ducklings (1941). In the much-loved story, the ducks find their way to a new home on an island in the Public Garden's Lagoon. McCloskey (1914-2003) brought six ducklings to live with him in his New York studio while he was illustrating the tale; he webbed roommates modeled for a series of preparatory sketches that now reside in the Boston Public Library print collection.
Not long after the Public Garden statues were installed, young Quack (the last in the line of ducklings) went missing. Schon cast a duplicate sculpture to replace the figure. In 1988, Quack came back and soon make its way to the Boston Public Library's Children's Library, where it has become a beloved resident.
Gift of Nancy Schon, 1989.
Maybe someday Quack will get united with the rest of the family. Here's a link to the original "Make Way for Ducklings" blog post.
The original Mack statue is still missing! Bring Mack Back!