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    Boston Common: discovering the oldest park in the United States

    Who I am
    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    There is no shortage of things to see in Boston and certainly along your itinerary you will come across Boston Common. It is a large park open all year round, located in a central and strategic area for visiting the city and easily accessible by public transport. Among other things, this is the America's oldest public park and to make it famous, in addition to the history, are the attractions that surround it more than the park itself (even if the activities and pastimes are not lacking: you can skate in winter, sunbathe near the lake in summer or walk and entertain the children on the carousel in spring or autumn).



    In fact, the Freedom Trail starts from Boston Common, a 4-kilometer path that can be identified thanks to the road paved with red bricks that connects the Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Monument, passing through the most interesting monuments and historical sites in Boston. So let's find out what awaits us!

    Index

    • Where it is, how to get there and other useful information
    • 350 years of history for the Boston Common
    • What to see on your visit to Boston Common
      • Boston Common Attractions
      • Attractions on the edge of Boston Common
      • Itinerary among the places of interest of the Boston Common
    • Where to sleep in the area

    Where it is, how to get there and other useful information

    Boston Common spans 50 acres, more than 20 acres, fra Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street, Charles Street e Boylston Street. The park is public and is open every day. If what you are looking for is a little relaxation from the city streetcar, west of Charles Street (a few meters from the western edge of Boston Common), there is another large and fascinating park, the Boston Public Garden.



    Boston Common's opening hours are from 6.30am to 23.00pm, although pedestrian access is allowed at any time of day or night.

    La Metro stop the closest is Park Street for the Red Line and for lines B, C, D, E. The stop is between Park Street and Tremont Street and when you exit the metro you will find yourself in front of Park Street Church and the park.

    If you are touring Boston in a rental car and want to stop at Boston Common, you may want to park at the Boston Common Garage on Charles Street or the One Beacon Street Garage on Beacon Street. There are also paid parking spaces around the park, but it is not easy to find them free and usually the parking allowed is a maximum of two hours.

    Beside the park, on Tremont Street, is the Boston Common Visitor Center, a tourist information point.

    Boston Common and the Public Garden are maintained and preserved by a volunteer organization, Friends of the Public Garden, which organizes events and activities in the various parks of Boston. In high season, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 16.00 pm the volunteers organize Free guided tours (in English). The tour departs from the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture located on the north east side of the Public Garden near Charles Street.

    Boston Common is part of the Emerald Necklace: 9 parks joined by streets and waterways for a total of 1100 acres and about 7 miles to walk between Boston Common and Franklin Park, passing through Public Garden, Muddy River and Leverett, Willow, Ward's, Jamaica and Arnold Arboretum.


    350 years of history for the Boston Common

    Boston Common was founded in the 1634 and is therefore considered the oldest park in the United States. Puritan settlers from England arrived in this area in 1630, the year the city of Boston was founded. Church of England priest William Blackstone (or Blaxton) owned the land and the settlers decided to buy it for a minimum of 6 shillings each to reach the required amount.


    Over the years this park has been the scene of executions, sermons, military parades, public demonstrations and important events. From the tea tax protests of 1768 to the English troop encampments to their retreat and General Washington's speech for the victorious troops, the Boston Common took a key role during the American Revolution.

    During the Civil War the park welcomed protests against slavery, demonstrations to greet the soldiers who were leaving and to celebrate the various victories, as well as a demonstration of condolence for the death of President Lincoln.

    Martin Luther King spoke to Bostonians in this park and in 1979 Pope John Paul II celebrated mass, the first mass of a pope in North America. In addition to the protests against unjust taxes in the eighteenth century and against slavery in the nineteenth century, the Boston Common hosted various other protests, from that of October 15, 1969 against the war in Vietnam in which over 100.000 people participated to that of January 2017 against discrimination against women (175.000 people) and August 2017 against racism and white supremacy (40.000 people).


    What to see on your visit to Boston Common

    Although it is one of the most historically important parks in America, Boston Common is more famous for the attractions that surround it than for those within it, however the places of interest in the park are not few and a walk in the park can be a lot. enjoyable. Here's what awaits you:

    Boston Common Attractions

    • Brewer Fountain, a bronze fountain installed in 1868, a copy of a French fountain that won a prize in 1855. The four mythological figures depicted are: Neptune, Amphitrite, Acis and Galatea. The fountain was donated to the park by Gardner Brewer who could admire it from his home on Beacon Street. It was later moved to near Tremont Street.
    • Frog pond it is the heart of the park. In summer it offers adults and children an area to cool off and play thanks to the fountains in the ground that spray water. In autumn and spring the lake is a swimming pool among the trees, while in winter it becomes an ice skating rink.
    • Parkman Plaza it is located near the Visitor Center, the information point of the park. The three bronze statues represent Industry, Learning and Religion and are the work of the artists Arcangelo Cascieri and Adio diBiccari.
    • Parkman Bandstand, the stage for the band, is a building in the shape of a Greek temple built in memory of George Francis Parkman, the benefactor who bequeathed $ 5 million to the park in the early XNUMXs.
    • Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial is a bas-relief by Saint-Gaudens on the opposite side of the Massachusetts State House and depicts Colonel Robert Gould Shaw at the head of the 54th Regiment, the Union's first African American volunteer regiment during the Civil War. The monument dates back to 1897 and when it was inaugurated some war survivors belonging to the regiment were present.
    • Boston Foundation Monument (Founders Memorial), at the far end of the park overlooking Beacon Street is a bronze bas-relief celebrating the founding of the city. William Blackstone is depicted welcoming John Winthrop and other colonists who fled England.
    • Boston Massacre Memorial is a work by Robert Kraus in bronze depicting a victorious figure in front of an obelisk, the Revolution, breaking the chains of tyranny.
    • Central Burying Ground: this is only the first of the historic cemeteries you will encounter along the Freedom Trail: dating back to 1756, it houses the graves of some important American historical figures, such as William Billings, one of the first noteworthy composers in American history, the painter Gilbert Stuart, some poets and revolutionaries.
    Brewer Fountain
    Parkman Bandstand
    Parkman Plaza
    Frog pond
    Boston Foundation Monument
    54th Regiment Memorial
    Boston Massacre Memorial. Photos at Victor R. Ruiz
    Central Burying Ground. Foto di Matt

    Attractions on the edge of Boston Common

    On the sides of the park there are the most representative places of interest. I recommend that you first go and see the Massachusetts State House, seat of the legislative power of the state of Massachusetts and seat of the State Governor, located on Beacon Hill, which gives its name to the beautiful neighboring district, the famous Beacon Hill neighborhood, characterized by a series of narrow alleys, cobbled streets and gas lamps.


    A short distance away, just 2 steps from the metro stop, you will find the historic one Park Street Church, church built in the early nineteenth century by the architect Peter Banner and whose tower of about 66 meters made it the tallest building in the United States between 1810 and 1828. The church, as well as the State House, are part of the Freedom Trail.

    On the west side you will find the most beautiful public park in the city: Boston Public Garden, an oasis with meadows, flower beds, weeping willows and a placid pond where the Swan Boats, Boston's famous swan-shaped boats.

    Massachusetts State House
    Park Street Church
    Boston Public Garden

    Itinerary among the places of interest of the Boston Common

    You don't want to select the attractions but prefer an itinerary that allows you to see them all based on their location? Here is a possible route that starts from the subway station and goes all the way to Boston Public Garden. You can do it without stopping too much in the places of interest in 1 hour, but if you want to linger more calmly (especially at the State House and the Boston Public Garden), allow for at least 1 hour more.

    • Brewer Fountain
    • Park Street Church
    • Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial
    • Massachusetts State House
    • Boston Foundation Monument
    • Frog pond
    • Parkman Plaza (Visitor Center)
    • Boston Massacre Memorial
    • Parkman Bandstand
    • Central Burying Ground
    • Boston Public Garden

    Where to sleep in the area

    To sleep not far from Boston Common and surrounding attractions you have to basically search in 2 neighborhoods:

    • Boston Downtown: the city center, with many facilities and proximity to the main places of interest in the city. Read our tips for sleeping in Boston Downtown.
    • Beacon Hill: one of the most distinctive neighborhoods in Boston, as I explained above. Read our tips for sleeping in Beacon Hill.

    However, there are many other areas where it may be worth looking for accommodation in Boston, by clicking on the link you will access our complete overview:

    Recommended neighborhoods where to sleep in Boston

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