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BOSTON: A GUIDE BOOK
HE town of Boston was founded in 163o by English colonists sent out by the “Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England,” under the lead of John Winthrop, the second governor of the Bay Colony, who arrived at Salem in June of that year with the charter of 1629. It originated in an order passed by the Court of Assistants sitting in the “Governor’s House” in Charlestown, on the opposite side of the Charles River, first selected as their place of settlement. This order was adopted September 17 (7 O. S.), and established three towns at once by the simple dictum, “that Trimountane shalbe called Boston; Mattapan, Dorchester; & ye towne vpon Charles Ryver, Waterton.” “Trimountane” consisted of a peninsula with three hills, the highest (the present Beacon Hill), as seen from Charlestown, presenting three distinct peaks. Hence this name, given it by the colonists from Endicott’s company at Salem, who had preceded the Winthrop colonists in the Charlestown settlement. The Indian name was “Shawmutt,” or “Shaumut,” which signified, according to some authorities, “Living Waters,” but according to others, “Where there is going by boat,” or “Near the neck.” The name of Boston was selected in recognition of the chief men of the company, who had come from Boston in England, and particularly Isaac Johnson, “the greatest furtherer of the Colony,” who died at Charlestown on the day of the naming. The peninsula was chosen for the chief settlement primarily because of its springs, the colonists at Charlestown suffering disastrously from the use of brackish water. The Rev. William Blaxton, the pioneer white settler on the peninsula (coming about 1625), then living alone in his cottage on the highest hill slope, “came and acquainted the governor of an excellent spring there, withal inviting him and soliciting him thither.”
The three-hilled peninsula originally contained only about 783 acres, cut into by deep coves, estuaries, inlets, and creeks. It faced the harbor, at the west end of Massachusetts Bay, into which empty the Charles and Mystic rivers. It was pear-shaped, a little more than a mile wide at its broadest, and less than three miles long, the stem, or neck, connecting it with the mainland (at what became Roxbury) a mile in length, and so low and narrow that parts were not infrequently overflowed by the tides. By the reclamation of the broad marshes and flats from time to time, and the filling of the great coves, the original area of 783 acres has been expanded to 1801 acres; and where it was the narrowest it is now the widest. Additional territory has been acquired by the development of East Boston and South Boston, and by the annexation of adjoining cities and towns. Thus the area of the city has become more than thirty times as large as that of the peninsula on which the town was built. Its bounds now embrace 27-251 acres, or 42.6 square miles. Its extreme length, from north to south, is eleven miles, and its extreme breadth, from east to west, nine miles. While the Colonial town was confined to the little peninsula, its jurisdiction at first extended over a large territory, which embraced the present cities and towns of Chelsea and Revere on the north, and Brookline, Quincy, Braintree, and Randolph on the west and south. So there was quite a respectable “Greater Boston” in those old first days. The metropolitan proportions continued till 1640, and were not entirely reduced to the limits of the peninsula and certain harbor islands till 1739.
East Boston is comprised in two harbor islands: Noddle’s Island, which was “layd to Boston” in 1637, and Breed’s (earlier Hog) Island, annexed in 1635. South Boston was formerly Dorchester Neck, a part of the town of Dorchester, annexed in 1804. The city of Roxbury (named as a town October 8, 1630) was annexed in 1868; the town of Dorchester (named in 1630 in the order naming Boston), in 1870; and in 1874 the city of Charlestown (founded as a town July 4, 1629), the town of Brighton (incorporated 1807), and the town of West Roxbury (incorporated 1851) were by one act added. These annexed municipalities retain their names with the term “ District “ added to each. Boston remained under town government, with a board of selectmen, till 1822. It was incorporated a city, February 23 of that year, after several ineffectual attempts to change the system.
The term “Boston Proper” is customarily used to designate the original city exclusive of the annexed parts; but for the purposes of this Guide we comprehend in the term the entire municipality, as in business and social relations, but yet independent political corporations. Together with the municipality these allied cities and towns constitute what is colloquially known as Greater Boston. This metropolitan community is officially recognized at present only in two state departments: the Metropolitan Parks and the consolidated Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Departments; and in part in the Boston Postal districts the Metropolitan Parks District is the largest, comprising Boston and thirty-eight cities and towns within a radius of thirteen miles towns; the Metropolitan Sewerage District, twenty-four; and the Boston Postal District, ten. The “Boston Basin,” however, is regarded as constituting the true bounds of “Greater Boston.” This includes a territory of some fifteen miles in width, lying between the bay on the east, distinguished from the allied cities and towns, closely identified with it District established by the Post Office Department. Of these several from the City Hall, having a combined population approximating 1,300,000. The Metropolitan Water District includes seventeen cities and the Blue Hills on the south, and the ridges of the Wellington Hills sweeping from Waltham on the west around toward Cape Ann on the north. It embraces thirty-six cities and towns. The population of Boston alone (census of 1905) is 595,380.
present city is divided by custom long established into several
distinct sections. These are:
The Business Quarters now occupy not only the Central District, but extend over most of the North End, parts of the West End and of the South End, and penetrate even the Back Bay Quarter, laid out in comparatively modern times (1860-1886), where the bay had been, as the fairest residential quarter of the city and the place for its finest architectural monuments.
The Central District (see Plates II and III) is of first interest to the visitor, for here are most of the older historic landmarks. This small quarter of the present city, together with the North End, embraces that part of the original peninsula to which the historic town Colonial, Provincial, and Revolutionary Boston — was practically confined. The town of 1630 was begun along the irregular water front, the principal houses being placed round about the upper part of what is now State Street, modern Boston’s financial center, and on or near the neighboring Dock Square, back of the present Faneuil Hall, where was the first Town Dock, occupying nearly all of the present North Market Street, in the “Great Cove.” The square originally at the head of State Street (first Market, then King Street), in the middle of which now stands the Old State House, was the first center of town life. At about this point, accordingly, our explorations naturally begin.
State-Street square and the Old State House. Our starting place is the square at the head of State St., which the Old State House faces. This itself is one of the most notable historic spots in Boston. For the first quarter-century of Colony life the entire square, including the space occupied by the Old State House, was the public marketstead. Thursday was market day, — the day also of the “Thursday Lecture” by the ministers. Early (1648) semiannual fairs here, in June and October, were instituted, each holding a market for two or three days. Here were first inflicted the drastic punishments of offenders against the rigorous laws, and here unorthodox literature was burned.
The Stocks, the Whipping Post, and the Pillory were earliest placed here. When the town was a half-century old a Cage, for the confinement and exposure of violators of the rigid Sunday laws, was added to these penal instruments. In the Revolutionary period the Stocks stood near the northeast corner of the Old State House, with the Whipping Post hard by; while the Pillory when used was set in the middle of the square between the present Congress Street (first Leverett’s Lane) on the south side and Exchange Street (first Shrimpton’s Lane, later Royal Exchange Lane) on the north. The Whipping Post lingered here till he opening of the nineteenth century.
This square continued to be the gathering place of the populace from the Colonial through the Province period on occasion of momentous events. It was the rendezvous of the people in the “bloodless revolution” of April, 1689, when the government of Andros was overthrown. In the Stamp Act excitement of 1765 a stamp fixed upon a pole was solemnly brought here by a representative of the “Sons of Liberty” and fastened into the town Stocks, after which it was publicly burned by the “executioner.” On the evening of March 5, 1770, the so-called Boston Massacre, the fatal collision between the populace and the soldiery, occurred here, the site being indicated by a tablet on the building at the Exchange Street corner, northwest.
the south side of the original marketstead, by the present Devon
shire Street (first Pudding Lane), where now is the modern Brazer’s
Building (27 State Street), was the first meetinghouse, a rude
structure of mud walls and thatched roof. This also served through
its existence of eight years for Colonial purposes, as the carved
inscription above the entrance of Brazer’s Building relates:
Site of the First Meetinghouse in
Boston, built A.D. 1632.
At the upper end of this side of the marketstead, extending to Washington Street (first The High Street), were the house and garden lot of Captain Robert Keayne, charter member and first commander of the first “Military Company of the Massachusetts” (founded 1637, chartered 1638), from which developed the still flourishing “Ancient and Honor able Artillery Company,” the oldest military organization in the country. A century later, on the Washington Street corner, was Daniel Henchman’s bookshop, in which Henry Knox, afterward the Revolutionary general and Washington’s friend, learned his trade and ultimately succeeded to the business. When the British regulars were quartered on the town, in 1768-1770, the Main Guardhouse was on this side, directly opposite the south door of the Old State House, with the two fieldpieces pointed toward this entrance.
On the west side of the marketstead, — the present Washington Street, — nearly opposite Captain Keayne’s lot, was the second meetinghouse, built in 1640, the site now occupied by the Rogers Building (209 Washington Street). This was used for all civic purposes, as well as religious, through eighteen years.
It stood till 1711, when it was destroyed in the “Great Fire” (the eighth “Great Fire” in the young town) of October that year, with one hundred other buildings in the neighborhood. Its successor, on the same spot, was the “Brick Meetinghouse” which remained for almost a century.
North of the second meetinghouse site, where is now the Sears Building (199 Washington Street), was the house of John Leverett, after ward Governor Leverett (1673). On the opposite corner, now covered by the Ames Building (Washington and Court streets), was the home stead of Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard College.
the north side of the marketstead, near the east corner of the
present Devonshire Street, was the glebe of the first minister of
the first church, the Rev. John Wilson, with his house, barn, and two
gardens. His name was perpetuated in Wilson’s Lane, which
was cut through his garden plot in 1640, and which in turn was
absorbed in the widened Devonshire Street.
The Bunch-of-Grapes was a famous tavern of its time. In 1750 Captain Francis Goelet, from England, on a commercial visit to the town, recorded in his diary that it was “noted for the best punch house in Boston, resorted to by most of the gentn merchts and masters vessels.” After the British evacuation, when Washington spent ten days in Boston, he and his officers were entertained here at an “elegant dinner” as part of the official ceremonies of the occasion. The tavern was especially distinguished as the place where in March, 1786, the group of Continental army officers, under the inspiration of General Rufus Putnam of Rutland (cousin of General Israel Putnam), organized the Ohio Company which settled Ohio, beginning at Marietta.
State Street, when King Street, practically ended at Kilby Street on the south side and Merchants Row on the north, till the reclamation of the flats beyond, high-water mark being originally at these points. “Mackerel Lane” was a narrow passage by the shore till after the “Great Fire of 1760,” which destroyed much property in the vicinity. Then it was widened and named Kilby Street in recognition of the generous aid which the sufferers by the fire had received from Christopher Kilby, a wealthy Boston merchant, long resident in London as the agent for the town and colony, but then living in New York.
Nearly opposite the Bunch-of-Grapes, at about the present No. 66, stood the British Coffee House, where the British officers principally resorted. It was here in 1769 that James Otis was assaulted by John Robinson, one of the royal commissioners of customs, upon whom the fiery orator had passed some severe strictures, and thus through a deep cut on his head this brilliant intellect was shattered.
At the east corner of Exchange Street was the Royal Customhouse, where the attack upon its sentinel by the little mob of men and boys, with a fusillade of street snow and ice, and taunting shouts, led to the Massacre of 1770. The opposite, or west, corner was occupied by the Royal Exchange Tavern, dating from the early eighteenth century, another resort of the British officers stationed in town. It was here in 1727 that occurred the altercation which resulted in the First Duel fought in Boston (on the Common), when Benjamin Woodbridge was killed by Henry Phillips, both young men well connected with the “gentry” of the town, the latter related by marriage to Peter Faneuil, the giver of Faneuil Hall. Woodbridge’s grave is in the Granary Burying Ground, and can be seen close by the sidewalk fence.
It was this grave which inspired those tender passages in the “Autocrat of the Breakfast Table” describing “My First Walk with the Schoolmistress.”
The Old State House dates from 1748. Its outer walls, however, are older, being those of its predecessor, the second Town and Province House, built in 1712-1713. That house was destroyed by fire, all but these walls, in 1747, sharing very nearly the fate of its predecessor, the first Town House and colonial building, which went down in the “Great Fire” of 1711 with the second meetinghouse and neighboring buildings and dwellings. It occupies the identical site in the middle of the market, stead chosen for the first Town House in 1657. It has served as Town House, Court House, Province Court House, State House, and City Hall. As the Province Court House, identified with the succession of prerevolutionary events in Boston, it has a special distinction among the historical buildings of the country. After its abandonment for civic uses it suffered many vicissitudes and indignities, being ruthlessly refashioned, made over, and patched for business purposes, that the city which owns it might wrest the largest possible rentals from it; and in the year 188 its removal was seriously threatened. Then, through the well-directed efforts of a number of worthy citizens, its preservation was secured, and in 1882 the historic structure was restored to much the appearance which it bore in Provincial days. Further restorations were made in 1908-1909.
It contained the beginnings of the first public library in America, for which provision was made in Captain Keayne’s will. Portions of this library were saved from the fire of 1711 which destroyed the building; but these probably perished later in the burning of the second Town and Province House.
The second house, of brick, completed in 1713, also had an open public exchange on the street floor. Surrounding it were thriving booksellers’ shops, observing which Daniel Neal, visiting the town in 1719, was moved to remark that “the Knowledge of Letters flourishes more here than in all the other English plantations put together; for in the city of New York there is but one book seller’s shop, and in the Plantations of Virginia, Maryland, Carolina, Barbadoes, and the Islands, none at all.” So, it appears, thus early Boston was the “literary center” of the country, a fact calculated to bring almost as great satisfaction to the complacent Bostonian as that later-day saying in the “Autocrat” (in which this stamp of Bostonian declines to recognize any satire), that “Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system”
State Street. Following State Street to its end, we shall come
upon Long Wharf (originally Boston Pier, dating from 171o), where the
formal landings of the royal governors were made, the main landing
place of the British soldiers when they came, and the departing place
at the Evacuation. At that time it was a long, narrow pier, extending
out beyond the other wharves, the tide ebbing and flowing beneath the
stores that lined it. Atlantic Avenue, the water-front thoroughfare
that now crosses it, and on which the elevated railway runs, follows
generally the line of the ancient Barricado, an early harbor
defense erected in 1673 between the north and south outer points of
the “Great Cove.” It connected the North Battery, where is
now Battery Wharf, and the South Battery, or “Boston
Sconce,” at the present Rowe’s Wharf, where the steamer for
Nantasket is taken. It was provided with openings to allow vessels to
pass inside, and so came to be generally called the “Out Wharves.”
Its line is so designated on the early maps.
On India Street, a few rods south of this specimen of a past architecture, is the modern Chamber of Commerce (built in 1902), also of granite. Viewed from a distance, its rounded front, with turreted dormer windows and conical tower, has a unique appearance. Opposite it opens Custom House Street, only a block in length, where is still standing the Old Custom House, built in 1810, in which Bancroft, the historian, served as collector of the port in 1838-1841, and which was the “darksome dungeon” where Hawthorne spent his two years as a customs officer, first as a measurer of salt and coal, then as a weigher and gauger.
Faneuil Hall and its Neighborhood. From lower State Street we can pass to Faneuil Hall by way of Commercial Street and the long granite Quincy Market House, — the central piece of the great work of the first Mayor Josiah Quincy, in 1825-1826, in the construction of six new streets over a sweep of flats and docks, — or we may go direct from the Old State House through Exchange Street, a walk of a few minutes.
Hall as now seen is the “Cradle of Liberty” of the
Revolutionary period doubled in width and a story higher. The
enlargement was made in 1805, under the superintendence of Charles
Bulfinch, the pioneer Boston architect of enduring fame, whose most
characteristic work we shall see in the “Bulfinch Front “of the
present State House, The hall was built in 1762-1763, upon the brick
walls of the first Faneuil Hall, Peter Faneuil’s gift to the town
in 1742, which was consumed, except its walls, in a fire in January,
1762. Bulfinch, in his work of 1805, introduced the galleries resting
on Doric columns, and the platform with its extended front, with
various interior embellishments. In 1898 the entire building was
reconstructed with fireproof material on the Bulfinch plan, iron,
steel, and stone being substituted for wood and combustible
The floors above the public hall have been occupied by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company for many years. Its armory is a rich museum of relics of Colonial, Provincial, and Revolutionary times, and is hospitably open to appreciative inspection. Among the treasured memorials here are the various banners of the company, the oldest being that carried in 1663. Eighteen silk flags reproduce colonial colors and their various successors. In the London room are mementos of the visit of a section of the company to England in the summer of 1896, as guests of the Honourable Artillery Company of London. On the walls of the main hall are portraits of one hundred and fourteen captains of the company. On the street floor of the building is the market, which has continued from its establishment with the first Faneuil Hall in 1742. John Smibert, the Scotch painter, long resident and celebrated in Boston from 1729, was the architect of the first building.
Faneuil Hall was instituted primarily as a market house, the inclusion of a public town hall in the scheme being an afterthought of the donor. Peter Faneuil’s offer to provide a suitable building at his own expense upon condition only that the town should legalize and maintain it, was at a time of controversy over the town market houses then existing. Three had been set up seven years before, one close to this site, in Dock Square; one at the North End, in North Square; the third at the then South End, by the south corner of the present Boylston and Washington streets. The Dock Square market was the principal one, and this had recently been demolished by a mob “disguised as clergymen.” The contention was over the market system. One faction demanded a return to the method of service at the home of the townspeople, as before the setting up of these market houses; the others insisted upon the fixed market-house system. So high did the feeling run that Faneuil’s gift was accepted by the town by the narrow margin of seven votes.
The building was completed in September, 1742. It was only one hundred feet in length and forty feet wide. But it was of brick, and substantial. The hall, calculated to hold only one thousand persons, was pronounced in the vote of the first town meeting held in it as “spacious and beautiful.” In the same vote it was named Faneuil Hall, “to be at all times hereafter called and known by that name,” in testimony of the town’s gratitude to its giver and to perpetuate his memory. Then his full-length portrait was ordered for the hall; and a year and a half later the Faneuil arms, “elegantly carved and gilt” by Moses Deshon, the same who later carved the Colony seal for the Town House, were added at the town’s expense.
The first public gathering in the hall, other than a town meeting, was, singularly, to commemorate Faneuil, he having died suddenly, March 3, 1743, but a few months after the completion of the building. On this occasion the eulogist was John Lovell, master of the Latin School, who in the subsequent prerevolutionary controversies was a Loyalist, and at the Evacuation went off to Halifax. The Faneuils who succeeded Peter, his nephews, were also Loyalists, and left the country with the Evacuation.
The second Faneuil Hall, embraced in the present structure, was built by the town, and the building fund was largely obtained through a lottery authorized by the General Court. The first public meeting in this hall was on March 14, 1763, when the patriot James Otis was the orator, and by him the hall was dedicated to the “Cause of Liberty.” Then followed those town meetings of the Revolutionary period, debating the question of “justifiable resistance,” from which the hall derived its sobriquet of the “Cradle of American Liberty.” In 1766 cm the news of the Stamp Act repeal the hall was illuminated. In 1768 one of the British regiments was quartered here for some weeks. In 1772 the Boston Committee of Correspondence, “to state the rights of the colonists” to the world, was established here, on that motion of Samuel Adams which Bancroft says “contained the whole Revolution.” In 1773 the “Little Senate,” composed of the committees of the several towns, began their conferences with the “ever-vigilant” Boston committee, in the selectmen’s room. During the siege the hall was transformed into a playhouse, under the patronage of a society of British officers and Tory ladies, when soldiers were the actors, and a local farce, “The Blockade of Boston,” by General Burgoyne, was the chief attraction.
the Revolution the hall has been the popular meeting place of
citizens on important and grave occasions, and a host of national
leaders, orators, and agitators have spoken from its historic
rostrum. In 1826 Webster delivered here his memorable eulogy on Adams
and Jefferson, in the presence of President John Quincy Adams and an
audience of exceptional character. Here in 1837 Wendell Phillips made
his first antislavery speech; in 1845 Charles Sumner first publicly
appeared in this cause; in 1846 the antislavery Vigilance Committee
was formed at a meeting to denounce the return of a fugitive slave;
in 1854 the preconcerted signal was given, at a crowded meeting to
protest against the rendition of Anthony Burns, for the bold but
fruitless move on the Court House (see p. 59) to effect the escape of
this fugitive slave.
East of Corn Court, near the east end of Faneuil Hall, also on land reclaimed from the Town Dock, was John Hancock’s Store, where he advertised for sale “English and India goods, also choice Newcastle Coals and Irish Butter, Cheap for Cash.” West of Corn Court opens Change Alley (incongruously designated as “avenue”), a quaint, narrow foot passage to State Street, one of the earliest ways established in the town. It was sometime Flagg Alley, from being laid out with flag stones. Until the erection of the great financial buildings that now largely wall it in, the alley was picturesque with bustling little shops.
On the west side of Faneuil Hall Square the triangle, covered with low, old buildings, marks the head of the ancient Town Dock.
Old Dock Square makes into modern Adams Square (opened in 1879), near the middle of which stands the bronze statue of Samuel Adams, by Anne Whitney. This is a counterpart of the statue of the revolutionary leader in the Capitol at Washington. It portrays him as he is supposed to have appeared when before Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson and the council, in the Council Chamber of the Old State House, as chairman of the committee of the town meeting the day after the Boston Massacre of 1770, and at the moment that, having delivered the people’s demand for the instant removal of the British soldiers from the town, he stood with a resolute look awaiting Hutchinson’s reply.
The principal architectural feature of this open space is the stone Adams Square Station of the Subway.
Cornhill and about Scollay Square. From the west side of Adams Square we pass into Cornhill, early in its day a place of bookshops, and still occupied by several booksellers at long-established stands. It is the second Cornhill, the first having been the part of the present Washington Street between old Dock Square and School Street. Washington Street originally ended at Dock Square north of the present Cornhill, and its extension to Haymarket Square (1872), where it now ends, greatly changed this part of the town and obliterated various landmarks. A little north of the present opening of Cornhill, lost in the Washington Street extension, was the site of the dwelling of Benjamin Edes, where, on the afternoon preceding the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, a number of the leaders in that affair met and partook of punch from the punch bowl now possessed by the Massachusetts Historical Society.
This Cornhill dates from 1816, and was first called Cheapside, after the London fashion. Then for a while it was Market Street, being a new way to Faneuil Hall Market. From its northerly side was once an archway leading to Brattle Street and old Dock Square, which also disappeared in the extension of Washington Street. Midway, at its curve toward Court Street, where it ends, it is crossed by Franklin Avenue (another short passageway, or alley, with this ambitious title), at the Court Street end of which was Edes & Gill’s printing office, the principal rendezvous of the Tea-Party men, in a back room of which a number of them assumed their disguise. This was on the westerly corner of the “avenue,” then Dasset Alley, and Court, then Queen, Street. Earlier, on the east corner, was the printing office of Benjamin Franklin’s brother James, where the boy Franklin learned the printer’s trade as his brother’s apprentice, and composed those ballads on “The Lighthouse Tragedy” and on “Teach” (or “Blackbeard”), the pirate, which he peddled about the streets with a success that “flattered” his “vanity,” though they were “wretched stuff,” as he confesses in his Autobiography. Here James Franklin issued his New England Courant, the fourth newspaper that appeared in America, which Franklin managed during the month in which his brother was imprisoned for printing an article offensive to the Assembly, and himself “made bold to give our rulers some rubs in it”; and which, after James’s release inhibited from publishing, was issued for a while under Benjamin’s name.
north end of Franklin Avenue, from Cornhill by a short flight of
steps, is at Brattle Street, a short distance above the site
of Murray’s Barracks, on the opposite side, where were
quartered the Twenty, Ninth, the regiment of the British force of
1768-1770 most obnoxious to the “Bostoneers,” and where the
fracas began that culminated in the Boston Massacre. The
Quincy House, nearer the avenue’s end, covers the site of the first
Quaker meetinghouse, built in 1697, the first brick meetinghouse
in the town. Opposite the side of the Quincy House, facing Brattle
Square, stood till 1871 the Brattle Square Church, which
after the Revolution bore on its front a memento of the Siege, in the
shape of a cannon ball, thrown there by an American battery at
Cambridge on the night of the Evacuation. This was the meetinghouse
alluded to in Holmes’s “A Rhymed Lesson,”
. .. that, mindful of the hour
A model of the church as it thus appeared is in the house of the Massachusetts Historical Society, where also the cannon ball is preserved. The quoins of the structure, of Connecticut stone, were placed inside the tower of its successor on Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, now the church of the First Baptist Society. Though new, and “the pride of the town “at the time of the Revolution, having been consecrated in 1773, it was utilized as barracks for the British soldiers; and only the fact that the removal of the pillars which embellished its interior would have endangered the structure, prevented its use during the Siege as a military riding school, like the Old South Meetinghouse (see p. 51). It was the church that Hancock, Bowdoin, and Warren attended. Warren’s house, from 1764, was near by on Hanover Street, on the site now covered by the American House.
Here occurred first, in February, 1851, the rescue of Shadrach, who had been confined in the United States court room awaiting action upon a process for his rendition. Six weeks later came the Thomas Sims affair, when, to prevent the rescue of this slave, the building was guarded and surrounded with chains breast high, under which the judges and all others having business within were obliged to stoop to reach the doors. Finally, in May, 1854, occurred the Anthony Burns riot, on the evening of the 26th, with the failure of the rescue planned by a number of the anti slavery “Vigilance Committee,” when, in the assault made at the entrance on the west side of the building, one of the marshal’s deputies was killed. It was after this affair that indictments were brought against Theodore Parker, Wendell Phillips, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and several others, for “obstructing the process of the United States.” For their defense a formidable array of counsel appeared here, but the indictment was quashed.
Tremont Street and King’s Chapel. Now we take Tremont Street. From the west side, at its beginning, opens the short way up to Pemberton Square, at the head of which we see the façade of the present County Court House (built 1887-1893). This is a long granite structure in the German Renaissance style of architecture, designed by George A. Clough. Its plan is on the system of open courtyards: four are in the area of the general block. It covers 65,300 feet of land. The feature of the interior is the great hall, broad and lofty, a flight of steps ascend ing to it from the front entrance, and other flights ascending from it to the rear exit on Somerset Street. Upon the faces of the cornices in the vestibule at the main entrance are statuesque bas-reliefs of Law, Justice, Wisdom, Innocence, and Guilt. On one side of the hall is the bronze statue of Rufus Choate, the great lawyer of his day. This is by Daniel C. French. It was placed in 1898. It was a gift to the city, provided for in the will of a Boston public-school master. The donor was some time master of the Dwight School for boys, and afterward principal of the Everett School for girls.
Pemberton Square marks the second highest peak of Beacon Hill. This peak at first received the name of Cotton Hill, from the Rev. John Cotton, the early minister of the First Church, whose house was on its slope facing Tremont Street. The Cotton estate originally spread over this peak, extending back across Somerset Street to about the middle of Ashburton Place in the rear of the Court House.
The peak rose originally in irregular heights, the loftiest bluff being at the southerly end of Pemberton Square, or on the west side of Tremont Street about opposite the gate of King’s Chapel Burying Ground. Against its slopes were early favorite places for house sites.
John Cotton’s house was set up in 1633, soon after his arrival in the Griffin. It stood a little south of the entrance to Pemberton Square. Next above, or adjoining it, was Sir Harry Vane’s house. This was built by the young statesman a few months after his arrival (October, 1635), he having at first been the minister’s guest. It was Vane’s home when he was governor of the Colony in 1636-1637. Later the Cotton house came into possession of John Hull, the “mint master,” who made the pine-tree shillings, the first New England money. In course of time it fell to Chief Justice Samuel Sewall (one of the witchcraft judges at Salem in 1692), the diarist of early Boston, through his marriage with the “mint master’s” daughter Hannah, whose wedding dowry, tradition tells, was her weight in the pine-tree shillings.
The peak was finally cut down in the thirties, and Pemberton Square was then laid out through the Greene estate as a place of genteel residences in blocks, which character it sustained till the late sixties.
On the east side the Boston Museum, razed in 1903 to make way for a modem business structure, long stood the oldest playhouse of the city. For more than half a century it was a familiar landmark. At first the museum proper, with its halls of marvelous curiosities, was the chief feature of the institution, the performances being subordinate to these attractions, and the theater being called “the lecture hall,” to quiet the consciences of its patrons, who shied from the openly pro claimed playhouse. William Warren, the “prince of comedians,” as Bostonians delighted in calling him, was identified with the Museum for forty years. Here Edwin Booth made his first appearance on any stage.
From King’s Chapel to Park Street Church. King’s Chapel Burying Ground, adjoining the old stone church, is very nearly as ancient as the town of Boston. The exact date of its establishment is not known, but it was probably soon after the beginning of the settlement, for this record appears in Winthrop’s journal: “Capt. Welden, a hopeful young gent, & an experienced soldier, dyed at Charlestowne of a consumption, and was buryed at Boston wth a military funeral.” And Dudley wrote that the young man was “buryed as a souldier with three volleys of shott.” The earliest interment of record here was that of Governor Winthrop in 1649. It is believed that his third wife, Margaret Winthrop, who followed him to New England the year after he came out and who died two years before him, was also buried here.
In the same tomb are the ashes of other distinguished Winthrops — the Massachusetts governor’s eldest son and grandsons: John Winthrop, Jr., the governor of the Connecticut Colony, who died in 1676, and John Jr.’s two sons, Fitz John Winthrop, governor of the United Colonies of Connecticut (died 1707), and Wait Still Winthrop, chief justice of Massachusetts and sometime major general of the forces of the Colony (died 1717). A second Winthrop tomb contains the dust of Professor John Winthrop of Harvard College, the friend of Franklin and correspondent of John Adams (died in 1779).
The first Winthrop tomb is seen not far from the middle of the ground. Beside it is the tomb of Elder Thomas Oliver of the First Church, which subsequently became the property of the church; and close to this a horizontal tablet informs that “here lyes intombed the bodyes of ye famous reverend and learned pastors of the First Church of Christ in Boston, viz:” John Cotton, aged 67 years, died 1652; John Davenport, 72 years, died 1670; John Oxenbridge, aged 66 years, died 1674; and Thomas Bridge, aged 58 years, died 1715. Near by are the modest gravestones of Sarah, “the widow of the beloved John Cotton and excellent Richard Mather,” and of Elizabeth, widow of John Davenport.
In the middle of the ground is the marble monument to Colonel Thomas Dawes, a leading Boston mechanic of his day, who died in 1809, and near it the tomb of Governor John Leverett. A few steps distant is that of the Boston branch of the Plymouth Colony Winslow family. Here are the ashes of John Winslow, brother of Governor Edward Winslow, with those of the former’s wife, who was Mary Chilton, one of the Mayflower passengers, heroine of the popular but apocryphal tale of the first woman to spring ashore from the Pilgrim ship. In a cluster of ancient tombs are those of Jacob Sheafe, an opulent merchant of Colony times, in which was afterward buried the Rev. Thomas Thacher, first pastor of the Old South Church (died 1678), who married Sheafe’s widow; and of Thomas Brattle (died 1683), said probably to have been the wealthiest merchant of his day, whose son Thomas became a treasurer and benefactor of Harvard College. A tomb of especial interest in this quarter is the Benjamin Church tomb, for herein were deposited the remains of Lady Andros, the wife of Governor Andros, who died in February, 1688, and of whose funeral in the nighttime from the Old South Meetinghouse Sewall gives a quaint account in his diary. Other tombs of note are those of Major Thomas Savage, one of the commanders in King Philip’s War, and Judge Oliver Wendell, grandfather of Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Many of the old tombstones here have been shifted from their proper places and made to serve as edge stones along the paths beyond the principal gateway. This vandalism was the performance years ago of a superintendent of burials who was possessed with an evil “eye for symmetry.”
Chapel in part occupies the upper end of this burying ground,
which extended originally to School Street, the land having been
taken by Governor Andros in 1688 for the first Episcopal church, no
Puritan landholder being found who would sell for such a purpose.
This building dates from 1754 and is the second King’s Chapel on
the spot. Its aspect has been little changed, beyond the enrichment
of the interior, from Province days. The low solid edifice of dark
stone, with its heavy square tower surrounded by wooden Ionic
columns, stands as it appeared when it was the official church of the
royal governors. The stone of which it is constructed came from
Quincy (then Braintree), where it was taken from the surface, there
being then no quarries. It was built so as to inclose the first
chapel, in which services were held for the greater part of the time
consumed in the slow work, — about five years. Peter Harrison, an
Englishman who came out in 1729 in the train of Dean Berkeley to have
part in the dean’s projected but never established university, was
the architect. His model was the familiar English church of the
eighteenth century; so the visitor sees in the fashion of the
interior, its rows of columns supporting the ceiling, the antique
pulpit and reading desk, the mural tablets and the sculptured
monuments that line the walls, a pleasant likeness to an old London
church. Memorials of the first chapel are preserved in the chancel.
The communion table of 1688 is still in use. Several of the mural
tablets are of the Provincial period. On the organ are in their
ancient places the gilt miters and crown, which were removed at the
Revolution and deposited in a place of safety. Among the tablets on
the northern wall is one to the memory of Oliver Wendell Holmes. This
was placed in the autumn of 1895. The inscription was composed by
ex-President Eliot of Harvard University.
The original King’s Chapel of 1688 was a small wooden structure, built at a cost of £284 16 s, contributed by persons throughout the Colony, with subscriptions from Andros and other English officers. For more than two years before its erection the Episcopal congregation had joint occupancy of the Old South Church with its proper owners, by order of Governor Andros against their earnest and constant protest. The church organization was formed in 1686, under the aggressive leadership of Edward Randolph, with the Rev. Robert Ratcliffe as rector, who had come from England commissioned to establish the Church of England in the Colony. The use of any of the Congregational meetinghouses being denied them, the projectors of the church founded it in the “library room” of the Town House. This was their place of meeting till Andros ordered the Old South opened to them. When Andros was overthrown the rector and his leading parishioners were imprisoned till their return to England (see p. 19). The remnant of the congregation resumed services in the chapel, which was finished a few months after Andros’s departure.
In 1710 the chapel was enlarged to twice its size. Then the exterior was embellished with a tower surmounted by a tall mast half-way up which was a large gilt crown and at the top a weathercock. Within the enlarged chapel the governor’s pew, raised on a dais higher by two steps than the others, hung with crimson curtains and surmounted by the royal crown, was opposite the pulpit, which itself stood on the north side at about the center. Near the governor’s pew was another reserved for officers of the British army and navy. Displayed along the walls and suspended from the pillars were the escutcheons and coats of arms of the king, Sir Edmund Andros, Governors Dudley, Shute, Burnet, Belcher, and Shirley, and other persons of distinction. At the east end was “the altar piece, whereon was the Glory painted, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and some texts of Scripture.” The communion plate was a royal gift.
Less than a block beyond King’s Chapel, on the opposite side of Tremont Street, we come to the Granary Burying Ground, established only about thirty years after the Chapel Burying Ground (in 1660), and of greater historic interest, perhaps, because of the more numerous memorials here.
On the short walk from the Chapel we pass the site of the birthplace of Edward E. Hale, covered by the upper part of the Parker House. This hotel also covers, on its School Street side, the site of the home of Oliver Wendell, the maternal grandfather of Oliver Wendell Holmes, for whom he was named. On Bosworth Street, the first passage opening from Tremont Street, opposite the burying ground, — a courtlike street end ing with stone steps which lead down to a more ancient cross street, — was Doctor Holmes’s home for eighteen years from 1841, the “house at the left hand next the farther corner,” which he describes in “The Autocrat.”
The Tremont Temple, next above the Parker House, is the building of the Union Temple (Baptist) Church, founded in 1839, a free church from its beginning. It is the fourth temple on this site, each of the previous ones having been destroyed by fire. The first one was a theater remodeled in 1843. The playhouse was the Tremont Theater, first opened in 1835, one of the most interesting of its class and time.
It was here that Charlotte Cushman made her début, in April, 1835; that Fanny Kemble first appeared before a Boston audience; that operas were first produced in Boston.
In the large public hall of the second Tremont Temple Charles Dickens gave his readings during his last visit to America, in 1868.
Adams’s grave is in the Checkley tomb, which adjoins the sidewalk; Otis’s is in the Cunningham tomb, bearing now the name of George Longley. The bowlders were placed by the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the Revolution in 1898, as the inscriptions show.
The epitaph on the Franklin monument was composed by Franklin, and first appeared on a marble stone which he caused to be placed here. The granite obelisk was provided by a number of citizens in 1827, when the stone had become decayed, and the inscription was reproduced on the bronze tablet set in its face:
Looking up Hamilton Place, opposite Park Street Church, we see the side of the old Music Hall, now a theater. This is a building of pleasant memories. It was erected in 1852, projected chiefly by the Harvard Musical Association, then the representative of classical orchestral music in Boston. Nearly thirty years later (1881) the Boston Symphony Orchestra began its career here, under the generous patronage of Henry L. Higginson. Once the hall had in its “great organ” one of the largest and finest instruments in the world, but this was permitted to be sold and removed at a time when the hall was undergoing alterations. For some years, during the latter part of his life, Music Hall was Theodore Parker’s pulpit; and at a later period that of W. H. H. Murray, after he had been a pastor of Park Street Church.
It dates actually from 1634, four years after the settlement of the town, when it was laid out as “a place for a trayning field” and for “the feeding of cattell.” A training field in part it has remained to the present day, and cattle did not cease to graze on it till the thirties of the nineteenth century. Originally it was larger than it is now, extending to the Tremont Building on Tremont and Beacon streets in one direction, and across Tremont Street to West and Mason streets in another. The taking from the north end for the Granary Burying Ground in 1660 was its earliest curtailment. On the west side, where is now Charles Street, it at first met the Back Bay, the waters of which came up to this line. Its present extent is 48 2/5 acres, exclusive of the old burying ground on part of its south or Boylston Street side. Its surface has been much made over, but without obliterating altogether its old-time contour. The broad tree-lined malls which traverse it display the taste and large-mindedness of the later town and earlier city fathers. Many majestic elms which once embellished the place have been destroyed by time and changes. The building of the Subway beneath the Tremont Street mall removed the oldest row and some of the finest of them; but there yet remain numerous stalwart specimens, with other varieties of trees, shading and beautifying the several paths.
West of the Frog Pond lies the Parade Ground, which represents, in small compass, the original training field of the Colonial trainbands. It has been the chief mustering place in war times from Provincial to modern days. In 1775, when the Common was the British camp, the force for Bunker Hill was arrayed here before crossing the river to Charlestown. In the preceding April the detachment that moved on Lexington and Concord started from near it, taking boats on the bay. Now it is the place where the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company with great gravity go through their annual time-honored evolutions, and the boys of the school regiments have their clever May trainings.
granite shaft with its bronze figure of “Revolution,” which
stands in the green facing Lafayette Mall on the Tremont Street side,
commemorates the Boston Massacre of 1770, and is popularly called the
Crispus Attucks Monument. It is by Robert Kraus, and was
erected by the State in 1888. The bas-relief on the base reproduces a
crude con temporary picture of the scene published in London,
together with the “Short Narrative” authorized by the town. The
inscriptions are these words of John Adams and Webster:
that night the foundation of American
The names of the victims are inscribed on the shaft.
The promenade of Lafayette Mall is the finishing feature of the Subway work on this side of the Common. It extends over the Subway between Park and Boylston streets, and at Boylston Street joins a narrower walk which follows the Subway course on that side to Charles Street, passing by the picturesque old Central Burying Ground (established 1756) which has among its graves those of Gilbert Stuart, the painter, and M. Julien, the restaurateur, whose fame as the introducer of Julien soup survived him. While these walks lack the fringes of noble English elms which characterized the earlier malls here, especially the Tremont Street mall which once had three magnificent rows, they have attractions in the bordering masses of other trees and in their openness to the spacious street-ways free from street-car tracks.
Being in the heart of things Lafayette Mall is an animated thorough. fare. Close by is the principal theater quarter of the city. On the opposite side of the way are Keith’s Theater (fronting on Washington Street, next east of Tremont) and the Tremont Theater (near the site of the second playhouse built in Boston, — the Haymarket of 1796). On Washington Street (with its rear entrance near the West Street corner of Tremont) is the Boston Theater, and a little way above this the Park Theater. On Tremont Street again, just above Boylston Street, is the Majestic Theater, and a short block above this the Shubert Theater. On Hollis Street, off Tremont, is the Hollis Street Theater (its house including the brick walls of the third Hollis Street Church, dating from 1808, the pulpit of John Pierpont and Thomas Starr King, and the successor of the earlier Hollis Street Church of Mather Byles, the “Tory, wit, and scholar,” used, nevertheless, by the British for barracks during the Siege). On Boylston Street, opposite the Boylston Street walk, is the Colonial Theater (on the site of the first Boston Public Library building).
the same neighborhood is a notable group of hotels, including
the Touraine on Tremont and Boylston streets (occupying the site of
the mansion house of President John Quincy Adams, birthplace of
Charles Francis Adams, Sr.), the Brewster on Boylston Street, and the
Adams on Washington Street (covering the site of the
eighteenth-century Lamb Tavern, an early stagecoach starting place).
On Washington Street, opposite the opening of Boylston Street, is a
revolutionary land mark, — the site of the Liberty Tree, the
rallying place of the Sons of Liberty in the prerevolutionary period,
where the effigies were hung in the Stamp Act excitement. The
business building that now covers the spot displays on its front an
old tablet with a representation of a tree and beneath, these lines:
of Liberty, 1766
The adjacent hotel, popularly known as “Brigham’s,” stands in place of the Liberty Tree Tavern, where the Liberty men refreshed them selves after their meetings at the tree. “Brigham’s” was originally the Lafayette Hotel, erected to mark the historical spot in season for the great welcome to Lafayette on the Frenchman’s memorable last visit to the country in 1824; and so was named in his honor. It was in commemoration of this visit, very much later — three quarters of a century afterward, — that Lafayette Mall received its name.
selection is based on a pretty incident of that visit. On the
reception day the school children were lined up along Tremont Street
mall, and, as Lafayette was passing in the procession, they cast
bouquets in his path so that his progress was upon a carpet of
The elevated trains use the Washington Street Tunnel, between which and the Subway passengers transfer at the Haymarket Square station. The Tunnel, connected with the Elevated system, passes under Washington Street, and, including inclines, is 1 2/10 miles in length. It is constructed on a generous plan and is attractively finished at the several stations with tiling. The names of the stations are given in order of direction of traffic: south-bound — Friend, Milk, Winter, Boylston; north-bound — Essex, Summer, State, Union. Each platform is three hundred and fifty feet in length and will accommodate an eight-car train. This Tunnel was opened to the public November 30, 1908. In the State station is placed a bronze tablet bearing this inscription: Washington Street Tunnel, authorized by the Legislature, 1902. W. Murray Crane, Governor; Patrick A. Collins, Mayor of Boston. Opened November 30, 1908. Built by the Boston Transit Commission [names of the commission]. Howard A. Carson, Chief Engineer.
This Tunnel, like the Subway, is owned by the city and leased to the Boston Elevated Railway Company. The lease runs for twenty-five years, from the beginning of the use of the Tunnel, at an annual rental “equal to 41/2 per cent of the net cost.”
Behind the mansion were the gardens and fruit-tree nurseries, extending up the side of the then existing peak of Beacon Hill where the State House Annex stands. The mansion with the estate came to John Hancock in 1777, upon the death of Lydia Hancock, widow of his uncle, Thomas Hancock, who built the house. The estate then included the territory occupied by the State House, and extended along Beacon Street to Joy Street. During the Siege Lord Percy occupied the mansion for some time.
us now step back to the opposite side of Beacon Street a moment and
take a sweeping survey of the fine line of Beacon Street houses
down the hill. Standing by the Joy Street steps to the Common,
which lead to the head of Holmes’s “Long Path” (the mall
running southward across the Common’s length to Boylston Street, —
the scene of the crisis in the “Autocrat’s” courtship of the
schoolmistress), we have the best point of view. Looking westward at
the lower corner of Walnut Street, the next opening below Joy Street,
we see the house in which Wendell Phillips was born. Lower
down is the Somerset Club, — the stone double-swell-front
house originally the “David Sears mansion,” — by the site of
the house in which John Singleton Copley lived when painting
his remarkable Boston portraits. Still farther down, below the next
side opening, we catch a glimpse of the painted brick “swell” of
the Prescott house (No. 55), the home of the historian William
H. Prescott through the last fourteen years of his life.
After the Revolution the first Independence monument in the country was set up on this sightly peak (1790-1791), — a plain Doric column of brick covered with stucco, on a base of stone, and topped with a gilded wooden eagle supporting the American arms, — the work of Bulfinch, now reproduced in stone and standing in the State House Park on the east side of the long building. When the peak was cut down (in 1811-1823, its earth going principally to fill the North Cove which became the Mill Pond, now in small part covered by Haymarket Square) this monument was destroyed, only the inscribed tablets and the eagle being reserved. The tablets are inserted in the base of the present monument. A wooden effigy of the eagle is now over the President’s chair in the Senate Chamber.
The main approach to the State House, up the long sweep of broad stone steps from Beacon Street, leads to the spacious porch from which opens Doric Hall, the main hall of the Bulfinch Front. The bronze statues on the terrace lawn are: on the right as we ascend, Daniel Webster, by Hiram Powers, erected in 1859 by the Webster Memorial Committee; on the left, Horace Mann, by Emma Stebbins, erected in 1865, a gift from school children and teachers of the state, who gave the fund for its execution in recognition of Horace Mann’s service in developing the system of popular education in Massachusetts.
In Doric Hall we see the statue of Washington in marble, by Sir Francis Chantrey, given to the state in 1827 by the Washington Monument Association; and the marble statue of John A. Andrew, the “war governor,” by Thomas Ball, erected in 1871, the cost being met from a surplus of $10,000 remaining from the fund subscribed for the statue of Edward Everett in the Public Garden. Set in a side wall near these statues are two memorials of the Washington family, — facsimiles of the tombstones of the ancestors of Washington, from the parish church of Brington, Northamptonshire, England, given to the state by Charles Sumner in 1861, to whom they were presented by Earl Spencer. Against the walls on either side of the Washington statue are tablets to the memory of Charles Bulfinch, and commemorating the “preservation and renewal of the Massachusetts State House.”
On the side walls are portraits of sixteen governors of Massachusetts. Four brass cannon are placed against the wall, two of them consecrating the names of Major John Buttrick and Captain Isaac Davis, heroes of the fight at Concord Bridge, April 19, 1775; the other two cannon captured in the War of 1812.
From Doric Hall we enter the passageway leading into the “Grand Staircase Hall,” and from the latter pass into “Memorial Hall,” the crowning feature of this floor. In the passageway a large bronze case contains the colors carried by Massachusetts soldiers in the Spanish War and returned to the custody of the Commonwealth. They were deposited here July 31, 1901. The skylight in the ceiling here, it will be observed, is decorated with a representation of Liberty surrounded by the names of various republics.
Grand Staircase Hall is an effective piece of marble work. The
paintings on the north wall represent “Paul Revere’s Ride,”
“James Otis Making his Famous Argument Against the Writs of
Assistance in the Old Town House in Boston, in February, 1761,” and
“The Boston Tea Party,” all by Robert Reid. The staircases here
are of Pavonazzo marble. The balcony formed by the third-floor
corridor is surmounted by twelve Ionic columns. Its windows at the
south are emblematic of Commerce, Education, Fisheries, and
Agriculture. At the head of the stairs are the seal of the colony,
1628-1684, and the seal of the state carved in marble. Upon the
pillars of the entrance to Memorial Hall are bronze reliefs of Major
General Thomas G. Stevenson (by Bela L. Pratt), and Rear Admiral John
A. Winslow (by William Couper).
Beyond Memorial Hall the main staircase leads to the floor upon which is Representatives Hall. This chamber is finished in white mahogany, with paneled walls. The coved ceiling is embellished with frescoes by Frank Hill Smith. The historic codfish is suspended opposite the Speaker’s desk between the two central columns. In the lobby the statue of Governor Roger Wolcott (placed 1907) is by Daniel C. French. On the east side are the rooms of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, in which are to be seen precious documents incased in asbestos boxes, — the Colony Charter of 1628, the Province Charter of 1692, the Explanatory Charter of George H, and the original Constitution of the Commonwealth, with an attested copy made in 1894, the original having become in part illegible. In the archives, on the fourth floor, belonging to this department are, with much other valuable historical material, the military records of the Narragansett War, of the French and Indian Wars, and the muster and pay rolls of the Revolution, the original depositions and’ examinations of persons accused of witchcraft, and manuscript papers of the Revolution.
In the State Library, at the north end of the building, is to be seen in a glass-covered case the famous Bradford Manuscript, the “History of Plimoth Plantation” by Governor William Bradford, popularly but erroneously called the Log of the Mayflower. This is the volume which after various adventures found lodgment in the Library of the Bishop of London’s Palace at Fulham, and was returned to the Commonwealth by the Bishop of London through the efforts of Senator Hoar of Massachusetts and the Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, ambassador at the Court of St. James. It was received in behalf of the Commonwealth by Governor Wolcott, May 26, 1897. The State Library contains 125,000 volumes. Charles F. D. Belden is the librarian.
The Executive Department and the quarters of the Senate are in the Bulfinch Front. The Council Chamber, fashioned in the Corinthian order, has the old ornamentations designed by Bulfinch. In the Governor’s Rooms are several portraits of note. In the Senate Chamber, occupying niches, are busts of Washington, Franklin, Lafayette, Lincoln, and distinguished Massachusetts men. The gilded eagle above the President’s chair, with the national and State flags, holds in its beak a large scroll inscribed, “God Save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” In the Senate Reception Room are numerous interesting relics. Among them are the first king’s arms captured from the British, at Lexington, on the 19th of April, 1775, and the fowling piece used that morning by Captain John Parker, the commander of the minutemen there, — both gifts to the State from his distinguished grandson, Theodore Parker, the preacher and reformer. There are also a Hessian hat, sword, gun, and drum captured at the battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777, which were presented to the State by Brigadier General John Stark. On the walls are portraits of twenty-two governors, including an original portrait of John Winthrop.
The State House Park, on the east side of the long building, is a spread ing lawn fringed with young trees, shrubs, and flowers, space for which was obtained by discontinuing two or three fine old streets and removing the well-favored dwellings that faced upon them. Beneath a considerable part of it are great coal bunkers for the large supply of coal required for the State House. The reproduced Bulfinch Monument in stone occupies as near as may be the position of the original one. It is an exact copy of that in dimensions, and the eagle at its top follows the original drawing of Bulfinch’s bird. The inscription on the bronze tablet in the base gives this concise chapter of history: In 1634 the General Court caused a Beacon to be placed on the top of this hill. In 1790 a brick and stone monument designed by Charles Bulfinch replaced the Beacon, but was removed in 1811 when the hill was cut down. It is now reproduced in stone by the Bunker Hill Monument Association. 1898. The old tablets of the Bulfinch monument are set higher in the base.
The statues in the lawns near by are of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks (Governor, Congressman), by H. H. Kitson, placed 1908; and of Major General Charles Devens (United States Marshal, United States Attorney-General, and Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts), by Olin L. Warner, placed 1898. The equestrian statue on the Beacon Street side of the park, set in the broad walk, is of Major General Joseph Hooker, the figure by Daniel C. French, the horse by Edward C. Potter. This was erected in 1903.
Now turning our steps down Beacon Street eastward, we pass in close neighborhood the Unitarian Building, at the corner of Bowdoin Street; directly opposite, the Congregational House; and next to this the Boston Athenæum.
The Unitarian Building, a low, Moorish-like structure of brownstone (built 1885-1886), is the headquarters of the American Unitarian Association, and the general denominational house, where are the offices of various organizations, national, state, and local. Channing Hall here, and neighboring rooms, are embellished with portraits and busts of Unitarian leaders. The Congregational House, a building of stone and brick, ornamented with sculptured tablets (built 1897-1898), is the head quarters of the Congregational Trinitarian denomination. The emblematic sculptures on the façade represent respectively, from east to west: Law, depicting the Signing of the Compact in the cabin of the Mayflower, November 21, 1620; Religion, the observance of Sunday on Clark’s Island on the day before the landing at Plymouth; Education, the act of the General Court of Massachusetts passed October 28, 1636, appropriating money for a “schoole or colledge”; and Philanthropy, the preaching of the apostle Eliot to the Indians at Waban’s wigwam on old Nonantum Hill, Newton, October, 1646. In this building are established the Congregational Library and the Missionary Library of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, with the remarkable Pratt Collection, in the Bible Room, embracing Hebrew rolls, various editions of the Scriptures, palm books, biblical and other charts, relics, and antiquities. The head offices of the American Board are here. Pilgrim Hall is in the rear from the main entrance.
The Boston Athenæum, presenting a classic front of brown freestone, in marked contrast with its lofty neighbors, dates from 1849. The literary institution for which it was erected dates back to 1807. This had its origin in the Monthly Anthology, a magazine first published in 1803, of which the Rev. William Emerson, father of Ralph Waldo Emerson, was the principal editor. The persons who became interested in that “journal of polite literature” — a remarkable set of cultivated young men — formed the “Anthology Club,” and collected a library, which was incorporated in 1807 as the Boston Athenæum. Quarters were first found in Congress Street, then in a Pearl Street mansion house presented to the institution (1821), and later this building was built by the corporation. For many years the Athenæum had in connection with its library a valuable art gallery, but the best paintings of its collection have been transferred to the Museum of Fine Arts, Back Bay. It now possesses over 240,000 volumes, many of them rare; a large collection of Braun photographs and art works; files of early newspapers; the Bemis collection of works on international law, including state papers, etc., for the increase of which there is a substantial fund; one of the very best sets of United States documents in the country; the best collection in existence of books published in the South during the Civil War; and a large part of George Washington’s private library, with many works relating to the first President. The Stuart portrait of Washington now at the Art Museum is owned by the Athenæum.
The Athenæum became early a center of the new literary and artistic life which was to make Boston famous in Emerson’s time. From it came, more or less directly, the old and scholarly North American Review; and most of the literary societies and libraries of to-day in Boston owe their origin entirely or in part to the influence of the Athenæum and its founders. The institution is managed by trustees elected by its 1049 shareholders, known as “proprietors.” The income is derived from invested funds and from an annual assessment upon each share in use. Some famous men of New England have been among the proprietors, of the Athenæum, including Daniel Webster, Charles Sumner, Holmes, Parkman, and Prescott. William F. Poole, who originated Poole’s Index, was at one time its librarian. Arthur Theodore Lyman is the present president, and Charles Knowles Bolton is the librarian.
The old-fashioned “swell fronts” above the bend of Beacon Street, at the upper corner of Somerset Street, are the quarters of the Boston City Club, a large social and business organization of citizens “interested in the city of Boston and the problems of its growth.”
In Somerset Street, a few steps from the corner, is the former general building of Boston University (chartered 1869, for both sexes), occupied till 1908, when removal was made to Boylston Street, Back Bay (see p. 81). It is now the house of the Boston lodge of the Order of Elks. On Ashburton Place, opening just above, is the Boston University School of Law. Within a ten-minute walk is the School of Theology at 72 Mt. Vernon Street, West End; the other department of the university, the School of Medicine, is at the South End, on East Concord Street, adjacent to the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital. Beyond the School of Law the upper end of Ashburton Place is imposingly finished by the Ford Building, erected for Baptist headquarters. Farther down Somerset Street, at No. 16, is the house of the Boston Architectural Club. No. 18 is that of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (founded 1844, incorporated 1845). In the latter institution is a valuable library of more than 50,000 volumes and over 100,000 pamphlets, comprising the best known collection of genealogical works, biographies, and histories, American and English. Many visitors, students in genealogy and compilers, make daily use of this extensive collection. The society also possesses numerous rare manuscripts and historical relics. It publishes the “New England Historical and Genealogical Register” (established 1847).
John Ward Dean was for a long period the librarian of this society. The present president is James Phinney Baxter, of Portland, Maine; the recording secretary, John Albree; the corresponding secretary, William R. Cutter; the librarian, William P. Greenlaw; and the editor of publications, F. Apthorp Foster.
On Beacon Street again, the modern office building occupying the corner of Tremont Place covers the site of a row of pleasant houses which slowly changed from dwellings to business places. The corner one was the sometime home of Nathan Hale, where Edward Everett Hale passed his boyhood when he was attending the Latin School. The end one in the row was latterly the publishing house of Ginn and Company, from which they removed to the Hancock-house site, 29 Beacon Street.
It was built in 1645 (previous to which the school was held in the master’s house), and remained on this spot for upward of a century. Then in 1748 another building was erected on the opposite side where is now the Parker House. The present is the fifth building of the school. In the long roll of Latin School pupils appear the names of Franklin, Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Robert Treat Paine; Cotton Mather, Henry Ward Beecher, James Freeman Clarke, Edward Everett Hale, and Phillips Brooks; Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Lothrop Motley, and Francis Parkman; Presidents Leverett, Langdon, Everett, and Eliot of Harvard College; Charles Francis Adams, Sr., Charles Sumner, and William M. Evarts.
The heavy granite City Hall (built 1862-1865), of elaborate design, calls only for a passing glance. It succeeded a Bulfinch building on the same site, — a Court House (predecessor of the present “Old Court House”), refitted for a City Hall. The bronze statues in the yard are more interesting. That of Benjamin Franklin was the first portrait statue set up in Boston (1856). It is the work of Richard Greenough. The fund for its erection was raised by popular subscription. The four bronze medallions in the sunken panels of the pedestal represent as many periods in Franklin’s career.
The other statue, of Josiah Quincy, is by Thomas Ball, and was placed in 1879. It represents the elder Quincy as he appeared in middle life when mayor of Boston. The base is a block of Quincy granite. A marble statue by William W. Story, in Memorial Hall at Cambridge, represents Quincy in later life, or when president of the college.
We may stop a moment at the building next beyond the foot passage by the side of the City Hall (another court dignified with the term of avenue), and observe the inscribed fire-back set in its vestibule wall. The inscription relates that on this site from 1785 to 1815 was the dwelling of Dr. John Warren (brother of Joseph Warren, killed at Bunker Hill), who was the first professor of anatomy and surgery in Harvard University. The fire-back came from the old house.
The preservation of the meetinghouse is directly due to the efforts of an organization of twenty-five Boston women, under the title of the “Old South Preservation Committee,” formed in the centennial year of 1876, at a critical juncture, when its demolition was imminent through the sale of the property for mercantile purposes. Public interest was aroused, “preservation meetings” were held with lectures, addresses, and poems by Emerson, Henry Lee, Lowell, Holmes, and others; and finally this organization succeeded — Mrs. Mary Hemenway contributing $100,000 — in purchasing the estate subject to certain restrictions for $430,000. It is now used for the Old South Lectures to Young People, instituted by Mrs. Hemenway to promote among American youth a “more serious and intelligent attention to historical studies, especially studies in American History,” of which Edwin D. Mead is the director.
The town meetings of greatest moment held here were those of June 14 and 15, 1768, upon the matter of the impressment of Massachusetts men by the commander of his majesty’s ship of war Romney; the long afternoon and early evening meeting of March 6, 1770, the day after the Boston Massacre, which brought about the removal of the British regiments from the town; and the anti, tea meetings between November 27 and December 16, 1773, culminating with the “Tea Party” and the emptying of the cargoes of the tea ships into the harbor. The series of orations commemorative of the Boston Massacre was delivered here, Dr. Joseph Warren, three months before he was killed at Bunker Hill, pronouncing the second one, upon which occasion he was introduced through a window in the rear of the pulpit, the entrance doors and the aisles, and even the pulpit steps, being occupied by British soldiers and officers. During the Siege, when the meetinghouse was used as a riding school by Burgoyne’s regiment of light dragoons, the floor was cleared for their exercises, and cart loads of earth and gravel were spread over it. The pulpit, the pews, and all the inside structures except the sounding-board and the east galleries were taken out and most of them burned for fuel. One “beautiful carved pew,” with silken furnishings, was carried off to a neighboring house and “made a hog stye” of. The east galleries were fitted for spectators, and in one of them was a refreshment bar. The south door was closed and a pole was fixed here over which the cavalry were taught to leap their horses at full speed. In the winter a stove was set up, in which were used for kindling many of the precious books and manuscripts of the Rev. Thomas Prince’s New England Library, then deposited in the “steeple-room” of the tower. The manuscript of Bradford’s “History of Plimoth” (see p. 43), and that of the third volume of Winthrop’s Journal among them, were spared. In this tower study the Rev. Jeremy Belknap, the historian and the recognized founder of the Massachusetts Historical Society, did much work.
The meetinghouse which preceded this, a “little house of cedar,” was the one which Andros obliged the regular church organization to share with the first Episcopal church (see p. 24). That, too, was the place where Judge Samuel Sewall in 1697 published his “confession of contrition” for his share as a witch craft judge in the “blood-guiltiness” at Salem five years before. It was also the meetinghouse where Benjamin Franklin was baptized on the day of his birth, January 17 (6 O. S.), 1706.
In the neighborhood of the Old South is the newspaper quarter, Newspaper Row, extending below the curve of Washington Street, northward. Near it, also on Washington Street and Bromfield Street, are popular bookshops.
From the Old South to the “Tea Party” Site. At the Old South we turn into Milk Street, but before doing so we should identify the site of the Province House, the official residence of the royal governors, celebrated in Hawthorne’s “Legends of the Province House.” This build. ing stood nearly opposite the meetinghouse, well back from Washington Street, above a handsome lawn ornamented by two noble oaks at the street front. A bit of its wall yet remains backing upon Province Court, which is reached from Washington Street by a foot passage.
It was a stately house of brick, three stories, with gambrel roof, and a high cupola surmounted by a figure of an Indian with drawn bow and arrow, another specimen of the handiwork of “Deacon” Shuns Drowne, maker of the grass hopper on Faneuil Hall. The approach was by a high flight of stone steps leading to a portico, over which appeared the royal arms in deal and gilt. It long outlived the Province period. After the Revolution it served the Com monwealth a while as the Government House, for the sittings of the governor and council, and for state offices. Thereafter it fell to commercial uses, and in its latter days it was a hall of negro minstrelsy. It finally passed, all but the bit of wall, in a fire in 1864. It was built originally for a dwelling by an opulent merchant, Peter Sergeant, in 1667. The Province bought it for a governor’s house in 1715. The Indian was preserved and is now in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Province Street and Province Court led to the rear grounds of the Province House. After the Revolution Province Street was for some time called the Governor’s Alley.
On Milk Street we pass the site of Benjamin Franklin’s Birthplace, covered by the building No. 17, nearly opposite the side of the Old South, which bears on its front the legend “Birthplace of Franklin,” with a bust of the philosopher.
A little farther down, on the left, is the Federal Building, including the Post Office and the Federal courts, a gloomy pile of granite, chiefly interesting for its service in checking at this point the sweep of the Great Fire of November 9-10, 1872, the gravest of all great Boston fires. In the wall at the Milk and Devonshire streets corner is a tablet commemorating that disaster, from which the city was quick to recover. It states that this fire, “beginning at the southeasterly corner of Summer and Kingston Streets, extended over an area of sixty acres, destroyed within the business center of the city property to the value of more than sixty million dollars, and was arrested in its north easterly progress at this point. The mutilated stones of this building also record that event.”
Federal Street, next below Devonshire Street, southward, is one of the main avenues to the South Station. It has two historic sites covered by business buildings. These are at or about the western corners of Franklin Street, the first street crossing Federal. One (northwest corner) is the site of the Federal Street Theater, the first regular playhouse in Boston, designed by Bulfinch and erected in 1794. The other is that of the Federal Street Church, the Boston pulpit of William Ellery Channing from 1803 till his death in 1842.
We continue two blocks farther down Milk Street to Pearl Street, which opens from the lower end of Post Office Square, upon which the Federal Building fronts. Near the north side of this square is the site of the first office of the Liberator, the dingy little attic room where, in 1831, William Lloyd Garrison began his most aggressive antislavery editorial work. The building stood on the northeast corner of Congress and Water streets until it was swept off in the fire of 1872.
When Garrison was mobbed in 1835, and was given refuge in the Old State House, then the City Hall, the Liberator office was on Washington Street in a building backing on Wilson’s Lane, now Devonshire Street, where the attack upon him began.
Turning into Pearl Street we follow it to its end at Atlantic Avenue, where is the “Tea Party” site. Along the way we cross High Street, and looking down this street eastward we see in the distance the poplar trees of Fort Hill Square, which marks the site of Fort Hill, one of the three original hills of Boston, which was leveled in 1867-1872. The hill got its name from the fort which was erected on its summit in 1632, the first fort on the peninsula. It was then at the eastern extremity of the town, directly opposite the harbor. In the second fort here, built in 1687, Andros took refuge at the time of the revolution which overthrew his government.
“Tea Party Wharf” was near the western line of the present
Atlantic Avenue, close by Pearl Street. The tablet which we
see on the avenue front of the building occupying the northern corner
of the two streets marks the site as nearly as possible. The
inscription, beneath the model of a tea ship, tells the story of the
At this point we can take a surface car or, by walking to the next station northward, an elevated train, and ride to the North End for our exploration of that quarter. It is better, however, to take a south bound car and return by way of Dewey Square (passing the South Station) and Summer Street to Washington Street, making our entry into the North End by the customary route from Scollay Square.
The North End (see Plate III), though now bereft of many of the landmarks that once gave it an antique flavor and a peculiar charm to seekers of things old and historic, is yet a quarter to which the much, worn term “unique “may justly be applied. There still remain a few landmarks of great interest, and “historic sites” abound in this small and compact district. The first “court end” of the town, where the gentry had their fine mansions beside the many quaint humbler houses of the early Colonial period, it is now the foreign quarter of the city, with foreign signs in dingy shops and a swarming population of Russians, Armenians, Israelites, Norwegians, Poles, Italians saluting our ears with a jargon of tongues.
We approach the North End by way of Hanover Street, which runs from Scollay Square to the Chelsea Ferry on the water front.
At Union Street, the cross street next below Washington Street extension, we come to two historic sites of first importance. One is the site of the Green Dragon Tavern, the “headquarters of the Revolution.” This stood on Union Street, a few steps off from the left side of Hanover Street. The spot is marked by a business building (No. 80), on the face of which for years was a stone effigy of the tavern sign, — a sheet-copper, green-painted representation of a creature of forked tongue and curled tail, which couched upon an iron crane projecting over the entrance door. The tavern existed from 1680 or thereabouts, through Colonial, Provincial, and Republican days, till the twenties of the nineteenth century, when the lane which bore its name was widened to form the present street.
It was at the Green Dragon that the prerevolutionary leaders held their secret councils and formed their plans of campaign. Here the Tea Party originated. It was the rendezvous of the night patrol of Boston Mechanics, instituted to keep watch upon the British and Tory movements. It was the chief meeting place of the “North End Corcus,” one of the three clubs composed of patriot leaders and followers, which added the word “caucus” to our political nomenclature. It was also the first Free Masons’ hall, the pioneer St. Andrews Lodge having been organized here in 1752, and in 1769 the first Grand Lodge of the Province, with Dr. Joseph Warren as Grand Master and Paul Revere a subordinate officer.
The other site is that of Josiah Franklin’s dwelling and chandlery shop, at “the sign of the Blue Ball,” the boyhood home of Benjamin Franklin, where he worked for his father at candle-making and tended the shop. Near by was the “salt marsh “by the Mill Pond, on the edge of which he fished for minnows. The “Blue Ball” stood near the south east corner of the junction of Union and Hanover streets. It held its place till the middle of the nineteenth century, when it was demolished in the widening of Hanover Street at this point. Its site is included in the street way.
A stone’s throw up Union Street (eastward) Marshall’s Lane (now officially called street) opens from the left side, — one of the alleys or “short cuts” of old Boston, through which we must pass. It will bring us back to Hanover Street close to the cross street next below Union Street.
As we enter Marshall’s Lane from Union Street we cannot fail to notice the low-browed brick building of eighteenth-century fashion which occupies the upper corner of the lane and street. This is interesting as the place where Benjamin Thompson of Woburn, who became Sir Benjamin Thompson and then Count Rumford, was a clerk or apprentice in his youth in Hopestill Capen’s shop, selling imported stuffs to the fashionable folk of the provincial town. At the outbreak of the Revolution the Massachusetts Spy, afterward of Worcester, was printed on the upper floor of this building.
Soon our lane makes a junction with another, — Creek Lane, which originally led to the Mill Creek, where is now Blackstone Street, as Marshall’s Lane first led to the Mill Bridge across the creek. Here we see set against the base of a building a rough piece of stone with a spherical one on top of it marked “Boston Stone, 1737.” This is only the relic of a paint mill which a painter brought out from England about 5700 and used in his shop close by. Perhaps he was Tom Child by name, to whom Sewall alludes in his diary: “Nov. 10, 1706. This morning Tom Child the Painter died.” The monument was set up here some time after the painter’s day, in imitation of the London Stone, to serve as a direction for shops in the neighborhood. A similar guide post, called the Union Stone, stood for some years at the entrance of the lane by Hopestill Capen’s shop. In the front of the building at the outlet of the lane, on Hanover Street, is a carved reproduction of the London Painters’ Guild, which is said to have been the sign of the painter who used the “Boston Stone.”
Opposite this monument we see, in the worn old structure on the corner of Creek Lane, the office of Ebenezer Hancock (brother of John Hancock), deputy paymaster general of the Continental army, where were deposited the funds in French crowns brought out by d’Estaing from America’s ally, the king of France, which went to pay the arrears of the officers of the Continental line. The block beyond, facing Creek Lane, is “Hancock Row,” built for stores by John Hancock after the peace.
Again on Hanover Street, we cross to the other side and enter Salem Street, which starts off obliquely from Hanover Street and then runs parallel with it. Now we are fairly within the North End. It is a curious street, with strange denizens. In early Colony days it was fair Green Lane, upon which it was the dream of prospering Bostonians to live At the corner of Stillman Street is the site of the first Baptist meeting house, erected in 1679, on the border of the open Mill Pond then on this side. This was the meetinghouse which was closed against the pro scribed sect and its doors nailed up in 1680 by order of the court; when the undaunted society held their services in the meetinghouse yard. Its descendant is the present First Baptist Church on Common wealth Avenue, Back Bay. Prince Street, intersecting Salem Street mid way, preserves more of the old-time aspect than other streets of the quarter. This street (first in part Black Horse Lane) was the direct way from the North End to the Charlestown ferry (where is now the Charlestown Bridge), and after the battle of Bunker Hill numbers of the wounded British were brought here to houses which were turned into temporary hospitals. The most important of these emergency hospitals was a fine new house near the lower end of Prince Street at the corner of Lafayette Street. This remained until the end of the nineteenth century, being occupied for some years by a grandson of one of the Boston Tea Party. Another on Prince Street, nearer Salem Street, is the so-called Stoddard house, a narrow brick dwelling, still standing (No. 130). It is said that Major Pitcairn was brought to this house and died here from his wounds. On the westerly corner of Prince and Margaret streets is the house where long lived John Tileston, the school master, the rigid but beloved master for two thirds of a century of the oldest North End school, which became the Eliot School.
In and about North Square. Taking Prince Street at the right we cross Hanover Street and enter North Square. This squalid triangular inclosure was the central point of the North End in its “elegant” days, when it was adorned with trees and dignified by neighboring mansions. It is now the heart of the Italian colony. At its outlet upon North Street is the one landmark here of historic value. This is the little low house of wood, hedged in by ambitious modern structures, marked as the home of Paul Revere. It was the versatile patriot’s dwelling from about 1770 through the Revolution and until 1800, when, having prospered in his foundry, he bought a finer house on Charter Street near by and there spent the remainder of his days. This North Square house was old when Revere moved into it from his earlier home on North Street (then Fish Street). It was built soon after the great fire of 1676 in place of Increase Mather’s house, the parsonage of the North Church, which went down with the meetinghouse in that disaster.
was in the upper windows of this North Square house that on the
evening of the Boston Massacre Revere displayed those awful
illustrated pictures which, we read, struck the assembly of
spectators “with solemn silence,” while “their countenances
were covered with a melancholy gloom.” And well might they have
shuddered. In the middle window appeared a realistic view of the
“massacre” In the north window was shown the “Genius of
Liberty,” a sitting figure holding aloft a liberty cap and
trampling under foot a soldier hugging a serpent, the emblem of
military tyranny. In the south window was an obelisk displaying the
names of the five victims, in front of which was a bust of the boy
Snider, killed a few days before the “massacre” in a struggle
before a Tory shop which had been “marked” as one not to be
patronized; and behind the bust a shadowy, gory figure, with these
pale ghost fresh bleeding stands
Just below this house, at about the corner of North and Richmond streets, stood the Red Lion Inn of early Colony days, kept by Nicholas Upsall, befriender of the proscribed Quakers, — the “Upsall gray with his length of days” of the “King’s Missive,” — who suffered banishment and imprisonment for his friendly acts. On Richmond Street was the birthplace of Charlotte Cushman (born 1816), whose name is perpetuated in the Cushman School near by.
At the head of the square, on the north side, is the site of the Old North Church, which the British pulled down and used for firewood during the Siege. It stood between Garden Court and Moon streets. It was the second meetinghouse of the Second Church in Boston (instituted in 1649), built upon the ruins of the first one, burned in the fire of 1676. It became popularly known as the Church of the Mathers, from Increase, Cotton, son of Increase, and Samuel, son of Cotton Mather, successively its ministers. In the prerevolutionary period John Lathrop, a stanch patriot, was its minister, and it was the church which Revere attended.
After the Revolution the lot upon which it had stood was set apart for the dwelling of Mr. Lathrop (who continued the minister till his death in 1816), and the society acquired the “New Brick Church” in the near neighborhood on Hanover Street, the successor of whirls was the Cockerel Church, so called from a copper weathercock which crowned its steeple — still another piece of “Deacon “Shem Drowne’s clever work — and is now still doing service on the steeple of the Shepard Memorial Church in Cambridge. Mr. Lathrop’s house on the old church lot was large and comfortable in appearance, with a row of poplars in the front yard, and on the Moon Street corner a weeping willow. These were all blown down in the destructive September gale of 1815.
The descendant of the Old North is the ivy-clad Second Church on Copley Square. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a minister of the Second Church from 1829 to 1832.
In Garden Court Street stood the stately mansion of Governor Thomas Hutchinson (his birthplace), which was sacked and partly destroyed with much of its contents by the anti-Stamp-Act mob on the night of August 26, 1765. It was a house of generous proportions, built of brick, painted “stone color,” and set in ample grounds, the garden extending on one side to Fleet Street and back to Hanover Street. The interior was rich in finish and adornments. It is well pictured, although with fanciful touches, in Lydia Maria Child’s early historical romance, “The Rebels, A Tale of the Revolution,” published in 1852. It was here that Hutchinson wrote his “History of Massachusetts.”
The first volume was published in 1764. When the house was pillaged the second volume lay in the rich library in manuscript almost ready for the press. It was thrown out with other precious books and papers, and “left lying in the street for several hours in a soaking rain.” But most fortunately all but a few sheets were carefully collected and saved by the Rev. Andrew Eliot, minister of the “New North” Church, living near by on Hanover Street, and the author was enabled to transcribe the whole and publish it two years later.
Hutchinson and his family made their hurried escape from the house just before the mob reached it, finding refuge in neighboring dwellings. Hutchinson was first harbored in Samuel Mather’s house on Moon Street, but was obliged to seek another refuge to avoid the threatening mob.
Also occupying Garden Court Street with the Hutchinson house, and of similar elegance, was the Clark-Frankland mansion, so called from William Clark, a rich merchant who built it, and Sir Harry Frankland, who afterward lived in it. J. Fenimore Cooper pictured this house in “Lionel Lincoln,” in his description of the residence of “Mrs. Lechmere,” which he placed on Tremont Street; and Edwin L. Bynner portrayed it in his novel of “Agnes Surriage.” Both of these mansions lingered in picturesque decay till the thirties of the nineteenth century, when the Bell Alley entrance to the square was widened into Prince Street.
During the Siege North Square was a military rendezvous with barracks for the soldiers, their officers occupying the comfortable dwellings about it. The building on the east side by Moon Street, now an Italian church, was originally “Father Taylor’s Bethel,” a sailors’ church, built in the early part of the nineteenth century, long conducted by the Rev. Edward T. Taylor, one of nature’s orators and a born minister to seafaring men.
Church and Copp’s Hill. Now we return to Salem Street, crossing
Hanover Street and passing through North Bennet or Tileston
Street, either of which will bring us close to Christ Church and
Copp’s Hill, the predominating historic features of the North End
to-day. As we cross Hanover Street we should give a glance at a
little low house crowded back from the street line (a second story
and roof above a projecting store) on the west side, just below North
Bennet Street. This is a remnant of the house built in 1677 by
Increase Mather after the fire in North
Square. It was Dr. Mather’s home till his death in 1723. Afterward
it was long occupied by the Rev. Andrew Eliot and his son, John
Eliot, ministers successively of the New North Church. From these
ministerial occupants it is called the Mather-Eliot house. On
North Bennet Street was the first grammar school in the
north part of the town, established in 1713, and on Tileston
Street (named for the old schoolmaster) was the first writing
school in the North End, begun in 1718. This street was at that
time Love Lane, so called not from any sentimental characteristic
that it possessed, but from a family by the name of Love who owned
property about it.
Beneath the tower are old tombs. In one of them Major Pitcairn was temporarily buried. Some years later, when his monument was erected in Westminster Abbey and his English relatives sent for his remains, a box said to contain them was duly forwarded, but the grewsome tale is told that the sexton was not sure of his identification. The church is open to visitors for inspection upon application to the sexton; fee, twenty-five cents.
A block above, at the corner of Salem and Sheafe streets, is the site of the home of Robert Newman. He was the sexton of Christ Church in 1775 who, according to the tradition that its steeple was the place of the Revere signals, hung them out at the instance of John Puling, a warden of the church, and in Revere’s confidence. At the time British officers were quartered in this house upon the Newman family. It stood until 1889. Near by, on Sheafe Street, was the birthplace of the Rev. Samuel F. Smith, author of “America.”
Up Hull Street, opening directly opposite Christ Church, a few steps bring us to the main gate of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, — a mob of youthful guides of both sexes and various nationalities pressing us along the way, rattling off with glib tongue the “features” of the region, and offering to show them, all and several, for a nickel. Hull Street perpetuates the name of John Hull, the maker of the pine-tree shillings. It was originally cut through Hull’s pasture (in 1701), and the land for it was given by his daughter Hannah and Judge Sewall, her husband, on the happy condition that it should retain this name “forever.” Of the few old houses permitted to remain here, but one need engage our attention. This one is on the south side, distinguished from its neighbors in standing endwise to the street. It is the Galloupe, or Gallop, house, so called, dating from 1722, which Gage’s staff made their head, quarters during the battle of Bunker Hill. The Gallops who occupied it through two generations were lineal descendants of Captain John Gallop, the earliest pilot in Boston Harbor, among the “first corners” of 1630, for whom Gallop’s Island in the harbor is named. He also lived in the North End, “near the shore, where his boat could ride safely at anchor.”
In the Copp’s Hill of to-day we see only a small remnant of the original eminence, the northernmost of the three hills of the peninsula upon which Boston was planted. It now consists of an embankment left after cuttings of the hill, protected on its steepest sides by a high stone wall. At the time of the battle of Bunker Hill, when its summit was occupied by the British battery whose shot, under the direction of Burgoyne and Clinton, set Charlestown on fire, it terminated abruptly on the northwest side, opposite Charlestown, in a high cliff.
This battery stood near the southwest corner of the burying ground on land afterward cut down. Perhaps its site was the same as that of the windmill of a century earlier, brought over from Cambridge and set up here in 1653, to “grind the settlers’ corn,” thereby giving the hill its first name of “Windmill Hill.” It got its name of Copp’s from William Copp, an industrious cobbler, one of the first settlers, who owned a house and lot on its southeast corner near Prince Street.
The burying ground, which now goes under the general name of Copp’s Hill, really comprises four cemeteries of different periods: the North Burial Ground (established in 1660, the same year as the Granary Burying Ground); the Hull Street (1707); the New North (1809); and the Charter Street (1819). The oldest section is the northeasterly part of the inclosure. It is the largest of the historic burying grounds of the city, and is especially cherished as a picturesque breathing place in a squalid quarter, as well as for its associations.
Among the noted graves or tombs which we may find here are those of the Revs. Increase, Cotton, and Samuel Mather; of Nicholas Upsall, the persecuted friend of the Quakers; Deacon Shem Drowne, the “cunning artificer”; the Rev. Jesse Lee, early preacher of Methodism in Boston, his first church being the Common, where Whitefield had preached fifty years before; the Rev. Francis W. P. Greenwood, rector of King’s Chapel 1824-1843; and Edmund Hartt, the builder of the frigate Constitution. The tomb of the Mathers is near the Charter Street gate. A large memorial stone with bullet marks on its face attracts attention. It stands, as the inscription states, above the “stone grave ten feet deep,” of “Capt. Daniel Malcom, mercht, who departed this life October 23d 1769 aged 44 years: a true Son of Liberty, a Friend to the Public, an Enemy of Oppression, and One of the foremost in opposing the Revenue Acts in America.” This stone was a favorite target with the British soldiers quartered in the neighborhood during the Siege, and the bullet marks were made by them. Another stone, which stands toward the northwest angle of the ground, is also curiously marked. This commemorates “Capt Thomas Lake, aged 61 yeeres, an eminently faithful servant of God & one of a public spirit,” who was “perfidiovsly slain by ye Indians at Kennibeck, Avgvst ye 14th 1676, & here interred the 13 of March following.” A deep slit is across its face, into which the bullets taken from the captain’s body were poured after being melted. The lead was long ago all chipped out by vandals. Captain Lake was a commander of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1662 and 1674. Near the middle of the ground is the triple gravestone of George Worthylake, first keeper of Boston Light in the harbor, his wife and their daughter, all drowned while coming up to town in his boat one day in 1718 — the mournful event that inspired Franklin’s boyhood ballad of “The Lighthouse Tragedy” (see p. 17). A notable monument is to Major Samuel Shaw, a Revolutionary soldier, ancestor of Robert Gould Shaw. There are a number of vaults bearing sculptured slabs and heraldic devices.
Here, as in the other old burying grounds, acts of vandalism have been committed in the past in the removal of several stones from their proper places, while sacrilegious hands have changed the dates on some tablets by transforming a 9 into a 2, as in 1620 for 1690, or 1625 for 1695. Others have taken stones away and utilized them in chimneys or drains, and two or three tombs have been desecrated by the substitution of other names for the rightful ones upon them. The treatment of the tomb of the Hutchinsons with its armorial bearings, where were deposited the remains of Elisha and Thomas Hutchinson, grandfather and father, respectively, of Governor Hutchinson, has been cited1 as a flagrant case of this sort. In place of Hutchinson has been cut the name of Lewis, while the honored dust of these Hutchinsons is said to have been “scattered before the four winds of heaven.” It appears, however, from researches made in 1906 by a loyal descendant of Thomas Lewis, that this tomb was duly sold to him in 1807 by a granddaughter of Thomas Hutchinson, the deed of record bearing the signature of Hannah (Mather) Crocker, a daughter of Rev. Samuel Mather and his wife, Thomas Hutchinson’s daughter. It further appears that the Hutchinson bones lay in a corner of the tomb till between 1824 and 1825, when a grandson of Thomas Lewis caused them to be placed in a suitable box. Thomas Lewis was a deacon of the Second Church.
corner of the inclosure by Snowhill Street was originally used for
the burial of slaves. Near the Charter Street gate is the “Napoleon
willow,” grown from a slip from the tree at Napoleon’s grave.
Taking Battery Street from Hanover Street, we pass to Atlantic Avenue and North Battery Wharf, the site of the North Battery. Constitution Wharf, the next wharf north, marks the site of Hartt’s shipbuilding yard where “Old Ironsides” was built; also the frigate Boston. Lewis’s Wharf, southward, opposite the foot of Fleet Street, marks in part (its north side) the site of Hancock’s Wharf, upon which were Hancock’s warehouses.
On Atlantic Avenue we can take an elevated train at the Battery Street station (or surface cars, if we prefer) and return to our starting point at Scollay Square.
1 Bridgman’s “Memorials of the Dead in Boston,” 1852.
The trip to Charlestown naturally follows the exploration of the North End. If we start from the latter quarter, taking an elevated train north (Battery Street station), we change at the North Station station to a Sullivan Square train. If, however, we elect to go from the business quarters, we have a choice of various trolley lines besides the elevated: some in the Subway (from Scollay Square, Park, or Boylston Street stations), others on the surface, several of the latter passing through Adams Square. The Chelsea cars pass by the Navy Yard.
The elevated tracks, and surface tracks under them, pass over the new Charlestown Bridge (completed in 1900; composed of steel and stone; 1900 feet long, including the approaches, and too feet wide; draw operated by electricity; cost $1,400,000; built by the city of Boston). Trolley lines also cross the Warren Bridge.
All the “features” of Charlestown can be included within the com pass of a short walk. Chief of them, of course, is Bunker Hill Monument. This is only a block from the second station of the elevated line in the district, — Thompson Square (the first station being City Square, at the end of Charlestown Bridge), — and about a ten-minute walk from City Square. The United States Navy Yard (established in 1800), occupying “Moulton’s Point,” the spot where the British troops landed for the battle, is next in popular interest. The main gate is at the junction of Wapping and Water streets, and Water Street opens from City Square. The yard is open daily to visitors, admitted by passes which are to be obtained at the main gate. It is an inclosure of nearly ninety acres, attractively laid out, and with many interesting features. The marine museum and naval library occupy the oldest building in the grounds near the entrance gate. Another near-by point of interest is Winthrop Square (about a five-minute walk from City Square), the early Colonial training field, where are memorial tablets bearing the names of the Americans who fell in the battle of Bunker Hill; also a Soldiers’ Monument (Civil War) by Martin Milmore, sculptor of the soldiers’ monument on Boston Common. On Phipps Street, off Main Street, west side, near Thompson Square station of the elevated line, is the ancient burying ground in which is the monument to John Harvard, the first benefactor of Harvard College, designed by Solomon Willard and erected by graduates of the college in 1828.
City Square and “Town Hill,” which rises on its west side behind the Charlestown Branch of the Public Library (the City Hall when Charlestown was an independent city) are the parts in which the first settlement was made in 1629. The “Great House” of the governor, in which the Court of Assistants adopted the order giving Boston its name in 1630, stood on the west side of the square. The dwelling of the young minister, John Harvard, stood near the opening of Main Street, his lot extending back over the slope of “Town Hill.” The “spreading oak,” beneath which the first church, which became the first church of Boston, was organized by Winthrop and his associates, was on the easterly slope of this hill. The first “palisadoed” fort, set up in 1629 and lasting for more than half a century, was on its summit. The first bury ing ground, where it is supposed was the grave of John Harvard, all traces of which long ago disappeared, was near its foot, toward the northern end of the square.
The present church on the hill, facing Harvard Street, is the lineal descendant of the first meetinghouse of the Charlestown Church, organized in 1632. An earlier church, on the same spot, was from 1789 to 1821 the pulpit of Rev. Jedidiah Morse, author of the first geography of the United States, deserving of remembrance more especially as the father of Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the electric telegraph and noted in art. When his distinguished son was born, Mr. Morse was living temporarily in the house of a parishioner, Thomas Edes, the parsonage near the church being in building. This house is still standing, worn and dingy now, but preserved as the birthplace of Morse. We may see it on Main Street, above the Thompson Square station, marked with a tablet: “Here was born Samuel Finley Morse, 27 April 1791, inventor of the electric telegraph.” The room was the front chamber of the second story on the right of the entrance door. This house was the first dwelling erected after the burning of the town in the battle of Bunker Hill.
The monument was begun in 1825, when the corner stone was formally laid by Lafayette, under the direction of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons, and Daniel Webster delivered the oration. It remained unfinished for nearly twenty years. Then, in 1840, largely through the efforts of American women, the required funds for its completion were raised. In July, 1842, the last stone was hoisted to its place, one of the workmen riding upon it and waving an American flag. When it was finally laid in cement the event was announced by a national salute. The completed structure was dedicated on the 17th of June, 1843, when Webster was again the Orator, and President Tyler with members of his cabinet was present. In the great throng that gathered on this occasion were a few survivors of the battle. The sculptor Greenough devised the monument, and Solomon Willard was the architect who superintended its construction.
Bunker Hill lies to the northward of Breed’s Hill, toward Charles town Neck, where the Elevated line ends. Its summit, higher than Breed’s Hill, is occupied by “Charlestown Heights,” overlooking the Mystic River, one of the most attractive of the Boston City Parks System. On Walker Street, on this hill, a short street extending from Main up to Wall Street, is still standing the house where Thomas Ball, the sculptor, was born.
The West End (see Plate II) comprises that quarter of the city which lies north of the Common and between Beacon, Tremont, and Court streets, Bowdoin Square, Green Street and so northwest to the Charles River, and Charles Street to Beacon Street at the foot of the Common. It thus includes all of Beacon Hill. It is a fading quarter now, with a number of old Boston institutions, some mellow old streets, others in hopeless decay, and numerous landmarks, especially of literary Boston. In its better parts it retains more distinctly than any other quarter of the city the genuine Boston flavor.
The most interesting part is the Beacon Hill section. We have seen its southern boundary in the fine line of Beacon Street architecture opposite the Common from the State House to Charles Street. Let us enter it, therefore, above Beacon Street, — from the State House Park through the archway to Mt. Vernon Street.
Although “The Hill,” as this was called in its proud days, par excellence, is not the oldest part of the West End, it has been from its upbuilding the choicest, and accordingly its associations are the richest. Up to the Revolution it was largely a region of fields and pastures. Until near the opening of the nineteenth century there were but two houses on the Beacon Street slope west of the Hancock mansion. The greater part of the territory below the Hancock holdings was the domain of John Singleton Copley, the painter (after his fortunate marriage), from about 1769 to 1795. The bounds of this “farm,” as Copley called it, although it was chiefly pasture land, are indicated generally by the present Mt. Vernon and Pinckney streets on the north, Walnut Street on the east, the Common south, and the Charles River west. It included the homestead lot of the first European settler, William Blaxton, — he who was here before the Winthrop company, — with the “excellent spring” of which he “acquainted” the governor when he invited him hither. It was the acquisition of the Hancock pasture for the new State House, — the Bulfinch Front, — in 1795, that gave the impulse to the development in this quarter. Then a “syndicate “purchased the Copley estate at a bargain (Copley was at that time living in England), and in the course of a few years these now old streets appeared, built up substantially, in place of the Copley pastures and adjoining proper ties. A half-century after it was remarked that on “the Copley estate live, or have lived, a large proportion of those most distinguished among us for intellect and learning or for enterprise, wealth and public spirit.”
On Mt. Vernon Street from the archway we are passing through what were the Hancock gardens. Hancock Street, coming up the hillside at our right, is the oldest of the streets here. It originally ran by the side of the peak of Beacon Hill over to the Common. It was given the governor’s name in 1788. Near its foot, on the east side, is the Sumner house (No. 20) in which Charles Sumner lived from 1830 to 1867. Along the same side, extending from Derne Street nearly up to Mt. Vernon Street, stood from 1849 to 1884 the Beacon Hill Reservoir, a massive granite structure with lofty arches piercing its front walls, notable as a superior piece of architecture. Its service as a distributing reservoir closed some time before its removal, clearing the way for the State House Annex.
Joy Street, the first to cross Mt. Vernon, is next to Hancock Street in age. It used to be Belknap Street, the principal way to the negro quarters on the north slope of the hill. Midway in its descent to Cambridge Street a dingy court opens, Smith by name, in which is a landmark of antislavery days. This is the brick meetinghouse erected for the first African church (built in 1806), now a Jewish synagogue, which was used for abolition meetings. It was after a meeting held here on the evening of December 3, 1860, commemorating the execution of John Brown, that Wendell Phillips was assisted to his home, then on Essex Street, by a volunteer guard of forty young men with locked arms, pressed closely by a threatening mob. At the fairer end of this street, near Beacon Street, is the Diocesan House (1 Joy Street), the headquarters of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Here are the offices of various church organizations, the parlors of the Episcopal Church Association, and the library. Above (Nos. 3 and 4) are the houses of the Twentieth Century Club, which concerns itself with many reforms, and of the Massachusetts Civic League.
As we proceed along Mt. Vernon Street, which grows in old-fashioned stateliness as it advances over the hill, we come upon a succession of houses with an interesting past. No. 49, on the north side, was long the home of Lemuel Shaw, chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for thirty years (1830-1860). Its near neighbor (No. 53), now the house of the General Theological Library, was once the dwelling of a merchant of distinction. The library which has succeeded it is an unsectarian institution established since 1860, for the purpose of “promoting religious and theological learning,” having a collection of 22,000 volumes and some 5,000 pamphlets.
It is a special library of standard and current theological books, that term being used in its broad sense to cover works on sociology, philosophy, comparative religions, and archæological research. Its books are free to all New England clergymen; and beyond Greater Boston they are furnished through the local public libraries.
The head of the stately row of houses beyond, set back thirty feet from the street (No. 57), was the town house of Charles Francis Adams, Sr., during the latter years of his life. The next one in this row (No. 59), with its classic doorway, is most interesting as the last home of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and associated with his ripest work. No. 65, transformed into an apartment house, so, unhappily, breaking the symmetry of the row, was formerly the home of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, where some of his most notable historical writing was done. No. 79 was the home of Horace Gray during his long service on the Supreme bench of the State as justice and chief justice, before he was made a justice of the United States Supreme Court. The last house of the row (No. 83) was the last Boston home of William Ellery Channing, whose study here was the “Mecca of all sorts and conditions of men.”
On the opposite side of the street the ornate brownstone houses with lofty entrances, now the Theological School of Boston University, were hospitable mansions erected in the fifties of the last century by the brothers John E. and Nathaniel Thayer, eminent merchants of their time and benefactors of Harvard University. No. 76, just below, was the home of Margaret Deland for a number of years, during the period marked by her “Philip and His Wife.” No. 88, on the lower corner of little Willow Street (which connecting, nearly, with another little street across Chestnut Street provides a “short cut” to the Common), was once the home of Enoch Train, the projector of the line of fast clipper ships to Liverpool, fine craft which came into successful competition with the early ocean steamships. He was the father of Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney of Milton, the favorite writer of girls’ stories. No. 92 was the home and studio of Anne Whitney during the years that she was modeling some of her most notable statues — the Samuel Adams (see p. 15) and the Leif Ericson (see p. 79) among them.
Louisburg Square, with its inclosed park of lofty trees and diminutive Italian marble statues of Aristides and Columbus at either end, suggestive of old London residential squares, connects Mt. Vernon with Pinckney Street, the latter with an air of shabby gentility yet borne with decorum. Blaxton’s spring is believed to have been in the middle of this square. The point is disputed by local historians, the popular location being in Spring Lane, north of the Old South Meetinghouse; but the evidence in support of the Louisburg Square situation is accepted as conclusive by most authorities. The matter, however, is not of moment, for the town was full of springs when Blaxton “solicited” Winthrop hither.
Blaxton’s orchard spread back up the hill slope toward this square. His homestead lot of six acres, reserved after his sale of the whole peninsula to the colonists for thirty pounds, occupied the northwesterly slope of the hill, bounded southerly toward the Common and westerly on Charles River, the water’s edge then being at the present Charles Street. His cottage, with its rose garden, was on the hill slope toward the Common, between the present Spruce and Charles streets. He moored his boat on the river, presumably at a point which jutted out from the bluff in which the hill ended, on the Charles Street side.
At No. 10 Louisburg Square was the last Boston home of Louisa M. Alcott, where her remarkable father, A. Bronson Alcott, died (1888) in his eighty-ninth year; her own death following the day of his funeral. No. 4 was the home of William D. Howells in the late eighteen-seventies, when he was a Bostonian editing the Atlantic. No. 20 is interesting as the house where Jennie Lind was married in 1852.
On the upper corner of the square and Pinckney Street are the main house and the chapel of the Sisterhood of St. Margaret, Protestant Episcopal, where is St. Margaret’s Hospital, one of the most worthy institutions of the city. At No. 5, this side, lived John Gorham Palfrey, the historian, in the eighteen-sixties.
Pinckney Street extends from Joy Street to the river, with but two streets crossing it. At the upper end was for forty years the home of Edwin P. Whipple, the essayist: the plain brick house, No. 1. Lower down, on the opposite side, the house No. 20 was the home of the Alcott family in the fifties of the last century, the scene of Louisa M. Alcott’s early struggle in authorship mingled with domestic occupations. At No. 54, nearly opposite the opening of Anderson Street, was the early home of George S. Hillard, lawyer, critic, essayist, remembered especially through his “Hillard’s Readers” of the mid eighteen-fifties. From this house Hawthorne in 1842 wrote his little note to the Rev. James Freeman Clarke requesting “the greatest favor which I can receive from any man,” — the performance of the ceremony of his marriage to Sophia Peabody. Hillard lived for a much longer period at No. 62. On the lower slope of the street, below the square, at No. 84, was the first Boston home of Aldrich after his marriage, where Longfellow got the inspiration for “The Hanging of the Crane.” The “Story of a Bad Boy” issued from this house.
On Mt. Vernon Street again we may see just below West Cedar Street the first home of Margaret Deland in this quarter, — No. 112, — where her earlier books were written; and nearly opposite, at No. 99, the home of John C. Ropes, in his day the authority on Napoleonic literature. In West Cedar Street, No. 24, is the home of Ferris Greenslet, litterateur, biographer of Lowell and Aldrich.
By West Cedar Street we cross to Chestnut Street, possessing in its entirety, perhaps, more of the old Boston flavor than the other streets of “The Hill.” In the short block of West Cedar Street through which we pass, note should be taken on one side of the town house of Percival Lowell (No. 11), the astronomer and producer of notable books; on the other side that of Henry C. Merwin (No. 3), the essayist and literary authority on the American horse and the dog; and, at No. 1, the home of the Harvard Musical Association, organized in 1837 “to promote the progress and knowledge of the best music,” and from its establishment a leading factor in the development of musical culture in Boston.
Up Chestnut Street on one side and down on the other we shall pass a series of historic houses. No. 50, on the south side, was the town house of Francis Parkman, from 1864 until his death (1893) identified with the most of his historical work in the preparation of his “France and England in North America.” No. 43, nearly opposite, was for upwards of forty years the town house of Richard H. Dana, Sr., the poet; here he died (1896) at ninety-one. A little way above, the house presenting a side bay to the street (No. 29) was the sometime home of Edwin Booth, the actor. Higher up the street a group of three houses (Nos. 17, 15, and 13) arrest attention as examples of the best type of early nineteenth-century domestic architecture. The first was the long time home of Cyrus A. Bartol, the “poet preacher” and essayist; the second is the ancestral home of Dr. B. Joy Jeffries; the third was for some years the home of Rev. John T. Sargent, the meeting place of the Radical Club, renowned in its day, which came after the Transcendental Club of wider fame. Mrs. Julia Ward Howe also lived some years in this house.
On Walnut Street, where Chestnut Street ends, — or, more properly, begins, — was the historian Motley’s boyhood home, in a pleasant house “looking down Chestnut Street,” now replaced by a more modern dwelling. At 8 Walnut Street was Parkman’s earlier house, from which he removed to 50 Chestnut Street.
Returning now to the foot of the hill and taking Charles Street north ward (once beautified by handsome trees, now all gone save one or two worn remnants), we may pass the Charles Street houses once the homes of Dr. Holmes, James T. Fields, and T. B. Aldrich (Nos. 164, 148, and 131, respectively). On the way we should notice at the foot of Mt. Vernon Street, corner of Brimmer, the Church of the Advent (Protestant Episcopal), in the early English style of architecture, with stone tower and steeple. In the tower is a chime of bells. The church organization dates from 1844. No. 26 Brimmer Street is the home of M. A. De Wolfe Howe, editor, biographer, and poet.
old literary homes of Charles Street are near together toward
Across Cambridge Street is the Charlesbank, the pleasant park with trees and shrubs and shaded seats, along the river front between the Cambridge and Craigie bridges. It is especially designed for the poorer classes living in the neighborhood.
The successive institutions on the opposite side of the street are the County Jail, generally called the Charles Street Jail, the Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary (incorporated 1827), and the Massachusetts General Hospital (incorporated 1811). The latter fronts on Blossom Street, and embraces a group of noble buildings. The oldest, or central building, with porticoes of Ionic columns and shapely dome, was designed by Bulfinch. In the old operating room the first successful operation upon a patient under the influence of ether was performed in October, 1846, by Dr. W. T. G. Morton. This event is commemorated by the Ether Monument, so called, in the Public Garden. At Dr. Morton’s grave in Mt. Auburn, Cambridge, is also a monument. On North Grove Street, at one side of the hospital, is the first Harvard Medical School building (afterward the Harvard Dental School) (see p. 91E), the scene of the Parkman murder in 1849, — the killing of Dr. George Parkman by Professor John W. Webster. Both were men of good social and professional standing, and the trial was one of the most celebrated in Boston. Webster was executed the following year.
The only other object of interest in this older part of the West End is the West Church, at the corner of Cambridge and Lynde streets, now the West End Branch of the Public Library. It dates from 1806. Its predecessor was used for barracks during the Siege, and the steeple was taken down because it had been used in making signals to the Continental camp at Cambridge. The present house was long the pulpit of Charles Lowell (father of James Russell Lowell) and Cyrus A. Bartol.
The ornamental Cambridge Bridge, of steel and masonry, dating from 1907, architect Edmund M. Wheelwright, replaces the West Boston Bridge.
The Public Garden below the Common, between Beacon, Charles, Boylston, and Arlington streets, is the gateway to the Back Bay District (see Plates I and H), the modern “court end” of Boston. Commonwealth Avenue is its principal boulevard. Boylston Street to Copley Square, and Huntington Avenue beyond, are its southern bounds; Beacon Street and Charles River its northern bounds. Copley Square is its central point. Massachusetts Avenue is its great western cross thoroughfare. To this avenue the streets of the quarter — with the exception of Huntington Avenue, which begins at Copley Square — run parallel to or at right angles with Beacon Street on the Charles River side. The cross streets, beginning with Arlington Street, are named in alphabetical order, a disyllable alternating with a disyllable word. Broad thoroughfares and imposing architecture characterize this quarter. The streets north of Boylston Street between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue are free from car tracks. Commonwealth Avenue, with its tree-lined parkway, broken here and there by statues, is two hundred feet wide, or two hundred and twenty feet from house to house, between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue. It extends beyond the original limits of the quarter, through the Brighton district to the western boundary of the city at the Newton line. Huntington Avenue, with a middle green occupied by street-car tracks, is one hundred feet in width, or one hundred and twenty feet from house to house. It extends to the Brookline line. Massachusetts Avenue comes into the quarter from the Dorchester District, where it begins at Edward Everett Square (so named from the birthplace of Edward Everett, which stood at this point) and, crossing Harvard Bridge, continues through Cambridge, Arlington, and Lexington.
The filling of the bay was planned in 1852 by a state commission, the Com monwealth having the right to the flats below the line of riparian ownership. At that time the bay was a great basin made by dams thrown across it for the utilization of its water power by mills on its borders. These dams were also used as causeways for communication between Boston and Roxbury and the western suburbs. They were the “Mill Dam,” now included in lower Beacon Street; the “Cross Dam,” extending from the Roxbury side to the Mill Dam; and the cause way, corresponding in part with the present Brookline Avenue (earlier the Punch Bowl Road), which extends from the junction of Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue southwest to the Brookline line. The filling was practically begun in 1857 and finished in 1886. It was done by the Commonwealth and the Boston Water Power Company. The Commonwealth owned 108.44 acres of the territory. On its sales of the land remaining after large gifts to institutions, and reservations for the city of Boston, and for streets and passageways, it made a net profit of upward of four million dollars. The avails of the sale were applied to educational purposes and to the endowment of several of the sinking funds of the state.
Alexander Hamilton, of granite, by Dr. William Rimmer. Erected in 1865. A gift to the city by Thomas Lee, the same who gave the Ether Monument in the Public Garden. This was the first statue in the country to be cut from granite. The inscription characterizes Hamilton as “orator, writer, soldier, jurist, financier. Although his particular province was the treasury, his genius pervaded the whole administration of Washington.”
General John Glover of Marblehead, “a soldier of the Revolution,” of bronze, by Martin Milmore. Erected in 1875. A gift to the city by Benjamin T. Read. The inscription details the conspicuous features of Glover’s military service with his marine regiment of Marblehead men, notably his leadership in transporting the army across the river from Brooklyn to New York and across the Delaware in 1776.
William Lloyd Garrison, a sitting figure, of bronze, by Olin L. Warner. Erected in 1886. The fund for this statue was raised by popular subscription. Beneath the chair in which the figure is seated lies a representation of a volume of the Liberator. The inscriptions are quotations of the motto of the Liberator: “Our Country is the World — Our Countrymen are Mankind”; and the declaration in Garrison’s salutatory in his paper: “I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — and I will be heard.”
The only church on Commonwealth Avenue is the notable structure with its Florentine tower, at the western corner of Clarendon Street. This is the First Baptist Church, descendant of the pioneer Baptist meetinghouse at the North End which the then proscribed sect built in 1679, and which not long after was nailed up by the court officers (see p. 57). This edifice was originally erected (in 1873) by the Brattle Square Church organization (Unitarian), to succeed the historic meetinghouse in Brattle Square (see p. 17). It was purchased by the Baptists after the dissolution of the Unitarian society and the sale of the church property by auction. The massive square stone tower, rising one hundred and seventy-six feet, with frieze of colossal bas-reliefs, gives this structure an especial distinction in the Back Bay architecture. The sculptured figures on the four sides of the frieze represent the four Christian eras, — baptism, communion, marriage, and death; the statues at the angles typify the angels of the judgment blowing golden trumpets. These figures were cut by Italian sculptors from designs by Bartholdi after the stones had been set in place.
The lower south corner of the avenue and Dartmouth Street is impressively marked by the great marble hotel, the Vendome. Farther down, on the north side, below Exeter Street, is the Algonquin Clubhouse, a light stone building of striking façade, sumptuously designed and arranged for the club’s uses. The Algonquin (organized in 1885) is the representative business club of the city, composed largely of active men of affairs. In near neighborhood — on Beacon Street, nearly opposite the head of Exeter Street — is the University Clubhouse. It is a rich dwelling refashioned for club uses. It is especially favored by position with an outlook at the rear over the river. This club (organized in 1892), composed of college graduates resident in Boston and vicinity, is one of the largest of its class in the country.
Below Exeter Street, also on the favored water side of Beacon Street, is the Holmes house (No. 296), the last town house of Dr. Holmes, identified with the mellow productions of his latter years and old age, — as “The Poet at the Breakfast Table,” “Over the Teacups,” the grave and gay poems, “The Iron Gate,” and “The Broomstick Train” on the advent of the trolley car. Farther down, at No. 392, is the home of James Ford Rhodes, the historian of the United States “from the compromise of 1850.” Above Exeter Street, on the south side of Beacon Street (No. 241), is the latter-day home of Julia Ward Howe.
Copley Square and its Surroundings. Copley Square is at the junction of Boylston Street, Huntington Avenue, Trinity Place, St. James Avenue, and Dartmouth Street. The cross streets, Berkeley and Clarendon, are near its eastern boundary; the thoroughfare of Dartmouth Street makes its western bound. About the square and in its immediate neighborhood are grouped some of the most important institutions of the city, with noble buildings, beautiful churches, and attractive hotels. Bounding the square are: the Public Library, occupying the entire west side; the old Museum of Fine Arts (see pp. 91A-91D), the Westminster Chambers (hotel), and Trinity Church on the south side; the Second Church on the north side; and the Old South Church marking the northwest corner. On Boylston Street east of the square, beginning at Berkeley Street, are: on the north side, the Natural History Museum and the main buildings of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; on the south side, the Hotel Brunswick. On Boylston Street west of the square is Jacob Sleeper Hall (dedicated March, 1908), the chief Boston University building (see p. 47), next the Public Library and extending to Exeter Street. On the lower corner of Exeter Street is the Hotel Lenox. Nearly opposite, on Exeter Street, is the Athletic Clubhouse, one of the largest of its class in the country. On Dartmouth Street, north, next beyond the New Old South Church, is the Boston Art Clubhouse, with entrance on Newbury Street. Opposite the clubhouse, on Dartmouth Street, is the Hotel Victoria. On Huntington Avenue, just outside the square, are the Hotel Nottingham, the Hotel Oxford, and the Copley Square Hotel. A short walk below, on Huntington Avenue, is the great building of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, with its fine halls. From Copley Square Trinity Place leads directly to the Trinity Place station of the New York Central Railroad for outbound trains, and Dartmouth Street leads to the Back Bay station of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, From Huntington Avenue, at the corner of Irvington Street, a block below the square, is the passage to the Huntington Avenue station of the New York Central for inward-bound trains.
The principal reading room, known as Bates Hall (in honor of Joshua Bates, who gave the Library at it beginning, in 1852, a fund of fifty thousand dollars, besides an equivalent amount in books), is in its dimensions and architectural features the most important apartment in the building. It is two hundred and eighteen feet long, forty-two and one half feet wide, and fifty feet high to the crown of the arches. The barrel-arched ceiling is deeply paneled and ornamented with rosettes. In this hall are collections of reference books and works in general literature, accessible to the public on open shelves. Readers are also served at the tables by runners, who bring from the stacks such volumes as are requested for hall use. The Children’s Rooms on this floor are entirely devoted to the needs of young readers. Special attendants aid the children in the selection of books, and instruct them in the use of the library. Nine thousand volumes are placed on open shelves here, mainly the better class of “ juveniles,” boys’ and girls’ fiction, and books of travel and adventure written for the young. Large tables are provided at which the children may read by themselves. The Children’s Reference Room is a study room, and is equipped with books intended to be used by young students. Children come here to write compositions, to look up topics connected with their school work, and to prepare their daily lessons. A collection of the text-books used in the Boston public schools is an important feature of this room, and the books contained in it are alike helpful to those who have left school and to teachers from other places. General and special reference hooks are also shelved here, duplicating in some cases those kept in Bates Hall for older readers; and there is a section of books on pedagogy and kindergarten methods for teachers.
In connection with the work for children, the schools included among the agencies of the Library (one hundred and twenty public and parochial schools) must be mentioned. These are supplied with books either for topical reference or miscellaneous reading, which are usually delivered by the Library wagons and may be changed frequently. Each set of books is made up for the occasion, and the teachers’ selection is followed as far as possible. The total number of volumes sent to the schools from the Central Library and Branches in 1909 was 22,263. Each large Branch library, also, regularly supplies certain neighbor ing schools. Applications for Library cards are taken by Library employees in all the schools once a year.
On the floor below are the Patent Room, with the best collection of publications relating to patents to be found in the country, except that at Washington; the Periodical Room, with a complete file of current periodicals and magazines; and the Newspaper Room, in which over three hundred newspapers from all parts of the world are regularly received and placed on the reading files. The Department of Documents and Statistics is in the rear part of the building, approached through the arcade, across the courtyard from the main-entrance corridor. It contains a large and constantly increasing collection of statistical works, official publications, and books relating to economic subjects; also many rare and valuable historical manuscripts and broadsides.
On the third floor are the Special Libraries, comprising the Fine Arts Department, the Allen A. Brown Library of Music, and the Barton, Barlow, Prince, Lewis, Bowditch, and Ticknor collections. The collections shelved on this floor are mainly intended for reference, and ample accommodation is provided for the use of students and for research work. The Brown Library contains more than eight thousand volumes relating to music; the Barton Collection (fourteen thousand volumes) is especially rich in Shakespeariana, unequaled in the world, outside of two or three great English libraries; and the Ticknor Library includes nearly seven thousand volumes of Spanish literature. These and the other collections designated by the names of the donors were presented to the Library. All of them contain many rare and exceedingly valuable books. The Fine Arts Department contains, besides a carefully selected collection of books relating to architecture, painting, and the allied arts, more than fifteen thousand photographs from all over the world, besides six thousand process pictures for the use of schools. Exhibitions are held regularly in a room especially devoted to this purpose, and collections of prints are sent to the schools and to the branch libraries and deposit stations.
On the north side of the building, opening from Boylston Street, a large Lecture Hall is provided, in which lectures on educational or literary subjects are given during the winter season.
The Boston Public Library system consists of the Central Library (this Copley Square building); eleven Branch Libraries, in different parts of the city, each having permanent collections of books; and seventeen delivery stations (of which all are reading rooms, formerly part service stations and shop stations). Regular de posits of books are placed in one hundred and forty-nine schools and institutions, and fifty-eight fire stations. In all, therefore, there are two hundred and thirty, five agencies for supplying books to the public. Regular daily wagon-delivery service is maintained between the Central Library and the outlying agencies. The administration of the Library is controlled by a board of five trustees appointed by the mayor, a librarian and assistant librarian, and, including chiefs of departments, a staff of two hundred and ninety employees for the regular service, and ninety, four for the Sunday and evening service. The Central Library is open daily from 9 A.M. to 10 P.M. (on Sunday from 12 m.) in the winter, closing one hour earlier in the summer; and the hours at the branches approximate this schedule, with some variation during the period from June to September.
The Library comprises a collection of nearly one million volumes. About thirty thousand are annually added. It is a circulating library free to every resident of Boston, and the use of the books within the Library is open to all, whether resident of the city or not. It is not only the largest circulating and reference library in the United States, but it undertakes a greater variety of service than is rendered by the noted libraries of the world. By means of an interlibrary loan system it is serving scholarship throughout the country, its recorded applications for books showing a wide range of towns and cities and educational institutions. The annual circulation for home use approximates one million six hundred and fifty thousand volumes, including the circulation from the branches. Besides this there is an extensive use of books in the Library itself of which no statistical record is kept.
The Phillips Brooks Memorial, in the green on the Huntington Avenue side of this church, was erected by popular subscription of citizens as a tribute to the beloved preacher, and passed to the care and custody of the corporation of Trinity by deed from the committee representing the subscribers. The statue is by Augustus St. Gaudens, and the canopy by Charles F. McKim of McKim, Mead, & White. Both are posthumous works, but the designs of both were practically completed before the death of the sculptor and the architect. The statue — of heroic size, representing the preacher in his pulpit garb and attitude, and the hooded head of Jesus appearing back of the figure, with the Saviour’s right hand on the preacher’s shoulder, typifying the inspirer — exhibits St. Gaudens’ last and boldest development of his scheme of the dual composition, the blending of the realistic with the ideal, in outdoor statuary; and as such invites and receives unusual attention. The memorial was formally unveiled on January 22, 1910, at the conclusion of dedicatory exercises within the church, attended by a distinguished audience, when Henry L. Higginson, chairman of the committee of citizens, gave the presentation address, and the gift was accepted for the corporation by the Rev. Alexander Mann, present rector of Trinity.
The two main buildings of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (founded by Professor William B. Rogers as a school of applied science, and chartered in 1861) occupy, together with the Natural History Museum, the entire square bounded by Boylston, Berkeley, Newbury, and Clarendon streets. They are the Rogers Building, dignified in design, with high portal approached by a noble flight of broad stone steps, and the severely plain Walker Building. In the former are the administrative offices of the institution and the departments of mining, mathematics, drawing, history, economics, and English; in the latter, the departments of physics and chemistry. Other buildings, the Henry L. Pierce and Engineering buildings, in which are the departments of civil and mechanical engineering, architecture, naval architecture, biology, and geology, are in Trinity Place; the Workshops are in Garrison Street, off Huntington Avenue; and the Gymnasium is on Exeter Street. The several buildings comprise, in addition to drawing, recitation, and lecture rooms, eight laboratories or groups of laboratories.
In the Rogers Building is Huntington Hall, in which the Society of Arts, organized with the institute for the encouragement of practical applications of the sciences, has its meetings. Here, also, are given the free lecture courses of the Lowell Institute (founded in 1839 by the will of John Lowell, Jr.). The Lowell School of Practical Design, established by the trustees of the Lowell Institute (1872) for the promotion of industrial art in the United States, is maintained by the Institute of Technology in its workshops. In the rear of the main buildings, on Newbury Street, is the Technology Clubhouse.
Museum of Fine Arts (incorporated 1870, first opened 1876),
with façade in classical style, marked by extreme simplicity
and dignity, is the second structure of the institution, erected in
1907-1909, and formally opened in November, 1909. In its general
scheme the building embodies the results of three years’ studies of
the principal museums of Europe and of modern museology, made by
advisory committees composed of artists and architects, in connection
with the director and the museum staff; and the principles governing
the arrangement of the rooms and exhibits, though not wholly new, are
applied with a consistency and thoroughness that are distinctly new.
The classification is by what is termed the dual system, providing a
compact exhibition in rooms on the main floor and reserved
collections for study on the floor below. Each department comprises a
series of rooms with independent approaches, and the arrangement of
the exhibits of each department is historical and chronological.
The department of Egyptian Art, one of the largest of the Museum, occupies a series of rooms in the eastern wing, reached by a corridor from the rotunda. The Hall of the Mastabas is first entered. Here are objects of great interest from the Prehistoric and Old Empire Period, and sculpture of the Middle and Early New Empire. The Mastaba Chambers are from the group of tombs at Sakkara and are fine specimens of the wall decorations of Dynasty V. From this hall opens a room containing ,he Way Collection (given by C. Granville Way in 1872), comprising many small objects of great interest, among them a series of scarabs classified according to subjects or dynasty. Next is the New Empire Room, containing objects dating in general from the Middle and New Empires. Thence the circuit passes into a small room containing in a case a garment of cut leather dating from the reign of Thothmes IV, 1436-1427 B.C. Next, the Ptolemaic Room, displaying a varied collection, with examples of Coptic textiles. The department of Classical Art adjoins that of Egyptian Art. At the north end of the corridor leading to it is a colossal statue of Cybele. Its circuit begins with the Archaic Room. This contains small bronzes, vases of stone and pottery, terra-cotta figures of the sixth and early fifth centuries representing scenes from daily life. Next, the Fifth Century Room. This is so arranged as to lead up to one of the Museum’s most prized objects, — the three-sided marble relief at the end. Here are terra-cotta vases, gems and jewelry, superb bronze vessels, one of them an early Greek basin with fine figures constituting its handles. In connecting small rooms are the finer marbles: the head of Aphrodite (of the Francis Bartlett collection, the largest gift of works of art ever received by the Museum); the youthful Hermes; the late Greek torso of a maid; and, exhibited under glass, a beautiful head of a girl, found in Chios and conjectured to have been possibly by Praxiteles. Next, the Fourth Century Room, the chief exhibit of which is a series of small terra-cotta figures. Finally, the Late Greek Room, with more terra-cotta figurines and bronzes. In the balcony of the court stand marbles of the Græco-Roman period.
The department of Western Art occupies a series of galleries beginning with the Western Art Corridor at the left of the staircase and continuing through the Nearer Orient Room, the Tapestry Gallery, the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Century rooms, the Eighteenth Century Vestibule, and the Library Corridor, and including the Bremgarten and Lawrence rooms on the ground floor. The collection em braces specimens of all the arts developed in Europe and the Nearer Orient, or under European influence since classical times. Objects of aboriginal American and African workmanship are also included. The department of Chinese and Japanese Art is in the west wing, reached by the Japanese Corridor. The museum collection of this class is the largest and finest in the world, and only a small proportion can be exhibited here at one time, the bulk being stored on the floor below. In the Japanese display are rich specimens of metal work, ivory and wood carving, costumes, and lacquer, the latter being especially noteworthy. The elaborate Morse Collection of Japanese Pottery, which gives a more complete representation of the fictile art of Japan than all other exist ing collections combined, occupies a gallery by itself at the left of the main entrance of the building.
The Library, dignified, in virtue of its endowment by a generous friend, by the title of the “William Morris Hunt Memorial Library,” is a beautiful hall, its upper walls hung with tapestries and adorned with pictures, notably the large “Boar Hunt” by Snyders. Next to the Reading Room is the Photograph Collection, including some thirty thousand photographs representing the sculpture, painting, and architecture of Europe, the Nearer Orient, and Japan. The Print Department occupies a suite of rooms on the ground floor, with a Study Room ad joining. Selections from the Museum’s great collection of Casts are shown in the two large courts and adjacent rooms. In the basement of the west wing is a public restaurant. The Museum School is housed in a separate building of a single story, built around two courtyards. Here all the classes and departments are together under one management. The entrance corridor is hung with envois from students who have held the Paige Travelling Scholarship which entitles the holder to two years’ study of art in Europe.
The Museum School gives instruction in drawing and painting, in modeling and design, with supplementary courses in artistic anatomy and perspective. The first suggestion of a public establishment in Boston to be devoted wholly to the fine arts was the result of a wish to make more accessible to the public several collections of works of art already existing in the Athenæum, at Harvard College, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Museum has been wholly dependent upon private liberality for its creation and maintenance. It is managed by a board of thirty trustees, of whom three are appointed by Harvard College, three by the Boston Athenæum, and three by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There are five ex-officio members, of whom three, including the mayor, represent the city of Boston. The remainder of the board are those first named in the act of incorporation and those chosen by the board to fill vacancies in its number. The president of the corporation is Gardiner M. Lane; director of the Museum, Arthur Fairbanks. The Museum is open every day in the year excepting the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas; on week days, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. (November to March 1, 4 P.M.); Sundays, 12 M. to 5 P.M. Admission is free on every Saturday and Sunday and on public holidays. On other days the entrance fee is twenty-five cents.
The present building is only a part of the structure as planned. The architect was Guy Lowell.
On the Fenway near Boylston Street is the handsome house of the Boston Medical Library (founded in 1874), ornamenting the street. The principal reading room is Holmes Hall, named for Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and adorned with mementos of him. His own valuable medical library is preserved in the general collection of this library, the fourth in size of the medical libraries of the country. There is here the Storer collection of medical medals, remarkable in its variety and extent.
At the corner of the Fenway and Boylston Street, facing the latter, is the house of the Massachusetts Historical Society (founded in 1791), the oldest historical society in the country, and probably in the world. This distinguished building was designed by Wheelwright & Haven, and was erected by the society in 1897-1899. It contains the society’s rare library of forty-three thousand volumes, enriched with historical documents and manuscripts. Over the entrance to the Dowse Library are the crossed swords which used to rest above the library of William H. Prescott, and to which Thackeray alludes in the opening of “The Virginians.” The cabinet museum of curios contains numerous interesting objects, among them the wooden Indian which topped the old Province House and the cannon ball which struck the Brattle Square Church during the Siege. The model of the historic meetinghouse is in the upper hall. The museum is open on Wednesday afternoons only, from 2 to 5. The chief function of this society is to publish, and it has issued infinitely more publications than any other historical society in this country, and more than all the other societies combined, the number approaching two hundred. Charles Francis Adams is the present president of the society, and Dr. Samuel A. Green has long been the librarian. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (founded in 1780) is also established in this building.
The South End is now a faded quarter. Like the Back Bay it is composed largely of “made land.” It was developed from the narrow neck connecting the old town with Roxbury, and was planned and built up on a generous scale to become the permanent fashionable part of the city. Such favor it was enjoying when the lavish development of the Back Bay began, and fashion was not long in turning from it and moving westward. With all its air of having seen better days, however, this quarter still has attractions. Its streets are broad, some are shaded with fine trees; numerous small parks are scattered through it; many of the houses are yet substantial dwellings, with a look of roominess within; and various important institutions are established within its borders. The latter most interest the visitor.
Of the churches of the quarter the stone Cathedral of the Holy Cross (Roman Catholic), on Washington Street, at the corner of Malden Street, is the greatest. It is the largest Catholic church in New England, and in some respects the finest. It is in the early English Gothic style. The interior is richly designed and embellished. The arch of the front vestibule is constructed of bricks from the ruins of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict (now leveled) in Somerville, which was burned by a mob on the night of August 11, 1834. In the front yard of the edifice is the bronze statue of Columbus, by Alois Buyens (a replica of the San Domingo monument), erected in 1892. In the rear, on the corner of Union Park Street and Harrison Avenue, are the chief offices of the archdiocese. The archbishop’s house is on Bay State Road, Back Bay District. Another South End Catholic church of note is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, on Harrison Avenue and East Concord Street (by the side of Boston College). The interior of this church is also rich in ornamentation.
Of the older Protestant churches several have become “institutional churches,” with numerous helpful activities. Such are the Berkeley Temple, on Berkeley near Tremont Street, in association with the Union Church on Columbus Avenue and West Newton Street; the Shawmut Church, on Tremont Street; and the Warren Avenue Baptist Church, on Warren Avenue and West Canton Street. The Denison House (College Settlement) is at 93 Tyler Street, and the South End House at 20 Union Park Street. Among the churches still retaining the old parish methods are the Second Universalist Church and the First Presbyterian Church, both on Columbus Avenue; the Clarendon Street Baptist Church, on Clarendon and Tremont streets; and the Tremont Street Methodist Church, on Tremont and Concord streets. On Berkeley Street, No. 41, is the admirable Franklin Union, with its trades school.
The East Armory (East Newton Street), housing the Ninth Regiment of Infantry, and the Cadet Armory (Columbus Avenue), First Corps of Cadets, are in this quarter.
Washington and Tremont streets and Shawmut and Columbus avenues are the great thoroughfares generally north and south through this quarter. Columbus Avenue opens at Park Square (from Boylston Street opposite the Common). Here is the Emancipation Group, commemorating the freeing of the slaves by President Lincoln, an interesting piece of statuary by Thomas Ball, erected in 1879. It was a gift to the city by Moses Kimball, long the owner of the old Boston Museum.
East Boston on its islands is a place of steamship docks and of great manufactories. In the days of wooden ships it was a center of ship yards, whence fine craft were launched. Here were built splendid clipper ships for the California service in the gold-digging days. Now its at tractions for the visitor are slight, although several of its hill streets are pleasant, and wide harbor views open from various points. Belmont Square, on Camp Hill, marks the site of the fort erected in the Revolutionary period, and perhaps also the site of the fortified house of Samuel Maverick, the earliest white settler, in 1630. Wood Island Park, of the Metropolitan Parks System, lies on the harbor or south side of the main island.
West Roxbury District contains memorials of Theodore Parker,
and embraces “Brook Farm,” the place of the experiment in
socialism by the Brook Farm Community of literary folk in 1841-1847,
and the scene of Hawthorne’s “Blithedale Romance.” The old
First Parish meetinghouse with its Wren tower, locally known as the
Theodore Parker Church from Parker’s nine years’ ministry
here, is still standing, though unused and dismantled. It is on
Centre Street, close by the Bellevue station of the railroad (Dedham
Branch). Electric cars from Forest Hills pass its neighborhood. In
front of its successor, a little farther up Centre Street, is a fine
bronze statue of Parker. Farther along this main street, at
the corner of Cottage Avenue, Parker’s residence also
remains, — now occupied as the parish house of a neighboring
Catholic church. Brook Farm is but little changed in its
outward aspect. It lies about a mile distant from Spring Street
station on the railroad (by way of Baker Street). The Stony Brook
Reservation of the Metropolitan Parks System is in this district.
Forest Hills Cemetery, one of the most beautiful of modern
burying grounds, is in another part of the district, close by the
terminus of the Forest Hills lines of electrics and the Forest Hills
station of the railroad. Here are the graves or tombs of General
Joseph Warren, Rear Admirals Winslow and Thacher, William Lloyd
Garrison, John Gilbert, the actor, Martin Milmore, the sculptor, and
many others of distinction. At Milmore’s grave is the monument
representing the Angel of Death staying the hand of the sculptor, an
exceptionally fine piece of sculpture by Daniel C. French. Jamaica
Plain, in which are the Arnold Arboretum and Olmsted Park
of the Boston City Parks System, is a part of this district.
The Dorchester District is now essentially a place of homes. It embraces a series of hills, several of them commanding pleasant water views. Meetinghouse Hill, in the southern part, is crowned with a fine example of the New England meetinghouse of the early nineteenth century, in direct descent from the first meetinghouse of 1631. At Upham’s Corner, on Dudley Street and Columbia Road, is the ancient burying ground, one of the most interesting in the country. Among the distinguished tombs here are those of Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, chief justice of the court before which the witchcraft trials at Salem were held, and Richard Mather, the founder of the Mather family in New England. Many of the inscriptions on the stones are quaint, and there are a number of imposing tablets.