On a recent trip to Boston, I was struck with the pride that its denizens have with their city being first at many great things in the USA.
In 1664, Boston Common, became the first public park in America. At almost 50 acres, it is the anchor of what is known as the Emerald Necklace, which is a system of connected parks winding through Boston’s neighborhoods. We enjoyed seeing people of all ages running, biking and sailing in the Charles River in the early evenings. The Common has been used for many purposes throughout it’s history. Up until 1830, cattle grazed here. Public hangings happened here. The British camped here and left from here to face the Revolution in Lexington and Concord in 1775. It is the location for the start of the Freedom Trail that is a must do when visiting the city.
America’s first great portrait artist, John Singleton Copley made Boston his home. He is famous for his portrait paintings of New England’s important figures that showed events that related to their lives.
In 1848, the Boston Public Library became the first publicly supported free municipal library in the world. Designed by Charles Follen McKim as a “palace for the people,” it contains over 23 million items in its collection. On the third floor are murals depicting world religions by John Singer Sargent. This departure from his usual portraits of important Americans was considered by him to be his most important work. In 1986, the National Park Service designated the McKim Building a National Historic Landmark citing it as “the first outstanding example of Renaissance Beaux-Arts Classicism in America.” Another first!
While there are many “firsts” to be celebrated in this fine city, I will end with this one. In 1903, the first modern World Series was played in Major League Baseball. The Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three in the best of nine series. No trip to Boston is complete without a trip to Fenway Park, the “Cathedral of Baseball.” With its “Green Monster” and original seats, Fenway Park is a unique piece of history. Make sure to take the tour and stay for the game!
More posts to come covering Copley Square, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a gem of a museum with its quirky way of displaying art and the Liberty Hotel which was once a jail is now Boston’s hot spot with the “see and be seen crowd.” Till then!