- Boston Common
Infobox_nrhp | name =Boston Common
nrhp_type = nhld
caption = View of the Water Celebration, on Boston Common, October 25, 1848
locmapin = Massachusetts
area =50 acres
architect= Multiple, including
Augustus St. Gaudens
February 27, 1987cite web|url=http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1976&ResourceType=District
title=Boston Common |accessdate=2008-04-16|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service]
July 12, 1972(original, in NRHP also including Boston Public Garden) February 27, 1987(new, in NHL of Boston Common alone)cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
governing_body = Local
refnum=72000144 (original) 87000760 (new)
Boston Common is a central
public parkin Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as "Boston Commons". Dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. Its 50 acres (20 ha) of land are bounded by Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street, Charles Street, and Boylston Street. The Common is part of the Emerald Necklaceof parks and parkways that extend from the Common south to Franklin Park in Roxbury. A visitors' center for all of Boston is on the Tremont Street side of the park.
The Central Burying Ground is found on the Boylston Street side of Boston Common. There one can find the burial sites of the artist
Gilbert Stuartand the composer William Billings.
The Common's purpose has changed over the years. Originally it was owned by
William Blaxton(often given the modernized spelling "Blackstone") until it was bought from him by the city. During the 1630s, it was used as a cow pasture by many families living in Boston. However, this only lasted for a few years, as affluent families bought additional cows which led to overgrazing. [Loewen, James. "Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong". New York: The New Press, 1999. p. 414 ISBN 0965003172]
The Common was used as a camp by the British before the
Revolutionary War, from which they left for the Battle of Lexington and Concord. It was used for public hangings up until 1817, most of which were from a large oakwhich was replaced with gallowsin 1769. Mary Dyerwas hanged there in 1660.
On May 19, 1713, two hundred citizens rioted on the Common in reaction to a food shortage in the city. They later attacked the ships and warehouses of wealthy merchant Andrew Belcher, who was exporting grain to the Caribbean for higher profits. The lieutenant governor was shot during the riot. [Zinn, Howard. "
A People's History of the United States". New York: Perennial, 2003. p.51 ISBN 0060528370]
A hundred people gathered on the Common in early 1965 to protest the
Vietnam War. A second protest happened on October 15, 1969, this time with 100,000 people protesting. [Zinn, Howard. p.486]
Today the Common serves as a public park for all to use for formal or informal gatherings. Events such as concerts, protests, softball games, and ice skating (on Frog Pond) often take place in the park. Famous individuals such as
Martin Luther King Jr.and Pope John Paul IIhave made speeches there. Judy Garlandgave her largest concert ever (100,000+) on the Common, on August 31, 1967.
It was declared a U.S.
National Historic Landmarkin 1987.citation|title=PDFlink| [http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/87000760.pdf National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Boston Common] |32 KB|date=November, 1985 |author=James H. Charleton |publisher=National Park Service and PDFlink| [http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Photos/87000760.pdf "Accompanying photos: one aerial from 1972 and three from 1985"] |32 KB]
October 21, 2006, the Common became the site of a new world record, when 30,128 Jack-o'-lanterns were lit simultaneously around the park at the Life is good Pumpkin Festival. [ [http://www.lifeisgood.com/festivals/past-festivals.aspx "Life is good" site] ] The previous record, held by Keene, New Hampshiresince 2003, was 28,952. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/10/22/a_love_in_common_for_pumpkins/ A love in Common for pumpkins - The Boston Globe ] ]
August 27, 2007two teenagers were shot on the Common. One of the bullets fired during the shooting struck the Massachusetts State House. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/08/28/shots_on_common_strike_teens_state_house/ Shots on Common strike teens, State House - The Boston Globe ] ] A strict curfewhas since been enforced, which has been protested by the homelesspopulation of Boston. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/08/30/curfew_targets_crime_on_common/ Curfew targets crime on Common - The Boston Globe ] ] cite web|url=http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/14009823/detail.html
title=Homeless Protest Boston Common Curfew: Park Closed After 11 P.M. |date=2007-08-30|accessdate=2008-04-16|work= |publisher=TheBostonChannel.Com]
Notable features of the Common
Massachusetts State Housestands across Beacon Street from the northern edge of the Common.
Unitarian Universalist Association, headquarters of the international, liberal religious denomination, sits next door to the Massachusetts State Housefacing the Common.
* The Common forms the southern foot of Beacon Hill.
* Plaque to the Great Elm tree, which had been adorned with lanterns to represent liberty, used as a point of fortification and been used for hangings. [ [http://www.celebrateboston.com/sites/greatelm.htm The Great Elm Of Boston Common, Destroyed In 1876 ] ]
* The monument to
Robert Gould Shawand the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantrystands at Beacon and Park Streets, the northeast corner of the Common, opposite the State House.
* The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is a
victory columnon Flag Staff Hill in the Common
Boston Public Gardenlies to the west of the Common, across Charles Street, and was originally considered an extension of the Common.
* Frog Pond, a public ice-skating rink in winter months, is situated in the northern portion.
Park Street Station, the first subway station in America, stands at the eastern corner of the park.
Boylston Stationat the southern corner is America's "second" subway station.
* Boston Common is the southern end of Boston's
* Parkman Bandstand, in the eastern part of the park, is commonly used in musical and theatrical productions.
* The softball fields lie in the southwest corner of the Common.
* A grassy area forms the west part of the park, and is most commonly used for the park's largest events. A parking garage underlies this part of the Common. A granite slab there commemorates
Pope John Paul II's October 1979 visit to Boston.
* The Province of
Nova Scotiahas donated the annual Christmas treeto the City of Boston as an enduring thank-you for the relief efforts of the Boston Red Crossand the Massachusetts Public Safety Committee following the Halifax Explosionof 1917. In recent years the tree has been located on the Common.
* The Masonic
Grand Lodge of Massachusettsheadquarters sits across from the southern corner of the Common, at the intersection of Boylston and Tremont Streets.
* Also across from the southern corner of the Common, along Boylston and Tremont Streets, lies the campus of
* In 1986, two prehistoric sites were discovered on the Common indicating Native American presence in the area as far back as 8,500 years ago.
* A monumental inscription at the corner of Park Street and Tremont Street reads:
"In or about
the year of our Lord
One Thousand Six Hundred
thirty and four
the then present inhabitants
of the Town of Boston of whom
the Hon John Winthrop Esq
Gov of the Colony was Chiefe
did treat and agree with
Mr William Blackstone
for the purchase of his
Estate and any
Lands living within said
neck of Land called
after which purchase the
Town laid out a plan for
a trayning field for which ever
since and now is used for
that purpose and for
the feeding of cattell"
Notable recurring events on the Common
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's Shakespeare on the Common.
Boston Lyric Opera's Outdoor Opera Series.
* Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition's
* [http://www.bostonpride.org Boston Pride] .
Granary Burying Ground
* King's Chapel burying ground
Boston Public Garden
* [http://www.aviewoncities.com/boston/bostoncommon.htm "A View on Cities" article on Boston Common]
* [http://www.nps.gov/bost/ Boston National Historical Park Official Website]
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