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Built In : 1634

Address : 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111

Area : 50 acres

Timings : 5:00 am to 11:00 pm

Entry Fee : None

Open : Daily

Prominent Attractions : Boston Common Frog Pond, Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Parkman Bandstand, Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Boston Massacre memorial, Oneida Football Monument, Brewer Fountain

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Boston Common, Boston Overview

Often referred to as “the Common,” Boston Common happens to be a central public park in downtown Boston and a part of the Emerald Necklace. The 50-acre piece of land is the oldest city park in the country and is surrounded by Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street, Charles Street and Bolyston Street.

Boston Common was built in the year 1634 and is a 50-acre piece of land that was declared a Boston Landmark in 1977 by the Boston Landmarks Commission. Situated on the southern end of the Freedom Trail, the Common is not only a recreational area but is also of great historical significance, representative of the country’s struggle against colonization and other such events. It is a massive green area which includes parks, a pond, a tot lot, memorials, burial grounds, fountains and a spray pool during the summers, for children.

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Main Attractions at Boston Common

This 50-acre piece of green land is an excellent destination for those looking to enjoy a peaceful walk in the park but much of its appeal lies in the fact that it is one of the 16 sites linked by the Freedom Trail and is home to several historic events since its establishment in the 17th century.
  • A historical inscription honouring the original purchase of the land lies where Park Street and Tremont Street cross each other, as well as a plaque at the center of the Common marking the location of the Great Elm Tree that was destroyed in 1876.
  • The Parkman Bandstand built after George Parkman lies towards the park’s eastern side, honouring the man who left behind a sum of $5 million for its maintenance. It is often used for alfresco concerts along with political rallies and speeches.
  • Large crowds flock to Boston Common to witness the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, while the Frog Pond serves as a reflecting pool during the summer months and as an ice-skating rink during the winters.
  • The Oneida Football Monument is a testament to the fact that Boston Common was where the country’s first organized football match was played, while the bronze Brewer Fountain happens to be a reproduction of a fountain displayed at the Paris World Fair in 1855.
  • The Central Burying Ground from the 18th century is where a lot of British soldiers and patriots were buried following the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Memorials at Boston Common

Prominent memorials at Boston Common are:
  • Where Beacon Street and Park Street meet is where the Robert Gould Shaw memorial is situated. It is a bronze-relief figure that honours the 25-year old colonel who led his African-American 54th Volunteer Infantry unit’s march in 1863, on Beacon Street.
  • On Flagstaff Hill within the park, one would find the Soldiers and Sailors Monument that commemorates all those who died during Boston’s Civil War, while another commemorates those who lost their lives during the Boston Massacre.

Key Public Gatherings at Boston Common

Owing to its geographical location along with being the site of a number of major events over the course of its existence, Boston Common has been used for several public gatherings. Along with the aforementioned protests and riots, the Common was where a major gathering was organized in order to honour Charles Lindbergh, an aviation pioneer, where Martin Luther King, Jr. launched a civil rights rally in the 1960s, where thousands of citizens gathered to protest the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and where an open-air mass was summoned in 1979 by Pope John Paul II, attracting about 400,000 people.

How to Reach

Most people prefer to visit this gorgeous historical landmark while on their walk on the Freedom Trail, but for those wishing to explore it on its own, it is possible to get here in a car, via the Subway, the train or the bus. The Boston Common Garage, the metered street parking around the Boston Common as well as the Public Garden are great for those coming in a car, while the Red, Green and Blue lines of the MTBA Subway drop people off close by, with Park Street Station, Bolyston Street Station, Arlington Station and Government Center Station being the closest. Also, Bus-111, 55 and 92, along with the Framingham/Worcester line of the train are other forms of public transport.

History of Boston Common

Even though the Common is primarily used for recreational purposes today, it has a long history associated with the country and the city’s fight for independence, sometimes quite grim. It was initially a farmland that was owned by William Blackstone, an Anglican priest; 44 acres of the land were used as a pastureland for cattle belonging to Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritan leaders till 1830.

Boston Common was the site of numerous punishments. Several stocks and whipping posts were built here to deliver punishments and it also served as a public execution ground; an oak tree was used for hangings before the gallows were constructed in the year 1769 (the executions stopped in 1817). It was here that Mary Dyer was hanged, along with other Quakers for practicing their religion, something that was prohibited by law.

When there was a food shortage in 1713 along with a spike in bread prices, citizens held riots here and also ended up shooting the lieutenant governor. Following the Boston Tea Party, British soldiers, in large numbers, occupied this space and also turned it into a “training field” in an attempt to stop people from protesting here. However, it isn’t just associated with morbid events; it was where people staged a celebratory rally after the Revolutionary War ended and when the Stamp Act was repealed.

Many believe that Boston Common is the site of former Native American presence, based on several archaeological excavations.

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