March is famous in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day and the celebration of all things Irish. The history of the Irish in Boston can be traced, in part, through public art on Boston Common, the Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Patrick Collins Memorial
Commonwealth Avenue Mall (Between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets)
Patrick Collins was the second Irish-born mayor of Boston (1902-05). Born in County Cork, his family moved to South Boston when he was a child. He started in the trades as an upholsterer, became active in the trade union movement, entered politics and during his time in the state legislature he studied law at Harvard Law School. Mayor Collins took office after a distinguished public career of four years in the State Legislature, six years as Congressman, and four years as United States Consul General in London appointed by President Grover Cleveland.
In his first inaugural address, he said: “The chief trouble with commercial Boston is that it seeks to do all its best business in one square mile of land. The result is congestion, very high rents within that area, and somewhat ragged prospects beyond. More business centers of the first class…will make Boston a better and a greater city. For this purpose, I may be counted an expansionist of the most extreme type.”
He died suddenly while in office, and he was so popular that funds for his memorial were raised in just six days from thousands of small contributions given by the residents of Boston.