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Celebrating Boston Landmarks Commission 40th Anniversary with Boston Common Tour

February 13, 2015
Boston Common (Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari)

Boston Common (Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari

The Friends is delighted to be partnering with the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) on an event that will kick-off their 40th anniversary year. Mayor Martin J. Walsh recently announced a series of free events scheduled throughout 2015 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BLC. Titled BLC XL, this anniversary series will feature four seasonal programs celebrating Boston’s historic places and the progress made during the past four decades to protect and enhance the city’s unique identity.

On March 12, 2015, please join us at the winter BLC XL program, “A Spin in the Park,” a free guided tour of the Boston Common. On this early-evening ramble, the Friends will present the colorful history of the Common, a designated Boston Landmark since 1977, and their ongoing efforts to restore and maintain it. BLC staff will reveal how the Common’s significant fences, statuary and fountains help define one of the city’s foundational places. This spin through the park will then take to the ice with skating at the Frog Pond, where rental skates will be made available to registered attendees at no cost along with a complimentary hot chocolate. Online registration is available here: blcxlwinter.eventbrite.com

“For forty years the Boston Landmarks Commission has worked to safeguard the character of our beloved City, from its iconic downtown buildings to its many vibrant neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh. “I encourage residents and visitors to take advantage of the BLC’s free programming and join us throughout this anniversary year as we mark these truly landmark achievements.”

Subsequent BLC XL events slated for 2015 include the BLC’s National Historic Preservation Month keynote event, to be held in May; a picnic and talk in Franklin Park, co-hosted by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, scheduled for July; and a harvest-themed archaeological program coinciding with National Archaeology Month in October. For upcoming event details and announcements, please follow the BLC on Facebook and Twitter (@COBLandmarks), visit their website at boston.gov/landmarks, and join our e-mail list by contacting Tonya Loveday at tonya.loveday@boston.gov.

5 Reasons to Attend Our Public Garden Lecture

February 2, 2015

 

Join the Friends and help care for three of Boston's most beloved greenspaces.

On February 4, the Friends will present, “Searching for the Histories of Boston’s Public Garden,” a lecture by Boston University Professor Keith N. Morgan. It will be a fascinating exploration of the origin of America’s first public botanical garden, the changes it has gone through, and the importance of the garden and its contents today. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons you should attend Keith Morgan’s lecture:

  1. There is much more to the history of Boston’s Public Garden than you might think.
    Did you know that the beautiful botanical garden almost didn’t exist? The space was nearly approved for residential buildings.

  2. The pictures you have taken of the trees, ducklings, bridge, and plantings are, well, more than just pretty pictures.
    Learn stories behind of some of Boston’s most photographed scenes, like the famous books and art inspired by the Public Garden, including Robert McCloskey famous children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings” and Maurice Prendergast’s immense collection of sketches of the Public Garden.

  3. Hear about this journey of this historic place through time from a passionate historian.
    The bridge we now love was criticized when it was first built, Henry James calling it “exaggerated.”

  4. Was the Public Garden under water before it was the Public Garden?
    View historical maps to find out what Boston looked like as the Public Garden came to be. Hint: The stories of finding shells beneath the surface are no urban legend!

  5. This lecture is great way to be entertained while learning about the historic city of Boston, and celebrating one of its prized gems – the one, the only, the original Public Garden.
    Keith N. Morgan has He has over 30 years of experience teaching History of Art and Architecture at Boston University. He has served as the Director of Preservation Studies, the Director of American and New England Studies, and the Chairman of the Art History Department. He is a former national president of the Society of Architectural Historians, as well as a noted author of various publications on art and architecture.

Reserve your ticket today!

2015 Brings a Permanent Address, Water to White, and a Chronicle of Boston Common History

January 15, 2015
Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari

Photo: Caroline Phillips-Licari

Dear Friends,

As we enter 2015, we are excited to have much good news to share with you. At the end of 2014, we finalized purchase of our office at 69 Beacon Street from Santander Bank. Thanks to Santander, we have enjoyed three rent-free years at a perfect location for the Friends, directly across the street from the Common and Garden and easily accessible to the public. The bank worked out a very favorable purchase price for us that was significantly below market. Thanks to Santander’s generosity, we now begin 2015 from a much firmer foundation in our permanent home. We are also grateful to First Republic Bank for a very favorable mortgage rate.

Thanks to many generous supporters and the leadership of neighbors who started us down this road, we are $18,000 short of reaching our $700,000 fundraising goal needed to restore and establish a maintenance fund for the fountain at the George Robert White Memorial – known as the “Angel” – in the Garden. Plans are being developed, approvals will be sought, and our goal is to break ground in mid-July for completion early in the fall. After many decades as a dry basin, water will flow there once again!

We are working with the Parks Department to launch the Year of the Common. Together with the City we must enhance safety on the Common, improve the park’s condition and maintenance, and ensure that use is managed to allow all to enjoy this popular greenspace while safeguarding its long-term health. A Cultural Landscape Report is being prepared that chronicles the 380-year history and evolution of the park from pasture to versitile 21st century park.

Anne Brooke, Chair
Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director

Oldest trees on Boston Common

January 15, 2015

Friends of the Pubic Garden:

The number of people traversing the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall may lighten up in winter months, but it is a busy season when it comes to Friends tree care projects, and is a particularly good time for pruning. Crews have been busy over the past few weeks pruning trees, work that will continue throughout winter and into spring. We were getting ready to update everyone on the pruning of the historic elms located at the Shaw Memorial on Boston Common when we came across a wonderful blog post by Deborah Howe. We wanted to share it with you.

Originally posted on Taking Place In The Trees:

A few weeks ago I was on Beacon Hill to run an errand, and snapped a quick shot of the Shaw Memorial elms in the rain:

RS cropped Shaw Elms Looking across Beacon Street to the Shaw Memorial; the two elms flanking the memorial are being managed to retain their trunks’ stability.

It was a soggy, cold day, and I was fast getting soaked, so I didn’t cast around for a better shot.  These elms have been standing on Boston Common, across from the Massachusetts State House, for centuries now.  This State House (for a long time known as the “New State House”, so as not to confuse it with the original State House on Court Street) was built between 1795 and 1798; the elms date at least to that time, if not to a couple of decades before then.

Elms are a fast growing tree, and before the onslaught of elm bark beetles…

View original 439 more words

Join Skating Night on Frog Pond and Support Our Parks

January 13, 2015
©Mark Hunt/Huntstock.com

©Mark Hunt/Huntstock.com

The Friends of the Public Garden Young Friends group is hosting a private skating night on Frog Pond for all ages. Enjoy outdoor skating and mingling with Friends while supporting the three historic greenspaces cared for by the Friends – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall

All are welcome and new friends are encouraged to attend this event; membership is not required to participate.

Wednesday, February 11
Frog Pond on Boston Common
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
$35.00 per person (Skate rental and hot cocoa are included in ticket price.)
Reserve your ticket today! 

Searching for the Histories of Boston’s Public Garden with Keith N. Morgan

December 30, 2014
Photo: Elizabeth Jordan

Photo: Elizabeth Jordan

The Friends of the Public Garden presents “Searching for the Histories of Boston’s Public Garden,” a lecture by Boston University Professor Keith N. Morgan.

Join us as we consider the creation, evolution, criticism, interpretation and enduring value of the most unusual public landscape in the city’s circuit of parks. From its origins as a private botanical garden built on filled marshland to the public horticultural and educational gem of the mid-Victorian era, the Public Garden became a site for controversy and celebration in its nearly two-century history.

Keith N. Morgan is a professor of History of Art and Architecture at Boston University, where he has taught since 1980. He has served as the Director of Preservation Studies, the Director of American and New England Studies, and the Chairman of the Art History Department. He is a former national president of the Society of Architectural Historians.

His publications include Charles A. Platt. The Artist as Architect (1985); Boston Architecture, 1975-1990, written with Naomi Miller (1990); Shaping an American Landscape: The Art and Architecture of Charles A. Platt (1995); the introduction for the new edition of Italian Gardens by Charles A. Platt (1993); and an introduction to a new edition of Charles Eliot, Landscape Architect (1999).   Professor Morgan was the editor and one of the lead authors for Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, (2009).   With Elizabeth Hope Cushing and Roger Reed, he has recently published Community by Design: the Olmsted Office and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts, 1880-1936, (Library of American Landscape History and the University of Massachusetts Press 2013).

Wednesday, February 4
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street, Boston
Admission: $15.00 per person (Pre-registration is required. Photo ID is needed to check-in.)
Purchase tickets

A Holiday Message from Our Historic Greenspaces

December 23, 2014

Photo: Brewer Fountain by Elizabeth Jordan

If the trees could speak to you, which we have been told happens on occasion, or sculptures could share what they see from their unique vantage points, what would they say? They would be thanking you for the gifts you have given to our greenspaces this year.

We don’t think the trees, turf, sculpture and many special spaces within the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall would mind if we thanked you on their behalf. Speaking on their behalf is part of our mission after all, a mission we are so grateful you share with us.

Thank you for caring for these treasured places. We know that you love them – you show it through your volunteerism, advocacy, stewardship, and financial support – and they love you for it. How do we know? A tree told us.

This holiday season, dear Friends, we wish you and yours joy and peace. We look forward to working together with you in 2015 to continue maintaining and enhancing these irreplaceable gems in our midst.

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