Protests on Boston Common

A history of demonstration in American’s first park

The Women’s March on January 21 on Boston Common was just the latest in a long history of peaceful demonstrations on the Common.

photo credit: Greg Cook

“The Common has been at the center of Boston’s civic life since its establishment in 1634. Despite physical changes, the Common has remained a focal point for the community – from grazing cows and military activities to celebration, punishments, protests and recreation. Physically, as well, it has remained fairly consistent in size and character, a green respite in the midst of the city.” — Boston Common Cultural Landscape Report, prepared by Landscape Historian Shary Berg for Friends of the Public Garden

After rowdy demonstrations against the English Stamp Act and the tax on tea, the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766 was cause for a huge celebration on the Common. Following the Revolutionary War, the Common was host to protesters of every stripe, and Presidents from Washington to Jackson visited along with other notables.

Celebrate the 4th of July on the Boston Common and Public Garden!

Boston’s been busy gearing up for Fourth of July this Wednesday.  City-dwellers have different approaches to celebrating our nation’s birthday, many head out of town to enjoy a relaxing couple of days on the Cape but many others stick around to join in the festivities, not to mention those visiting the city to check out the Fourth of July celebrations. In town there are any number of activities to keep you busy this fourth of July.

Take advantage of your day off from work to come to the Boston Common for its warmer weather activities. The new carousel is now officially open and features lots of new characters for families to see! The Frog Pond Spray Pool just re-opened this past Friday, so you can cool off as the day heats up.

In the Public Garden, go on a historic Swan Boat ride and see the ducklings, swans and other animals who call the Public Garden home. Just a quick reminder–the Swan Boats do not operate in rainy or extremely hot weather throughout the summer! Continue your way through the garden and over to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall to enjoy a stroll on this historic promenade. The Public Garden is also home to one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, which is a great location for photos.

No matter what your plans are in Boston on the Fourth, be sure to stay cool and safe!

Happy Fourth of July!

April’s Biggest Moments in American History

April is a busy time of the year for everyone, especially with springtime weather, Easter and lots of things to be done outdoors. But have you ever thought about how much history has occurred during the month of April? Here is an overview of some of April’s biggest highlights in America’s history books.

The American Revolutionary War began on April 19th of 1775. When King George heard that weapons were being gathered in Concord for a possible rebellion, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He sent over British troops to destroy the weapons and keep the citizens in line. However, the troops were in for a surprise when they arrived. The local militia in Concord fought back against the British using their weapons, now known as the battles of Lexington and Concord. The first shot of the war, fired at North Bridge by the Patriots, was later famously described by Ralph Waldo Emerson as “the shot heard ‘round the world.”

We all know the story of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. It happened on April 18, 1775, during a time of intense political uncertainty. That night, Paul Revere was warned that British ships were departing Boston and heading towards Cambridge for the land path to Lexington and Concord. Paul Revere and William Dawes set out at 9 PM on horseback to Lexington to warn his fellow Patriots about the possibility of a British invasion. During the course of the night, Revere warned people in present-day Somerville, Arlington and Medford about the British soldiers and the message spread quickly. On the way to Lexington, Revere was questioned by the British at gunpoint. Today, his story lives on as one of the original brave acts of American patriotism.

In April 1861, the American Civil War began with an attack on Fort Sumter. The war continued for years, finally reaching a long-awaited end in April 1865. April 1865 was a historic month in American history for many different reasons. On April 2, Confederate General Robert E. Lee evacuated the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, after losing to Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg. Lee’s troops would eventually surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th.  When President Lincoln and his wife were at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 14th, John Wilkes Booth assassinated him. The Union, while chaotic, continued on the path of success without their leader. By the end of April, almost all Confederate troops and officers had surrendered, leading to the official end of the American Civil War.

As April comes to a close, let’s appreciate these moments throughout our nation’s epic history.  If you like Boston, look up all the historical events that have happened here and explore away!