John F. Paramino was a Boston-based sculptor who lived in the city during the early 1900s. He is famous for producing some of the most well-known sculptures in Boston–you can find his work all over town. He created four unique historical sculptures located in the Boston Common. Here’s a little more information on the history behind these amazing creations in our city:
The Lafayette Memorial was built by Paramino in honor of Marquis de Lafayette. In 1781, Major General Lafayette helped lead his troops to a victory siege at Yorktown during the American Revolutionary War, causing the surrender of British General George Cornwallis. He also assisted with laying the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument in 1825. Lafayette died in Paris in 1834. His memorial includes his profile and a proclamation of Lafayette as a “distinguished French soldier.” Paramino’s Lafayette Memorial can be found in the Parkman Plaza within the Common. Another fun fact about this historical statue? Paramino unveiled this statue to the city of Boston in 1924, exactly 100 years after Lafayette’s first visit to Boston.
When walking parallel to Tremont Street, you can find another Paramino creation–the Declaration of Independence Plaque. This bronze plaque was installed on the Common in 1925 to celebrate and commemorate American independence. On the plaque is an almost word-for-word inscription of the Declaration of Independence itself (there are a few differences, though–history buffs, get your glasses ready!). Above the inscription of the Declaration of Independence is a beautiful recreation of the famous historical painting by John Trumbell, depicting the signing of the history-changing document. It is a beautiful representation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
The third Paramino sculpture has a history outside of what’s written on it! The Commodore John Barry Monument was originally instilled in the Common in 1949. However, the monument was stolen in 1977. Once it was found, the original was placed in the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Charlestown while another monument was built for the Boston Common. Commodore John Barry is known as the “Father of the American Navy,” a title you can see inscribed above his portrait on the sculpture. In 1794, Commodore Barry received orders from George Washington, asking him to create a formal United States Navy. When war broke out between the U.S. and France in 1798, Commodore Barry served as the U.S Senior Captain. This granite memorial, rich in history, is a tribute to a true American patriot.
The fourth and final Paramino creation in the Boston Common is the Founders Memorial. It is a large, two-sided sculpture that can be found close to the corner of Beacon and Spruce Street. The front is a tribute to two of the most historical figures in Boston. It depicts William Blackstone, the first settler of Boston, openly greeting John Winthrop, who would go on to be the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On the back of the memorial (facing Beacon Street), you can find a quotation from John Winthrop’s famous sermon on “Christian Charity” as well as a short selection from William Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation. This beautiful memorial was erected in the Boston Common in 1930, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Boston.
The next time you’re visiting the Boston Common, go on a historical scavenger hunt and search for all four of John Paramino’s sculptures. Enjoy the sights of the beautiful Boston Common and soak up all the history our city has to offer!