March 2003

I would go to the show early in the mornings, then in the afternoon take the shuttle downtown. The first day I got dropped off at the famous Faneuil Hall Marketplace - the center of it all. It began in 1764 as 'the cradle of Liberty' when Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty rallied colonists to assert their independence during the American Revolution. Today it is Boston's central meeting place. The world famous Bull Market, named for the weathervane that sits atop the historic Quincy Market Building, is home to shops now. Commerce below and politics above, since the day it was built. The 2 pictures of the market place have the street lamps with all the round clear globes in them.

Next stop was the Granary Burying Ground - 4 pictures - one including the slate grave markers. Last resting place of the Patriots. In this two acre plot are the remains of more famous people than in any other small graveyard in America. Three signers of the Declaration of Independence, nine governors of Massachusetts, victims of the Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Paul Revere are all here. First used in 1660. It's name derives from the old grain warehouse that once stood next door.

The picture right after these is one of the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial. They have put benches here that you can sit and read this memorial to interracial co-operation as well as to individual heroism. This memorial took 14 years to complete and was the first sympathetic portrayal of black men by a white artist. Considered one of the finest works of art to come out of any American war.

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Next picture with the golden dome is the Massachusetts State House. Construction on this building began in 1795. 15 white horses, one for each state in the Union, pulled the cornerstone up the hill, where Samuel Adams and Paul Revere presided over its laying. Designed by Charles Bulfinch at a total cost of 133,333.33 (more than five times the sum originally budgeted) he went on to design state capitals for Connecticut and Maine and even worked on the U.S. Capital in Washington. The state house stands on land once owned by John Hancock, who funded the secret activities of the Sons of Liberty. He was also the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Then into Beacon Hill and the wonderful purple tinted glass panes ... originally the hued glass resulted from sun exposure to imperfections in German glass manufactured between 1818-1825.

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I next went to the Public Garden in Boston Common. This is the nation's first botanic garden, established in 1837 I believe. There is a wonderful history about this area but the short of it is that is was called the 'common' because it was common land and once was the training field for the militia and then pasture land for cattle. The cows were finally evicted in 1830. The gardens themselves are a sight with some of the most beautiful trees, even if not in bud, you can see their size by their limbs...lots of Mongolian elm and ginkgo. Of course the statue of Washington is there as well as the dog walkers...a very pretty park in the summer I can imagine.
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Then I had a wonderful experience with the policeman on the horse. They came around a corner and the horse looked so stately and you could hear him snorting down the street. I quickly took out my camera to get a shot when the policeman just about stopped for me and gave me this huge grin....then he waved after I had taken the picture. Like I said before, a unique experience meeting such courteous people in a large city.

Here I was standing on a street corner with my map out when I turned to look at what the building was to get my bearings...then I saw it was the Old Corner Book Store. What a find, this building has been standing here since 1712 when built for Thomas Crease, an apothecary who had his shop, office and home here. It became famous in the mid 1800's when Ticknor and Fields, the nations leading publisher of the day had their offices here. The greatest authors in American history walked these same floors - Emerson, Longfellow, Hawthorne and Harriet Beecher Stowe were a few that called this place a hangout, as well as English writers Thackeray and Dickens. From this spot were published such works as Walden, The Scarlet Letter and Hiawatha, as well as the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

The building with the clock and balcony is that of the Old State House. 'Here the child Independence was born' Built in 1713 the Old State House is one of the oldest public buildings still standing in the U.S. Much could be told about this building and its history. The clock was made by Simon Willard and first installed here in 1831. Below the clock is the balcony from which the governors made their official proclamations to the colony. The tables were turned here on July 18th, 1776 when Col. Thomas Crafts stood here and read the Declaration of Independence, a copy of which had just arrived from Philadelphia. That night the citizens staged a bonfire in this square to burn flags and other reminders of British rule, including the original lion and unicorn, the royal symbols of Great Britain. The ones you see here are replicas and were installed in 1882. Another very notable event took place here on March 5th, 1770 - the Boston Massacre. There is a circle of paving stones marking the spot that this took place.
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The thin tall building used to be the Customs House. It has been restored and it is now an upscale hotel and preserved by the Marriott Corporation. It was Boston's first skyscraper and is crowned with a very distinctive clock tower. A bit hazy to see the top because there was a fog coming off the water...

Pictures of the John Hancock building with a beautiful old church reflected in its glass. They were just setting up to do some restoration on the church.
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The next area I visited was Copp's Hill Burying Ground. The summit here is the oldest surviving landmark in the North End. Little is known about the owner of this land, William Copp, but his children are buried here. Again, the headstones are all in slate. I have taken pictures of the signs here so you can read them yourselves. There is a picture I took from Copp's Hill across the water. You can see the U.S.S. Constitution and Bunker Hill - the monument was built in 1825-42 and is a granite obelisk that stands 221 feet high.

The next two pictures are of Old North Church, perhaps Boston's most famous landmark. Here on the night of April 18, 1775, the signal lanterns of Paul Revere shone to warn the country of the British troops' march. This church opened for worship in 1723 and is still used today. The interior was very plain and virtually unchanged with high box pews and brass chandeliers from 1724.
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Next we visit the U.S.S. Constitution...'the ship! Never has she failed us!' Launched in 1797 and now the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Built in Boston just across the Charles River from where she sits today. I was surprised at the size of this ship, much smaller than I had thought, yet she carried a crew of 450. She got the name 'old ironsides' because she was made of live oak and cannonballs literally bounced off her impenetrable hull and fell into the sea. They were working on the masts on the day that I visited. There was also another ship there, the U.S.S. Cassin Young DD-793, a Fletcher class destroyer.
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The last picture is that of the skyline of Boston from the Charlestown Navy Yard.

A wonderful memory of Boston and the Boston Flower Show...hope you enjoy!
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