Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
an Historic Overview
In 1634, only four years after John Winthrop and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settled the Shawmut Peninsula and created the town of Boston, these colonists bought a 48-acre tract of land on the lower slopes of Beacon Hill. Purchased from Reverend William Blackstone, an Anglican hermit who had been the areaís sole inhabitant for nearly a decade, the land was immediately set aside as an English-style “commonage,” or common area for the use of all Bostonís townfolk.
Although today we think of Boston Common as a tree-lined public park, its uses were far different during its first two centuries of existence . During this early era, the Common was a scene of public rallies and celebrations, a favorite place for recreations such as promenading, ball playing and sledding, but it also served as a military training field, cow and sheep pasture, public punishment site, and burial ground. For eight years, the British redcoats camped and drilled on the Common and many were buried here in the years of occupation leading into the American Revolution.
Though the first tree-lined pedestrian mall appeared in 1728, the Commonís most conspicuous foliage was the ancient Great Elm. Ironically it doubled as a protective shelter and meeting place, and in the 17th century
By the mid-19th century, the American parks movement had taken root in Boston and the face of the Common began to look substantially more modern. New tree-lined walks, commemorative statues and plaques, fountains, and iron fences and gates were gradually added, while activities continued to include public rallies and demonstrations, ball games, festive celebrations, musical concerts, in addition to sylvan strolls. The ancient Frog Pond, now paved, became a site for wading and ice skating.
Throughout its history, the Common has served the dual role of meeting ground and public park, a legacy of which will continue into the 21st century. In sum, the Common is a microcosm and a mirror of all of Bostonís past – and that of America as well.
Location. 42° 21.392′ N, 71° 3.745′ W. Marker is in Boston, Massachusetts, in Suffolk County. Marker is at the intersection of Tremont Street and Park Street, on the left when traveling north on Tremont Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boston MA 02108, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Boston Common (here, next to this marker); Power System of Bostonís Rapid Transit (a few steps from this marker); Boston Common (a few steps from this marker); Park Street Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Tragic Events (within shouting distance of this marker); James Otis (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Huguenots, Women, and Tories (about 300 feet away); The Lafayette Mall (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boston.
More about this marker. The top of the marker contains a map of Boston Common with the location of various sites indicated. Next to this is a picture of Bostonís Great Elm Tree, with the caption “The Boston Common is a National Historic Landmark and a designated Boston Landmark.” Sites included in the markerís “Tour Around the Common” include: Blackstone Memorial Tablet, Lafayette Monument, Brewer Fountain, Commodore John Barry Monument, Visitor Information Center and Park Ranger Station. Boston Massacre Memorial, Central Burying Ground, Parkman Bandstand, The Flagstaff, Papal Mass Plaque, Fox Hill Plaque, Carty Parade Ground, Beacon Street Mall, Founders
The bottom of the marker contains a picture of cows grazing on the common, within sight of the Massachusetts State House, and of Bostonians enjoying leisure activities on the Common.
Also see . . . Boston Common. City of Boston.gov website (Submitted on May 18, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Colonial Era • Notable Places • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 18, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,885 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 18, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.