Boston Common or The Common located in Boston, Massachusetts is world’s first public urban park . The Boston Common comprises 50 acres (20 ha) of land and it is part of the Emerald Necklace of parks and parkways . A visitors’ center for all of Boston is located on the Tremont Street side of the park. It was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1987. The Boston Common is a public park managed by the Boston Park Department. A private advocacy group, the Friends of the Public Garden, provides additional funding for maintenance and special events.
The oldest public park in the history of the USA, Boston Common’s history goes back as far as 1634, when the area was designated a common pasture. It was also used for military purposes and for public hangings. Once owned by William Blaxton , the first European settler of Boston, until it was bought from him by the Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. On May 19, 1713, 200 citizens rioted on the Common in reaction to a food shortage in the city.
The Common was used as a camp by the British before the American Revolutionary War, from which they left for the Battle of Lexington and Concord. It was used for public hangings up until 1817. The gallows were removed in 1817 and from 1830 the Boston Common serves as a public park for recreational purposes.
True park status seems to have emerged no later than 1830 . By 1836 an ornamental iron fence fully enclosed the Common and its five perimeter malls or recreational promenades . Improvements dating back to 1728 makes us believe that Boston Common is in fact the world’s first public urban park .
100 people gathered on the Common in early 1965 to protest the Vietnam War. A second protest happened 4 years after , this time with 100,000 people protesting. In 1913 and 1986 prehistoric sites were discovered on the Common indicating Native American presence in the area as far back as 8,500 years ago.
The Common Features
- The Massachusetts State House
- The Unitarian Universalist Association
- Plaque to the Great Elm tree
- The monument to Robert Gould Shaw
- The Soldiers and Sailors Monument
- The Boston Public Garden, lies to the west of the Common
- Frog Pond, a public ice-skating rink in winter months
- Brewer Fountain
- Park Street Station, the first subway station in America
- Boston Common is the southern end of Boston’s Freedom Trail , a popular walking tour along the city’s historic landmarks
- The Masonic Grand Lodge of Massachusetts headquarters sits across from the southern corner of the Common
Today the Common serves as a public park for everybody to have a great time resting in nature . Concerts, protests, softball games, and ice skating (on Frog Pond) often take place in the park. Celebrities, including Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and Gloria Steinem have given speeches at the Common.