Visiting the First Central Park of USA: Boston Commons and the Public Gardens
As with most of the places and things in Boston, Boston Commons and Public Gardens have a significant historical background. They are the main parks in Central Boston and a spot to relax and enjoy nature.
Fun Quick Facts About Boston Commons and Public Gardens
• Boston Commons is the first park in America, it was established in 1634.
• Public Gardens was opened on 1837 and is the first botanical garden in the United States.
• Swan Tours – first boat tour – 1877
What Makes the Swan Boats of Boston a Fun Ride at the Park
• Robert Paget used the idea of the bicycle principle to create a foot-propelled paddlewheel vehicle to be used on the frog pond in 1877.
• The swan was only meant to cover the paddlewheel.
• The whole idea of the boat came from Wagner’s opera Lohengrin where the knight saves his princess by crossing a river in a boat pulled by a swan.
• One year after Paget launched the first swan boat he died.
• Going against convention his wife decided to continue her husband’s business.
• Swan Boats is still run by the Paget family in partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department
• The 15 minute tour only costs $3 per adult and $1.50 for kids.
• Operating since 1877, the Swan Boats work from Spring to Fall.
• It was established in 1634, making it America’s oldest city park.
• The property was owned by the city’s first settler, William Blaxton.
• The nearly four hundred year old park served as a camp for British Soldiers during the American Revolutionary War.
• The Common is also home to one of Boston’s oldest graveyards.
• It was also used for public hangings, notoriously for witches and Quakers.
• It served as a grazing land for the farmers in the neighboring area.
• During colonial times, the British used the Common as a military base.
• Frog Pond lies in the center of the park. During the winter months people may use it as a natural skating rink.
• Each year, Nova Scotia (Canada) donates a Christmas tree to the Boston Common as a thanks for the city’s charity work after a disastrous explosion that destroyed half the city in 1917.
• In 1913 and 1986 prehistoric sites were discovered on the Common. They proved that there was Native American presence in the area as far back as 8,500 years ago.
• It became the site of a new world record, when 30,128 Jack-o’-lanterns were lit simultaneously around the park at the Life is good Pumpkin Festival
• It is part of the Freedom Trail
• The Public Garden was established in 1837.
• Philanthropist Horace Gray had the idea of creating the first public botanical garden in the US.
• The gardens are located over 24 acres of land that was once a salt marsh.
• It was designed by George F. Meacham.
• In the early days, people complained that the unnatural combinations of colorful plants were beyond the bounds of good taste. Now Boston calls the Public Garden one of its greatest attractions.