Two of America’s firsts, two centuries apart: the Boston Common, created in 1634, followed by the Public Garden in 1837. These two venues could not be more different from each other but what they do have in common is unique history. Admired and frequented by millions of visitors, neither disappoints.
Boston Common, America’s First Park
Before this 50-acre Common was known as it is today, a public urban park, it was originally used as a cow pasture, this was followed by a camp occupied by the British before the Revolutionary War. And, until 1817, public hangings took place from a large oak tree which was eventually replaced with a gallows in 1769. With many improvements and transformations over the years, it transformed into a common walk through for cross-town travel. The Common includes the Central Burying Ground where you will find the gravestones of many notable individuals and is the start of the Freedom Trail. It is also bordered by five streets: Boylston, Charles, Beacon, Park, and Tremont. Declared as a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1987, the Common is managed by the Boston Parks Department. Today, it is used for a variety of events including concerts, softball games, ice skating, and even protests. Stroll the Common on your own or visit as part of the Freedom Trail – either way, it’s free. The Boston visitors’ center, located on the Tremont Street side, can be easily found for all things Boston, and the Public Garden is just steps away.
Public Garden, America’s First Botanical Garden
Located adjacent to the Boston Common, the Public Garden was first established by philanthropist, Horace Gray who petitioned for the land to be America’s first public botanical garden. Many were involved in the creation of this exquisite and romantic Victorian-style Garden with its intricate patterns resplendent with a wide variety of exotic imported trees, plants, and flowers with breathtaking colors. Strolling through the many garden paths, you will also admire many statues, fountains, and the famous Swan Boats that you can ride for a different perspective of the beautiful surroundings.