About Boston Common and Public Garden

The Boston Common and the Public Garden are two public parks that are adjacent to each other in the heart of Boston. In fact, one might say that the area is the heart of Boston. It was on the common that the first English settlers in Boston came to start their new lives in a new land. It was established as a common area in 1634 and has been a public place ever since, making it the oldest such park in the entire country. It was initially used as a place for grazing cows. However, the act was banned nearly 200 years later. Over grazing was a serious detriment to the park.

During the infamous Puritan years in Boston, several people were hanged on the common under Puritan law. Several victims of these laws were hanged simply for having different religious beliefs and being in Boston, literally. During the years leading up to the American Revolution and during the war, the Boston Common was a place of civil unrest and a place for British soldiers to camp. After the capture of John Hancock's sloop, the people of Boston stole a boat that belonged to a tax official and dragged it to the common, where they burned it. Later, the British would camp in the common and use much of the landscape as firewood during the cold Boston winter.

The Public Garden was not established until the American Revolution was long over. Horace Gray petitioned for use of the property as a public garden in 1837. It was not until 1856 that his wish was granted. Thus the area adjacent to the Boston Common became the first botanical garden in the United States. A team of experts got together and created the park over the next several years. Several statues and fountains were put in place to complement the beautiful plants that decorated the park. A bridge was added across the central pond and was the shortest suspension bridge in use at the time of its construction.

Visitors to the Boston Common and Public Garden will find that it is a bustling area. It is popular for outdoor sports, historical sightseeing, picnicking, reading, working and even getting married. There is plenty of shade and places to sit in both parks and it is only a short trip across the street to get from one to the other.



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