The Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States of America, hides beneath its lush green trees and sloping lawns a colorful history that has helped shape Boston. It has become a very significant part of not only the city’s geology, but also its history. Bordered by Beacon Hill on one side, the public garden and downtown on the other, the park offers a nice diversion from the sometimes bleak and imposing office buildings and tall skyscrapers that surround the park. This 50 acre park is the anchor of the Emerald Necklace of parks, a collection of interconnected parks in Boston and is a common place of visit among tourists as well as locals who drop in for a bit of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the streets beyond.
The park was established in 1634 and since then has played a fascinating role in the city’s history from being a common grazing pasture for cows of poor families to hosting uprisings and protests against great wars. It was used for public hangings up till 1817, was a military camp for the British before the American Revolutionary war and hosted riots against food shortages. Following the ban on the grazing of cattle in 1830, it was designated a park. Since then it has hosted protests against the Vietnam War, great concerts, softball games and speeches from such iconic figures as Pope John Paul II and Martin Luther King Jr.. The Freedom Trail also starts from the Boston Common.
There are a number of historical monuments scattered across the lawns as the Parkman Bandstand, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, the Brewer Fountain and the central burial ground, which is one of Boston’s oldest burial grounds. The frog pond is especially popular among children as one can wade and swim during the summer and skate during the winter; it is always a fun filled experience. The park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and made its way into the book of world records by lighting 30,128 jack-o’-lanterns simultaneously at the Life is Good Pumpkin Festival in 2006.
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