2 4
My first stop in Boston was Fanueil Hall, a center of civic life since 1740. It was built by a succesful and grateful French Huguenot from an immigrant family.
A National Park ranger explains that all the Adams', Daniel Webster, Frederick Douglas and Jefferson Davis espoused their causes here.
Tourists throng the surrounding marketplace. It was designed by St. Paul-born Ben Thompson (Ordway Center, St. Paul, and Harborplace, Baltimore) in collaboration with James Rouse (creator of Columbia, MD, The Gallery, Philadelphia). They made the 'festival marketplace' an urban fad.
The Old State House was a center of government beginning 1713. The Boston Massacre happened outside the Royal Governor's office here. The killing of five colonists was the result of nervousness and accident. An order to fire was never issued.
The North End is the traditionally Italian neighborhood. It is a dense tangle of charming streets I explored on a National Park tour.
A quiet Sunday afternoon in the North End.
The Old North Church is the oldest church in Boston (1723). In April, 1775, Paul Revere told compatriots to hang two lanterns in the steeple, warning Charlestown, across the Charles River, that British troops were on the move by sea. The lanterns shone for only a minute because the British were watching as they made their way to Lexington to retrieve the militia's arms and to attempt the capture of of Hancock and Sam Adams. The warning worked and they escaped.
King's Chapel is the oldest Anglican Church in New England (1686) but made an interestingly incomplete transition to Unitarianism. It is now "unitarian Christian in theology, Anglican in worship, and congregational in governance." And it sports a great cemetery.
I hiked across the Charles River to the old navy yard. The world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat is moored there. She was launched in 1797, largely in response to Barbary Pirates (". . . to the shores of Tripoli . . .")
450 men and boys lived below decks, sharing hammocks as shifts changed.
There are 52 cannon on board. It must have been noisy down here!
Unlike the seamen, the officers had roomettes in a well-finished communal space.
Looking at Old North Church from Charlestown, I can understand why Revere chose it for his lanterns.
The area under the Charles River bridges has been transformed into parkland with great urban views. Many people commute by foot and bicycle to downtown from new apartments across the river.
On a hike west of downtown, I pass beautiful and quiet Beacon Hill.
The religious significance of Trinity Church on Copley Square is overshadowed by its architecture. It is the masterwork of H. H. Richardson, originator of the Richardsonian Romanesque style (rough stone, heavy arches and big tower). The building behind it is a massive zoning error.
22 23
Arlington Street Church, the mother church of Unitarianism, pokes above Boston Common (not "Commons"). Did Frederick Law Olmsted study the Common before designing Central Park in New York??
The entry to Boston Public Library reminds me of Library of Congress: heavily marbled, low entry transitioning to lofty reading room, grand staircases. McKim, Mead & White worked in the Beaux-Arts style, as did the architects of L.C.
Wow! After 120 years, it still inspires.
I walked north to Charlestown en route to Harvard Square and stumbled upon another architectural masterpice. This is Frank Gehry's Stata Center at M.I.T., of which the Boston Globe critic said (approvingly) that "It looks as if it's about to collapse."
A quiet corner of Harvard Yard, the Old Yard, site of first-year dorms and dating to the early 18th century.
I took the Downeaster train to Brunswick, Maine to visit relatives Jody and Peter and family. Here are lobster and fishing boats at anchor near Harpswell.
The beautiful Maine coast.
Brunswick is home to Bowdoin College. The College was founded in 1794 and the purely Federal style Massachsetts Hall was finished four years later. Originally, the students and President's family lived there.
Bowdoin College has one of two museums in the U.S. devoted to arctic exploration. Robert Peary was a graduate. This is a waterproof gutskin parka. It is made of seal intestines.
Uncle Peter and Aunt Jody
The following generation: Leila and Jack.
We are all related - somehow.
My last leg of the trip was the Lake Shore Limited, an overnight train from Boston to Chicago. I had a roomette sleeper.
East of the Mississippi, most long distance trains have one level. The sleeper cars have two rows of windows because of the upper bunks.
Parks and walkways are being added to the Chicago River shoreline. The clattering noise of "L" trains is still a Chicago distinctive, however.
Joe Kennedy's massive Merchandise Mart now is thriving in the midst of the newly upscale River North neighborhood.
One of the L trains delivers you to the free city-supported Garfield Conservatory.
A bit of repose before the last train across Wisconsin to Saint Paul.