CommonBoston #2, June 2016

The North End! Copp’s Hill Burying Ground — where Redcoats used gravestones for target practice — was closed, but it leads right to the Old North (1 if by land, 2 if by sea) Church.  double-click photos for full size.

Behind the Church is Paul Revere Mall:

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and the famous statue by sculptor Cyrus Edwin Dallin. It’s a challenge to get the lighting right with a little Canon camera – either the Old North is washed out or Revere’s a silhouette! I like the backview, against St. Stephen’s Church, bottom right.

Revere is facing the Catholic St. Stephen’s Church, where Rose Kennedy was baptized and eulogized. It’s the only church by Charles Bulfinch still standing in Boston. And the steeple holds a Paul Revere bell. Plaques commemorate Rose and Goodwife Ann Glover, who was hung nearby as a witch in 1688 for refusing to renounce her Catholic faith.

Back on Paul Revere Mall, we see a a family all dressed up and posing for photos – wedding with flower girls? Communion? Nice contrast to the casual crowd.

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Back to the Old North Church, the oldest surviving church building in Boston for a special after-hours tour of the art and architecture. Fascinating history – the interior is all white, but the preservationists are finding colorful original paint under the layers of whitewash.

The 1723 church architecture is based on the designs of Christopher Wren who rebuilt much of London after the great fire. Those decorative angel figures up in the balcony, flanking the organ, were “liberated” from a French (i.e. Catholic) ship – they’re way too decorative for the Episcopalians. Note the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag hanging from the rafters – politics in church, just like when the sextons hung those 2 lanterns in what was Royal Governor Hutchinson’s church!

One of the most striking experiences on the tour, thanks to the excellent tour guide, was this bust of George Washington, looking nothing like the George we all know from the dollar bill:


But when Lafayette toured the States in 1825-26 in honor of the nation’s 50th birthday, he visited the Old North and commented on the bust of his late friend and general “Yes, that is the man I knew and more like him than any other portrait.”


We’re in the Italian North End, so what should we do for dinner? Bring take-out to the North End Greenway park.

The park has this archeological marker detailing excavations at this site describing life in Boston in 1660:


On the little grassy triangle by the entrance to the Callahan Tunnel is this new art installation which changes colors depending on the angle, the light, maybe even your mood!

We walked back to South Station along the Harbor Walk, watched the seals in the Aquarium’s outdoor tank, and enjoyed the sunset through the arch of the Boston Harbor Hotel.


What a gift, Boston is.


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