Common is America
's oldest public park. The earliest records of Boston Common date all the way back to 1634, when the first settler in Boston (which was then known as Tremontaine
) set it aside as a grazing area for his cattle. The city of Boston purchased Boston Common from William Blackstone
as Boston began to develop. Today, citizens and tourists alike relax and enjoy the city from Boston Common.
Boston Common is often considered the heart and soul of the city. In a town full of history, this park is one of the oldest sites. It's located near the beginning of Beacon Street and is right across Charles Street from Boston's Public Garden. It's near the Bull and Finch Pub on Beacon which was the inspiration for the Cheers television series, and is bounded by Boylston Street and Tremont Street as well as Beacon and Charles. Boston Common has not one but two unique MBTA stops for it, one on the Red Line and one on the Green Line. The Common is somewhat of a crossroads in Boston; from here one can easily access the Back Bay, the North End, and downtown Boston. Boston Common is the first stop on the famous Freedom Trail through Boston and its surrounding area. It's also the starting point of a group of parks known as the Emerald Necklace that extend to the southwest through the Back Bay and a few suburbs of Boston.
After Boston Common was purchased for public use, its primary function was still for cattle grazing. In addition to this, the Puritans in Boston used Boston Common to hang heretics, Quakers, and those suspected of witchcraft. Mary Dyer was one of the famous heretics to die and be buried in Boston Common. It's quite honestly a little creepy to think about how many bodies have been buried there over time. Public executions became less common in the Common as hardcore Puritanism died out, and cattle grazing became illegal in 1830. Boston Common became strictly a public park, one of the most beautiful in the entire nation.
Boston Common's wide open spaces make it the perfect place to hold almost any kind of event. The Common hosts several concerts and various other entertainment shows every year. Political protests also occur very often in the Common. The First Night New Year's celebration in Boston always takes place at Boston Common.
Even when there aren't any special events there, Boston Common is a great place to relax. There's always a diverse crowd in Boston Common. There are people from the financial district having lunch, kids playing and parents yelling, and lovers out for a quiet stroll. Boston Common is definitely the best area I know of to have a picnic. It's nice to be able to observe the city while separating yourself from the rat race.
Boston Common has a few fun features, though the surrounding area is where all of the action is. The Public Garden, a botanical garden, is right across the street and there are always things to do in the North End and downtown. One feature unique to Boston Common is the statue called "The Partisans". The statue was erected in the late 1970's and is a memorial to freedom fighters. This statue is unique because it depicts horses starving so badly that they look like skeletons. One of the best things about the Common is the beautiful Frog Pond. In the winter, you can skate on the Frog Pond.
Whether you're there to start the Freedom Trail or just to relax and enjoy it, it's hard not to love Boston Common. A visit there allows you to appreciate how lively, historic, and truly great the city of Boston is.