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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Boston Common

September 5, 2013 6:05 AM

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Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You may enjoy a nice walk through Boston Common, but here are 5 things you didn’t know about the giant public park in Boston. 
(Photo from BU.EDU)

(Photo from BU.EDU)

1. Its Lengthy History

Boston Common has some deep history, history that dates back prior to the first colonists’ arrival. A Boston University archaeologist’s research found artifacts that were excavated from the site can be traced back to Native Americans living around the pond in the common some 8,000 years ago. One very important discovery was a Neville spear point, which is the oldest artifact ever found in Boston.

Boston Common

(Credit: Cityofboston.gov)

2. Multi-Use Land

Boston Common has had a lot of different roles over the years. In 1634, the land was purchased for use as a public livestock grazing area. It went on to serve as the site of hangings, parades, drills, and other official functions. It also, interestingly enough, was used as a camp by British troops before the Revolutionary War. The Common is the spot the Red Coats departed to travel to the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Boston Common (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Boston Common (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

3. First Of Its Kind

The previously mentioned purchase of the grounds marked a first as far as city parks. The government of Massachusetts purchased the land from early Boston settler William Blaxton in 1634. This transaction made Boston Common the first city park in America. That means the current Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States.

MBTA Green Line

MBTA Green Line


4. Under The Hood

Boston Common also sits on top of a number of other pieces of history. Two train stations that lie below the Common have history of their own. Boylston Station and Park Street Station were built in the “Tremont Street Subway,” and when opened in 1897, Boylston Station became the first underground rapid transit station in the U.S. Park Street was right behind it.

File Image (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

File Image (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)


5. World Record Holder

Boston Common had a very interesting world record victory take place inside its gates. In an event sponsored by Boston clothing company, Life is Good, Bostonians gathered in 2006 to break a record for the most Jack-o’-lanterns lit simultaneously. Bostonians lit 30,128 Jack-o’-lanterns, taking down the former record of 28,952, set in 2003 by Keene, New Hampshire. Keene tried to re-take that record in 2012, but came up short.

Bobby Driscoll is a student at Franklin Pierce University. He is currently interning at CBS Boston for the Summer of 2013.

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