Showing posts from January, 2020

Boston: The Freedom Trail

When my wife and I first visited the city of Boston many years ago, we quickly found ourselves on the iconic path that draws millions of tourists each year - the Freedom Trail.  This famous walking tour of Boston, traced by a red path through the city, is among the most important historical markers in the United States and teaches the story of the Revolution by passing 16 important locations.  As each point along the trail is important, I thought it would be nice to wind our way through town one at a time over the upcoming weeks. Today, guides and actors working with the Freedom Trail Foundation help entertain and instruct visitors.  The National Park Service has also designated eight local sites (seven of which are also along the Freedom Trail) collectively as the Boston National Historical Park, and they offer information and assistance of their own. Our own walking tour through the city brought us face-to-face with many of the actual locations where American history was ma

Boston: Rebels and Patriots

The city of Boston during the latter half of the 18th century was home to many significant characters who would eventually play into the history of American independence.  Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere may today be some of the more memorable characters in the nation's struggle for freedom, but other residents such as James Otis (a passionate and capable speaker who popularized the idea that "taxation without representation is tyranny"), Crispus Attucks (a former slave who helped lead the crowd - and was mortally wounded - during the Boston Massacre), and William Dawes (one of several men to participate in the so-called "midnight ride" that led to the first battle of the Revolution) played key roles as well.  Even the original American "Renaissance Man", Benjamin Franklin, was from Boston and lived there until the age of 17 - and his statue remains to this day in front of their Old City Hall. It should be noted, however, that it is not o

Boston: A Timeline of Change

As I briefly mentioned in the introduction to this fascinating city, one of the more intriguing aspects to both the history and geography of Boston is the actual land itself.  The original city was a mere 783 acres, and except for a small isthmus (known as the Boston Neck) connecting it to the mainland, it was practically an island lying out in the harbor.  This fascinating map by British engineer and cartographer Thomas Hyde Page (image courtesy of the Library of Congress and now in the public domain) shows the extents of land at the time of the American Revolution. Over the years, much work has been done to fill in many marshy or entirely underwater portions of what used to constitute the Charles River and Boston Harbor.  Here is a comparison of the total land portion of the city, then and now. What a change!  Just as drastic a change occurred to the landscape but is nearly imperceptible when peering down on a map from the top (at least without the aid of topography or a di

Boston: A City Overview

Boston is a city that has interested me for quite some time.  Several years ago, my wife and I ventured to New England for our anniversary, and I was able to visit the historic capital of Massachusetts.  As we ventured throughout the city and saw the usual sites, I wondered to myself what this all would've looked like when it was a (comparatively) small city that was home to some of the grandest names in American lore.  As I've indicated before, the study of place is a critical component of my understanding of the study of time: geography helps me know history.  That is the purpose behind the name of this website: Geographist.  And so I began studying the location and reading more about the city.  For those of you who play video or computer games, you may also be familiar with the Fallout franchise - the fourth installment of that series (created by Bethesda Softworks ) is set in the greater Boston area and playing through that game did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for it.