Boston: Boston Common

The first stop along Boston's famous Freedom Trail is Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States.  Dating from 142 years prior to American independence, and just four years after the Puritans first landed in the New World, Boston Common was intended to be a public space for all residents to enjoy and utilize.  Standing on land that the Puritans had purchased from the very first European settler of what is now Boston, a clergyman named William Blaxton (or Blackstone), Boston Common was communally owned by every homeowner in town and was protected against multiple attempts through the years to encroach, divide, or develop the land.

By the time of the American Revolution's beginning, the large, grassy area was used for cattle grazing, public speeches and demonstrations, and finally for stationing over 1,700 British troops that had taken control of the city's unruly population.  Their marks on the land included removal of fencing and trees for firewood, and the digging of trenches and other defensive earthen works.  Four months before the Declaration of Independence was signed, General George Washington staged a bold military maneuver to retake Boston and force the British to evacuate, and he took advantage of the open spaces of Boston Common to review his victorious troops.  Today's park, although visibly different from how it appeared over 350 years ago, has retained much the same layout and extents.

Come back next week as we cross the street to the Massachusetts State House!


  1. Very interesting. Would like more info on the battles for control of it, but that may be beyond your intent here.


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