Boston By Foot Tour of the Month – Preserving Boston’s History


Today I took Boston By Foot’s August Tour of the Month focusing on the Historic Preservation movement entitled Preserving Boston’s History.  The tour featured many familiar Boston landmarks and the guide informed us how historic preservationists saved many of them from the dustheap.

I’ve put a gallery of photos from the tour on my website.

Adaptive reuse kept Old City Hall alive after the municipal offices moved to Government Center.
Adaptive reuse kept Old City Hall alive after the municipal offices moved to Government Center.

Highlights include:

  • the site of John Hancock’s house on Beacon Hill, lost in 1863 and ever since has been the rallying cry for what can be lost with historic preservation.
  • the Charles Bulfinch portion of the Massachusetts State House which was almost demolished and replaced with a larger version of itself during an expansion
  • Old City Hall, an early example of adaptive reuse as the government building was converted for commercial office space and restaurants.
  • Old South Meeting House, one of the first buildings preserved due to historic events that happened there rather than being associated with one famous person.
  • City Hall Plaza, once a vibrant commercial district which was cleared for urban renewal and replaced with a sea of bricks.  At least the Sears Crescent survived.
  • The Filene’s department store building, currently gutted and vacant, holds the future of historic preservation in Boston.
Will Daniel Burnhams beautiful Filenes store building survive?
Will Daniel Burnham's beautiful Filene's store building survive?

If you missed the tour today, fret not as Boston By Foot will offer it again as part of its Tours of the Month in the 2010 season.

Photopost: Drumlin Farm


When I was a kid I liked to visit farm museums where I could see all sorts of farm animals and a different way of life from my suburban upbringing.  I’ve written about a couple of these magical places before – The Stamford Museum and Nature Center and Old MacDonald’s Farm.  As an adult I’ve found it difficult to recapture the magic when visiting farm attractions as they’re either dismally small and depressing or so over-commercialized and packed with stuff that really have nothing to do with a farm.

The tractor pulls the hayride in front of the big red barn.
The tractor pulls the hayride in front of the big red barn.

So it was with great delight that I visited the MassAudobon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA. It helps that I went accompanied by a toddler so everything was doubly fun.  It’s a place where one can commune with sheep, pigs, goats, cows, deer, owls, and chickens.  The tractor is vintage and it pulls a no-frills hayride around the farm.  Not only that, but better than any of the places I visited as a child this is a functioning farm, growing produce for sale and divvied up among CSA shares.  Drumlin Farm is a beautiful, educational, and magical place.

More photos below.

This classy tractor pulls the hayride wagon.
This classy tractor pulls the hayride wagon.
Caught this rooster in mid-crow.
Caught this rooster in mid-crow.
Onions are spread out on the table in the greenhouse.
Onions are spread out on the table in the greenhouse.
Beautiful golden flowers grow in the garden.
Beautiful golden flowers grow in the garden.
Boyce Field, part of the working farm.
Boyce Field, part of the working farm.