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Friday, August 8, 1941
in What's New In Town
W. J. Sidis
When the colonists first came over here, the idea of a public park was totally unknown; no city anywhere had ever had such a thing. The council grounds in the Indian town of Shawmut were considered by the Puritan settlers as the property of Blackstone, who had gone ahead of them to live in the Indian settlement. Blackstone himself, however, considered the grounds as public, and gave Boston a deed to the land as a common lot . . . the nearest thing to it in English law of the time being the idea of the “right of common,” that is, of a public right of way for pasturing. And so the first public park in the world, Boston Common, had to appear on the records as a cow-pasture in order to be thrown open to public use. It has, however, been a public park from the beginning, and the idea of public parks, originating in Boston, has now spread all over the world. To mark the fact that Boston Common is legally classified as a common pasture, a ceremony is gone through every year; a cow is driven on to the common to eat there.
After the battles of Lexington and Concord, the British troops posted in Boston their own version of what had happened. In their poster the expression occurred: we were forced to resort to our arms for defense.” Before long, some unknown person had struck out “arms” and written in “legs.”
A Maine farmer was on a visit to Boston, and was sitting on the Esplanade near the Longfellow Bridge. This was shortly before Charles Station was built, and there was a clear view of subway trains coming off the bridge. Our friend watched a subway train roll lickety-split off the bridge, and careen around the curve where the station now stands, then, curving back, disappear into the Beacon Hill Tunnel. “Gosh dang it,” he exclaimed, “wouldn’t it have been an awful mess if he’d have missed that hole!”
A new rapid route to the North Shore was recently started―the Air Line bus route from Haymarket Square bus terminal to Lynn, Swampscott and Marblehead.
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