David Pulsifer.

Sights in Boston and suburbs, or, Guide to the stranger online

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Bequeathed by Charles H.Baker
to Edward Larrabee Baker. M
From the library of Charles
Minton Baker,
Oct.i8,i8o4 — Feb.i. 1872.


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Enwreel ac&ording to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of tlie District of Massachusetts.




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The -want of a Guide such as the one here
presented to the Travelling Public, has been so
long felt and so generally acknowledged, that
an apology for the present work would be an
impeachment of the judgment of the intelligent

This work, although more particularly designed
for the use of travellers, will be found of great
service to the public generally, for few of the
inhabitants know where to see the sights in
the city, nor how to see them.

The materials for this publication have been
collected with great care, and here "the writer
wishes it distinctly understood, that he has not
hesitated to gather his materials wherever he
could find them, availing himself in the freest


manner, not only of the researches of others,
but even of their very language, whenever it
happened to suit his purpose."

He also takes occasion to express his acknowl-
edgments to Mr. H. W. Fuller, of Boston,
Mr. W. A. Crafts, of Roxbury, and Mr. Wm.
F. Poole, the Liljrarian of the Boston Athenaeum,
for copious materials furnished by them.

This little volume is not intended as a
history, nor as an index to the many public
institutions, for which this city is so famous,
but as a guide to those sights that are par-
ticularly deserving the attention of citizens and

We have adhered as rigidly as possible to
a direct route, describing each object in order
as it is reached, and classing them according
to subjects in the index.

BoSTox, August 22, 1856.


Addenda, Page 215

Ancient and Modern Boston, ...... 6

Birthplace of Franklin, 28

Boston Harbor, 190

Boston Stone. ......... 6

Frog Pond, 79


Brattle St. Church 110

Old South Church 21

Park Street Church 63

Stone Chapel, 31


Copp'sHill, 117

Chapel Biu'ying Ground, 31

Granary " 53

Forest Hill " 202

Mount Auburn " ....... 144

Woodlawn " 167

Daily Papers 20

Harvard University, 133

Lowell Institute, 108

Massachusetts Historical Society, 39

Society of Natural History, 100

Mercantile 105

Club House, 44

Common, .......... 68

Courts 30

Court House, 29

United States Courts, Ill



Eastern, 114

Fitthbiirg, 116

Lowell 113

Maine, 119

Old Colony and Fall River, 89

Pro\'idence, .......... 81

Worcester, 86


Cambridge, 131

Dorchester, 176

Fort Indei>endence, 195

Fort Warren • . . . . 191

Fort Wintlirop, . . 197

Harbor, Boston, 190


Chapman Hall, 31

Cochituate " 46

Ilorticuhural Hall, 31

Mercantile ♦' 107

Faneuil " 10

ISLANDS, (in Boston Harbor.)

Castle Island, 193

Deer « 191

George's " 191

Long << 191

Lower Light Island, 191

NLx'sMate «• 191

Rainsford «' 191

Spectacle «' 191

Thompson's "........• 197

Governor's " 197


Prince Jl,ibrary, 28

^lercantile Library, 106


Public Library, 8:5

Athenrcum "......... i'-i

Harvard «' 133

Society of Natural History, 103

^lassachusetts Historical Society, . . . . . . iO

Athenajum, ......... 41

Masonic Temple 56

Time Lodges meet, . 58


National IMonujient to the Forefathers, . . . .92

Hunker ILll •' 154

WaiTen " ........ 155

Nahant, 181

Nahant Beach 183

Egg Rock, 184

Iron Mine, ... ........ 184

Spouting Horn, ......... 184

Saunders's Ledge 183

Castle Rock, 184

Caldron Cliff, 185

Roaring Cavern, ........ 185

Natm-al Bridge 185

Pulpit Rock, 185

Swallows' Cave, . . . . . . . . .186

Irene's Grotto, ' . 187

Nahant House, ' 187

Old House, 3

Post Office, 18

Public Garden, 81


Public Libraiy, 83

Massachusetts General Hospital 121

McLean Asylum, 123

Medical College, 124

City Jail 125

Eye and Ear Infirmar\', 127

Perkins Institute for the Blind, 176

Quarantine, 191

Almshouse 193

Earm School, 191

States Prison, . 161



Music Hall, 54

Huston Theatre, 95

Melodeon, 101

Oidway's Hall 10 'J

Howard Athcnaium, . . . . . . . .111

National Theatre, 112

Museum, .......... 35

Tremout Temple, 47


U. S. Custom House 14

Faneuil Hall Market, 11

FaneuU Hall 9

Exchange, .......... IG

Old State House , . . .19

State House, ......... 50

Post Office 18

Court House, ......... 29

City Hall 28

Public Library, 83

U. S. Courts, Ill


Bowdoin Square Ill

Dock «' 3

Haymarket «' 119

Franklm " 200

Blackstone «« 199


Cambridge, 131

Concord 134

Lexington, 175

Dorchester Heights, 176

Nahant 181

Bishop's Palace, 138

"NVaslungton's Residence, . . . . . . . 14 1

Riedesel Hotise, 141



Providence, • 81

Worcester, . . . . . . . • . .87

Old Colony and Fall River 89

Cambridge, (Horse,) . . • . . . • .111
Lowell, . . . . . • . • • .113

Eastern, 115

Fitchburg 117

Maine 120


Great Elm 71

Washington Elm 142




You are a stranger in
Boston, and desirous of
visiting the principal
objects of interest in the
" City of Notions,"
This little book is in-
tended to be a Guide,
not a History ; therefore
we shall not enter into any details respecting the rise
and progress of Boston. If you know nothing of that,


but are desirous of such information, procure Drake's
History, published by Stevens, Washington-street, and in
it you will find all you require.

"We will, then, suppose you have arrived in Boston, and
that, having located yourself at one of its many spacious
hotels, you have commenced your tour of the city. It is
always well to have some defined point to start from, and
therefore we will select Dock-square as the scene of our
first exploration.

Dock-square. — It is not a square now, in the pleasant
acceptation of the word, though probably " once upon a
time " it was. Very long ago grass might have grown
there, and trees flourished, and birds sung, and no dock
ever have been dreamed of. Only a prowling Indian,
in search of a squaw or a scalp, might have been seen in
the vicinity, and all excitement have been confined to a
palaver around the council-fire. But a truce to the past ;
it is Dock-square, and nothing else, now.

And, in lieu of groves or glades, we have a busy, open
space, with labyrinthine thoroughfares leading into and out
of it. Bustling, anxious-faced men are to be seen there
at all hours of the day, rushing hither and thither, intent
on dollars and dimes. House and hotel keepers pay
flying visits to the market close by ; visitors from all parts
of the States look curiously at the " Cradle of Liberty; "
omnibuses rush along, distracting perilled pedestrians ;

dock-squakj:. o

market-carts, laden with country produce, stand sur-
rounded by dealers, and everything is full of life and
animation. Looking calmly down upon and over-
shadowing tliis scene of commercial activity, is a huge
structure — Faneuil Hall. Of it we shall presently
speak. At present let us direct our glance to — artis-
tically speaking — a " bit " of Old Boston.

Old House. — There it stands at the corner of North
and Market streets, dingy, quaint, time-battered, many-
gabled, but picturesque, for all that. They say it was built


in the year 1680, soon after the great fire of 1679. The
peaks of the roof remain precisely as they were first
erected, the frame and external appearance never having
been altered. The timber used in the building was prin-
cipally oak, and, where it has been kept dry, is perfectly
sound, and intensely hard. The outside is covered with
plastering, or what is commonly called rough-cast. But
instead of pebbles, which are generally used at the present
day to make a hard surface on the mortar, broken glass
was used. This glass appears like that of common junk-
bottles, broken into pieces of about half an inch diameter,
the sharp corners of which penetrate the cement in such a
manner that this great lapse of years has had no percep-
tible efi"ect upon them. The figures 1080 were impressed
into tlie rough-cast to show the year of its erection,
and are now perfectly legible. This surface was also
variegated with ornamental squares, diamonds, and flowers-
de-luce. The building is only two stories high, and is
about thirty-two feet long and seventeen wide ; yet tra-
dition informs us that it was once the residence of two
respectable families, and the front part was at the same
time occupied for two shops, or stores.

Before long, perhaps, the giant Progress may, in his
march of improvement, tread down this ancient dwelling;
and where the sunshine and the moonlight glimmered on
its dim windows for years, great granite, unpicturesque


warehouses may rise and throw grim commercial shadows
over the thoroughfare. But we have an antiquarian's
desire that it may remain, if only as a memorial of the
early days of Boston. Its very dinginess is delightful.
From the upper windows, just beneath those peaked roofs,
some gentleman of the olden days might, " once upon a
time," have looked upon his little ones sporting among
the daisies of his garden ; or some pretty maiden have
watched its lozenge-shaped panes flashing back the moon-
beams as she sauntered home with her lover from their
evening walk in the mall on Boston Common; for as early
as 1646 that now unrivalled promenade was so called.

Few care about the old North-street house, now-a-days.
In neglect and decay, it is eclipsed by its modern neigh-
bors. Careless and careful folk alike hurry by it ; but
occasionally children lift up their little, wondering eyes to
the strange habitation. And to them it is indeed strange ;
they are so used to newness and novelty, that they can
scarcely comprehend antiquity. To many a youthful
* mind an old-fashioned house raises ideas of spectral ladies
and gentlemen walking up and down impossible stairs, or
gliding through dreary rooms, or of ghostly individuals
loudly clanking invisible chains ; but in the case of this
old dwelling of North-street such dismal ideas are rapidly
put to flight by furs hanging out of the windows, and


various articles for sale in the stores beneath. Super-
stition flies before " Sales for Cash ! "

Boston Stone, a sketch of which forms the vignette
illustration of this chapter, was found in the cellar of a
house in Marshall-street. A resident in the neighborhood
says it was a paint-mill, the ball being what painters now
call the muUer. The paint was placed in the cavity of a
flat stone, and there ground with oil by the ball. Other
explanations as to the origin and uses of this Boston
Stone are afloat, but it is needless to repeat them here.
The stone itself, however, is worthy of inspection, and
deserves, perhaps, an antiquarian immortality.

Dr. J. V. C. Smith, in his " Ancient and Modern
Boston," published in the Boston Almanac for 1853, says :
' There are reminiscences connected with the growth of
Boston that deserve to be kept in remembrance. For
example, where the Maine Station House, in Haymarket-
square, stands, there was an open canal but a few years
ago, and the line of the track is over the course of it to
the water. Where Causeway-street is, there was formerly
a wall from Lowell-street, running north-easterly to rear
of Charlestown old bridge, called the Causeway, making a
pond of many acres, between Prince and Pitts streets.
Many aged persons are in the habit of calling all that
region between Merrimac and Prince streets, to this day,
the Mill PoTid. A remnant of the last tide-mill is still


believed to exist on the east side of Charlestown-street, in
the form of a stable. All of that large tract of land
known technically as the South Cove was actually a body
of water, covering an area of seventy-two acres, within
the recollection of those not far removed from childhood.
The Neck may truly be said to be nearly all artificial.
Where the wide street runs to Roxbury, was a mere
ridge, scarcely removed from the reach of high tides, at the
period of the Hevolution. By building the Boston and
Roxbury Mill-dam, the whole of the back bay, between
Washington-street and the wall, was reclaimed from
Charles river and the ocean.

" Whole streets have been detached from the domain of
Neptune, as India, Broad, Commercial, Brighton, nearly
the whole of Charles, Fayette, and several more that are
now at considerable distance from the water. At East
Boston very large additions to the territory have been
made withhi a few years. All the wharves, by which
Boston is nearly surrounded, are certainly artificial works,
of immense cost, but esteemed excellent and productive
property. It is not improbable that men are now living
who remember to have seen the bows^jrit of vessels pro-
jecting into Liberty-square."

Boston is styled the Athens of America. It should
have been the State. In Boston the princely merchant's
warehouse presents the appearance of a palace, massive



and grand. His counting-room is a picture of opulence,
spacious and beautiful ; his ware-rooms are crowded with
the products of manufacture. Massive buildings of
granite, all presenting the neatest and brightest appear-
ance, everywhere meet the eye. Along the • wharves
immense ranges of warehouses extend the whole length,
at which the finest ships are discharging their foreign
cargoes. Again, encircling her " Common," rise in beau-
teous outlines spacious mansions, having the appearance
of palaces, and presenting a scene of quiet beauty,
unsurpassed by anything in the world ; they are the
residences of her merchant princes. The whole scene is
clothed in neatness, regularity, and good order ; there is a
characteristic quietness about it which the people of Mas-
sachusetts have made their own. Her public men are far-
seeing, discreet, and dignified ; and when they move it is to
some purpose. Her merchants are cautious, systematic in
their business transactions, ready to advance in their
proper time, and distinguished from that recklessness
which marks the New Yorker.




We must not leave this neighborhood yet, for the Old
House we have just been desci'ibing is not the only object
of interest hereabout. There is another noticeable build-
ing — second, indeed, m interest to no other in Boston.



It is Faxeuil Hall, or, as it is patriotically and meta-
pliorically termed, " The Cradle of American Liberty."
Kot to Boston alone, but to the entire country does it
seem to belong ; for in the annals of America it holds a
foremost and most honorable position. Within its walls
some of the finest specimens of American eloquence that
have been heard from the days of TTashington to those
of "Webster were delivered. When despotism threatened
the colonies of .George the Third, the first tones of defi-
ance were uttered in Faneuil Hall. Liberty held there
her high court, and from thence issued decrees a thousand
times more potent than a king's proclamation or a czar's
ukase. What wonder, then, that from far and near come
admiring visitors to it, or that Boston should be proud of
its possession ?

Years ago there lived in Boston a merchant whose
name was Peter Faneuil. He it Avas who immortalized
his name by the gift of the building to the town of Bos-
ton, for a town hall and market place. It was the best
monument to his memory that he could possibly have
devised. Faneuil Hall is a large, many-windowed struc-
ture, of no particular order of architecture, surmounted
by a cupola. The great hall to which you ascend (for
the lower story is not a market now, but is divided into
stores) is seventy-six feet square, and twenty-eight high ;
round three sides runs a gallery, and Doric pillars sup-



port tlie ceiling. At the Avest end are several paintings
— one of Peter Faneuil in full length ; another of Wash-
ington by Stuart ; and there has recently been added
Healey's picture of Webster making his celebrated speech
in reply to Hayne.

Over the great hall is another, where military equip-
ments are kept; and there are also various offices for
civic functionaries.

Leaving Faneuil Hall at its eastern end, and crossing

Merchants' Row, we arrive at the entrance of Faneuil
Hall Market. It is raised on a base of blue Quincy


granite, with arched windows and doors communicating
with cellars. The length of the Market is five hundred
and eighty-five feet nine mches, the width fifty feet, and
built entirely of granite. In the centre is a building
seventy-four and a half by fifty-five feet, Avith projecting
north and south fronts. At each end of the building are
porticos. Over the Market proper is a second story, in
the centre of which is a hall seventy feet by fifty, crowned
by a dome, and named Quincy Hall, after Josiah Quincy,
former mayor of the city, and is but a fitting monument
of his genius. This hall and Faneuil Hall are united by
a bridge thrown across the street once in three years, and
in them the Massachusetts Mechanics' Charitable Associa-
tion holds its fair.

The principal entrances to the corridor, Avhere the mar-
ket is held, are from the eastern and western porticos.
The corridor itself is eight hundred and twelve feet long
by twelve wide. This space is divided into stalls, where
various articles of provisions are always on sale. There
are fourteen departments for mutton, lamb, veal, and
poultry ; two for poultry and venison ; nineteen for pork,
lamb, mutton, and poultry ; forty-five for beef; four for
butter and cheese ; nineteen for vegetables ; and twenty
for fish. Besides these, the visitor will, as he strolls from
stall to stall, perceive many varieties of creature comfort ;
and in one place he will be charmed with the melody of


birds offered for sale in cages, and his olfactories may be
regaled by odors from countless bouquets.

Faneuil Hall Market was commenced on the 20th of
August, 1824. Beneath the corner stone was deposited
a plate bearing the following inscription : —

" Faneuil Hall Market, established by the city of
Boston. This stone was laid April 27, Anno Domini
Mdcccxxv., in the forty-ninth year of American Inde-
pendence, and in the third of the incorporation of the
city. John Quincy Adams, President of the United
States. Marcus Morton, Lt. Governor and Commander-
in-Chief of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The
population of the city estimated at 50,000 ; that of the
United States, 11,000,000."

The Market is situated between North and South Mar-
ket Streets, in each of which business of various kinds, to
immense amounts, is transacted.

Leaving the Market, a few steps through Commercial
Street bring us to the United States Custom House.
It is an imposing edifice, standing at the head of the dock
between Long and Central "Wharves, at the foot of State
Street. It is in the form of a Greek cross, the opposite
sides and ends being alike. It is one hundred and forty
feet long, north and south, seventy-five feet wide at the
ends, and ninety-five feet through the centre. It is sur-
mounted by a flat dome, which is ninety-five feet from



the floor, and i> built in the pm-e Doric order of architec
ture. Each iront has a portico of six fluted Doric cci-
umns, thirty-two feet in height, and five feet four inches in
diameter, and is a])proached by fourteen steps. The col-
umns are in one piece of highly-wrought granite, and each
weighs forty-two tons.

The Custom House is built on three thousand piles,
driven in the most thorough manner. Immediately on the
top of tliese piles is a platform of granite, one foot six
inches thick, laid in hydraulic cement, and upon it the
foundations of the wulls were commenced.


The roof of the building is covered with wrought gi-an-
ite tile, and the intersection of the cross is surmounted by
a dome terminating in a skylight twenty-five feet in diam-
etei-. The dome is also covered with granite tile.

The cellar, which is ten feet six inches high to the
crown of the arches, is principally used for the storage of
goods, which are conveyed to it through the basement

The principal ingress to the entrance story is through
the porticos. This story contams apartments and offices
for the assistant treasurer, the weighers and gaugers, the
measurers, inspectors, markers, superintendent of build-
ing, &c. In the centre is a large vestibule, from wliich
two broad flights of steps lead to the principal story, land-
ing in two smaller vestibules therein, lighted by skylights
in the roof; and these vestibules communicate with all the
apartments in this story. The several rooms are for the
collector, assistant collector, naval officer, surveyor, public
storekeeper, their deputies and clerks. The grand cross-
shaped rotunda, for the general business of the collector's


department, in the centre of this story, is finished in the
Grecian Corinthian order. It is sixty-three feet m its
greatest length, fifty-nine feet wide, and sixty-two feet
high to the skyHght.

The ceiling is supported by twelve columns of mar-
ble, three feet in diameter and twenty-nine feet in height,



with higlily-wTOUght capitals ; the ceUing is ornamented
in a neat and chaste manner, and the skylight is filled
with stained glass.

The building was commenced in 1837, and entir^y
completed in 1849. It has cost about $1,076,000, includ-
ing the site, foimdations, &c.

Passing up State Street, we soon reach The Exchange.
It is a splendid building, fix>nting on State Street. The
comer stone was laid August 2, 1841 ; the building com-
pleted 1842, and cost, exclusive of land, 8175,000. The
width on State Street is seventy-six feet, the height seventy



feet, the deptli two liundi-ed and fifty feet, and it covers
thirteen thousand feet of kind.

The front is of Quincy granite, and has six columns,
each forty-five feet in height, and weighing fifty-five tons.
The stau-oases are of iron and stone, and the entire build-
ing is fii'e-proof. The front is occupied by banks, insur-
ance and other offices, and the rear is a hotel, while at the
top is a telegraph station. There are three entrances,
one on State, one on Congress, and one on Lindall Street.

The Merchants' Exchange is up stairs, and is a
magnificent hall, eighty feet by fifty-eight feet, having its


ceiling supported by eighteen imitation Sienna marble
columns, with Corinthian capitals. There is a grand
dome overhead, filled with stained glass. Here news-
papers from all parts of the world are received, read, and
filed. A superintendent, registrar, news collector, boat-
men, messengers, &c., are attached to the room, and are
in attendance from seven o'clock in the morning until ten
at night. Vessels arrivuig are immediately registered, as
well as shipping news telegraphed from distant ports.
Clearances, invoices per railroad, ships, &c., are all en-
tered, with the name of the consignee, on books kept for
the purpose. Sales of stocks, cotton, &c., are also regis-
tered. Merchants, singly, are admitted to all the privi-
leges of the room for eight dollars a year ; firms of two
persons, ten dollars, &c. These are called subscribers,

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Online LibraryDavid PulsiferSights in Boston and suburbs, or, Guide to the stranger → online text (page 1 of 11)