Public Garden in Cambridge

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The Public Garden, also known as Boston Public Garden, is a large park located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, adjacent to Boston Common.


The Public Garden was established in 1837 when philanthropist Horace Gray petitioned for the use of land as the first public botanical garden in the United States. Grey helped marshal political resistance to a number of Boston City Council attempts to sell the land in question, finally settling the issue of devoting it to the Public Garden in 1856. The Act establishing use of the land was submitted to the voters on 26 April 1856 where it passed with only 99 dissents.

In October 1859 Alderman Crane submitted the detailed plan for the Garden to the Committee on the Common and Public Squares and received approval. Construction began quickly on the property, with the lake being finished that year and the wrought iron fence surrounding the perimeter erected in 1862. Today the north side of the lake has a small island, but it originally was a peninsula, connected to the land. The site became so popular with lovers that the John Galvin, the city forester, decided to sever the connection with the land.

The 24 acre landscape, which was once a salt marsh, was designed by George F. Meacham. The paths and flower beds were laid out by the city engineer, James Slade and the forester, John Galvin. The plan for the garden included a number of fountains and statues. The first statue erected was that of Edward Everett by William Wetmore Story in November 1867 on the north part of the Garden near Beacon Street. The bronze statue of George Washington by Thomas Ball which dominates the west side of the park was dedicated on 3 July 1869. The signature suspension bridge over the middle of the lake was erected in 1867.

The Public Garden is managed jointly between the Mayor's Office, The Parks Department of the City of Boston, and the non-profit Friends of the Public Garden.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

  • Just north of the "Good Samaritan" is Daniel Chester French's memorial to the Boston philanthropist George Robert White entitled "The Angel of the Waters", created in 1924.
  • The first statue in the Garden that was made by a woman was Anna Coleman Ladd's Triton Babies Fountain on the east side of the garden. Though some people think the children are a boy and girl, they are in fact her two daughters. It was acquired by the garden in 1927.
  • Bashka Paeff's "Boy and Bird", in the fountain on the west side of the garden, was made by a Russian immigrant who did the model of it while she was working as a ticket taker at the Park Street Station of the MBTA.
  • A set of bronze statues based on the main characters from the children's story Make Way for Ducklings is located between the pond and the Charles and Beacon streets entrance.
  • At the east gate on Charles Street is a bronze statue of Edward Everett Hale by Bela Pratt in 1869.
  • Along the south walk in the park is a statue of Wendell Phillips (1811–1884) an orator and abolitionist.
  • Colonel Thomas Cass, commander of the 9th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which served in the American Civil War is also memorialized on the south walk.
  • Next to the statue of Cass is a statue of Charles Sumner a congressman from Boston during the Civil War
  • The walk also has a statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish citizen who fought in the American Revolution as a Colonel.
  • The bridge crossing the lagoon, designed by William G. Preston, opened in 1867. It was the world's shortest functioning suspension bridge before its conversion to a girder bridge in 1921. Its original suspension system is now merely decorative.

Care and upkeep

The park is maintained by the City of Boston, which in 2005 spent $1.2m to keep up its three parks. The city's efforts are supplemented by a charitable organization known as the Friends of the Public Garden, also known as the Rose Brigade. The charity helped finance the repair of the Ether Monument in 2006, and hires specialists to help care for the trees and bushes.<ref name="money" /> Volunteers meet regularly to prune and maintain bushes. Financial support also comes from private sources such as the Beacon Hill Garden Club.


The Public Garden is easily accessible from the MBTA Green Line's Arlington Station. Other nearby subway stops include the Green Line's Boylston Station and the Red Line's Park Street Station. Public parking is located underneath Charles Street.

See also

  • List of botanical gardens in the United States

Further reading

  • Edwin G. Heath. From Round Marsh to Public Garden. The Bostonian, v.2, no.6, 1895.

External links