Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Swan Boats of Boston

Written by admin
Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013

boston-public-garden-and-swan-boats-juergen-rothSince 1877, the Swan Boats have been an iconic feature of the Public Garden in Boston. The boats were designed by Robert Paget after seeing Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, in which a heroic knight rides a swan across a lake to rescue a damsel in distress. This romantic notion is echoed in the dramatic design of the boats themselves, featuring a large white swan. Paget himself died only a year after the initial launch of the boats, but the business was carried on by his wife, Julia, and youngest son, John, who in turn turned the business over to his son Paul in 1969.

Although the boats have been replaced over the years, the design has changed very little, and the current fleet features one boat built in 1918 by John Paget himself. The pedal-powered boats can be seen on the pond in the Public Garden seven days a week from April through September and are a welcome sign of warm weather to Bostonians beleaguered by the long cold winter. During your visit to our Boston bed and breakfast this summer, we recommend you bring the family down to the Public Garden and take a peaceful ride on one of these beautiful and historic Swan Boats!

Boston Harborfest Celebrates 4th of July

Written by admin
Monday, 1 Jul 2013

footguards_drumsIt’s almost Independence Day which means that Boston’s annual Harborfest celebration. This week’s festivities run from July 2nd through July 7th offering reenactments, concerts, historical tours, and more, culminating in Chowderfest on the final day. Harborfest, now in its 32nd year, attracts visitors from all over the region. Chowderfest brings the area’s best chowder from Boston and beyond to City Hall Plaza for a tasting and competition. Other events during the six-day celebration include early 19th century gun drills aboard the USS Constitution, sunset sails aboard the Liberty Clipper and Liberty Star, guided walking tours of historic boston, and much more.

Of course, our 4th of July celebrations in Boston wouldn’t be complete without fireworks, which you can watch on the Esplanade with the Boston Pops Orchestra! This is truly one of the greatest fireworks displays in the nation as befitting the Cradle of Liberty. Come explore Boston’s colonial history during your stay with us at our Boston bed and breakfast.

Who is Whitey Bulger?

Written by admin
Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013

Boston’s notorious gangster Whitey Bulger is currently sitting trial at the U.S. District Court here in Boston. You’ve probably seen his name in the headlines, but if you’re not familiar with his case, you might be wondering, “Who is this Whitey Bulger guy anyway?” He may not be Boston’s favorite son, but he’s an important part of local history and current events, so it’s worth getting a primer on Bulger if you’re interested in our city.

Bulger, born James Joseph Bulger Jr. in 1923, was a notorious South Boston crime boss and head of the Winter Hill Gang. Bulger was a lifelong criminal, serving time in a juvenile reformatory as a teen and then spending nine years in the federal penitentiary for armed robbery and hijacking shortly following his honorable discharge from the Army. It wasn’t until he was released from prison in 1965 that  he really began his rise to power in Boston’s criminal underworld.

During the Killeen-Mullen crime war in the early 1970s, Bulger proved himself indispensable to the Mullen family and earned a high-ranking position in the Southie underworld following the families’ truce in 1972. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Bulger grew and consolidated his power, all while serving as a secret informant to the FBI, earning his own criminal activities a certain degree of protection from the federal authorities.

Eventually the DEA, Massachusetts State Police, and Boston Police Department were able to crack down on Bulger’s illegal gambling operations, forcing the crime boss to flee the city and become a fugitive in 1994. After spending sixteen years at large and twelve years on the FBI Most Wanted list, Bulger was finally captured on June 22, 2011.

Visit America’s Oldest Car Collection

Written by admin
Friday, 31 May 2013

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline claims to house America’s oldest car collection and if you’re an auto enthusiast this is one of the Boston area’s best attractions! It may fly beneath the rader of most casual tourists, but if you’re looking to take a break from all the baseball and Revolutionary War history for a totally different experience, then you shouldn’t miss this museum.

Located on the former 64-acre estate (now a public park) of the wealthy Anderson family, the museum is housed in the former carriage house, constructed in 1888 and opened as a museum in 1949. The building was inspired by the architecture of the Chateau de Chaumont-Sur-Loire in France and has a well-deserved designation on the National Register of Historical Places.

The collection itself boasts several automotive treasures, including the unusual 1905 Electromobile, the flamboyant 1912 Renault Victoria Phaeton, and the luxurious 1926 Lincoln Seven. While the museum is not easily accessible via public transportation, it’s a short drive from either of our Boston bed and breakfast locations and our front desk staff would be more than happy to provide you with directions.

Visit JFK’s Birthplace

Written by admin
Wednesday, 29 May 2013

John F. Kennedy is one of the greatest and most tragic figures in American political history but did you know this former president was born on this day in history right here in Brookline? JFK was born around three o’clock in the afternoon in his family’s modest home at 83 Beals Street in Brookline on May 29, 1917. This house still stands today as a National Historic Site offering guided tours and public events.

Located on a leafy side street near Brookline’s beautiful Coolidge Corner (and just a short walk from either of our two conveniently located hotels), the John F. Kennedy house was restored by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1967 based upon her recollections of its original appearance. The modest exterior of the home belies the striking restoration work within that gives us a clear picture of the former president’s childhood in the early 20th century.

This site is one of Brookline’s great historic treasures and it’s certainly worth stopping in to see while visiting the local restaurants and shops in Coolidge Corner. Come and see what Brookline (and Boston) has to offer!

Exploring Boston’s Hidden Ballparks

Written by admin
Monday, 29 Apr 2013

Now, if you’re a Red Sox fanatic—and after trucking around town to see a statue and plaque, you should be by now (see our previous post about the Huntington Avenue Grounds)—you can continue your tour of the Olde Towne Teams’ former haunts on another college campus: Boston University.

Until 1953, Boston enjoyed two baseball clubs: the National League Braves (formerly the Boston Red Stockings, the oldest continually-playing team in American sports), before the team moved to Atlanta via Milwaukee, and the American League Red Sox (formerly the Boston Americans; confused yet?)

bravesuseOn the site of what is now BU’s Nickerson playing field stood the Braves Field, a stone’s throw from Fenway. Built in 1915, it held its ground for 37 years—hosting three World Series and an All Star Game—before being demolished to make way for university dorms and Astroturf.  But it wasn’t entirely demolished, and that’s where things get interesting.

Baseball fans should see what’s left of Braves Field because, well, the jewel-box-park style of concourse under the right-field pavilion’s bleachers looks just as it did back in the day (unlike Fenway’s concourse, which has been more recently updated), and because Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Leon Cadore and Braves pitcher Joe Oeschger battled it out for a pair of complete-game performances… that lasted for a still-record 26 innings! In other words: you’re in the presence of past greatness.

Everyone else—looking at you, moms and dads taking your kids on college visits—should see it because you’re going to want to tell your friends that you saw something other than the back of a student tour guide’s head. Regular tourists and rabid baseball fans alike, take note; for a quintessentially Boston experience, the Beacon Inn can help.

Visit Boston’s Historic Ballparks

Written by staff
Friday, 12 Apr 2013

On rare occasion, The Beacon Inn bed and breakfast hosts the most American type of guest: those road-tripping across country to visit every National and American league baseball park. In that spirit—and the spirit of this, the first month of the baseball season—we’re duty-bound to remind our other, more relaxed guests that Fenway Park is open for business. You are welcome to worship there during your stay, and we have it on good information that Boston’s holy leaders give dispensation for mistaking this green jewel for a Temple.

Yawkey Way, the street on which Fenway is parked, is tree-lined and especially pretty at sunset, on game day, when it’s closed to automotive traffic and opens up to allow fans to stroll among souvenir hawkers, baseball cap vendors, and street food purveyors. If marinating in the history of the area brings about a Red Sox conversion experience to a stark-raving Sox fan, the baseball-deranged staff at the front desk can help!

The bed and breakfast staff can recommend a number of other Boston baseball sites that recall the sport’s early glory days. Head over to Huntington Avenue, home of Northeastern’s campus, to see the site of the Huntington Avenue American Base Ball Grounds.

WorldSeries1903-640While the site itself is unimpressive today (it’s Northeastern’s indoor athletic arena), there is a plaque and statue on an adjacent street named World Series Way. Both the plaque and statue were erected in 1993, the former to memorialize the park’s hosting the first World Series in 1903 and the latter to commemorate Cy Young pitching the first perfect game of the modern era one year later in 1904.

That should be plenty of baseball touring for one afternoon, and imagining Cy Young pitching a no-hitter will work up an appetite. If that’s the case, Chicken Lou’s is a short walk from World Series Way, and despite it’s small size (it’s a 10’ by 20’ shack), it serves up delicious sandwiches with names like the Cholesterol (bacon, egg & cheese), TKO (chicken, swiss, bacon & honey mustard), and Naughty Nuggets (fried chicken nuggets). Just like The Babe used to eat.

History of Beacon Street

Written by staff
Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013

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Brookline’s historic Beacon Street was constructed in 1850 as a country road west of Kenmore Square offering a simpler commute for businessmen living in Brookline, a quiet suburb just outside of the city of Boston. For the first forty years, it remained a narrow boulevard designed exclusively as a means of travel.

The area gained popularity among Brookline residents, creating a high demand for more apartment buildings and shops. As more Bostonians fled the bustling city for a calmer atmosphere, landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner John C. Olmsted were commissioned to widen Beacon Street in 1886 into a more modern thoroughfare, including a popular mass transit line known today as the Green Line “C” Branch.

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Mass transit in Brookline, originally intended for commuters, has become an essential part of Brookline’s commercial and residential success. Locals and tourists alike can explore the array of shops and restaurants in the area and discover Brookline’s unique charm with its classic architecture and collection of outdoor parks. Ranked the second safest community in Massachusetts, Brookline offers a warm environment for the entire family!

Given the effortless access to Boston’s transit system, Boston becomes a 15-minute “T” ride away along the “C” Branch running the length of Beacon Street. With just a short ride on the “T”, you can experience all of Boston’s attractions and return to the quiet, safe community of Brookline. The Beacon Inn is conveniently located close to public transportation with the “T” running literally right outside our front doors. With two locations in historic Victorian brownstones on Beacon Street in Brookline, the Beacon Inn is the perfect destination for your Massachusetts vacation!