Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, located adjacent to the city of Boston, MA. It’s home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeast.Our recent 1-day Boston trip, included an Old Town trolley tour, AND a narrated Boston Harbor tour. We learned a lot about this waterway, including some of this information.
It’s now home to the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. This US Navy wooden-hulled, 44-gun, three-masted heavy frigate was named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the US.Above are three similar photos; the middle is an unaltered shot and the other photos were transformed in Picasa; cross process on the left and sketch pencil on the right.Constitution, called Old Ironsides, is renowned for service during the War of 1812 against Great Britain. She was given the nickname after shots were said to bounce off the ship’s sides, which are not made of iron, but heavy oak. The ship is open for free guided tours given by several of its active duty US sailors.
The US Coast Guard operates all over Boston, largely from its headquarters in the North End waterfront. The Coast Guard recently marked the 222 anniversary of its founding date on August 4, 1790. Boston Harbor has been an important American port since its 1614 discovery by Captain John Smith. It was the site of the Boston Tea Party and continuous backfilling of the harbor until the 19th century. Boston’s Back Bay is one of the city’s most expensive residential neighborhoods, yet was once part of the harbor.
By 1660, most imports came to the greater Boston area and the New England coast through the harbor. But, as the population increased, the health of the harbor decreased and people were advised not to swim or fish there.
Throughout its history, Boston Harbor has had issues related to raw sewage being pumped in it. Plaques like the one here are seen on city sidewalks. The Charles River was so polluted that in 1966 the Standells, a punk rock band, released Dirty Water; it’s popular with Red Sox fans and played regularly at Fenway Park.
Cleanup projects begun in the 1980s, including creation of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority have transformed Boston Harbor from one of the nation’s worst to one of the cleanest.