As Grenville posted earlier, we traveled to Beantown, otherwise known as Boston, yesterday. Driving Boston streets would be difficult and costly because of the shortage of downtown parking spaces and high parking garage fees. We opted for a comfortable bus ride instead, arriving at the South Station bus terminal (shown below) in slightly over an hour from Nashua, NH.
Why is the city called Beantown? Boston was part of the triangular trade, whereby Caribbean slaves grew sugar cane to be shipped to Boston where it was turned into rum which was sent to West Africa to buy more slaves to send to the West Indies. Because of this trade, the area had lots of molasses; beans baked in the syrup became popular in Boston, giving it the nickname.
When you only have a single day to see the numerous tourist stops Boston and its environs have to offer, the best way to get around is by a trolley tour bus. You can unlimited on and off boardings. The tours are narrated. and as we made several re-boardings, here are some things we re-learned or found out for the FIRST time:
The Battle of Bunker Hill wasn't fought there, but on Breed's Hill where there's a 221-foot granite obelisk marking the site of the first major battle of the American revolution.
It's not Samuel Adams face on bottles of Sam Adams beer. The brand named after Samuel Adams, an American patriot known for his role in the American Revolution and Boston Tea Party was also a brewer. But, it's Paul Revere who graces bottles of the Boston-founded brew. We heard two versions "why." Company founder Jim Koch had decided to name the beer in honor of Paul Revere, changing it after a poll by co-founders (Harry Rubin and Lorenzo LaMadrid) showed that the name Paul Revere Beer was not as appealing to the public as Samuel (now Sam) Adams beer, but since they had paid for the Paul Revere design and couldn't afford (then) to change it during start-up, it stuck. Today, the largest American-owned brewery could afford a re-design, but has kept the original design.
The OTHER story we heard was that when the company could afford a design change, it decided to stick with Revere's image because of Adams' "bad" looks.
Here's a likeness of Paul Revere (top left), one of Samuel Adams and a bottle of Sam Adams beer — what do YOU think?
Paul Revere did NOT complete his route on his famous Midnight Ride as dramatized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Paul Revere's Ride). He was captured by the British before his task was completed. Two other men, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott, rode with Revere and at least one completed the ride; Revere was held and later released.
Prior to a 25-year long filling project in the 19th-century, what is nowBoston's Back Bay area was really a bay. Today, the entire Back Bay and neighboring Beacon Hill are among Boston's most expensive residential neighborhoods with numerous brownstones and luxury residences.
Trinity Church in Boston's Copley Square was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and still today is recognized as one of the finest examples of building architecture in the US. It's been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
It is the birthplace and archetype of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, characterized by a clay roof, polychromy, rough stone, heavy arches, and a massive tower. This style was later adopted for many public buildings across the US, and became the first American architectural style imitated in Europe and Canada.
This is one of the largest church buildings we have ever been in. The three-dimensional effect of its massive open interior bears no historical precedent. Construction went fro 1872 to 1879. Trinity Church's main building materials are Monson granite and Longmeadow sandstone.
Its tower alone weighs 90 million pounds. To support this immense weight, 4000 cedar piles were pounded beneath the water table in a 90-foot square. all the piles supporting Trinity Church are made of wood. These piles support four granite pyramids (35 ft square, and 17 ft high) which form a "pass through" area where water rises and falls. If exposed to air, the wooden piles would begin to rot. A pumping system measures the underground water level, and keeps it somewhere in the 17 foot range of the pyramids. The same wooden piles have supported Trinity Church since its construction.
Boston is a city of diverse architectural styles from the old, not so old . . .
To the sleek and modern buildings of steel and lots of glass, which make for great reflections . . .
Other ways to tour Boston, other than by trolley, include by "duck" or by a harbor tour boat.