The Public Garden, also known as the Boston Public Garden, is a large park in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, near Boston Common. The Public Garden was established in 1837 when philanthropist Horace Gray asked for the use of land as the first public botanical garden in the United States. Gray helped to marshal political resistance to a number of Boston City Council is trying to sell the land in question, finally resolve the question of devoting the public garden in 1856.
The Act establishing the land use was submitted to the voters on April 26, 1856 where it passed with only 99 dissents. Today the north side of the lake is a small island, but originally was a peninsula, connected to land. The site became so popular with fans of the John Galvin, the city forester, decided to cut the connection to the earth.
The landscape of twenty-four hectares, which was once a marsh, was designed by George F. Meacham. The paths and flower beds were placed by the city engineer, James Slade and Forestry, John Galvin. The plan for the garden includes a series of fountains and statues. The first statue was erected by Edward Everett William Wetmore Story, in November 1867 in the northern 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 firm suspension bridge in the middle of the lake was built in 1867.
The public garden is run jointly between the Office of the Mayor, the Parks Department of the City of Boston, and friends of the non-profit public gardens. It was declared a National Historic Monument in 1987.
Along with the Boston Common, these two parks form the northern terminus of the Emerald Necklace, a string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. While the common open space is largely unstructured, the Public Garden contains a lake and a series of formal plantings that are maintained by the city and others, and vary from season to season.
During the warmer seasons, the four acre pond is usually the home of one or more of the swans and is always the site of the Swan Boats, a famous tourist attraction in Boston. For a small fee, tourists can sit on a boat decorated with a white swan in the back. The boat is then pedaled around the lake by a tour guide sitting on the swan.
The Public Garden is rectangular and is bounded on the south by Boylston Street, west of Arlington Street, and north of Beacon Street, where it faces Beacon Hill. On its east side, Charles Street divides the common public garden. The greenway that connects the public garden, with the rest of the Emerald Necklace is a strip of park that runs west through the center of Commonwealth Avenue to the marshes of Back Bay and the river of mud.
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