Boston is a city built on a ton of history. How Boston started and developed can be seen throughout the city. As a painter, walking through Boston is a mesmerizing experience. How about some quick, fun facts about Boston that can help your experience?
From being founded by English Puritans to being a leader in the United States’ fight for independence, Boston has a colorful history. But, we’ll bet you didn’t know that the city itself has fought hard to keep its historical red brick buildings alongside the new glass skyscrapers! You’ll see historical homes and new businesses throughout nearly every part of Boston and it’s on purpose!
We had to mention with our love of color this fun fact. The Boston Red Sox hold a patent on the color “Fenway Green”. This is the green of the stadium itself which earned it the nickname, “the green monster”.
Boston is also home to the worst molasses-related accident in history. On January 15, 1919, more than two million gallons of molasses overtook the Boston’s North End in a wave. A number of people died, and it led to the longest legal battle in the state’s history.
Although the capital was Boston and is today, there was about a year of Massachusetts history that the capital of the state was Salem. This was in response to the Boston Tea Party. The Red Coats decided after the historical incident, that the state capital would no longer be Boston.
After the battle for independence, and a siege, Massachusetts became the first state in the Union to abolish slavery. Statues are present celebrating this historical achievement and many others all throughout the city. Glints of bronze and silver are seen throughout the many parks and sometimes even in busy marketplaces!
Unlike New York or Los Angeles, Boston’s landmarks are a blend of being both well-loved by locals and tourists alike. The city of Boston is known for being exceptionally friendly and inviting. If you’re new in town or looking for a great spot to see next when visiting, amazing landmarks are never far off.
A collaboration of red, white, and green, Fenway Park is a standout landmark of Boston. Although the state colors have since changed, the red brick, green seats and signs (not to mention field) all bring together a stark contrast and subtle conformity to Massachusetts colors we know and love today.
When looking at the Fenway stadium its old appearance from the outside doesn’t seem like anything the owners, or the city, want to update anytime soon. It serves as a reminder of the rich history of Boston and the many nuances of baseball history that are woven into it!
Museum of Fine Arts
Sitting on Huntington Avenue the museum itself is one that stands tall and creates the image of a powerhouse. The white stone sits fully surrounded by green forestry. The white walls that are also reflected throughout much of the museum’s interior are another of Boston’s significant color choices.
Although the simple white color choice creates an open and spacious feel that we see often in new homes. But the stark contrast of the walls for this purpose for the Museum doesn’t stop there! The white walls inside of the museum also help maintain the integrity of the changing exhibits and hanging art. Rather than giving a hue or palette to match to, anything can go on any white space.
Faneuil Hall and Marketplace
How can a historical city maintain one of its most well-known landmarks? Boston has set an example of city maintenance in this centuries-old marketplace that has been the scene for many speeches and events throughout Boston’s history.
By day it seems like one of the many red brick buildings, topped in white that can be found throughout Boston. However, by night, this becomes a spectacular to see. The red of the walkways and building’s exterior, glow orange in the lamplight and the waterfront behind it reflects it twice over. The orange highlight is a distinct difference from the rest of Boston’s bright white lights at night.
Using warm colors like oranges and natural reflectors like the waterways Boston has created an old feeling in a part of the city that has been modernized very well.
A great mention of interactive and exceptionally useful art in Boston is 200 Clarendon, otherwise known previously as the John Hancock Tower. Its different colors represent different stages of weather to be anticipated. A shining blue is clear skies ahead while flashing red is a sign of snow. Flashing red in the summer is also a sign that the Red Sox game might not be happening due to rain!
Boston decided in about 1630 that it just wasn’t big enough. But, just because Massachusetts is a smaller state doesn’t mean its capital didn’t have room to grow. From 1630 to 1995 Boston increased its mass by extending its shoreline. Many of Boston’s neighborhoods are on top of what only a few decades ago was a harbor.
In fact, one of the goals of expanding into the harbor was to establish more visually appealing neighborhoods. Boston once had hopes of attracting established American families. Hoping a side effect would be that Irish immigration would stave off.
While in 1849 Boston recognized Back Bay as a “cesspool” that was filled with trash and had a population control issue that is not the case today! Now, this is one of the most well-preserved neighborhoods. A trip into Back Bay will show you well-preserved 19th-century design.
This is where you can find Boston’s Public Library and the fashion district on Newbury and Boylston Street. But how big is Back Bay? It is a pretty considerable stretch of land. From the North Charles River in a square to Columbus Avenue, then over to Park square and extending down to Hartford. This is literally one of the sections of Boston that were in fact, a bay. Although it is not one of the most expensive places to live in Boston it is entirely man-made.
Another extension of Boston is almost considered to have been stolen. The neighborhood is now known as Jamaica Plain which is full of beautiful parks and churches once belonged to the town Roxbury. Although this part of the town of Roxbury decided to leave on their own they had about a twenty year stretch of being their own town.
Jamaica Plains is also made exceptionally unique by its many well-known sub-neighborhoods! Forest Hills is home to the Forest Hills Cemetery and the Arborway. Forest Hills Cemetery is home to many artists, authors, and inventors like E.E. Cummings or Isaac Newton Lewis.
What was once the heart of Cambridge, the giant growth that Boston had left it a little more, well, east? This is a tech space in Boston that stands out from the many historical sections of Boston. Instead of red brick buildings, you’ll find mirrored office spaces. Alongside biotechnology companies and startups, you can see Kendall Square.
Kendall Square is famous for a number of great hotels and apartments that sit on the waterfront. The history of East Cambridge picked up until about 1978. Eventually, the city decided to redirect traffic and then revitalize the neighborhood in the 1990s. The revitalization of East Cambridge brought a lot of old factories into restoration as new condos. It is also quickly recognized as a growing hotspot for restaurateurs.
Boston’s city colors are blue and a neutral buff. Although the cities colors now seem to mirror the blue, white, and cranberry Massachusetts state colors.
Boston has claim to the oldest subway system in the country and it is now affectionately known as “the T”. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, or the MBTA, decided in 1965 that the four main lines would be represented by four colors. This is great because they used to be painted in either a blue and gold color scheme to represent the Massachusetts flag, or a drab green thought to mask dirt.
But, these four colors that the MBTA chose were done so with a lot of thought behind them. Boston is a city of many colors and these lines are all painted to acknowledge what part of the city they run through.
The Green Line, the most common of the T, is named after the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. A long line of rolling green parks that carves a line through the city landscape.
The Blue Line is more obviously named because it runs underneath Boston’s harbor. However, unlike the image that most people get when they think of a harbor, Boston is a bit different. The city itself seems to run right down to the waterline. The harbor filled with boats sit directly in front of some of Boston’s oldest buildings. Setting blue water against red roofs and at night, bright white lights.
The Red Line taking on a more literal rendition of the area of the city travels throughout Harvard. While Crimson is the color of Harvard, the landscape itself allows the line to stand out against the old brick and green lawns.
The final line, the Orange Line is a nod to a historical part of the city. What is now Washington Street was once called Orange Street. Running through an old part of the city turned shopping district, the naming behind the Orange Line, and the fact that it’s orange, are great acknowledgements to Boston’s past.
Standout Neighborhoods in Boston
While many cities are well known for their grey skyscrapers and cookie-cutter suburbs that scatter their outskirts, Boston plays a different game. Boston celebrates vibrant neighborhoods throughout its entirety and each one has something different to offer.
A gem that is often called the secret-garden of Boston, it fully deserves this nickname! Bay Village is a neighborhood that is a ton of wood and painted concrete which is present in dark but welcoming tones, but the neighborhood is brightened with a wide range of red brick.
Bay Village is definitely smaller when compared to many other neighborhoods but, is surrounded by the loud and outspoken Chinatown. The dark woods and historical presence of red brick bring in a welcoming atmosphere. This blend is seen in many neighborhoods throughout America though. Dark green doors or matte royal blues are making their way into many streets, especially where there is red or white brick for contrast.
Lost to time with traditional stained wood and weathered red brick is the historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill. Of the many neighborhoods we love in Boston, Beacon Hill stands out. Why?
Because among the old buildings of brick and new buildings of glass and bright white we have the middle. Yellow and green multistory homes are encased in fun shops that play in the colorful surroundings. The neighborhood plays up well on much of the lighting as it hits the city too, ensuring that no leaf goes unlit!
Whether you see Boston in day or night you will find brightness and vibrancy. Subtle lamplights of oranges that resonate through historical districts are only one highlight. In other areas, only minutes away from romantic lamplight you can find neon and buildings that flash red or blue to tell the weather.
Boston is among America’s greatest cities. During its long history, it was worked to maintain the integrity of being center stage during multiple revolutions. The city has also worked to revitalize many of its neighborhoods to move into new centuries and take on the struggles of the future. Boston is certainly a place where you can see history and how it influences the pursuits of the future. Whenever you’re in Boston be sure to spread your time throughout the city so you can see the many beautiful colors, parks, and buildings.
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