Beacon Hill

October 2014, parks, Beacon Hill

golden dome

view from the commons (sonya kovacic)

view from the commons (sonya kovacic)

The Massachusetts State House was built in 1798 on what was once the property of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' first governor, John Hancock. The current building is the result of two major expansions in 1895 and 1917.  The iconic dome, part of the original construction, was first constructed as an entirely wooden dome. When the dome leaked, the Revere Copper Company (Paul Revere's company) was contracted to cover the dome in copper.

The golden dome, as we know it, came to be in 1874.  Despite what some might think, it is actually gilded with gold foil. The dome was painted gray during World War II to avoid being an easy target for potential enemy bombers. It was most recently re-gilded in 1997 to give the vibrant color we see today.

A golden pine cone sits atop the cupola on the highest point of the golden dome. The pine cone is a tribute to Maine (once a part of Massachusetts) and the timber industry's contribution to Boston's early development.

Beacon Hill, June 2014


payphones, boston common  (sonya kovacic)

payphones, boston common (sonya kovacic)

"Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you."

— Alexander Graham Bell, completing the world's first audible telephone call in 1876. The historic call was made in Bell's laboratory, on what is now Cambridge Street in downtown Boston.

Once Bell finalized the patent for his invention, he held a series of public demonstrations to show it off. In one example from May 1877, Bell held a lecture at the Boston Music Hall (now Orpheum Theater). He had two telephones on stage: one connected to Thomas Watson in Somerville, and one connected to the opera singer Pasquale Brignoli in Providence. Watson and Brignoli both performed for the Boston audience, including an aria (by Brignoli) and a cornet solo (by Watson).

By 1886, more than 150,000 American households owned a telephone. 

Today, over 150 million Americans own a smartphone, and there are more than 1 million apps in the iPhone App Store alone.

One noteworthy app was recently developed by Boston's Public Works Department. It takes citizen complaints (e.g., potholes, broken street lamps, anything that needs a quick fix) and sends it directly to a repair crew on the road.

Beacon Hill, May 2014

city upon a hill

acorn street, beacon hill  (sonya kovacic)

acorn street, beacon hill (sonya kovacic)

What is this?

It's the first edition of our new project: a daily email all about Boston. Every email will be short and sweet: one photo, one piece of trivia, and one link to something interesting. Today's theme is "City upon a Hill".

If you're on our list, WELCOME!

- Sonya & Peter

A group of Puritans from England founded the city of Boston in 1630, after a pilgrimage in search of their "City upon a Hill." The area's first European resident, however, actually arrived five years earlier. William Blaxton, an Anglican minister, built a home and farm on (what is now) Beacon Hill in 1625 — and lived in peace and quiet for five years. After the Puritans arrived, Blaxton grew tired of their intolerance, and moved further south to (what is now) Rhode Island.

The Beacon Hill Art Walk – held the first Sunday in June – is a chance to tour the private gardens, alleyways, and courtyards of Beacon Hill's north slope. It's also an opportunity to check out some work by over 40 local artists.