Walk along one of a myriad of paths, manicured lawns on either side. Tulips dance at your feet. Locals walk their dogs. Others do yoga. Tourists snap pictures of squirrels, the swan boats and the frog pond. You stroll under a canopy of elms, willows and beeches. At the base of one of the trees, you notice a plaque, a memorial with gold lettering.
For those who’ve walked through the Boston Common or Public Garden, they have doubtless noticed the commemorative plaques scattered throughout the two spaces. Some memorialize family members that have passed; others are dedicated to people who have given of themselves to the Garden or city of Boston.
This website is an extension of those plaques, a place to learn about the lives of some of those to whom this space is consecrated. To the names, we wanted to add the words and images and memories of those to whom they were and are so dear. In gathering these materials, we not only conducted interviews, collected pictures, and recorded video, but also made new memories of our own.
What started out as a class project, became something more. We realized this is important, that it matters both to loved ones and to the city at large that was enriched by their lives.
These are not merely names, but real people who led lives of meaning. They were painters, writers, fathers, mothers, trusted friends, devoted citizens. We learned about their lives, and were inspired by them. It is our hope that, in a modest way, our efforts will help to keep their legacy alive, and share them with successive generations.
This site is intended to speak to everyone, from frequent Garden walkers to new visitors. Mostly, it’s meant to speak to those who are curious of mind and heart.
We’d especially like to thank all of the friends and families of those honored in the garden and the Friends of the Public Garden for their help and support through this journey.
Header Photo Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.