The New Student's Reference Work/Boston
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, the chief city of New England and the fifth largest city of the United States, stands at the western end of Massachusetts Bay, at the mouths of the Charles and Mystic Rivers. Founded in 1630, it was first called Trimountain from the three hills which then formed a marked feature of the landscape. Since that time it has taken a prominent part in the history of America. Here was published the first regular newspaper (1704), and the same
Puritan spirit which led to the punishment here of heretics, Quakers and witches, contributed largely to the determined opposition to the oppressive measures of England which resulted in the Revolution. The Boston Massacre and the destruction of the British taxed tea in the harbor are famous. Otis, Hancock, Samuel Adams and Warren were all Boston men. Boston has also done much for the literature and culture of America. Longfellow and Lowell, Whittier and Emerson, Hawthorne and Holmes, Thoreau and Parkman, Motley and Prescott dwelt in or near the Puritan City.
Boston has a fine system of parks, Franklin park being the largest (500 acres). These parks are connected by miles of wide and handsome boulevards. Boston Common (42 acres) and the public gardens are greatly enjoyed by the people, because situated in the center of the business section of the city. The metropolitan park commission has secured and opened to the public a system of parks around Boston, including the Blue Hills Reservation, Middlesex Fells, Revere and Nantasket Beaches, tracts along several rivers, ponds and brooks, to the extent of nearly 10,000 acres and costing over five million dollars. The estimated area of the city is 42 square miles. In 1872 the city was visited by a destructive fire, which destroyed over 75 million dollars worth of property in the business section; but the evidences of this destruction have long since disappeared, and a new face was soon put upon the city's aspect. Among the historic buildings of the city are the State House, Christ Church, the old South Church, Faneuil Hall, called the Cradle of Liberty, and King's Chapel. The later noted buildings include Tremont Temple, the Roman Catholic cathedral, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of
Natural History, the Chamber of Commerce, the new Symphony Hall, Music Hall, the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Christian Science and the Spiritualist Church and the fine home of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the government postoffice building of granite, the Lowell Institute, for the support of free public lectures and various asylums, homes, etc. The city is adorned with statues and monuments: the great Bunker Hill monument and statues of Washington, Hamilton, Winthrop, Webster, Edward Everett, Charles Sumner, Josiah Quincy, Benjamin Franklin, Horace Mann and a
Boston Public Library score of other noted Americans. Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College are excellent institutions of learning. Educationally, Boston is noted for its great free library with numerous branches (containing about 900,000 volumes), its Boston Athenaeum, with a library of over 200,000 volumes, its fine school-houses, many special and suburban high schools, the large per cent, of pupils in the latter and its remarkable school attendance. Very few children of school age are on the street. Several of the great publishing firms are located in this city. Boston has large manufacturing interests, and is the principal mart for the sale of wool, shoes and leather. The surface and elevated electric cars pass under the Common and Tremont Street, through a magnificent sub-way built by the city.
In foreign trade the city holds the second place to New York, (the extent of its foreign commerce, exports and imports, being in 1905 two hundred million dollars in amount), and ten lines of ocean steamers ply regularly between this city and foreign parts. The railroad system of New England centers mostly in Boston. There are two great union stations, the North Union and the South Terminal; the latter is the largest railroad station in the world. The chief railways entering the city are the Boston & Albany, Boston & Maine, New York, New Haven & Hartford and the Fitchburg and other railway lines. Population by census of 1910, was 670,585. The metropolitan district—Boston and suburbs—in 1900 had 1,162,197 inhabitants.