Travel Tuesday: John Hancock and the place where everybody knows your name

Last week I went into Boston for a design event – but I unfortunately could not find the location. It was on Charles St. South, which is in the Beacon Hill area, but I just had no luck. It was a beautiful night and so I ended up driving around and taking some snaps.

Here is our Statehouse located at the top of Beacon Street on Beacon Hill. I used to walk by here every day when I lived in the city in a teeny tiny studio apartment. The Federal style Massachusetts Statehouse was completed in 1798 and was designed by Charles Bulfinch on a piece of land owned by John Hancock. The dome was originally painted light gray to emulate slate. In 1874 it was guilded for the first time; the dome was painted black again during WW2 to prevent blackouts during blackouts. In 1997, the dome was re-guilded.

This is part of Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill, one time home to author Louisa May Alcott and current home to former presidential candidate and current Senator John Kerry. This is some of the most expensive real estate in the country with properties ranging from $6Million to $20Million. The original cobblestones (a veritable killing field of high heels!) and Greek Revival architectural style are very special. The Square was planned in 1826 and built between 1834-1837. I imagine that the horse and carriages in Louisa May’s time were considerably more elegant than SUV’s!

All of Beacon Hill is pretty spectacular architecturally – some real eye candy! Walking around at night is a lot of fun – you can peak in windows! During the summer there are some beautiful plantings and window boxes.


At the bottom of Beacon Street, a little place where everybody knows your name. The Boston Public Gardens are across the street.
The west entrance (looking east) to the Boston Public Gardens. George Washington is commemorated here. Established in 1837, this was the first public botanical garden in the United States.

This is near the East side entrance, across from the Boston Common.

One of our newer buildings is on the south side of the Public Gardens. This is the Heritage on the Gardens luxury condo building with shops such as Hermés and Anne Fontaine. When I worked in Boston right after college – this corner consisted of a decrepit strip of shops including a McDonald’s and a pawn shop/jewelry store.


This is the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Clarendon Streets, looking up Clarendon towards the John Hancock tower. The church on this corner is the First Baptist Church of Boston, established in 1665, the church found its home in this location in 1882. The church was designed by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Per the churche’s website: “First Baptist is built of Roxbury puddingstone, and its square tower is 176 feet high. At the top of the tower (which a current guidebook describes as “one of the majestic forms on the Boston Skyline”) is a frieze of sculpted figures representing baptism, communion, marriage and death. The frieze was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, famous for the Statue of Liberty and was carved by Italian artists after the stones were set in place. It includes the faces of Sumner, Longfellow, Emerson, Hawthorne, Lincoln, Lafarge, and his comrade Garibaldi, and other prominent Bostonians still being researched.”

Two blocks up from Comm. Ave. is Boylston Street and the Trinity Church (also designed by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1872-77) in Copley Square. The architectural style became known as the Richardson Romanesque style and is said to be the first American architectural style to be emulated in England and Europe. I’ve always loved the juxtaposition of the Trinity Church reflected in the John Hancock Tower , Boston’s tallest building.

And so was my little impromptu night of photo taking in Boston!

all images by Linda Merrill for ::Surroundings::

xoxo Linda Would you like my Favorite Tips for a Well-Decorated Home? Click here!

2 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday: John Hancock and the place where everybody knows your name”

  1. I love this post! I’ve only lived in Boston for 5 years (originally from Chicago) but it definitely feels like home. So much charm, history and beautiful architecture!

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