The Freedom Trail winds through some seriously modern landscapes.
Often you find yourself surrounded by looming gray office buildings.
The scale is all wrong, which kind of ruins the historical mood.
But there are a few blocks that feel real: where the buildings shrink to 1700s-era human scale, the streets get cobble-stoney, the windows get smaller, and the sidewalks are lumpy.
Marshall Street is one of these streets. It angles off Union Street, and ducks into a dark, cool warren of streets and alleys.
Turns out the feeling is legit: you're in the middle of the Blackstone Block, one of the oldest parts of Boston.
Some Blackstone Block Resources
The last time I was passing through, I noticed a old sign for Creek Square, also historic, it turns out.
Something on the Alleys of Creek Square, in Forgotten Alleys of Boston.
A few more links, which I'm collecting here just so I won't forget them:
- A write up of the area in Historic Boston Incorporated.
- Another collection of images from Looking Backwards.
A Street View of the area, from Google.
Here's a 360 I took.
A Freedom Trail block, via theta360.com - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
The Boston Stone
Down one of the alleys: The Boston Stone:
According to the Boston Art Commission:
The Boston Stone, attached low on a wall near Ye Olde Union Oyster House, is said to have been put in place in 1737. Historically, it served as the starting point for measuring travel distances from Boston. Though the stone’s convex surface is now worn and chipped, in its earlier life the stone was imported to the city in 1700 and used to grind pigments for making paint.
Other historical sources aren't so sure. Documentation is slim. Which keeps the Boston Stone, like the Blackstone Block, kind of mysterious, and just old.
If you're walking the Freedom Trail, that's something to appreciate... for a few minutes.