As the foliage changes to rich hues of red, yellow, and orange, Boston Public Garden fills with spectators from all over the globe. It’s hard not to become entranced by the abundance of beauty along the walking trails lined with manicured grasses, unique flora, and of course, the elegant swan boats drifting along the pond. Strategically placed throughout the Garden there are several sculptures and memorials, each one rich with exquisite artistic grace as well as historical significance. The Boston Public Garden has been akin to a front yard for Michael Carucci’s Boylston Street home for more than a decade and as such, he has become acquainted with each piece of artwork. Here are Michael’s 5 favorite sculptures and memorials all which may be found in the Garden:
Ether Fountain: The historic sentiment of this fountain is that it’s the oldest monument in the Garden, dating back to 1868. It was a gift from Boston resident Thomas Lee and it represents the anesthetic qualities of ether, first used in 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital. There are several symbolic representations on the monument including The Angel of Mercy as well as granite figures which represent the parable of the Good Samaritan.
George Washington: The massive statue of George Washington sitting on a horse is Michael’s second favorite statue and is also the second monument to arrive in the Garden. The artist was one Thomas Ball, a sculptor from Charlestown. It has been said that Ball worked on the plaster cast for this statue for more than four years, and that the piece could not be cast until after the Civil War because there was a shortage of bronze due to the war. The statue was unveiled on July 3, 1869.
Charles Sumner: Four more than 80 years there have been four bronze statues on granite pedestals facing Boylston Street. They are Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips, Thomas Cass, and Tadeusz Kosciusko. Michael’s favorite of these four is Charles Sumner not only because this statue overlooks the building he calls home but also because Sumner was a Boston based senator who was the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts.
Ducklings: Children and adults alike are familiar with the duckling sculptures at the corner of Beacon and Charles. The sculptures are based on Robert McCloskey’s 1941 bestselling book Make Way for Ducklings. There are nine sculptures all together, representing Mrs. Mallard and her 8 ducklings as they march toward their final home which is the island in the middle of the Garden’s lagoon.
9/11 Memorial: The newest memorial within the Garden is the 9/11 memorial which commemorates over 200 individuals with ties to Massachusetts who perished is the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The memorial is surrounded with benches, plants, and flowers in an effort to offer a peaceful setting for remembrance within a public setting. A selection from a poem by local writer Lawrence Homer encourages us to find peace in this spot. “Time touches all more gently here,” he writes. The Garden of Remembrance, completed in 2004, was funded largely through private donations, as well as a $100,000 federal grant obtained through the efforts of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.