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Full text of "The Back-Bay district and the Vendome"

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 



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PRICE TWENTY FIVE CENTS. 



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* BOSTON 



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Editor of "The Harvard Register," "King's Hand-Book of Boston," 
^'''***^ .-^'C" Harvard and its Surroundings," V,\.r.. y^ 



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EST-A-EILISHEnD 18 31. 



JOSEPH T. BROWN & CO, 



APOTHECARIES AND CHEMISTS, 

MANUFACTURERS OF 

PURE MEDICINAL PREPARATIONS, 

INTENDED ESPECIALLY 

FOR DISPENSING IN PRESCRIPTIONS AND FOR FAMILY USE. 



Our lists under the following heads are very complete: 

Fliili Extracts, Tinctures, leiiclual fines, Syriips, Elixirs, and Ointuiyiits. 



SPECIALTIES. 



Beef, Wine, and Iron, a nutritive Tonic, Per bottle, $i.oo Purified Lime-juice, 22-oz 



Aromatic Elixir Calisaya Bark 
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Essence Jamaica Ginger 
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Chinese Cement .... 

Pure Spices, 4-oz. cans 

Red and Green Fires for Tableaux 



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Brown's Emollient Orange-Flowers and 

Glycerine, ^-pints .... Per bottle, .50 

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Camphorated Glycerine Tablet . . Per box,-" .25 

Huile Philocome, ^{-pints . . . Per bottle, .50 

Bandoline, for fixing the Hair . . " .25 

Oakadenta, or Oak Tooth-Wash, pints, " .75 



Camphorated Dentifrice 

Cherry Dentine .... 

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Red Label Cologne, " 

English (Mitcham) Lavender, 6-ounce 

Imported Bay Rum, 22-ounce 



Per bottle. 



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SACHET POWDERS. 

J. T B. &. Co.'s Quadruple-strength, 50 cents per ounce ; 15 cents per quarter-ounce, 

ORANGE-BLOSSOM, WHITE ROSE. HELIOTROPE, VIOLET, YLANG-YLANG, PATCHOULY. FRANGIPANI, 
MUSK, MOSS-ROSE, FLEUR D'INDE. 

NEW. 

" LIMELLE," A DELICIOUS Lime-Fruit Cordial. Per bottle $0.75 

GINGER BOUQUET: a Wine of Ginger, 1 ENGLISH " B " PEPPERMINT LOZENGES, 
prepared from green Ginger-root and a light I the finesit- flavored mint- lozenge pro- 
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crosE:pH: t. bie^o^w^:^ Sc co., 

504 Washington, corner of Bedford Street, Boston. 
JOSEPH T. BROWN. JOSEPH T, BROWN, Jr. CHARLES H. BASSETT. 



Fn 



THE 



BACK-BAY DISTRICT 



AND 



THE VENDOME. 



By MOSES KING. 



1880. 



0' V 



r>. 



THE CITY OF BOSTON. 



Two hundred and fifty years ago John Winthrop, at the head of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 
bough of Wnham Blaxton for £,o, a peninsula of perhaps 700 acres, which, it is said, wa 
Isa.. J ?r '" honor of the English town whence had come some of the colonists, including 

Isaac Johnson the second most .mportant man among them. The colonists had settled a hort time 
prev.ouslyn. Charlestown, -now a part of Boston, -but, not finding there agreeable water made tl 
purchase just ment.oned, and founded a town that has ever since enjoyed an almost uninter uptTd car e 
of prosperay The original territory has been enlarged, both by annexation and by reclaiming land f^om 

L'reaL'/Iil txsi'f ''T'' '' .{'.'''['^''^ ^^'^ «^-- -!-)• The population has steadily 
ZuTeoonon T, , ""p T' T''" '^' city limits 363,938, and including its immediate vicinity! 

century aTo "" '"' '"' "" ''""' '^"'^' ''^ "'°'^ 1^°^""^^'°'^ ^' ^-" ^ 

A charter was not obtained until 1822; and since then several of the adjoinin- towns have been 
anne.ed n.clud,ng Roxbury in X867, Dorchester in .S69, Charlestown, Brightoi, and%rs RoXry , 

Brookline a d r b °. °"'^ ^ 7 ^^^ ""^'^ °^her adjoining places-such as Somerville, Chelse 
iirooklme, and Cambridge — will be annexed. 

,8// vT" w" f- "'' ''""°" °^ Massachusetts Bay, !n latitude 42O 21' 27.6'/ N., and in longitude ,0 ,,, 

Ztf:i::;:ir"''?f^^"^°"^" *'^^ ^°^^'"°^'^ containing, as it does,upwards of 6oorestabtsh 
of eVy Is'r tf 7Ts r '°'r:\ "-- P— . -d producing yearly $: 5.000,000 worth of g ods 
reoo^rihnrB ^rf healthfulness, there is no doubt in the minds of the well-informed 

eterence to hotels, Boston long ago cast aside her famous inns which provided ".ood cheer" wifh 
meagre fare, and now provides every grade of accommodation, -from the phineTt lodS. to the n ,T 
quarters in the recently-built Vendome plainest lodging to the palatial 



yj ; /Y/"^'^ 




— By Moses King. 

WHAT men can do to make Nature subservient to them 
is well shown in the district which is to be described 
briefly in the following pages. Only thirty years ago this terri- 
tory was in reality a back bay: in one part the boys were wont 
to skate and swim, in another the refuse of the city was dumped, 
and in still another boats and various crafts used to sail. To-day 
that same district is one of the grandest architectural sections in 
the world. It is intersected by the most fashionable thorough- 
fares of the aristocratic Bostonians ; the broad avenues, running 
parallel to one another, having already done much to take away 
Boston's past fame of being a city of crooked lanes and narrow, winding streets. It is in 
this district that many specimens of the best modern architecture have been erected ; 
the latest and costliest, and in many respects the most imposing, as well as the most central 
of which, is the Vendome, one of the finest hotel structures in the world, and by far the 
grandest in New England. It is since 1850 that the tide-water has been driven back, the 
basin filled with clean gravel to an average depth of eighteen feet, and the greater part of 
^ the section covered with handsome private residences and imposing public edifices ; all of 
' which stand upon made-land, with their foundations resting upon thousands of piles driven 
-^deep into the ground. It was this latter fact which caused Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was 
consulted on the subject, to suggest to Col. Wolcott the advisability of changing the name 
" Vendome " to " Venetia ; " for, as he writes, " I like the sound of the word ; and as all this 

\ quarter is built on piles, as Venice is, it seems appropriate." 
According to some authorities, the original area of " Shawmut " — the Indian name of 
primitive Boston — was about 700 acres. If this be true, the Back-bay improvement has 
enlarged the city by a number of acres equal to its original area. And therefore it may be 
well to pause for a glance at the history of this improvement. 

Copyright 1880 by Moses King. 



^ 



J 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 







THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 5 

The "Back Bay" is the name given to the territory, comprising between seven hundred 
and eight hundred acres, included between Charles, Beacon, and Tremont Streets, and the 
line which formerly divided Roxbury from Boston. In 1S50 it was a waste of fiats, over 
which the tide, admitted through the gates in the Mill Dam, ebbed and flowed up to Charles I , j 
Street. The Mill Dam (now a continuation of Beacon Street) provided suitable water-power I 
for a number of mills, founderies, and manufactories. It was built by the Boston and V 
Roxbury Mill Corporation; which was incorporated June 14, 1814, for the purpose of mak- 
ing available the water-power to be obtained by the passage of the tide-water (of Charles 
River) and of the full basin through the gates referred to above, into the receiving-basin, 
which was the western iDortion of the present Back-bay territory. The Mill Dam was to be 
not less than forty-two feet wide on the top, "from Charles Street, at the westerly end of 
Beacon Street, to the upland at Sewall's Point, so called, in Brookline, ... to be made so as 
effectually to exclude the tide-water, and to form a reservoir, or empty basin, of the space 
between the dam and Boston Neck." In a few years the dam — generally known as Western 
Avenue — was completed, and was formally opened for public travel on July 2, 1821. Much 
of this territory lay below the ordinary line of riparian ownership, and therefore belonged to 
the Commonwealth in fee. This ownership is based on the ordinance of 1641, and judicial 
decisions founded thereon. The Commonwealth also claimed so much of a strip, 200 feet 
wide, north of the Mill Dam, as lay below this line, at the ends ; subject to whatever ease- 
ments had been acquired by the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation and the Boston Water- 
Power Company. The Water-Power Company was incorporated in 1824; and bought, in 
1832, of the Mill Corporation its mill franchise, water-power, and privileges, and all the real 
estate lying south of the main dam. The city of Roxbury, now a part of Boston, claimed all 
lands in the Back Bay lying within its territorial limits, not otherwise granted. Individuals 
also claimed certain other portions of the territory; some as riparian proprietors, some 
under the ordinance of 1641, and some for various reasons. 

About the year 1850, while these claims were being urged, it became apparent that this 
district could be used for better purposes than the driving of a few mills, which were of 
Mittle profit to anybody, and more or less of a nuisance to everybody. It was at this time, 
too, that the city of Boston was advancing in a southerly direction. Legislative interference 
having been invoked, a commission consisting of Simon Greenleaf, Joel Giles, and Ezra 
Lincoln, was appointed by the governor, under the resolve of May 3, 1850, to consider the 
questions relating to the use of the Back-bay territory. This commission expressed in its 
report the opinion that the maintenance of the water-power as then arranged was in conflict 
with more important public and private interests ; that iti continuance was no longer valu- 
able to the owners ; and that it was desirable to fill the receiving-basin, so far as was con- 
sistent with the proper flow of the water for harbor purposes, and to convert it into solid 
land. 

The commissioners recommended legislation authorizing the parties interested to change 
the use of the receiving-basin from mill-purposes to land-purposes, and to fill the same 
with clean gravel ; to secure perfect drainage ; to provide for ample wide streets, squares, 
and ponds; to free the Mill Dam from the tolls which were levied for passing over it; to 
increasf the scouring-force of the water for the preservation of the harbor; and, finally, that 
these improvements should be carried on under the direction of the State, through a perma- 
nent board of commissioners to be appointed for the purpose. 

These recommendations were adopted, and commissioners appointed, who, after pro- 
tracted negotiations, succeeded in 1857 in executing a tripartite agreement between the State, 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



the City, and the Water-Power Company, completing agreements entered into between these 
parties, settling their various and conflicting claims, and providing for the carrying-out of the 
plan for filling the basin, as recommended. 

The Commoffvealth was then able to proceed with the work of filling in, and that, too, 
without cost to itself. After one or two experiments, a contract was effected with Goss & 
Monson, who agreed to do the work, and take their pay in land ; the contractors, under 

__^_^^_^^^_^ this agreement, receiving 260,000 

=.^5^^.-.:5=x .«/tJ_ II square feet, and the State 793,000 

feet ready for sale. 

The contractors entered imme- 
diately upon the work, laying rail- 
road-tracks over the territory, and 
bringing gravel from a hill in Need- 
ham, where it Avas dug by steam- 
excavators. The work proceeded 
very rapidly. As fast as streets and 
lots were ready, they were sold at 
public auction by the State and the 
Water-Power Company at remun- 
erative prices, so that the funds for 
future operations were then con- 
stantly in hand. 

The net proceeds of the State 
lands were devoted, after the pay- 
ment of a portion of the State debt, 
to which they were pledged, to sev- 
eral literary and scientific institu- 
tions : the Museum of Compara- 
tive Zoology, founded by Professor 
Louis Agassiz and now a part of 
Harvard University, received $100,- 
000 ; Tufts College, $50,000 ; Wil- 
liams College, $25,000; other insti- 
tutions smaller grants ; and the bal- 
ance went to the School Fund. 

The Report of the State Au- 
ditor for 1866 shows, that, up to that 
date, over 4,000,000 square feet of 
land had been filled at an average 
cost of 4oj'2 cents per square foot, 
BOSTON IN 1722: The First Map. and that 1,295,211 squarc feet had 

been sold at an average price of $1.77 per square foot ; giving a net profit to the Common- 
wealth of $1,212,653. The market value of these lots advanced from $1.17 in 185S to $2.80 
in 1865. By the report for 1880, of the Harbor and Land Commissioners, who succelded the 
old board of Back-bay Commissioners, it appears that the total number of square feet sold 
since 1857 is 2,084,931, for $4,307,722 ; the average price per foot being $2,066. Dec. i, 1879, 
there remained unsold 287,258 square feet; the whole quantity belonging to the State in 1857 




THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. / 

being 4,723,998 square feet, of which 314,740 square feet have been given to the city and to 
divers institutions, and 2,037,068 square feet devoted to streets, passage-ways, etc. 

The whole territory is now very largely filled ; and what, but a very few years ago, was a 
dreary waste of water and unsightly flats, is now the most valuable of the real estate in 
Boston, with stately avenues and well-improved streets, that every year advance farther south 
in the direction of the Roxbury district. From the map of Boston in 1722, which is given 
on another page, one can see what a small pear-shaped peninsula the town of Boston was. 
He will also be unable to find any indication of what is now the Back-bay district. By 
comparing this old map with a modern one, it can easily be seen what a vast area Boston 
has gained on every side by reclaiming the land from the bay. Boylston Street was extended 
in 1843 ; but it was not until 1856 that Arlington Street was laid out. Columbus Avenue, 
eighty feet wide and one mile and a half long, runs from Park Square to Northampton Street, 
The sidewalks, being each eighteen feet wide, give the avenue virtually a width of one hundred 
and sixteen feet, and make of it one of the finest thoroughfares in Boston. It was laid out in 




ARLINGTON STREET, The Western Boundary of the Public Garden. 

1869, and is already liijed with handsome dwellings, fine familj'-hotels, and several of the lead- 
ing churches. It is to be extended to Tremont Street. Huntington Avenue is a smoothly- 
paved boulevard, one hundred feet wide, and begins at Clarendon and Boylston Streets, 
four blocks south of the Vendome, and extends south-west about one mile. It is to be con- 
tinued to Tremont Street, one and a half miles farther. At present there is only one building 
on the avenue, the Hotel Huntington ; but several are soon to be erected, including the great 
exhibition-building of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, at the corner of 
Newton Street. Its freedom from foot-passengers makes it a favorite road for fast driving. 
It was laid out in 1875. 

The term "Back-bay district" nowadays is commonly understood to mean simply the 
section west of Arlington, between Beacon Street and the track of the Boston and Provi- 
dence Railroad, although the land reclaimed from the Back Bay, as has been heretofore 
stated, includes all that portion of the city extending as far east as Tremont Street and as 
far south as the Roxbury line. It is the Back-bay district in its limited sense that we shall 
describe in this sketch. 



8 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



Arlington Street is the western boundary of the Public Garden, all of which is made- 
ground, and virtually forms a part of the Back-bay improvement. In the days of the Revolution, 
troops crossed over in boats from a point near Boylston and Charles Streets straightway to 
Cambridge. In 1794 the City granted most of the site of the Public Garden to some rope- 
walk proprietors, out of sympathy for their loss in the great fire of that year, which destroyed 
seven rope-walks in the vicinity of Pearl and Atkinson (now Congress) Streets. At that time 
the whole "garden" consisted chiefly of salt marsh and flats, spotted with a few small salt- 
water ponds. There were no streets forming boundaries north or south ; " and the eastern 
limit of the present Garden was denoted by a muddy path through the bog or marshy ground, 
which had been more travelled over by beast than by man." In 1819 the rope-walks were 
again burned, and the rope-walk proprietors were about to improve the land and divide it into 

building-lots. The City, however, in 1824 re- 
gained by purchase the land it had given away 
through sympathy. The price paid was $55,- 
000 ; and by many persons it was thought an 
extravagant expenditure, for the land and its 
westerly border had not yet been improved. 
As soon as the City regained the land, an at- 
tempt was made to sell it for building purposes. 
But, Dec. 27, 1824, the peojale voted that the 
land should never be sold, and that it should not 
be used for cemetery purposes. 

Although the land was bought back in 1824, 
the improvements for garden purposes were 
not begun until early in 1859 ; and in Ihe past 
twenty years the old marsh land has been trans- 
formed into one of the most delightful 24 acres 
in this country, — in fact, into a small paradise. 
The Garden abounds in flowers, plants, and 
trees, is laid out with gravel-paths, and contains 
many handsome ornaments of various kinds. 

There is the white-marble spray-fountain, 
representing " Venus rising from the sea." 
It is placed near the Arlington-street entrance ; 
and, standing near it, a person can obtain a 
good view of Commonwealth Avenue and the Vendome. To the north of the fountain is the 
Washington equestrian statue, which at the time of its unveiling, July 3, 1869, was the largest 
piece of bronze casting ever finished in the United States. It was cast in fourteen pieces, and 
the joints afterwards made invisible. The height of the pedestal and statue is 38 feet, and of 
the statue itself 22 feet. A short distance east of this statue is the Ether Monument, one 
of the most admirable pieces of sculpture to be seen in Boston. It was erected in 1868 at the 
expense of Thomas Lee, " to commemorate the discovery that the inhaling of ether causes 
insensibility to pain ; first proved to the world [October, 1846] at the Massachusetts General 
Hospital in Boston." On the sides of the elaborate granite pedestal are medallions in marble, 
showing the application of ether ; and the shaft is surmounted by two well-modelled figures of 
tlie Good Samaritan sculptured in granite. 

Midway on the Beacon-street side of the Garden stands the Edward Everett statue of 




SUMNER STATUE, PubUc Garden. 



10 THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT A lYD THE VEiYDOME. 

bronze, placed upon a granite pedestal. It was erected in 1S67 by means of a popular subscrii> 
lion begun in 1S65, and which became so large tiiat out of the surplus a portrait of Everett was 
painted for P'aneuil Hall, $5,000 given to the Washington equestrian-statue fund, and $10,000 
towards the erection of a statue of Gov. John A. Andrew. On the Boylston-street side, opjiosite 
and facing the Everett statue, is the Charles Sumner statue. It is of bronze, stands on a 
granite pedestal, and cost $15,000. It was unveiled Dec. 23, 1S7S. One of the most delightful 
features of the Garden, however, is its irregularly-shaped pond and its unique bridge. The 
pond is almost in the centre of the Garden, and has arf area of about four acres. It was con- 
structed in 1859, and was one of the first impi-ovements. The bridge rests on heavy stone 
piers, which give to it a massive appearance. In the summer the Garden is a much-fre- 
quented place ; and the pond, styled " The Lake," is generally covered by gay little boats, in 
which children with their attendants enjoy a short ride. In the Public Garden the Boston 
people take great pride, and have been so generous in its improvement, that every one who 
passes through it speaks with unbounded enthusiasm in its praise. 

Opposite the centre of the Public Garden, on the Arlington-street side, begins Common- 
wealth Avenue, 200 feet wide from curb to curb, and about 250 feet from house to house. 
Along its entire length through the centre of the street is a strip of park land, 40 feet wide, 
laid out with paths, trees, and shrubbery. The park was at first enclosed with an iron railing, 
which the city began to take down in 1S80. It is supplied with benches, and will be from 
time to time ornamented in various ways. It now contains the statue of Alexander Hamilton, 
said to have been the first cut out of granite in this country. It was a gift to the city by 
Thomas Lee. On its front is a medallion, sculptured with the heads of Washington, Hamilton, 
and Jefferson. In this park is also the heroic bronze figure of Gen. John Glover, a soldier 
of the Revolution. It was erected in 1S75 by Benjamin Tyler Reed, and represents the sturdy 
old soldier in Continental uniform, with the heavy military cloak hanging in graceful folds from 
his shoulders, and his foot resting upon a cannon. The Avenue is now laid out for about a 
mile, — that is, from Arlington Street to West Chester Park, — but it will finally extend much 
farther and form jjart of the Back-bay Park. Both sides are lined with almost palatial resi- 
dences, interspersed with a few public edifices, such as the Brattle-square Church, the Ven- 
dome and the Agassiz hotels, etc. 

The Brattle-square Churcli, a name derived from the situation of the former meeting-house 
of the society, is at the corner of Clarendon Street. It is in the form of a Greek cross, is built 
of Roxbury stone, and presents a solid, or rather massive, appearance. It has a ponderous 
square tower, 176 feet high, on the frieze of which are four admirable groups of sculpture 
representing the four scenes in the life of a Christian, — baptism, communion, marriage, and 
death ; and at the corners of the frieze are four colossal statues with gilded trumpets, typifying 
the Angels of the Judgment. The sculpture was done after the stone had been put in place. 
The society became crippled with debt, and has been obliged to discontinue its services. 

At the corner of Dartmouth Street and Commonwealth Avenue is the Vendome, one of 
tiie most superb and perfect hotels in the world. It is situated at the heart of the Back-bay 
district, and therefore its surroundings are as delightful as possible. It was built by Charles 
Whitney, a wealthy Boston capitalist, who with abundance of means has been quite lavish in 
every detail. It was designed by two leading Boston architects, J. F. Ober and George D. 
Rand, who devoted to it the care and thought necessary to place it on an equality with the 
best of hotel structures. In its furnishings throughout, it cannot be surpassed; and but few 
hotels in the world are to be compared with it in respect to the elegance and tastefulness of 
all its appointments. And as regards the chief of all considerations, — the management of a 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AiVD THE VEiVDOAIE. 



II 



hotel, — it is sufficient to say that the lessee and active manager is Col. J. W. Wolcott, who 
has done more to raise the standard of hotels in New England than any person now living. 
He opened and successfully conducted the Hotel Brunswick, which under his management 
(which ceased in 1S79) was the grandest and best-conducted of all the hotels in Boston. Col. 
Wolcott has devoted himself long and earnestly to the study of the comfort of guests. He 
has travelled extensively, and examined technically the construction and management of the 
leading hotels, and has put the results of his vast experience into the Vendome. No hotel 
jDroprietor has ever been more enthusiastically spoken of by distinguished guests and leading 
publications than has Col, Wolcott by the many eminent personages and representatives of 
the press who have constantly been his patrons. 




COMMONWEALTH AVENUE, Showing the Brattle -squaio Church aud the Vendome. 



The Vendome is not only imposing and palatial, but it is also fire-proof. There are no 
exterior surroundings to increase the risk, — Commonwealth Avenue 250 feet wide on the 
north, Dartmouth Street 100 feet wide on the east, and private residences separated from 
the hotel on the west and south. 

The length of the liotel-front on Commonwealth Avenue is 240 feet, and on Dartmouth 
Street 125 feet. Including the mansard roof and the basement, the Vendome is eight stories 
in height. The Commonwcalth-avcnuc front is of white Tuckahoe marble, and the front on 
Dartmouth Street is of Italian marble. The caps of the windows and doors are elaborately 
carved. The roof and towers are of wrought iron, covered with slate; the floors are laid 
upon iron beams and brick arches ; and all interior partitions are of strictly incombustible 
material. 



12 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



On the first floor are the various public rooms, five dining-rooms, an elegant banquet-hall 
30 by no feet, and the grand parlors; all reached by the main entrance and by a private 
entrance on Commonwealth Avenue, so that clubs and parties can be served without inter- 
ference with the ordinary business of the hotel. There is also an entrance for ladies on 
Dartmouth Street. The rotunda is most exquisitely finished ; and the great dining-hall with 
seats for 250 persons is richly adorned with mirrors, carved mahogany and cherry wood, and 
decorated with fresco-work and a handsome frieze. Each of the six upper stories contains 
seventy rooms, grouped so as to be used singly or in suites. Two of the celebrated Whitticr 

passenger, one baggage, and several smaller elevators for 
special purposes, provide ample facilities for transit up and 
down. The plumbing-work is almost marvellous, for every 
improvement to secure health and comfort has been intro- 
duced. Every apartment has access to a spacious bath- 
room, which, as well as every gas-fixture, has its own inde- 
pendent ventilating-tubes. No open basins are placed in 
chambers, but all are shut off in the closets adjoining. 
Every room is jDrovided with open fire-places, although the 
whole building is heated by steam. The rooms are all 
virtually "outside rooms," and every suite has a bay-win- 
dow. In short, there is no improvement of modern times 
that has not been introduced into this noble edifice; and 
no luxury afforded in situation, surroundings, magnificence, 
and cuisine, in any hotel, is wanting in the Vendome. 
Had Mr. Whitney and Col. Wolcott done nothing else than 
erect this noble edifice, which has been done at a cost 
approaching one million dollars, they would have earned 
the gratitude of all Bostonians. Many years will elapse 
before another similar hotel will be erected in Boston ; 
and Col. Wolcott probably for many years will have, as 
he has had for years past, the honor of conducting the 
grandest hotel in this city. 
The Vendome may be said to be situated in a religious district; for around about it is a 
group of America's most famous churches, — famous alike for the grandeur of the edifices, as 
for the ability of their clergymen. The Brattle-square Church has already been mentioned. 
Its last pastor was the Rev. Dr. Samuel K. Lothrop. At the corner of Dartmouth and Boyl- 
ston Streets, — a minute's walk from the Vendome, — is the new church-edifice of the Old 
South Society, the lineal successor of the original society that erected the historic Old South 
Church now standing at the corner of Milk and Washington Streets. The structure, which 
covers an area of 200 by 90 feet, includes a church, chapel, and parsonage, and is one of the 
finest specimens of church architecture on this continent. It is of Roxbury stone, with 
freestone trimmings ; and the interior finish is of cherry. The seating capacity is between 
800 and 900. The massive tower is 235 feet high. The cost of the whole edifice was about 
$500,000. The pastor is the well-known Rev. Dr. Jacob M. Manning, who has preached to the 
same congregation (Trinitarian) for nearly a quarter of a century. 

Another of the famous churches within a short distance of the Vendome is the new Trinity 
Church (Protestant Episcopal), at the intersection of Huntington Avenue, Boylston, and Claren- 
don Streets. It is generally considered the finest church-edifice in New England, if not in the 




BRATTLE SQUARE CHURCH. 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



13 




HAMILTON STATUE, Commonwealth Ave. 



United States. It is in the pure Frencl: Romanesque style, in tlie shai5e of a Latin cross, 

with a semi-circular apse added to the eastern arm. 

The extreme width of the church across the transept 

is 121 feet, and the extreme length is 160 feet. The 

chancel is 57 feet deep by 52 feet wide. The tower is 

very conspicuous, owing to its massive form. It is 211 

feet high, and 46 feet square inside. The material in 

the body of the church is Dedham granite, ornamented 

with brown freestone trimmings. The cost of the build- 
ing was $750,000. The rector, the Rev. Dr. Phillips 

Brooks, is known throughout the country as one of the 

most eloquent and able clergymen of the present time. 
Another church within a few minutes' walk from 

the Vendome is the " First Church " (Congregational 

Unitarian), famous not only for its exquisite architect- 
ure and able minister, — the Rev. Dr. Rufus Ellis, who 

Avas installed as pastor of this society in 1853, — but 

also as being the first church in Boston. It was 

established in 1630, and will in October celebrate its 

250th anniversary. The building is at the corner of 

Berkeley and Marlborough Streets. It is a beautiful 

structure, and cost about $325,000. The architects 

were Ware & Van Brunt of Boston. 

Still another of the famous churches is the Central Church (Congregational Trinitarian) 

corner of Berkeley and Newbury Streets. It is of Rox- 
bury stone, with sandstone trimmings. Its cost was 
over $325,000. The spire, 236 feet high, is the tallest 
in the city. Its pastor is the Rev. Joseph T. Duryea. 

The Second Church (Congregational Unitarian) on 
Boylston, near Dartmouth Street, is also near the Ven- 
dome. It has a modest though tasteful exterior, is 
commodious and elegant within ; but this congregation, 
too, claims an esteemed old age, and dates its forma- 
tion to 1649, when the second church in Boston was 
lounded. A remarkable fact about this church-edifice 
is, that it was moved from Bedford Street; that is, the 
building was taken down, removed entire, and re- 
erected. The Rev. Robert Laird Collier, formerly of 
Chicago, is the pastor. 

The Arlington-street Church (Congregational Uni- 
tarian) is at the corner of Arlington and Boylston 
Streets. Its finely-shaped steeple, its sweet chimes, 
and the lovely vines that conceal the Boylston-street 
side, are sufficient in themselves to make it an attract- 
ive object ; but its eventful history makes the church 
of additional interest. The society was formed in 1727 

as a Presbyterian body; but in 17S6 the Congregational form of worship was substituted. Its 




GLOVER STATUE, Commonwealth Avenue. 



h. 



14 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



first place of worship was a barn on Long Lane (now Federal Street). In 1 744 a meetmg-house 
was erected on the same site ; and in this building the United-States Constitution was adopted 
by the State Convention in 1788. This meeting-house was supplanted m 1809 by a bnck 
house which in 1859 was taken down. Subsequently the society purchased a site m the Back- 
bay district, and erected the present building. It was while in charge of this congregation, 
from 1803 to 1842, that the Rev. Dr. William Ellery Channing distinguished himself ?is scholar, 
writer, and preacher. His colleague and successor was the Rev. Dr. Ezra S.Gannett, who 
was killed by the Revere railroad accident in 1871. The pastor since 1872 has been the Rev. 
J F \V Ware who is highly esteemed by the entire denomination. 

Emmanuel Church (Protestant Episcopal) is a handsome brown-stone building on the 
north side of Newbury, between Berkeley and Clarendon Streets. The parish was fornied in 
i860 and the first rector was the Rev. Frederick D. Huntington, now Bishop of Central New 
York. His successors have been respectively the Rev. A. H. Vinton, D.D., and the Rev. 
Leio-hton Parks, the present rector. , .■ 1 

The Vendome may be appropriately located as being in the centre of an educational 
district • for on the " Back Bay " there are several prominent institutions of learning, such as 
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, .the Harvard Medical School, the Chauncy-hall 
School the Sisters of Notre Dame Academy, the Prince Public School, and the Boston Public 
Library. All these either are now or are soon to be erected in the Back-bay district proper; 
while on the border of the district there are many other educational institutions 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was among the first to erect a budding on the 
Back Bay. The building is an elegant structure of pressed brick with freestone trimmings 
and stands on land granted by the State on the north side of Boylston between Berkeley and 
Clarendon Streets. In the Institute building there are upwards of fifty rooms, used chiefly 
for laboratories and lecture-rooms. There is also a large, elegant audience-room, called Hun - 
in-ton Hall, -in honor of Ralph Huntington, a generous benefactor of the Institute,- with 
a seating-capacity of 900. Close by this building are a large temporary workshop and chemical 
laboratot-y, a well-equipped gymnasium, and a drill-shed where students are tramed in military 
tactics The Institute was founded for the purpose of instituting and maintaining a Society 
of ArtS a Museum of Arts, and a School of Industrial Science. The Society of Arts numbers 
between -^oo and 300 members. The Museum already contains models of machinery, casts, 
prints, drawings, architectural plans, etc. The School has about 40 instructors and 300 stu- 
dents There^re nine courses, " civil and topographical engineering," " mechanical^engineer- 
ino-"'"<.eoloc^V and mining engineering," "building and architecture," "chemistry, metal- 
lur:y" ''natm-al history," "science and literature," and "physics." Each course extends 
through four years. A School of Mechanic Arts, in which special prominence is given to manual 
instruction, has been established ; and a School of Industrial Design is also maintained. The 
Institute receives aid from the government under an Act of Congress designed to proniote 
instruction in agriculture, the mechanic arts, and military science and tactics It isautlor- 
ized to confer decrees, and is obliged to provide for military instruction. The president is 
William B. Rogers, LL.D, and the chairman of the faculty is Professor John M. Ordway 

In the hall of the Institute of Technology are delivered the free lectures of the Lowell 
Institute, one of Boston's unique educational institutions. It was established m 1839 to 
provide for regular courses of free lectures upon the most important branches of natural and 
moral science,^o be annually delivered in the city of Boston." _ In these -^^^ ^ ^ ^^ 
found the names of lecturers ranking foremost in their respective studies. The ounderwas 
John Lowell, a member of a family distinguished in Massachusetts for the past century. 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



IS 




THE OLD SOUTH CHURCH, Boylston Street, corner cf Exeter Street. 



1 6 THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 

The Appalachian Mountain Club is another of the learned societies that meet in the 
vicinity of the Vendome. It was organized in 1S76, for the encouragement of geographical re- 
search and mountain exploration in the eastern portion of the United States. Its five depart- 
ments embrace natural history, topography, art, exploration, and improvements. It has ren- 
dered good service in the United States Coast Survey, and in the geological survey of New 
Hampshire, and has invented several novel surveying instruments, including a topographical 
camera, micrometer level, portable jjlane tables, etc. The Club comprises about two hundred 
and fifty ladies and gentlemen, who hold their meetings at the Institute of Technology. 

The office of the secretary of the Archaeological Institute of America, E. H. Greenleaf, 
is at tire Museum of Fine Arts. This society was organized ia 1879 to promote investigation 
and research in archaeology. Although in operation but one year, it has already gained a firm 
foothold among the esteemed societies in Boston. Professor Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard 
University is the president. 

The Harvard Medical School, founded in 1782, has recentlv bought a site for a new and 
commodious building on the south side of Boylston, between Uartmouth and Exeter Streets. 
It will adjoin the building soon to be erected for the Boston Public Library. No plans have 
as yet been determined upon ; but it will undoubtedly be erected in a style in keeping with the 
age and high standing of the Medical School, which is perhaps the most successful of the 
several professional schools of Harvard University. 

Within a stone's-throw of the Vendome is one of the most celebrated private schools in 
this country, — the Chauncy-hall School. It was established in 1828, and for upwards of 
fifty years it has had a constantly successful career. The building now occupied is of brick, 
in an attractive and unique style. It is situated on Boylston, near Dartmouth Street, and 
faces the Museum of Fine Arts. It was built in 1874 by an association of the alumni. The 
interior arrangements show the results of the most careful thought and extensive experience. 
Every thing possible has been done to secure thorough drainage, perfect ventilation, extreme 
dryness, comfortable warmth, and an abundance of sunshine. The furniture comprises the 
best of the modern patterns, and all was made from models approved of by several eminent 
surgeons. The walls are decorated with a good collection of classical photographs and pic- 
tures that were selected for their appropriateness. To give a minute description of the many 
conveniences that the building possesses, would require more space than can be given here. 
As an educational institution Chauncy Hall stands prominent among the best schools. It was 
founded by Gideon F. Thayer, a competent, energetic, and far-sighted gentleman, famous 
among modern Boston schoolmasters, who insisted on punctuality, order, neatness, and thor- 
oughness ; and his precepts have been followed by his successors. The principals have 
.always been aided by a large and able corps of instructors, of whom to-day there are twenty. 
The courses are many and varied. They include a thorough English course preparatory for 
business, a classical course preparatory for colleges, and a scientific course preparatory for the 
Institute of Technology. The school is devoted equally to the education of girls and boys, of 
whom there are at present nearly 300. One feature is the care given, not only to the mental 
progress, but also to the thorough physical development, of the pupil. This was the first 
school to introduce a military drill, and it now has also a well-equipped gymnasium attached to 
the drill-hall. The graduates of Chauncy Hall are numerous, and include eminent business 
and professional men scattered throughout the country. Many pupils get their entire prepara- 
tory education here; beginning as little children in the kindergarten or primary department, 
and passing through various classes of the upper department until they are young men and 
women. The school is always open to visitors. 



THE B ACK'-i; AY DISTRICT AXD THE JENDOME. 



17 







THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



The Sisters of Notre Dame have an academy and convent on Berkeley Street, at the cor- 
ner of St. James Avenue. Tliis is a French order, founded in 1S04 by the reverend Mother 
Julia Billiart. The "Mother House " is at Namur, Belgium; and there are about 2,000 sisters 
in England, Belgium, and the United States. The building was finished in 1863, and the 
school opened in 1864. It is a neat 3^-story brick structure, with freestone trimmings. 
In the hallway is a fine bas-relief, 4 by 6 feet, representing the Lord in a kneeling posture, 

bearing the cross. On the first floor are recita- 
tion and reception rooms, and a cabinet contain- 
ing a small collection of minerals, chemicals, and 
philosophical ajjparatus, and a library of French 
books. On the second floor is the chapel and an 
oratory where religious instruction is given to the 
lady members of the Sodality of the Children of 
Mary. The upper floors and basement are used 
for household purposes of the three sisters who 
conduct this school, and of those who teach the 
schools of Trinity, St. Stephen's, St. Mary's, and 
Somerville parishes. Behind the building is a 
lovely little garden, well laid out. This school has 
about fifty j^upils, all young ladies. They are re- 
quired to stay three years to obtain a diploma ; 
and come as graduates of the public and parisli 
schools to receive advanced instruction. 

The Prince School, named in honor of Fred- 
erick O. Prince, Mayor of Boston, is often called 
the Exeter-street School because it is situated on 
Exeter Street at the corner of Newbury Street, 
just around the corner from the Vendome. It is 
considered one of the finest grammar-school build- 
ings in the city, and the pupils are among the best 
scholars in the Boston schools of its grade. An order for enlarging the building has been 
passed by the City Government, and the money appropriated for the purpose. 

With the educational institutions in this district can very approjjriately be classed the 
Boston Public Librar)-, the largest collection of books in the United States, exceeding by 
many thousand volumes even the Library of Congress. It was established in 1848, and now 
possesses 400,000 volumes, and thousands of pamphlets ; besides many valuable manuscripts, 
works of art, and antiquities. It has an income of about $120,000 a year. The building now 
occupied on Bo3'lston Street, opiDosite the Boston Common, was erected in 1858, at a cost of 
$365,000; and, as the library has already outgrown its accommodations, a new site has just 
been obtained on Boylston Street, between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets, about a minute's 
walk from the Vendome. Operations are to be begun in the spring of iSSi. The library 
building will occupy one-half of the square, and the Harvard Medical School will occupy the 
other half. 

Another library, although not to be compared with the Boston Public Library in the 
number of books, deserves mention. It is the Boston Medical Library; which contains 
9,000 volumes and 6,000 pamphlets, and receives regularly 125 periodicals. Its rooms arc 
at No. 19 Boylston Place. 




FIBST CHURCH, Berkeley Street. 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



IQ 




ARLINGTON-STREET CHURCH, Opposite the Public Garden. 



20 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



Not only religious and educational institutions are in the immediate vicinity of the 
Vendome, but also the leading art and scientific associations. Two blocks distant is Art 
Square, a triangular sjDace at the junction of Clarendon Street, St. James and Huntington 
Avenues. Fronting on St. James Avenue in this square is the Museum of Fine Arts, one 
of the noblest monuments of the taste, refinement, and generosity of Boston people. The 
limits of this work will permit but a brief outline of the history of the Museum ; for a 
description of the contents and building would easily fill a volume. The land, comprising 

91,000 square feet, was given 
to the City by the Boston 
Water-Power Company for 
a public square or a site of 
a museum of fine arts. In 
1870 the city gave the land 
to the Museum corporation, 
and immedia':ely a subscrip- 
tion was started which 
brought in $250,000. The 
first section was thereupon 
begun in 1871, and com- 
pleted in five years. In 1S78 
the trustees asked for only 
$100,000 additional, but 
$125,000 was unhesitatingly 
subscribed. The building it- 
self, in the Italian Gothic 
style, is a work of art. Its 
-^ principal material is red 
brick ; and the mouldings, 
copings, and ornaments are 
of red and buff terra-cotta, imported from England. On the fagade there are two large 
and artistically executed reliefs ; that on the right wing representing the Genius of Art, with 
illustrations of the art and architecture of all nations, of ancient and modern times ; and that 
on the left wing representing Art and Industry joined. In the roundels are heads of dis- 
tinguished artists and patrons of art. 

The rooms on the first floor are devoted to statuary and antiquities : including a very 
interesting collection of Egyptian antiquities formed by one of the earliest explorers; a 
goodly number of Greek and Etruscan vases ; antiquities in glass, terra-cotta, and stone, from 
Cyprus, Athens, Rome, and other places ; and a number of excjuisite little figurines from 
Tanagra. The collection of casts from marbles is perhaps second only to that of Berlin. 
It covers the range of art from Egyptian, Assyrian, and Archaic Greek, through the best 
period of Greek sculpture to Roman work, with a large number of the Renaissance period. 
One hall is given to architectural casts. 

On the second floor are three galleries for oil-paintings, in which the exhibition is 
frequently varied by new pictures ; one room for water-colors, two for prints. The display 
of decorative art is very rich, whether in textiles, pottery, metal-work, or wood-carvings, or 
in Japanese lacquers and other bric-a-brac. 

On the third floor and in the basement arc the studios and lecture-rooms of the 




INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, Boylston Street 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AXD THE I'ENDOME. 



21 



School of Drawing and Schools of Decorative Art, established a few years ago under the 
auspices of the Museum. 

The building has been built, the collections have been formed, and are sustained, wholly 
by private contributions. The Museum is open every day in the year; and no pleasanter 
sight is offered than the well-dressed, well-behaved, and interested throngs that gather 
there on Sunday afternoons. The site was given to the City on condition that the Museum 
should be open free to the public one day in the week, that is on Saturdays ; but to the 
liberality of the Association is due the credit of opening it without charge on Sundays. 
The admission fee at any time is merely nominal, — twenty-five cents, — and aids in the 
support of the institution. 

Near Art Square the Boston Art Club recently purchased a site, and will shortly begin to 
erect a unique and suitable building, from a plan which will be made from the combination 
of the best features of six plans drawn forth by prizes that had been offered. The 
present building of the Club is a remodelled dwelling-house on Boylston Street, a short 
distance west of the Boston Public 



Library. In it at times are public ex- 
hibitions of works of art, while at all 
times there is a private display of 
paintings and sculpture. The mem- 
bers meet at the rooms to discuss art 
matters, and read the current literary 
and art periodicals. 

The Boston Society of Decorative 
Art occupies the upper floors of the 
building No. 8 Park Square. It was 
organized in 187S to encourage art- 
culture, and for this purpose provides 
instruction in art-needlework, porce- 
lain-painting, and pottery-decorating. 
Tiie society sells the goods left on 
exhibition, and by means of the per- 
centage. received on the sales is aided 
in furnishing the instruction at a 
moderate cost. The committees in 
charge of the school and the designs 
are composed of highly-esteemed 
ladies and gentlemen of Boston. This 
Society is in communication with 
similar societies in other cities. It 
gives an annual exhibition. 

Another institution which has done a full share towards the just acquisition by Boston of 
the appropriate title, "the Athens of America," is also situated in the Back-bay district. It 
is the Boston Society of Natural History, whose prominent building stands at the north- 
west corner of Berkeley and Boylston Streets. The society was founded in 1830, and for 
many years suffered from lack of funds ; but in due time several generous friends — 
notably the late Dr. William J. Walker — provided the means for its successful operation. 
The building was erected in 1S63, on land granted by the State in l86r. Scientific meet- 




CHAUNCY-HALL SCHOOL, Boylston Street. 



22 THE BACA-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 

ings, either of the general society or some one of its sections, are held frequently. Regular 
courses of free instruction are given in Natural History. This teaching is wholly by oral 
lessons, with objects given to the pupils. During the winter of 1879-S0 an attendance 
of five hundred teachers, to whom one hundred thousand specimens were given, proved 
the success of the enterprise. The library, containing twenty thousand volumes and pam- 
phlets, is composed largely of the publications of the four hundred learned societies with 
which this society is in communication. The museum, containing principally the choicest 
materials for the best educational use, is displayed to the greatest advantage. The collec- 
tions are arranged in a serial order, from the basement to the upper gallery; so that the 
visitor is carried from the inorganic kingdom, up through the extinct animals and plants, to 
the existing, in such a way that he will readily see their relations to one another. A 
general guide to the museum has recently been published, that will be of great service 
to visitors, who are admitted free on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The president of the 
society is Samuel H. Scudder, who is also the assistant-librarian of the Harvard University 
Library, the third largest library in America. 

Conspicuous among the buildings within a short radius of the Vendome is the grand 
depot of the Boston and Providence Railroad. It was built in 1874, and consists of two 
distinct but connected parts. Its beautiful square tower, with an illuminated clock, is to 
be seen from many quarters of the city. The "head-house," or station proper, is an oddly 
shaped building on the exterior, adapted as it was to the irregularly shaped lot ; but inside 
it loses its odd appearance, and presents one of the most pleasing interiors to be seen 
in any railroad-station in the world. Its length is 212 feet; and its width, at the widest 
part, is 150 feet. In the centre is a great marble hall, 180 feet long, 44 feet broad, and 
80 feet high, surrounded, on the ground-floor by waiting and other rooms for the accom- 
modation of passengers, a cafe, news-stand, barber-siiop, luggage, package, and other 
rooms ; and on the second floor, or gallery, by the offices of the company, a well-furnished 
billiard-hall, etc. Upon the walls of the passenger-rooms are painted an index of stations 
and distances, and maps of the country passed through by the Providence Road and its 
connections. The train-liouse is 600 feet long, 130 feet wide. Its great iron trusses span 
five tracks and three platforms. The station is the longest in the world, — 850 feet from 
end to end,- — and cost upwards of $800,000. The Boston and Providence was the second 
railroad opened from Boston, and is to-day one of the most completely appointed and best- 
managed railroads in the United States. The road proper, from Boston to Providence, 
R. I., is 44 miles, and the branches and leased lines are 22 J4 miles in length. The Provi- 
dence Road, as it is generally sjjoken of, enjoys the distinction of making the quickest 
time, as by regular schedule, between terminal points, made by any railroad in this country. 
This quick time is by the Shore-Line express train to New York, which leaves Boston at 
I P.M., and arrives at Providence at 2 p.m. This road also connects with two popular boat- 
lines to New York, the "Providence Line" and the " Stonington Line." These steamers 
are among the iinest ever built, and the route and accommodations are not surpassed by 
those of any line. The trains connecting with these boats leave Boston at 6 and 6.30 p.m. To 
the passengers over this line, one of the most convenient hotels is the Vendome. The presi- 
dent of the Providence Railroad is Henry A. Whitney, and the superintendent Albert A. 
Folsom. 

In front of the depot, in what is known as Park Square, there was erected in 1879 ^'^^ of 
the most attractive of the many statues in Boston. It was the gift of Moses Kimball, and cost 
$17,000, exclusive of the curbing of the triangular enclosure, which was furnished by the city. 



77IE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



23 




PUBLIC LIBRARY, Boylston Street, opposite Boston Common. 



24 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



The group, generally spoken of as the Emancipation Statue, is a design by Thomas Ball, who 
made several small copies of it, the first of which was for a Eostonian. The original cast, 
of which this is a duplicate, was made for the " Freedmen's Memorial," which stands in 
Lincoln Square, eastward of the Capitol at Washington. The portrait of Lincoln is said to 
be quite accurate ; and that of the slave is a likeness, studied from photographs, of the last 
slave remanded under the fugitive-slave law. The statue was unveiled Dec. 6, 1879, when 

appropriate exercises were held in Faneuil 
Hall; including prayer by the Rev. Dr. Phillips 
Brooks, an original poem by John G. Whittier, 
and an oration by Mayor F. O. Prince. The 
figures are of bronze, and were cast at the 
Munich Royal Foundery. The pedestal is 
composed of two steps and a plinth of granite 
from Cape Ann, with an octagonal die of pol- 
ished red granite from Jonesborough, Me., 
weighing sixteen tons. The extreme height is 
about twenty-five feet. 

The Boston and Providence Railroad track 
is crossed by that of the Boston and Albany 
Railroad at the corner of Buckingham and 
Dartmouth Streets. This crossing, which is 
only four blocks south of the Vendome, makes, 
bylaw, a "Know-Nothing stop," which affords 
a convenient station for passengers going to 
the hotel. At this station there will always 
be found conveyances running in connection 
with all principal trains. The Boston and Al- 
bany Railroad is an important railroad for this 
city, as it forms one continuous line to the 
Hudson River. The length of the main line, 
with double track, is about 200 miles ; and 
the total length of the line owned, leased, and operated, is 325 miles. This company 
operates the Grand Junction Railroad, with its extensive and finel3-cquipped wharves at 
East Boston ; and also two large and substantial grain-elevators, with a capacity of 1,500,000 
bushels. Passengers who go into the regular depot on Beach Street will find there, as well 
as at all railroad-depots, vehicles that will convey them to the Vendome. 

It may appear somewhat strange to embody a notice of the Boston Common in a sketch 
of " The Back-bay District and The Vendome ; " but the Boston Common is a favorite theme 
of all Boston people, and it is also a decided advantage to the new section of the city. 
By means of its many paths it affords a "short cut" from either end of the city; and by its 
open space it adds additional security against a conflagration, and also forms a division-line 
between the business and residence sections. It moreover helps to render the air of the 
section purer; for now the fresh air sweeps over the Common to and from the adjoining 
country-places through broad and well-kept thoroughfares, such as Commonwealth Avenue, 
250 feet wide, Columbus Avenue, 116 feet wide, Boylston and Beacon Streets, each 100 feet 
wide, all of which reach the Common or its western boundary, the Public Garden. 

The Common was naturally a lovely park ; and historic and personal associations, and 




EMANCIPATION STATUE, Park Square. 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VEA'DOME. 



25 



artificial adornments, have greatly endeared it to all Boston people ; every one havino- 
something of personal interest to relate about it. Its undulating surface is covered with 
green grass, and shaded by a thousand trees. It contains at the present time forty-eight 
acres, but once covered a larger and much differently shaped territory. At one time it 
extended farther north on the west side of Tremont Street, and included the old Granary 
Burying Ground, in which were buried many eminent persons, including eight governors, 
three judges, the parents of Benjamin Franklin, and several distinguished New-England 
families. The Common included a large part of the Public Garden, and extended eastward 
to Mason Street, so that Tremont Street now crosses a part of the former Common. In 
1757 the town bought the portion occupied by the Central Burying Ground, and in 1787 tiic 
portion occupied by the Deer Park. Park Street was also included. On this street, which 
extends only from Tremont Street to Beacon, are situated the Union-Club House, the New- 
England Women's Club Rooms, the Hawthorne Rooms, the Park-street Church, and the 
Ticknor Residence, in which Lafayette lodged while here on a visit in 1824. At No. 4 
Park Street is the office of one of the largest and most celebrated of American publishing- 
firms, Houghton, Mifliin, & Co., who control the publications of many brilliant names in 
American literature ; including Longfellow, Holmes, Emerson, Whittier, Hawthorne, Lowell, 
Howells, Aldrich, and others. This firm also owns the Riverside Press at Cambridge, known 
throughout the world for 



its excellent work. The 
house occupied, as well 
as the one adjoining, ai 
No. 5 Park Street, was 
the former home of the 
Ouincy family, quite fa- 
miliar in the annals of 
New-England history. 

When the city charter 
was drawn up in 1822, a 
clause was inserted by 
which the city was per- 
petually prevented from 
giving away or selling 
any part of the Common. 
The first use of this in- 
teresting locality was as 
a training-field and cattle- 
pasture. It was for many 
years known as Gentry 
Field. On it stood the 
town's almshouse, bride- 
well, workhouse, and the 

. . ., BOSTON AND PROVIDENCE RAILROAD DEPOT, Park Square. 

granary put up to provide 

a sure supply of grain, especially in times of scarcity. In this granary were made the sails of 

the frigate " Constitution," so famous in the war of 1812. 




" Her thunders shook the mighty deep, 
And there should be her grave. 
Nail to the mast her holy flag, 



Set every threadbare sail, 
And give her to the God of storms, 
The lightning and the gale." 



26 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



A part of the forces that captured Louisburg assembled on the Common; the troops that 
conquered Quebec were recruited here by Amherst ; and the soldiers were mustered here for 
the conflicts which ushered in the American Revolution. The Common is associated with the 
horrors of witchcraft and other executions, with horrible forms of capital punishment, as well 
as with the eloquent preaching of Whitefield. In 1659 two Quakers were hanged there. In 
June, 1768, the people dragged the collector's boat to the Common, and there burned it, because 

the government officers had seized the 
sloop " Liberty," the officers of which 
had made false statements regarding 
the amount of wine they had brought 
from Madeira. On the 4th of July of 
the same year, the 38th Regiment 
marched to the Common, and en- 
camped there. From the foot of the 
Common the British troops embarked 
for Lexington on the night before the 
memorable April 19, 1775. As early 
as 1728 a lamentable duel with rapiers 
occurred, in which Henry Phillips, a 
nephew of Peter Faneuil, killed Benja- 
min Woodbridge. In the dreary win- 
ter of 1775-76 there -were over 1,700 
British soldiers behind their earth- 
works on the Common, waiting for 
Washington to attack the town. On 
Flagstaff Hill was a redoubt ; near the 
Frog Pond was a powder-house ; 
along the water-front, now a part of 
the Back-bay district, were trenches. In 1766 the repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated. 
Sufficient has been said to show that the Common has a real historic value ;. but the full story 
cannot be told here. Drake's " Old Landmarks of Boston " tells many an interesting tale of 
the Common and its surroundings. From time immemorial the Common has been a favorite 
place for couples who find pleasure in one another's company. An early account of Boston 
says, " On the south there is a small, pleasant Common, where the Gallants, a little before 
sunset, walk with their Marmalet-madams, as we do in Morefields, till the nine-o'clock bell 
rings them home to their respective habitations ; when presently the Constables walk their 
rounds to see good order kept, and to take up loose people." Every pleasant evening the 
same custom is nowadays adhered to, but the hour is prolonged by some till midnight : the 
bell no longer rings for the couples to go home at nine ; nor do the police " move along " those 
who chance to stay even past midnight. 

At various times in the year celebrations of more or less importance take place on the 
Common. The Ancient and Honorable Artillery continue the custom of an annual review by 
the Governor, who personally commissions the newly-elected officers. There are several adorn- 
ments that deserve mention. The Gardner-Brewer fountain is a bronze copy of a fountain 
designed by Li^nard of Paris. At the base the figures represent Neptune and Amphitrite, 
Acis and Galatea. The fountain was cast in Paris, and was brought over and set up at the 
expense of Mr. Brewer. Copies of it havQ, been made for the cities of Lyons and Bordeaux, 







FROG POND, Boston Common 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



21 




28 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 



and for the late Viceroy of Egypt. The Army and Navy Monument is on Flagstaff Hill, near 
the Frog Pond. It was dedicated with interesting ceremonies, in which President Hayes and 
staff participated, Sept. 17, 1877. The inscription, which was written by President Charles 
William Eliot of Harvard University, tersely tells the story of the monument : — 

To the Men of Boston who died for their Country on Land and Sea, in the War which kept the Union 

whole, destroyed Slavery, and maintained the Constitution, the Grateful City has built 

this Monument, that their Example may speak to Coming Generations. 

The general character of the monument is clearly seen in the accompanying illustration. 
The shaft is of white Maine granite, and is 70 feet high. The foundation is of solid masonry, 

cruciform in shape, built up from a depth of 16 
feet to the ground level. On this is a stone plat- 
form 38 feet square, reached by three steps. From 
the platform rises a plinth nine feet high, from 
which project at the four corners pedestals upon 
■which stand bronze figures, each eight feet high, 
representing the Army, the Navy, Peace, and His- 
tory. The bronze mezzo-relievos are symbolical 
of incidents in the war, the interest being greatly 
increased for Bostonians by the local character of 
the scenes and the distinguishable features of per- 
sons introduced in each scene. The monument 
is one of the costliest (about $75,000), in the State. 
Frog Pond is the only one left of the three 
ponds that were once upon the Common. It was 
a natural pond ; but the enterprise of the people 
made of it an artificial pond, which is now well 
enclosed by an irregularly-shaped curbstone. In 
1848 Cochituate water was introduced into the 
city, and the Frog Pond was made the place of a 
formal and unusually happy celebration. Before 
closing this mere catalogue of a few of the inter- 
esting features of the Common, mention must be 
made of the five grand malls or broad walks bor- 
dered with stately trees. They are known respect- 
ively as the Beacon-street, the Park-street, the 
Tremont- street, the Boylston- street, and the 
Charles-street Malls. On pleasant days some of 
these malls are utilized by the travelling amuse- 
ment-caterers, with their Punch and Judy, cameras, telescopes, scales, blowing-machines, etc. 
In the winter the boys, by tradition now, have the right of way for coasting. The Common is 
enclosed by an iron fence 5,932 feet in length, having granite piers at the principal gateways. ^ 

The Back-bay district, although it makes no claims as a business district, for there is 
hardly a shop of any kind within the limits specified heretofore, can justly claim the distinc- 
tion of being the site of the best hotels. There is the Vendome at the head of the list, fol- 
lowed by the Brunswick, Berkeley, Bristol, Cluny, Agassiz, Kempton, Huntington, and others. 
The Back-bay district will soon be to a great extent encircled by parks. The Boston 




ARMY AND NAVY MONUMENT, Boston Common. 



THE BACK-BAY DISl^RICT AND THE VENDOME. 29 

Common is a natural park of 48 acres ; the Public Garden is a beautifully improved park 
of 24 acres ; and Commonwealth Avenue, on which the Vendome is situated, is a long, 
narrow park. Before many years pass by, almost surely there will be under way an improve- 
ment known as the " Charles-River Embankment," which will provide a delightful park on 
the banks of the Charles River. This improvement is recommended by the Park Commis- 
sioners, and presents a feasible way of obtaining a valuable park at little cost. 

But the most noteworthy of the park improvements now undergoing in comparatively 
close proximity to the Vendome is the Back-bay Park. In 1877 the Park Commissioners 
were authorized by the City Council to purchase not less than one hundred acres of land in 
the Back-bay district, at a cost of not over ten cents a foot, for the establishment of a public 
park. A loan of $450,000 was also authorized. In February, 1878, this sum was increased 
to $466,000. About $384,000 additional has been appropriated for the Back-bay improve- 
ments. After a long and careful examination of the proposed site of the park, the 
original plans proved to be impracticable, owing to the great expense and endless litigation 
that would follow any attempt to carry them out. Consequently the Park Commissioners 
secured the services of Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape-architect, who, in January, 
1880, in a report to the Commissioners, recommended a plan which has since been adopted. 
According to this plan, an irregularly-shaped basin, 30 acres in extent, is to be formed by 
the waters of Stony Brook. Within the basin will be a surface of level land equal in area 
to that of the water, and a few inches higher, which is to be covered with sedges, rushes, 
and salt-grasses, enlivened by golden-rods and asters. Wild-fowl of various kinds are to be 
given a home here ; and, as they will be free from molestation, it is expected that they will 
thrive as well as among their native reeds. Surrounding the entire basin of 60 acres there 
is to be a broad promenade, which will include a walk 25 to 40 feet wide, a drive 40 feet 
wide, and a riding-pad 25 feet wide. This section of the promenade will be three-quarters 
of a mile long; and the remainder will consist of a broad walk and driveway, connecting 
with Beacon, Boylston, and Parker Streets, and w'ith Commonwealth, Westland, Huntington, 
Longwood, and Brookline Avenues. There will be but little artificial ornamentation. The 
shore will have a long sedgy slope, and will be overhung with foliage. The improvements 
will give the citizens a pleasure-ground of a very unique character; and its combination of 
the moving tints and shadows of salt-marsh vegetation with the bolder features of upland 
scenery will make an attractive jDicture for the lovers of the quaint and subdued in scenery. 

" West Chester Park " is not a park, but a broad street, 90 feet wide, which crosses 
Commonwealth Avenue, five blocks west of the Vendome. It was laid out in 1873, ^nd is a 
pleasant street, with as yet only a few houses on the part that runs through the new-made 
land of the Back Bay. It begins at Charles River, and, varying its direction at Falmouth 
Street, runs across the city. Between Tremont Street and Shawmut Avenue it broadens 
into Chester Square, a modest park of IJ3 acres. East of Washington Street it is called 
Chester Park. P^rom West Chester Park it is contemplated to build a bridge to reach 
Cambridge, in the vicinity of the Old Fort Washington, on Putnam Avenue. By this means 
a direct and very pleasant route between Harvard College and Boston will be secured. 

Boston has always been famous for crooked streets, named with no intention of aiding the 
stranger. In the districts that have been gained by annexation, some streets were systemati- 
cally named ; and in laying out the Back-bay district the nomenclature of streets did receive 
proper consideration, for west of the Public Garden they are named alphabetically, — Arlington 
comes first, Berkeley second, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, etc., so that 
a person knowing that the Vendome is on Dartmouth Street can easily reckon that it is four 



30 



THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT AND THE VENDOME. 




THE BACK-BAY DISTRICT Ah'D THE VENDOME. 3 1 

blocks west of the Public Garden. Not only are the streets named in the order of the alpha- 
bet, but a name of three syllables always alternates with one of two syllables. 

The clubs, too, are gaining a foothold in the Back-bay district, not far distant from the 
Vendome. The Somerset Club, the largest of the Boston clubs, bought, in 1872, the resi- 
dence of David Sears, at No. 42 Beacon Street. The building is of granite with a double 
swell-front. The furnishings are elaborate and elegant. The Club was organized in 1852, 
and was the outgrowth of the Tremont-street Club. It has a membership of nearly 600. 

The St. Botolph Club is the latest of the fashionable clubs. It was organized in 1880, 
and its membership includes a host of the most highly esteemed gentlemen of Boston. There 
is no " University Club " by name in this city, as in several large cities, but the new club 
seems to be one in fact ; most of the members being graduates of universities, especially of 
Harvard. The Club occupies the building at No. 85 Boylston Street. 

The Union Boat Club, organized in 1851, has its own club and boat house on the bank 
of the Charles River, at the foot of Chestnut Street. The building is of wood, and was 
erected in 1870, in a Swiss style of architecture. It is arranged with due regard to its 
purposes, and contains a gymnasium, club-rooms, dressing and bathing rooms, and accom- 
modations for the boats. It has a water-frontage of 82 feet. A fine view of the river can 
be obtained on the roof and balconies, which are generally crowded on race-days. The 
Club, which, perhaps with one exception, is the oldest boat-club in the United States, has 
about 150 members. It introduced the style of rowing without a coxswain, and in 1853 
rowed at Hull a race in which, for the first time in the United States, the boat was steered 
over the course by the bow-oar. This Club aided in getting up the first wherry-race. 

The Boston Tennis Club erected several years ago a commodious brick building on Buck- 
ingham Street, a little east of Dartmouth Street, and but a few blocks south of the Vendome. 
It is one of only two or three similar buildings in this country. It is said that the Club have 
in contemplation the erection of another building more elaborate than is the present one. 

The Back-bay residents are also conveniently near to the leading places of amusement. 
For instance, from the Vendome to the Boston, the Park, the Globe, and the Gaiety Theatres, 
it is four blocks to Arlington Street, a pleasant walk over the Public Garden and Boston Com- 
mon, then one block through West Street; in all a trip requiring less than ten minutes ; and about 
the same time would be required to go to the Boston Museum, the Boston Music Hall, etc. 

In the Back-bay district, the death-rate is lower than in any other section of the entire city. 
This, too, in spite of the fact that it is, as it has been patly designated, "the home of the doc- 
tors ; " for throughout the district, but especially on Boylston Street, are the residences of a 
small army of physicians, surgeons, and dentists, including many who stand at the head of the 
profession, the deans of the three schools, the Harvard Medical School (Regular), of the Bos- 
ton University School of Medicine (Homoeopathic); and of the Plarvard Dental School. 

And now, while forced to an abrupt conclusion of a hasty glance at the chief objects of 
interest in the Back-bay district, it may be well to add, in reply to the fastidious people who 
desire to change the name to "West End "or to almost any thing that would not recall the 
salt marshes and waste flats of thirty years ago, that the name has already outgrown this objec- 
tion ; for it no longer suggests the back bay of the past, but a district that in itself would 
make Boston famous for taste, elegance, refinement, and prosperity. It is likewise with the 
name Vendome : it has a foreign sound, and may tlierefore perhaps be thought objectionable; 
but there is only one hotel of that name, and, as that one already ranks prominent among 
the palatial hotels of the world, the name itself will soon become familiar to every connois- 
seur of luxurious livinir. 




IN EVERY RESPECT 
FIRST-KLISS. 



SOMMONWEAIiTH AVENUE AND DARTMOUTH STREET. 



THE VENDOME IS NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. 



Conveniently Situated. 

delightfully surrounded. 

Grand in the Exterior. 

elegant in the interior. 

competent management. 

all modern conveniences, 
attentive service. 

every thing new. 




■«6- 



J. W. WOLCOTT, Proprietor. 



LORING'S BOOKSTORE, 

CORNER OF 

BROMFIELD AND WASHINGTON STREETS, 

BOSTON. 

THE POPULAR RESORT OF PURCHASERS OF 

FASHIONABLE STATIONERY, 

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ALSO A 

CIRCULATING LIBRARY OF 10,000 VOLS. 

ACCESSIBLE TO ALL. 



ESTABLISHED 1866. 




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fn)^ 






22 Water, corner Devonshire Street, 



OPPOSITE POST-OFFICE, 



BOSTON. 



P. O. Box 3033. 



E. H. SEARS, Cashier. 



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