Inventing the Charles River by Karl Haglund

By Karl Haglund

The Charles River Basin, extending 9 miles upstream from the harbor, has been known as Boston's "Central Park." but few observe that this it seems that typical panorama is a unconditionally fabricated public area. 200 years in the past the Charles used to be a tidal river, edged by way of enormous quantities of acres of salt marshes and mudflats. Inventing the Charles River describes how, prior to the construction of the basin may possibly start, the river first needed to be imagined as a unmarried public area. the recent esplanades alongside the river replaced the best way Bostonians perceived their urban; and the basin, with its expansive perspectives of Boston and Cambridge, turned an iconic photo of the metropolis.

The e-book makes a speciality of the precarious stability among transportation making plans and stewardship of the general public realm. lengthy ahead of the esplanades have been discovered, nice swaths of the river got over to commercial agencies and transportation -- millponds, bridges, landfills, and a posh community of highway and railway bridges. In 1929, Boston's first significant road controversy erupted while a four-lane highway was once proposed as a part of a brand new esplanade. At twenty-year periods, 3 riverfront street disputes undefined, successively extra complicated and disputatious, culminating within the court cases over "Scheme Z," the massive Dig's plan for eighteen lanes of street ramps and bridges over the river. greater than 400 images, maps, and drawings illustrate previous and destiny visions for the Charles and rfile the river's position in Boston's history.

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Eleven years later, land opposite the mall was sold by the town to pay for a new almshouse, and Colonnade Row (another Bulfinch design) was constructed in 1810. These new rowhouses provided views across the Common to the Back Bay and the hills of Brookline and Brighton. The ropewalks on Fort Hill had burned that year, and a portion of the mud flats west of Charles Street was granted to the ropewalk proprietors, who filled them. There were fires in the new ropewalks in 1806 and 1819, which likely alarmed the residents of the newly settled areas nearby.

Thomas Grave’s house and barn at Lechmere Point are on the left and the Canal (Craigie’s) Bridge in the right foreground. 7 Beyond the city elegant country seats were constructed, including several famous estates along the Charles. After the Revolutionary War, signs of refinement in Boston multiplied at a lively pace. The wide expanse of water just upstream of the bridge at the junction of the Charles and Miller’s Rivers still lent an air of remoteness to the undeveloped hills and flats west of Charlestown neck, in spite of the much increased traffic through Charlestown that followed the opening of the first Charles River Bridge.

E A R T H W O R K 27 Haglund/chapter 2 10/7/02 6:32 PM Page 28 Haglund/chapter 2 10/7/02 6:34 PM Page 29 Surveyors—men accustomed to look across valleys without thought of falling in, and through hills as though transparent—men of imagination too powerful to be distracted with little objects, and men of independence, who will neither be biased nor misdirected by petty interests, should be called upon to decide as to lines of communication. Robert Gourlay, Plans for the improvement of Edinburgh, 1829 2 The Science of City Building Readers of poetry see the factory-village and the railway, and fancy that the poetry of the landscape is broken up by these; for these works of art are not yet consecrated in their reading; but the poet sees them fall within the great Order not less than the beehive or the spider’s geometric web.

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