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Old 08-14-2018, 09:53 AM   #1
BronsonShore
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Liberty Tree Plaza

For years it has gnawed at me that Boston has done so little to celebrate what could, arguably, be the most famous physical symbol of the Revolution in Boston. In terms of their actual respective roles in the fight for independence, the Liberty Tree was FAR more significant than the Liberty Bell.

That's why I was initially so excited . . . and then immediately disappointed, to see that construction is underway to turn Liberty Tree Plaza from this:



To this:


I'm sure there will be all sorts of historical background on those granite blocks, but let's be honest here: 99% of the people passing this plaza by will think it's nothing more than a place to sit and eat a salad.

It's a shame, because this should be a major site in the city. My fanciful idea was always to transplant one of the historic, John Hancock planted trees from the Common to this spot. Specifically, the one that sits smack dab in front of the State House, ruining what should be an iconic view from the mall:



This would have kept an actual living link to the Revolution alive at the site, along with aesthetically improving the Common. I also liked the idea of supplementing the tree with some sort of abstract sculpture, to keep it attractive and eye-catching in the winter.

Knowing nothing about horticulture, however, I've always suspected that transplanting such a mature tree would be impossible. Further, after doing a little digging, I think it's possible that the particular tree that blocks the view of the State House isn't one of the Hancock elms (it seems all the writing on the supposed Hancock trees refers only to the two trees that flank the Shaw Memorial, not this one).

What I'd like to see in the alternative, is something sculptural. Perhaps similar to what used to be in Danvers's Liberty Tree Mall (which was originally created for the New England pavilion of the 1964 World's Fair, and then subsequently placed on the Common before moving to the mall):





Sure, it might seem weird to put up a representation of a tree instead of an actual tree in celebration of what was, of course, an actual tree. But again, if you just plant a tree there, no one will realize it's supposed to be anything special. Besides, calling a tree that first sprouted after the year 2000 the Liberty Tree, is a little hokey and deceptive. The sculpture would be more honest.

Last edited by BronsonShore; 08-14-2018 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 08-14-2018, 10:19 AM   #2
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Thanks for this impassioned informative post. I learned something I didn't know!
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Old 08-14-2018, 10:36 AM   #3
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

To transplant the referenced tree on the Common would kill the tree.

The city's announcement said the tree to be planted will be a disease-resistant elm. Probably not one from those being cultivated by the Nature Conservancy.
https://blog.nature.org/science/2017...g-finish-line/

The original was an elm. The British cut it down, two months after the Battle of Bunker Hill.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/histo...ree-180959162/
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Old 08-14-2018, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Interesting... I don't take great exception to the currently underway plan.

However... (although it isn't 100% clear from the render alone) it appears they do not give this new elm tree nearly enough room from the adjacent buildings to grow to a full maturity. It really should be centered more towards the middle of the space between the buildings to get as full a canopy spread as possible.

For example this is what a fully mature really big elm can look like:
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:20 PM   #5
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

A statue of The original ringleader of the Stamp Act rebellion, Ebenezer Mac would be wicked cool. His nephew, Colonel William McIntosh was the Commander of the Suffolk County Regiment, and first, original intelligence officer of the US Armed Forces... and ostensibly, the founder of Needham.
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:23 PM   #6
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

I actually like the tree sculpture for the Liberty Tree site over a real Elm. Having said that, I had completely forgotten the fact that Disney World, outside the Hall of Presidents, is Disney's version of the Liberty Tree that once stood in Boston.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/expres...&new_session=1
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:24 PM   #7
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

For what it's worth, I don't think Boston does a very good job of educating the tourists and locals about ALL aspects of Boston's incredible history. (I guess that was the failed Boston City Museum's purpose.)

I was recently at a conference in St. Louis and visited the Gateway Arch. They had excellent information about building the Arch, but also about the region's and city's history that was quite well done. I couldn't help think that Boston needed something similar.

https://www.gatewayarch.com/experience/#museum
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:23 PM   #8
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

how the Liberty Tree came to be....

The Sons of Liberty

In Boston in early summer of 1765 a group of shopkeepers and artisans who called themselves The Loyal Nine began preparing for agitation against the Stamp Act. These were not the leading men of Boston, but rather workers and tradesmen organized under a local shoemaker, Ebenezer McIntosh. As that group grew, it came to be known as the Sons of Liberty. And grow it did! Amongst the first members were two men who could stir up trouble over the Act, Benjamin Edes, a printer, and John Gill of the Boston Gazette. These men would soon produce a steady stream of opinion which aroused the people of Boston. Within a very short time McIntosh had organized a group of over two thousand men.

The first widely known acts of the Sons of Liberty took place on August 14, 1765, when an effigy of Andrew Oliver (who was to be commissioned Distributor of Stamps for Massachusetts) was found hanging in a tree on Orange Street, along with a large boot with a devil climbing out of it. The whole display was intended to establish an evil connection between Oliver and the Stamp Act. Sheriffs were ordered to remove the display but recoiled in fear of their lives, for a large crowd had formed at the scene. By evening, McIntoshís mob had burned Oliver's site of business on Kilby Street, then moved on to his house. There they beheaded the effigy and stoned the house as its occupants watched in horror. They then moved to nearby Fort Hill were they built a large fire and burned what was left of the effigy. Most of the crowd dissipated at that point, but McIntosh and his gang, then under cover of darkness, ransacked Oliver's abandoned home throughout the night.

By morning it was very clear who ruled Boston. The British Militia, the Sheriffs and Justices kept a low profile and dared not respond to the Sonsí gathering in public. By the end of 1765, the Sons of Liberty existed in every colony. Their first objective was to force Stamp Distributors throughout the colonies to resign. The groups also applied pressure to any merchants who did not comply with the non-importation associations. Wherever these groups existed they were either directed in secret by leading men in the community or actually lead by them.

The success of the Sonsí movements to suppress the Stamp Act was not due to violence alone. Great work was performed in newsprint. Many of the Sons were printers and publishers themselves and even those who were not, were sensitive to the cause. It was they who would pay the most in duties, after all. Nearly every newspaper in the colonies carried daily reports of their activities. It was unseemly that they would be so agitated by a parliamentary act.

The Sonsí ranks did not yet include Samuel and John Adams. The Adamsí and other radical members of the legislature were daily in the public eye; they could not afford to be too closely associated with violence. However, accounts of the most dramatic escapades spread throughout the colonies. In one incident, a false accounting of the actual Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions was printed far and wide. Seven resolutions were printed, while only five were written law (the fifth was in fact rescinded the day after its resolution). Such propaganda emboldened both citizens and legislatures in every colony. When the Stamp Act took effect on the 1st of November, 1765, nearly all of these papers went right on publishing without the required Stamp.

In the early months of 1766 there was such chaos that many of the royal governors had gone into hiding. The Sheriffs and Militia that they might have counted on to quell the coming uprising were now members of the Sons of Liberty. Governors were afraid to unlock the weapons stores. Few royal troops were available and they were grossly outnumbered in any case. The Sons had displaced the royal government in nearly every colony.

Correspondence between the various groups of the Sons started toward the mutual support and defense of the cause. It was expected that eventually British troops would land and attempt to reassert control. So it was that the first efforts to unite the colonies were not undertaken by their respective legislatures, but by these independent radical groups. The various Sons throughout the colonies began to correspond and develop a larger organization.

For his own and family's safety, Ebenezer McIntosh went underground to North Haverhill, NH in early 1774. He returned to serve the Northern Army alongside another of his revolutionary clan, Col. William McIntosh, commander of the 1st Suffolk County Regiment under Gen. Washington.



from the Wiki;

The tree became a central gathering place for protesters, and the ground surrounding it became popularly known as Liberty Hall. A liberty pole was installed nearby with a flag that could be raised above the tree to summon the townspeople to a meeting. Ebenezer Mcintosh, a shoemaker who handled much of the hands-on work of hanging effigies and leading angry mobs, became known as "Captain General of the Liberty Tree." Paul Revere included the Liberty Tree in an engraving, "A View of the Year 1765."

When the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, townspeople gathered at the Liberty Tree to celebrate. They decorated the tree with flags and streamers, and when evening fell, hung dozens of lanterns from its branches. A copper sign was fastened to the trunk which read, "This tree was planted in the year 1646, and pruned by order of the Sons of Liberty, Feb. 14th, 1766." Soon colonists in other towns, from Newport, Rhode Island to Charleston, South Carolina, began naming their own liberty trees, and the Tree of Liberty became a familiar symbol of the American Revolution.

Other protests

The Sons of Liberty tarring and feathering John Malcolm under the Liberty Tree

The Loyal Nine eventually became part of a larger group, the Sons of Liberty. They continued to use the Liberty Tree as a gathering place for protests, leading loyalist Peter Oliver to write bitterly in 1781,

This Tree stood in the Town, & was consecrated for an Idol for the Mob to Worship; it was properly the Tree ordeal, where those, whom the Rioters pitched upon as State delinquents, were carried to for Trial, or brought to as the Test of political Orthodoxy.

During the Liberty Riot of 1768, to protest the seizure of John Hancock's ship by the Royal Navy, townspeople dragged a customs commissioner's boat out of the harbor all the way to the Liberty Tree, where it was condemned at a mock trial and burned on Boston Common. Two years later, a funeral procession for the victims of the Boston Massacre passed by the tree. It was also the site of protests against the Tea Act. In 1774, a customs official and staunch loyalist named John Malcolm was stripped to the waist, tarred and feathered, and forced to announce his resignation under the tree. The following year, Thomas Paine published an ode to the Liberty Tree in the Pennsylvania Gazette.

In the years leading up to the war, the British made the Liberty Tree an object of ridicule. British soldiers tarred and feathered a man named Thomas Ditson, and forced him to march in front of the tree. During the Siege of Boston, a party of British soldiers and Loyalists led by Job Williams cut the tree down, knowing what it represented to the patriots, and used it for firewood.


*There's much history to be uncovered about the early gangs and semi good-natured, colonial era brawl rituals between the South End Gang and North End Gang that ultimately were united under South End Gang leader, McIntosh.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:27 PM   #9
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Ah, I was wondering what was going on there. From July 19th:

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Old 11-30-2018, 10:06 AM   #10
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza






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Old 11-30-2018, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Does anyone recall the state of disrepair, seediness of these blocks just only a few years ago.

What a transformation.
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:54 PM   #12
tmac9wr
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

is anyone else getting blanked on those photos? I can't see anything
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:07 PM   #13
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmac9wr View Post
is anyone else getting blanked on those photos? I can't see anything
Same.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:15 PM   #14
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

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Originally Posted by JumboBuc View Post
Same.
Me too. They worked earlier for me and now they aren't.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:59 PM   #15
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Quote:
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
Does anyone recall the state of disrepair, seediness of these blocks just only a few years ago.

What a transformation.
There have indeed been a lot of changes, although this one block of Boylston between Tremont and Washington is still pretty gritty.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:02 PM   #16
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

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Originally Posted by Coyote137 View Post
There have indeed been a lot of changes, although this one block of Boylston between Tremont and Washington is still pretty gritty.
Yeah it was in this particular plaza that I have been offered drugs on a number of occasions, less than 3 years ago.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:13 PM   #17
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Looks like these might be on a Google Drive. You probably have to change the share settings.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:14 PM   #18
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

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Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen View Post
Looks like these might be on a Google Drive. You probably have to change the share settings.
Try now.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:31 AM   #19
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Interesting. I learned something new today. I had no idea about the Liberty Tree at all, much less any semblance of significance about this plaza at all. To me, it has/had always just been a grimy-ass area to avoid unless the stench of urine happens to be your cup of tea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by odurandina View Post
Does anyone recall the state of disrepair, seediness of these blocks just only a few years ago.

What a transformation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyote137 View Post
There have indeed been a lot of changes, although this one block of Boylston between Tremont and Washington is still pretty gritty.
As much as some of the surrounding areas have changed, I donít think any meaningful improvement will happen to this specific block so long as the St. Francis House remains.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:20 PM   #20
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Re: Liberty Tree Plaza

Officially dedicated today.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...2PI/story.html
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