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Located just adjacent to Boston Common, the Boston Public Garden is United States? first Botanical Garden established in 1837 through the petition of the philanthropist Horace Gray but design and construction was only done in 1859, three years after an Act was voted for the use of the land for the garden?s setting. A wrought iron fence was erected around the property in 1862 for protection.

The landscape was designed by George F. Meacham, the winner of the design competition held to determine who would make the Public Garden a magnificent attraction, while the city engineer James Slade and the forester John Galvin laid out the paths and flowers on the 24-acre garden. A number of statutes, fountains and structures have been gracing the garden. The very first statue and still standing here is that of Edward Everett by William Wetmore Story erected in November 1867 on the north end of the garden near Beacon Street while the memorial for Colonel Thomas Cass, commander of the 9th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which served in the American Civil War, is located on the south walk. In 1867, a signature suspension bridge over the middle of the lake was built and on July 3, 1869, the bronze equestrian statue of George Washington (found on the west side of the park) was dedicated. Another fascinating art display are the playful bronze figures of Mrs. Mallard and her eight sweet little ducklings, which are characters of the children?s story ?Make Way for the Ducklings?, created as a tribute to its author Robert McCloskey.

A wide assortment of native and introduced trees such as the weeping willows (found along the shore of the lagoon), European and American elms, horse chestnuts, dawn redwoods, European beeches, ginkgo trees, and one California redwood, emphasize the pathways on the botanical garden. Numerous varieties of roses, bulbs, and flowering shrubs are planted permanently but the flowerbeds adjoining the central pathway are replanted, with different kinds of flowers coming from the 14 city-operated greenhouses at the Franklin Park, throughout the year depending on the season.

The best and the most visited highlight of the Boston Public Garden are the Swan Boats that have been operating since 1877 offering a 15-minute traverse along the calm lagoon at the garden. It was so popular that the operators of the boats expanded from eight passengers to twenty due to the increasing demand.

The Boston Public Garden, a National Historic Landmark, is operated and managed jointly by the Mayor's Office, The Parks Department of the City of Boston, and the non-profit organization Friends of the Public Garden.
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