Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bellin's Boston 2

Cambridge, December 9, 2012

Bellin's map shows three large open spaces.  The one on the left, opening to the inner bay, is Boston Common, the one to the north more or less facing Charlestown is Mill Pond, and the one to the righ, facing the harbor, is the Town Cove.

In the 1750s, the Common was really at the edge of the city and still used for pasture.  Bellin indicates that it had been substantially taken over by the British army.  To the south of the Common is The Mall, indicated by a double row of trees, and to the north Mt. Wharedom (although British officers had a slightly different spelling for the name, particularly when inebriated) and the two other elevations known collectively as the Trimountain (actually, before the city was renamed Boston, it was called Trimountain.)  The letter J marks the "Fanal", French for lighthouse; yes, that's Beacon Hill.

Mill Pond appears closed by a dam roughly on the alignment of present-day Causeway Street.  In half a century, the tops of Beacon Hill and Copp's Hill (the highest point to the North) would be used to fill the pond (more or less abandoned by then) and make room for Charles Bulfinch's triangle.

Long Warf bisects the Town Cove, a deep entrance on the shoreline.  At the south endo of the cove is Fort Hill and to the north Clark's Wharf.  Yes, that's the North End.  Just to give you some sense of time and place: when Bellin is drawing his map, Paul Revere is in his early twenties and living just a couple blocks inland from Clark's Wharf (below a 1773 view Long Wharf and the North End engraved by Paul Revere.)

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