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Category: historical (48)

Burned buildings and homes in boston after the great fire

Boston Reborn: After the Great Fire of 1872

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
2 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Join us on a 90-minute walking tour exploring the city's rebirth after the Great Fire of 1872. Follow the route of the progression of the Great Fire, a disaster in Boston's commercial district that proved more costly than the legendary Chicago Fire the year before. Hear how the city's architectural design contributed to the spread and speed of the devastating conflagration, and learn how these fires reformed our fire prevention policies in America. find out more
A Woman Booster for the Trade Union League

Working Women: Boston Women Find Their Voice

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
1.1 miles
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
As working women were fighting for rights in the workplace, suffragists were demanding the right to vote. Boston’s women’s trade unionism & suffrage movements were led by proud, defiant women who were divided along class lines. By the end of the 19th century, suffragists were becoming sensitive to the growing number of immigrants (non-native born factory workers). They decided to appeal to the legislature to limit the franchise to native born women. For most of the 19th century, Boston’s working women’s (non-native born) voices were not being heard. Unions had remained male dominated. It would take the creation of the WTUL (Women’s Trade Union League) founded by Mary Kenney O’Sullivan in Boston (1903) to show women how to organize themselves into trade unions. Women’s voices grew from the foundation laid by the Denison House and the WEIU (Women’s Education & Industrial Union). It wouldn’t be until the early 20th century that suffragists & non-native working women would realize that to achieve their goals they would need to unite. find out more
Gilded Age photo

Boston's Gilded Age

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
During the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, Boston's Back Bay was alive with social clubs and thriving cultural institutions. On this tour we will explore the favorite haunts of Boston's upper-class, often known as "Boston Brahmins." Though "Brahmins" had a reputation for being exclusive and elitist, many of these men and women were active in making our city—and the whole nation—a better place to live. They fought to abolish slavery and to recognize women’s rights, and they built libraries, colleges, museums and orchestras. Though this elite generation of wealthy activists was often philanthropic, on this tour we’ll also discuss their limitations and shortcomings. find out more
Ruins after the great Boston fire

Murder, Mayhem and Martyrs

Virtual : Programs by Request
Some Bostonians have behaved badly and bad things have happened to good people. This presentation describes murderers and their victims, execution and disaster, people killed for their faith and one who talked to the spirits. Meet the woman who lured Houdini to Boston, the Quaker hanged for her faith, the serial killer who terrified Boston and the duelist who died on Boston Common. We travel through time from 1688 to 1942, along the way meeting killers, grifters, gangsters, heroes, cops and grave robbers. Learn about duels, dastardly doings and the conflagration that changed America’s fire regulations. Take a shadowy walk with Boston By Foot through the City on a Hill’s less shining history. find out more
Tall Ship in Boston Harbor

A Sail Through Time

Step aboard the Liberty Star schooner for a guided sailing adventure on Boston Harbor

Sails & Cruises :
120 minutes
Sail alongside Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods, including Downtown, The Seaport District, South Boston, East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End. Enjoy stories of Boston’s diverse cultures and people that represent both Boston’s historical past and its vibrant present. While onboard enjoy spectacular views of Boston, as you explore how the age of sail shaped the city and nation. This sail is presented in partnership with the Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships . find out more
view from Pickney Street Boston

The Hub of Literary America

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
1 mile
likely uneven surfaces and signficant inclines
Journey to Victorian Boston and see where writers and poets including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau gathered to share new ideas and influence society! Learn how local publishers lured Charles Dickens and other famous writers to Boston. Discover why Edgar Allen Poe rejected Boston as his home. On this fascinating guided tour, walk in the footsteps of literary greats as you stop outside the Old Corner Bookstore, Louisa May Alcott’s home, the famous Athenaeum private library, and more. find out more
Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, Josephine St. Pierre Rupin, Martin Robinson Delaney, William Cooper Neil, Frederick Douglas

Black Voices: 19th-Century Black Writers on Beacon Hill

Discover stories of Boston’s Black writers who were focused on the great topic of the era - slavery.

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
0.79 mile
likely uneven surfaces and signficant inclines
Truth, passion, bravery and hope. Discover stories of Boston’s Black writers who were laser-focused on the great topic of the era - slavery. Learn about the mark Black thinkers and writers made on literary and political history: David Walker and his sentinel work, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World; novelist, playwright and editor Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins; Dorothy West and her biting satire on racial tensions, and many others. Walk Beacon Hill as you explore where they worked, raised their families, fought injustice, and wrote. find out more
Map of old Shawmut Peninsula overlayed on Modern Boston

Before Boston

Shawmut Peninsula through 1630

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
1 mile
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
Explore 12,000 years of human activity on Shawmut Peninsula, the lands we now call Boston. Follow in the footsteps of the Native people who first walked here. Learn how they hunted and fished, and worked with clay and textiles. Uncover geological features and archaeological sites on this guided walk on and around Boston Common. Hear the stories of how the Massachusett first encountered strange people from afar, European explorers and settlers, who would then claim this land for their own. find out more
victorian women in affectionate pose.

Boston’s LGBTQ Past

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
1 mile
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
Travel in the footsteps of Boston’s 19th and 20th century gay and lesbian friends. Explore Thoreau’s walks along the Common; Charlotte Cushman’s cross-dressing roles; World War II bars and baths; and the AIDS memorial quilt project. Learn about Boston’s flourishing gay and lesbian culture on this guided walking tour. This tour is presented in partnership with The History Project , a nonprofit organization that documents, preserves and shares New England's LGBTQ history. find out more
Painting of Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin

Son of Boston

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
1.1 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Celebrate the life of Benjamin Franklin on this guided walk along his homes and haunts in Colonial Boston. Born in Boston, he came of age in Philadelphia, and was the darling of Paris. His legacy is without measure. He was one of America's leading scientists, inventors, diplomats, humorists, and statesmen. Uncover stories of Benjamin Franklin’s many inventions, his civic and educational impact, and his roles in the founding of the United States. find out more
Paul Revere's house in Boston's North End

The North End: Boston's Immigration Gateway

Explore Boston’s oldest neighborhood and discover the charm of this unique, compact city space

Walking Tours : Daily & Weekly
90 minutes
0.88 mile
likely uneven surfaces and signficant inclines
Explore Boston’s oldest neighborhood, the North End, with our knowledgeable guide. Discover the charm of this unique, compact city space that has been home to immigrants for 400 years. Learn what brought waves of people from Ireland, Eastern Europe, and Italy to the North End; the difficulties they faced when they arrived; and how they made a difference in their new home! This tour begins at the waterfront and weaves through Boston’s famous ‘crooked and narrow’ streets. It will end in the heart of the North End, the perfect spot to enjoy an Italian treat after the tour! find out more
Bullfinch Triangle

Bulfinch Triangle

Find out how this former industrial district has been given a new life.

Walking Tours : New for 2022
90 minutes
1.5 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
In the last decade, the Bulfinch Triangle has been transformed from a hub of transportation and entertainment to a neighborhood with a growing number of residents and a place on Boston’s skyline. While our walk includes the historic landscape of the Mill Pond and the early 19th century street plan, we'll focus on the cycles of use since then. We will walk across the Triangle, exploring the area's industrial architecture and the transit elements that have shaped it. You'll see how the area continues to change today and how adaptive reuse is giving this former industrial district new life. find out more
re-enactors of British loyalists in boston

Boston’s Loyalists

Hear the stories of Bostonians who remained loyal to the British crown.

Walking Tours : New for 2022
90 minutes
1.5 miles
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
“History is written by the victors” is an oft-quoted aphorism. Our Boston’s Loyalists tour tells the story of Boston’s role in the lead-up to the American War of Independence from the perspective of those who remained loyal to the British crown. This unique tour will visit historic Boston landmarks like the Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel, Old South Meeting House and Marshall Street. Our guides will introduce you to Boston’s Loyalists, some whom are familiar, others lesser known. These include artist John Singleton Copley, Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the enterprising Elizabeth Murray, and the sharp-witted Rev. Dr. Mather Byles. Perfect for those who want a deep-dive into Boston’s colonial history from a perspective apart from the typical Revolutionary War walking tour, Boston’s Loyalists will show you the Old Town from another point of view. find out more
Front of the Boston Art Museum

Art, Architecture and Gardens

Take note of significant buildings, gardens and pieces of artwork as you stroll the Back Bay Fens.

Walking Tours : New for 2022
90 minutes
1.5 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
In the early nineteenth-century, Boston philanthropists designed and funded institutions to create a city of culture and learning through the arts, sciences and education for residents and immigrants. They also supported institutions that delivered medical and dental services for those in need. Today the tradition continues and Back Bay Fens represents all that and more. The Art, Architecture and Gardens walking tour highlights the aforementioned while strolling along the southern Fens, a section of the Emerald Necklace designed by landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted. It includes an introduction to architecturally significant buildings, gardens, and pieces of artwork. Participants learn about the history, stories, architectural details and the significant impact each had on society. find out more
victorian buildings in boston's back bay

Back Bay’s Victorian Architecture

Delight in the elegant homes and architectural marvels of Victorian Back Bay

Walking Tours : Monthly & Quarterly
90 minutes
0.65 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
On this guided tour, explore how Boston’s back bay was filled in to become one of the United States’ richest collections of art and architecture. The treasures of this Back Bay tour include Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, Old South Church and grand Back Bay townhouses. Walk back in time to uncover splendid examples of Victorian architecture. find out more
illustration of Boston Common on 19th Century postcard

Boston Common and the Public Garden

Greenspaces Tour Series

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
This tour includes two unique parks: Boston Common and the Public Garden. As we stroll through them let our guides tell you all about the history of each park. In 1634 the Town of Boston set aside the Boston Common as common land and it is the oldest public green space in any American city. Learn how a utilitarian location used to graze cows transformed into the urban oasis of today. By 1838 attempts to establish a botanic garden next to the Common had begun. It finally took shape as the nearby neighborhood of Back Bay was constructed. There are more than 100 varieties of trees here, all are winter-hardy given the harsh New England winters. Both parks contain significant works of public art that also help tell the story of these parks and the City. These early green spaces set the tone for later park building efforts and are well worth exploring. find out more
Gravestone reading Memento Mori

Grave Undertakings

Boston's Burying Grounds

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Explore three of downtown Boston's burying grounds and learn about the customs surrounding death and dying in Puritan New England. Dig deeper into the religious views, practices, symbolism, and traditions of death in Boston. Beginning at King's Chapel Burying Ground, this tour will lift the veil of mystery surrounding gravestone art and how styles of gravestones changed over the years, how the poor were buried when there wasn’t room for a potter’s field, how the evolution of small, haphazardly laid out graveyards to modern-day suburban cemeteries was spearheaded in the Boston area. Who knew death could be so much fun? find out more
view of the charles river and cambridge from above the back bay boston

The Making of MIT

From Back Bay to Cambridge

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
90 minutes
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Everyone knows MIT as a Cambridge institution with a global reputation. But for its first 55 years, MIT called the Back Bay home. 101 years ago, MIT made the move from Back Bay to Cambridge. Join us as we trace “Boston Tech” from its founding to its relocation across the Charles River. This tour will feature some of the sites of the original Back Bay campus while discussing the drivers and the drama leading to the construction of its new campus. find out more
Tower of Boston's Custom House

The Custom House Historic District

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Join Boston By Foot for a classic walking tour of the Custom House Historic District. Established in 1973, expanded to include more buildings in 1996 and just shy of 16 acres, the district is comprised of 18 buildings deemed architecturally and historically significant. The area was the nexus of mercantile trade in Boston, from the earliest wharves and warehouses built in the area to later early 20th century business headquarters for banks, insurance companies, transatlantic shipping lines and the Board of Trade. Using the parameters of the Historic District as our guide, our tour starts in the 1700s as the area grew by wharfing-out, expanded by landmaking and by even employing the tactics later used in Urban Renewal, and ends in 1928 with the Art Deco Batterymarch Building. This area tucked away between Faneuil Hall and the Greenway is ready for rediscovery. The tour starts at the rear of the Custom House building, at the corner of State and India Streets. find out more
street view of Union Oyster House in Boston

Taverns to Tea Houses

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Just as Boston grew from its pastures and wharfs, so did a hunger to create and establish epicurean success begin with breaking bread on some of the cities’ most well-traveled streets. Discover who and what fed this new nation and how the evolution of dining out became not only social commentary, but also one of the integral ways that Boston created our nation’s diverse palate and continues to remain on the culinary forefront. Learn the birthplace of some well-known kitchen enhancements, how, why, and where ladies had separate dining rooms, and why ethnic acceptance first began in these same downtown kitchens. find out more
Eliot Square greek revival building

Roxbury Highlands

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury:  Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the mid-19th century as a garden suburb with many pear and apple orchards.  There was even an apple named after the area – the Roxbury Russet.  We will see wonderful Greek Revival and Victorian houses along our route and discuss some of the amazing individuals who called this area home including Edward Everett Hale – author of The Man Without a Country, and Louis Prang – who printed the first Christmas cards in America.   Finally, we finish on top of the hill at the Roxbury Standpipe, in a lovely park which occupies the location of the Roxbury High Fort. Come explore with us! This tour is presented in partnership with the Boston Preservation Alliance , a nonprofit organization that protects and improves the quality of Boston's distinct architectural heritage through advocacy and education. find out more
Women's suffrage poster 1915

Road to the Vote

Boston Suffragists

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
The Road to the Vote for national woman suffrage was a long and arduous one. Along the way, countless suffragists, in the City of Boston, throughout the Commonwealth, and across the nation, organized meetings, delivered speeches, published journals, distributed literature, held fundraising bazaars, rode the rails, marched, picketed, boycotted, set watchfires and went on hunger strikes to call attention to their cause, all the while hoping to open minds and move hearts. Generations were involved in the struggle and by the early 20th century women in Boston were being arrested and jailed for their convictions. It was 72 years from Seneca Falls to the time when American women voted in municipal, state and federal elections exercising the right provided to them in the 19th amendment. This tour celebrates the centennial of the ratification of that amendment and highlights the places, people and protests that helped win the vote for women. This tour was developed by the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail , a group that works to restore women to their rightful place in the history of Boston by uncovering, chronicling, and disseminating information about the women who have made lasting contributions to the City of Boston. find out more
Boston Aquarium during construction

Rethinking Boston Brutalism

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Like it or hate it, Boston is unarguably a center for Brutalism in America. Building with concrete represented one of the major architectural movements of the postwar era, but in Boston it was deployed in more numerous and diverse civic, cultural, residential, corporate, and academic projects than in any other major U.S. city. Brutalism is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. How fitting that this year we commemorate the 50th anniversary (1969 – 2019) of two of Boston’s concrete gems—the New England Aquarium and Boston City Hall (the buildings that bookend the tour). Join us as we explore the historical and social context of an architectural style that has put Boston on the international map, but which Bostonians still love to hate. find out more
Woman gluing posters to wall 19th century

Remarkable Women of Jamaica Plain

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Travel through the lovely Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain and discover some truly remarkable women who changed the course of the history of our nation. Our tour will feature a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who lost her job at Wellesley because of her socialist leanings. We will discover a slew of reformers; women who worked for the abolition of slavery, free education for everyone and later, on civil rights causes in the 20th century. We will meet a scientist who created new fields of study and coined the word ‘ecology’. Our tour wils also include some pivotal writers, who put their words into the world and remain important to this day. Our tour ends at the Loring-Greenough House, a lovely Georgian mansion that was saved from the wrecking ball thanks to a local women’s club and its formidable members. This tour was developed by the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail , a group that works to restore women to their rightful place in the history of Boston by uncovering, chronicling, and disseminating information about the women who have made lasting contributions to the City of Boston. find out more
print of Phillis Wheatley writing

Phillis Wheatley: Freedom and Slavery in Revolutionary Boston

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
In 1776, George Washington wrote from his barracks in Cambridge to a woman of “great poetical talents… favored by the muses,” a twenty-three year old, previously-enslaved poet Phillis Wheatley. But while Wheatley was lauded as a muse of freedom and a voice of uplift in the new republic, we don’t even know her given name: the Phillis was the ship on which she made the middle passage from West Africa to the Americas in chains, Wheatley was the name of the Boston family who purchased her. In the two dozen years from when she first arrived in Colonial Boston until her death in 1784 Wheatley lived a remarkable life, cycling through states of freedom and unfreedom. She published dozens of poems, toured London, was emancipated, was almost forced into an unwanted marriage, and eventually died in poverty. This tour will use Wheatley’s incredible life as a window in to the world of slavery and unfreedom in Revolutionary Era Boston. What did it mean to be a slave in a city dedicated to the overthrow of tyrants? In a world of slaves and apprentices, masters and kings, what did freedom mean? find out more
Statue of Paul Revere in front of the Old North Church Boston

North End By Little Feet

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
This child’s-eye view of the Freedom Trail in the North End, Boston’s oldest neighborhood, is specially designed for young walkers from 6 -12 years of age. We'll take a journey back in time and talk about events leading up to the American Revolution, and we'll walk in the footsteps of some of the important Bostonians that helped us gain our independence. Stops include Paul Revere’s House and the Old North Church - where Revere ordered two lanterns to be lit. And there will be one very important horse ride that we’ll talk about along the way! find out more
West End Project Redevelopment Sign 1960s

Old West End

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Look into the past for a tour of Boston’s Old West End. Once a thriving multi-cultural neighborhood representing 23 nationalities, The West End was transformed during a Government-sponsored Urban Renewal Program starting in the late 1950s and lasting through the 1960s. The project displaced over 2,500 families amounting to over 10,000 people. Concurrently, the City Hall Plaza project (through separate funding) forced the demise of Scollay Square - the commercial, entertainment and cultural center of the neighborhood. Lost were relics such as the Old Howard, The Boston Museum (think P.T. Barnum), and the Elizabeth Peabody House. In its place, just a few small plaques commemorate 300 years of lost history. Highlights include: The West End Museum, The Last Tenement Standing, The West End Settlement House, The Old West End Church, The West End Library, Bowdoin Square and Scollay Square. This tour encompasses the old neighborhood and recreates the fabric of the era before Urban Renewal and City Hall Plaza. find out more
Brookline Cottage historic home

Longwood & Cottage Farm

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
See two of Brookline's most delightful neighborhoods. Longwood and Cottage Farm provide a quiet, bucolic setting apart from its urban borders. This walking tour showcases a remarkable collection of romantic English country style cottages and picturesque churches. Founded by two families, the Sears and Lawrence families, as places where they and their friends could live, these two historic districts boast beautiful homes, several 19th century churches, and a surprise or two, such as one of the first International Style homes built in the Boston area, and the home of the subjects of one of the most well-loved paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts The Longwood and Cottage Farm historic districts span some 119 acres and are comprised of sophisticated suburban homes and cottages designed in the Gothic Revival, Mansard, Queen Anne, and Georgian Revival architectural styles. find out more
view of a graveyard by day

Johnny Tremain’s Boston

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Relive the adventures of Johnny Tremain in Colonial Boston based on Esther Forbes' prize-winning coming-of-age novel featuring a young boy who gets caught up in the whirlwind of events that led up to the American Revolution. Johnny's story unfolds in downtown and North End locales, many of which are today's Freedom Trail sites including the Old State House, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Paul Revere's House, and the Old North Church. On this tour, hear of Johnny's fictional friends, like Rab and Cilla, but also of the actual patriots he met along the way, such as Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock, William Dawes, and Paul Revere. Get acquainted with the bustling and political town of Johnny's Boston that has become the great American city of today. To trace Johnny's footsteps is also to experience the larger tale of America's fight for freedom. find out more
Street Sign reading Jerusalem Place

Jewish North End

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
The Jewish history of Boston is somewhat different than the other early port cities of the eastern United States. Few Jews lived in Boston in the 17th and 18th centuries, and a permanent Jewish community didn’t establish itself here until the 1840s. The wave of migration from Eastern Europe of the late 19th century greatly enlarged the Jewish community of Boston, and many of the new immigrants of this period ended up living in the North End. This historic residential neighborhood also includes links to the lives of Jewish Bostonians from earlier centuries as well.  This tour will explore some of the stories of Boston’s Jewish experience from the 17th century through the early 20th century. find out more
Old State House in Boston

In Washington's Footsteps

Boston 1789

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
This walk follows the first President on his six-day visit to Boston as part of his post-inaugural tour of New England 230 years ago, in October 1789. In 1789, Boston was on the cusp of transformation, its economy rebounding from the war years, with its advances in industry, technology, and commerce on show for this most important of visitors. Boston in 1789 was still a town, not a city. Charles Bulfinch had yet to create his many churches and civic landmarks, and the hills of the Shawmut Peninsula were not yet plundered for their gravel and landfill. In part, we will walk the route of the civic parade organized for Washington’s arrival; stop by many of the sites where he visited, worshipped, and – yes – slept; and learn about Governor Hancock’s political miscalculation when President Washington came to town. find out more
Boston's Harbor

Historic Waterfront

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Boston has a great seafaring heritage. Ocean trade and its related industries had a major impact on the growth of Boston and the shape and character of its waterfront. This tour includes the beginnings of Long Wharf as the grand entry into Boston, and the genesis of its Financial District, the lore of clipper ships and the China Trade, and classic 19th century Boston granite wharf buildings such as Commercial Wharf, Lewis Wharf, and Union Wharf. Today's waterfront is a vibrant mix of hotels, restaurants, residences, and recreational spaces, from Rowes Wharf to Battery Wharf in the North End. Take in the spectacular views of Boston Harbor as we wind our way among the wharves old and new. find out more

Harvard Yard

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Established in 1636, the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a college in Cambridge and later named it Harvard College for its first benefactor. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in America. Learn the history of this venerable institution and its relationship to the world around it through the rich mix of American architecture and objects in Harvard Yard. This tour will tell the stories of Harvard Yard’s development over the centuries and the social changes that the university has seen. find out more
Painting of a woman in ballet pose

Fierce and Feminine

Great Women of Boston

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Women’s History Month Tour From the 1600s to the mid-1900s, women's groundbreaking contributions to Boston were often under-recognized – or even overlooked.  On this walking tour, learn who some of these Bostonians were and what greatness they achieved against the backdrop of the city's downtown neighborhood. Their own backgrounds were mixed.  Some came from wealth that they put to various uses; some were self-made women; and some were wives and mothers whose identities didn't stop at that point.  Their passions and professions ranged widely from creative survival in the Puritan era when women were limited in ways to earn a living to medicine, nutrition, education, art, literature, philanthropy, gender rights, and reforms of the 20th century.  Overall, this tour acknowledges the giant steps these women took in making Boston and America what they are today. find out more
Middlesex County Courthouse

East Cambridge

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
This tour is a 90 minute walk through historic East Cambridge, the neighborhood built upon a glacial hill. Discover the place where the continental flag adopted by the 1775 Continental Congress flew first at Fort Putnam during the Revolutionary War and where a beautiful square in the heart of the neighborhood hosts the Charles Bulfinch courthouse and several striking buildings that once comprised the Middlesex County seat. Learn about the complicated Andrew Craigie, considered to be the creator of East Cambridge, and his planning and building strategies that have left a legacy that is still visible today. Historic houses, churches and storefronts hold many stories of the lives lived in this vibrant neighborhood that became home to so many Europeans who immigrated from the beginning of the nineteenth into the twentieth centuries to make East Cambridge one of the nation’s industrial powerhouses that produced the first great glass industry in the country as well as multiple manufacturers of many things, among them: soap, rope, barrels, caskets, firecrackers, steam pumps, hats, furniture and candy. find out more
Boston's old city hall

Decline and Rebirth of a City

Boston in the Early 20th Century

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
In the early twentieth century Boston politics was at a crossroads: Traditional Yankee power was being eroded by upstart Irishmen, who had slowly developed a powerful base in their neighborhoods; ward bosses offered jobs, emergency loans and advice to their constituents, who rewarded them with their votes. By 1910 the Irish were in political control of the city, even as the Yankees retained their economic power. “The rascal king,” James Michael Curley, controlled Boston during most of the first half of the century, catering to his constituents and taxing businesses; he always made sure he got his cut of any city contract. The deep division between Yankees and Irish within the city contributed to the city’s decline and slowed down the recovery when the depression hit in the 30s. Given the division within the city, little federal funding came to Boston during the Great Depression. It would take Mayor John Hynes in the 1950s and later Mayor John Collins in the 1960s to finally turn the city around. They worked with, not against, Yankee businessmen, breaking down the ethnic barriers that had left Boston stagnating. Their eventual partnership would help to create the flourishing Boston we have today. find out more

Commonwealth Ave

Boston’s Grand Boulevard

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
90 minutes
1.5 miles
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
Take a walk through the heart of Victorian Boston on this tour of Commonwealth Avenue! Boston's grand boulevard, Commonwealth Avenue, provides an enduringly popular stroll. The tour parallels the 19th century filling and development of the Back Bay from its origin at Arlington Street down the seven blocks along the tree-lined, grassy Mall. See how careful effort over 150 years has preserved the "grandness" of the Avenue. find out more
Boston Harbour viewed from above the custom house

Change and Response

Boston’s Architecture, 1837 – 2021

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
45 minutes
0.75 mile
mostly flat surfaces and little to no inclines
This tour tracks Boston’s development in chronological order on a walk that’s just a half-mile long. Along the way, we’ll be paying special attention to what Robert Campbell, the Boston Globe’s long time architectural critic, calls the encoded information that is present when we look closely at buildings. Things like: The moment they were built: Boston responding to local and national events The men (as it turns out) who built them and their profession The (mostly) European design precedents that inspired their work The new building systems, materials, and regulatory trends that informed them. find out more
Illustration of Cambridge Common in 1808

Cambridge Common

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
60 minutes
1 mile
potential uneven surfaces and moderate inclines
Founded in 1631, Cambridge Common Park was once the common pasture for Old Cambridge. Later it served as an encampment for the Continental Army. Today it’s home to playgrounds and ballfields, surrounded by historic houses, churches, and buildings of Harvard University.  We’ll explore nearly 400 years of history & architecture on our loop of Cambridge Common. find out more
King Louis Philippe portrait

Boston’s French Connection

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
The French have played an important part in the history of Boston. We will explore many details of their involvement as we walk through much of the Heart of the Freedom Trail and talk about and see examples of their influence. We will start at the Lafayette Plaque, then visit many gravesites in the Granary Burial Ground, talking about the Huguenots and their influence, both politically and commercially. At King's Chapel we will discuss the incident that ultimately resulted in the erection of the St. Sauveur Memorial Obelisk that is in front of the Chapel. We will be discussing King Louis Philippe’s stay here and the French financial help provided at the Ebenezer Hancock House. find out more
The Boston Capitol Building

Boston By Bulfinch

Private Tours : Additional Tours by Request
Called one of America’s first architects , Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844) defined the Federal style of architecture and the physical fabric of Boston, capturing the vision and spirit of the young Republic . As an architect, town planner, and selectman, Bulfinch designed some of the city’s most enduring buildings, and the street layout now known as the Bulfinch Triangle . Bulfinch’s story unfolds through some of his greatest works, including the Massachusetts State House, the residences of Beacon Hill, the sites of Boston’s first theater and first Catholic cathedral, and the Tontine Crescent, which was his architectural masterpiece and financial ruin. find out more