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Beacon Hill’s Iconic Gas Lamps

A PhotoWalks Beacon Hill Walking Tour delivers an experience for locals and tourists that’s an immersion into a 19th century historic neighborhood. One of the most noticeable features along the narrow, brick sidewalks lined with  row houses and townhouses are the gas lamps. There are over 1,000 of them illuminating the picturesque streets of Beacon Hill 24 hours a day all year long.

Here’s the backstory on what makes the iconic gas lamps one of the neighborhood’s most cherished treasures:

In 1828, Boston was one of the first cities in America to change over from dimly-lit oil lamps to bright street lights powered by gas. The original glass version was cylinder-shaped (see black and white photo below). Some still exist in Beacon Hill today. The current lamps replaced the older versions in the 1960s. They have panes of glass protecting the gas flame.

Over the years, the gas lamps were seen as a symbol of progress in urban development that modernized Boston’s historic neighborhoods. Beacon Hill has most of the gas lamps in the city.  They are historical artifacts, represent a bygone era and preserve the neighborhood’s ambiance and charm.

Discover the scenic streets and hidden gems of this popular historic district in Boston with PhotoWalks on either the 90-minute Beacon Hill tour or the 2-hour Highlights of Boston tour.

Old Gas Lamp a tall brown brick building a close up of a flower a close up of a street in front of a brick building

a fire hydrant in front of a brick building a store in a brick building