Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden traces its origins to marshland that Bostonians avoided in the 19th century. In 1837, a visionary named Horace Gray led an effort that transformed the swampy area into the first botanical garden in America. The first bed of tulips and the first poinsettia in the U.S. were planted in the Boston Public Garden.
By 1970, the Boston Public Garden wasn’t as beautiful as it once was during its glory days. Flowerbeds and trees were diseased, the fountains didn’t work, and the bridge over the lagoon was unsafe.
A real estate developer saw an opportunity to build a 40-story office tower on the land. Henry Lee, a schoolteacher, along with many other Boston residents vehemently opposed the idea. Mr. Lee fought a valiant battle to stop Mayor Kevin White and the developer from moving forward with the building plans.
Generous private donations restored the natural beauty of one the most scenic places in Boston. Consequently, Mr. Lee founded the Friends of the Public Garden and became its president for 41 years.
Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Mr. Lee for saving the Boston Public Garden from becoming an office park and bringing natural beauty back to life for all to enjoy for generations.
Oh, and the real estate developer? He moved on to New York.
(The Public Garden is one of the stops on the 2-hour PhotoWalks Highlights of Boston tour.)