Boston Historical Events for the Week of September 1, 2014

Boston Historical EventsBoston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday September 1 and Sunday September 7, 2014.

 

Boston by FootBoston By Foot

Thursday, September 4, 6-7:30pm, Walking Tour, 290 Congress Street, $5 Members/$15 Nonmembers, Tickets Required 

Join Boston by Foot for the “Tipsy Tour: Dram Shops & Drunken Sailors,” a tour about pubs, booze, and the exploits of the intoxicated. Your guide will share stories about the role alcohol has played throughout Boston’s history, from the early days of settlement through the era of Prohibition. Along the way you will learn about how “Ice King” King Solomon and Admiral Edward Vernon had their lives “stirred and shaken” by hooch and about John Hancock’s involvement with Madeira. Meet your guide at the boat dock beside 290 Congress Street.

 

Historic-New-England-300x272.jpgHistoric New England

Saturday, September 6, 10am-2pm, Boston Building Resources, Rain or Shine, Free 

In partnership with Boston Building Resources, Historic New England’s preservation services staff invites you to an informal “Old House Doctor” open house. Bring photographs or images of your old house and get answers to your questions about maintenance and repair opportunities, paint color possibilities, or architectural styles for your house. Learn more about your own house and get to know Boston Building Resources, which focuses on affordable solutions that help Boston neighborhoods create stronger communities while benefiting the environment by reusing building materials and educating homeowners.

 

Saturday, September 6, 11am-1pm, Walking Tour, Otis House, $6 Members/$12 Nonmembers, Tickets Required 

Join Historic New England for a walking tour of Beacon Hill. Your knowledgeable guide will take you beyond the neighborhood’s charming brick sidewalks and gardens. On this tour you will learn about Beacon Hill’s development during the Federal era and the stories behind the fortunes, ambitions, and struggles of the neighborhood’s early residents, not all of whom had a lot of money. The program will start with a tour of the Otis House.

 

MHS-150x150.gifMassachusetts Historical Society

Wednesday, September 3, 12-1pm, Brown Bag Lunch Talk, Free

Bring your lunch to the MHS and learn about the New England throat distemper epidemic. While the epidemic never achieved the notoriety acquired by other more notorious diseases of the colonial era, no single epidemic proved more deadly to European settlers. In “Unspeakable Loss: North America’s Invisible Throat Distemper Epidemic of 1735-1765,” Nicholas Bonneau (University of Notre Dame) will ask why this epidemic escaped comment by contemporaries and past historians while raising interpretive questions that inform our larger views of change, the priority of documentation, and the role of memory.

 

OSMHOld South Meeting House

Wednesday, September 3, 6:30-7:30pm, Lecture, Free

The Old South Meeting House will host the annual Paul Revere Memorial Association Lecture Series. The 2014 theme: Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts Furniture: Form, Function, and Fabrication.” The series begins with “High-Style Craftsmanship and Patronage in Marblehead on the Eve of Independence.” Known more for its pivotal role in the American Revolution and its exceptional legacy of early American architecture, Marblehead also has a noteworthy, but relatively unfamiliar heritage of furniture craftsmanship. Judy Anderson, Principal, Marblehead Architectural Heritage, will show how in contrast to the clamor and boisterousness of the working harbor front, Marblehead cabinetmakers and clockmakers produced high-style furniture for a clientele that comprised more than 30 merchants in Massachusetts’ celebrated Atlantic codfish trade.

 

Sunday, September 7, 9:30am-5pm, Boston Charter Day Celebration, Free admission to OSMH for MA Residents

Each year, the Partnership for Historic Bostons commemorates the naming of Boston, Watertown, and Dorchester on September 7, 1630, with a series of events to teach the public about the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Massachusetts residents can celebrate Boston Charter Day with free admission to the Old South Meeting House.

*Photo of Old South Meeting House Courtesy of BPL Photostream

 

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Luzern and a Novel Approach to History Interpretation

IMAGE_2037On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Tim and I toured the city of Luzern, Switzerland.

Situated on the edge of the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Luzern), with a panoramic view of the Alps, Luzern stands as the tourism capital of Switzerland.

Luzern used to be on the “Grand Tour” route of all persons making their way through Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.

 

Brief History of Luzern

The history of Luzern dates back to about 750 when a group of Benedictine monks founded the Monastery of St. Leodegar. A fishing village grew around the monastery.

Luzern had become as a bustling trade center by the 13th century. The village sat amid the Gotthard Pass trade route and many traders passed through and settled in Luzern as a result.

King Rudolph I von Habsburg brought Luzern and Switzerland under his rule in 1290. Unhappy with Habsburg rule, Luzern joined three other Swiss cantons (similar to counties) and formed the “eternal” Swiss Confederacy known as the Eidgenossenschaft in 1332. Three other cantons joined this alliance and together they pulled free of Austrian rule in 1386.

The Swiss Confederacy lasted until around 1520. While most of the other cantons became Protestant, Luzern remained mostly Catholic.

The Swiss saw a change in governance again in 1798 when Napoleon marched into Switzerland; the French brought democracy to the country.

 

Kapellbrücke

Chapel BridgeThe Kapellbrücke or Chapel Bridge stands as one of the most iconic sites in Luzern.

Built during the first half of the 14th century, the bridge connected the town’s medieval fortifications. It also stood as a defensive structure. Built at an angle, the “window” openings facing the lake are smaller than its inland facing windows. The smaller openings provided defenders with more cover.

Next to the bridge stands the Wasserturm or Water Tower, which the people of Luzern built around 1300.

During the 17th century, artists decorated the bridge with paintings that depicted the history of the town as well as two patron saints.

The bridge you see and walk on today is not 100% original. In 1993, a pleasure boat moored under the bridge caught fire and set the bridge ablaze. The people of Luzern rebuilt the fire-damaged sections of the bridge, but they could not replace the paintings the fire destroyed. Therefore, only a few of the 17th-century paintings remain.

 

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Montreux, Gruyères, and the History of Swiss Chocolate

MontreuxGreetings from Switzerland!

I am once again the beneficiary of Tim’s need to travel for business.

On Thursday August 21, 2014, we arrived in Zürich. We purchased a 4-day Swiss Pass at the train station and enjoyed a 2.5-3 hour journey to Montreux.

The Swiss Pass provided us with unlimited access to the Swiss rail system and to most Swiss museums.

 

Montreux

Montreux is a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Geneva. It may be the most beautiful place we have visited thus far and we are fortunate to have traveled a lot.

The water in the lake shifts from bright to dark blue. Depending on the time of day, you can see the local Alps and clouds reflected in its surface. Nearly all of the water in the lake comes from mountain snow melt.

After we checked into our hotel, Tim and I walked the pedestrian path around part of the Lake. The Montreux waterfront reminded us of a boardwalk-like area with restaurants, shops, and people on foot, bikes, and rollerblades along its paved paths. Statues of Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury stand along the waterfront as both established homes in this scenic and relaxing town.

 

Chocolate Train

We visited Montreux so we could take the “Chocolate Train” into Gruyères, which we did on Friday August 22, 2014. The train featured antique rail cars pulled by a modern, electric engine. The train ride to Gruyères took about an hour, but that hour was filled with scenic vistas of the Alps, Lake Geneva, and the towns and valleys in between.

At Gruyères we disembarked our train and went inside La Maison du Gruyères, a cheese factory. The factory makes up to 12, 35 kg cheese wheels at one time. La Maison du Gruyères provides a multi-lingual audio tour that discusses the uniqueness of Gruyères cheese and how it is made. Windows above the manufacturing operations allow visitors to view the cheese makers at work.

Gruyeres 1In the United States we have a penchant for calling Swiss-made cheese “Swiss.” However, there are many different kinds of Swiss-made cheese. Gruyères is a distinct cheese because the cows graze along the slopes of the Alps and ingest many different kinds of flowers, herbs, and grasses. The scents and flavors of the flowers, herbs, and grasses pass into the cow’s milk, which provides cheese from Gruyères with a distinct taste and smell. The audio guide stated that scientists have identified at least 75 different scents and flavors in slices of Gruyères cheese.

 

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Wednesday Link Roundup #64: Riotous Doctors and Growing Museum Collections

Franklin RoundupWednesday Link Roundup: Links to the most interesting history, news, writing, and technology posts that passed through my RSS and Twitter feeds over the last week.

 

History

J.L. Bell spent nearly a week offering details about the 1788 New York City Doctors’ Riot: “The New York Doctors’ Riot of 1788,” “A Virginian on the Doctors’ Riot,” “Fight at the New York City Jail,” “A Child’s Memories of the Doctors’ Riot of 1788,” “Chasing Down the Obnoxious Dr. Hicks,” and “Politics of the Doctors’ Riot.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014, marked the 200th anniversary of when the British burned down the White House. The Washington Post commemorated the day with “D.C.’s Darkest Day, a War that No One Remembers” (except the Canadians and British, of course).

The New York History Blog reported the unveiling of British Lieutenant-General Hugh Percy’s battle map of Brooklyn in “Battle of Brooklyn: Rare Revolutionary War Map Being Unveiled.”

Bethany Collins offered “8 Fast Facts About Hessians.”

 

help wantedHistory Jobs

The staff at the History News Network investigated “What Kind of Jobs Do History Majors Land?

 

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Boston Historical Events for the Week of August 25, 2014

Boston Historical EventsBoston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday August 25 and Sunday August 31, 2014.

Boston-by-Foot.gifBoston By Foot

Sunday, August 31, 2-3:30pm, Walking Tour, End of Long Wharf, $5 Members/$15 Nonmembers, Tickets Required 

Join Boston By Foot for the August Tour of the Month: Boston and the Law. Decisions made in the courtrooms of Boston have had far-reaching and long-lasting effects. You will explore Boston’s fascinating legal history with a look at the city’s historic and contemporary courthouses. Your guide will share with you the stories of some of the city’s most famous trials, from the notorious Boston Massacre trial to the cases that have resulted in the cleanup of Boston Harbor. Meet your guide at the end of Long Wharf.

 

Historic-New-England-300x272.jpgHistoric New England

Saturday, August 30, 11am-1pm, Walking Tour, Otis House, $6 Members/$12 Nonmembers, Tickets Required 

Join Historic New England for a walking tour of Beacon Hill. Your knowledgeable guide will take you beyond the neighborhood’s charming brick sidewalks and gardens. On this tour you will learn about Beacon Hill’s development during the Federal era and the stories behind the fortunes, ambitions, and struggles of the neighborhood’s early residents, not all of whom had a lot of money. The program will start with a tour of the Otis House.

 

Old_State_House_Boston_Massachusetts2Old State House

Wednesday, August 27, 6-8pm, Beer Tasting, $10 Members/$15 Nonmembers, Tickets Required

Ben Franklin said “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Join the Bostonian Society and Battle Road Brewing Company for historic beer in a historic place! Learn about the history of pubs in Boston, play an 18th-century tavern game, and sample beef jerky.

 

Paul Revere HousePaul Revere House

Saturday, August 30, 1-3pm, Colonial Dance Tunes and Love Songs, Included with Admission

In the guise of itinerant musicians, Al Petty & Deirdre Sweeney will perform popular 18th-century tunes such as “Mr. Isaac’s Maggot” and “Jack’s Health” on the penny whistle, flute, fife, and other instruments.

 

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