Boston. I could write forever about Boston. My brother recently relocated to Beantown and I am positively gleeful! I’m pretty sure my new connection gives me “local” status and therefore lends credence to my rep as an insider. As such, I will share with you some hidden gems in Boston. These points of interest aren’t necessarily highlighted on the tourist map but are great for student groups and others looking for unique experiences!
When you visit Boston, a trip to the local library probably doesn’t top your list of must-dos. However, the Mary Baker Eddy Library may just change your mind! Approximately 3 stories tall and made of stained glass, the Mapparium within the library is a three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935. It features a unique presentation of how humans and geography have been intertwined throughout history.
Museum of Bad Art
This is (literally) the only place in the world where bad art is not only displayed, but revered! It’s a hidden gem you need to uncover for yourself!
Ancient Crypt at Old North Church
The Old North Church is a standard stop for student and other tour groups. However, you may not know that there is an ancient crypt in the basement accessible only by special tour. The crypt was used from 1732-1860 and holds more than 1100 souls. Yikes!
Boston Athenaeum Skin Book
Can we all just stop for a minute and say “eeeewwww?” The Boston Athenaeum houses a collection of 150,000 rare books. Tucked among them in a locked room is one with a morbid history. Its binding is made from the skin of one James Allen, a criminal who spent most of his life in and out of jail.
Edgar Allan Poe Square
Continuing with the macabre theme which seems to have emerged, our next point of interest is Edgar Allan Poe Square at the intersection of Boylston and Charles Streets. Poe was born in the area January 19, 1809, although his home no longer exists. The plaza boasts a statue of Poe with symbols from some of his best-known works.
Hood Milk Bottle
A forty-foot milk bottle isn’t really hidden, but it is a gem! Built in 1930 by Arthur Gagner to sell ice cream, the giant bottle stood empty for years until H.P. Hood and Sons, Inc. bought it and donated it to the Boston Children’s Museum in 1977. The dairy company is now given billing on the side of the bottle that sells snacks and ice cream in the summer.
Great Molasses Flood
On January 15, 1919, a fifteen-foot wall of molasses flooded Commercial Street at 35 miles per hour. It wiped out everything in its path and took the lives of 21 bystanders. A plaque commemorating this horrific disaster can be found at the intersection of Commerical Street and Copps Hill Terrace.
I’ve had such a good time sharing this hidden gems series with you- I think I may continue to pop up some secret spots from time to time! Student travelers and groups of all kinds will love finding treasures tucked away where they are least expected. Of course, the stranger the better. Happy hunting!