Thursday, April 19, 2018

Jonah in Boston, part 2

On to the rest of our full-day adventure on the Freedom Trail in Boston!   I think I was getting tired as I took fewer pictures than earlier in the day!

Our next stop was the Old State House.  Built in 1713, this historic landmark was first the seat of the British colonial government government and then of the state government until 1830.


The building is now a museum of Boston history.  

Boston, the capital of the Province Massachusetts Bay, was a major shipping town. The economy of Boston depended on this complex web of trade, both trans-Atlantic and down the coast. 

When the colonials asked for more rights, Britain responded with harsher treatment, and the desire for independence became stronger.


Under the balcony is where the Boston Massacre took place on March 5, 1770.  A sign across the street marks the spot where the massacre took place.
 It began one evening when a young wig apprentice started taunting a British soldier.  More people came and a crowd grew.  Most were average workers.   A boy poked the soldier and then the soldier hit him. It was getting quite unruly, so runners ran to the barracks and alerted an officer named Preston who went to the scene with  a non-commissioned officer and 6 privates  with loaded weapons to control the crowd. They formed a semi-circle.   Preston told them not to fire unless he gave the order to do so,  but he had no intention to give the order.   Another soldier got hit, dropped his weapon, picked it up and fired into the crowd.  Soon other soldiers fired too but not together.  Three patriots died immediately including an African-American runaway slave, and 2 others died soon afterwards.  

 The crowd was really upset, and soon the colonial governor came, quieted the crowd and promised a thorough investigation. The eight soldiers, Captain Preston, and 4 others were arrested the next day and in a few weeks were indicted for murder. 

Paul Revere created the engraving below entitled the "Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in Kings Street in Boston" 3 weeks after the event. It was extremely popular and many copies were made, but a lot of historical discrepancies are in the picture.  (Revere did it on purpose as a propaganda piece to push colonials toward independence.) 

The soldiers were in a semi-circle, not in a row.  There was no order to shoot and they did not shoot at the same time. The colonials here look like wealthy men, but in fact they were not.  And the picture looks like the event happened in daylight and not at night when it was dark in the area.  
Because it was dark, the interviews with observers were conflicting, and in the end, only two soldiers were convicted as there was overwhelming evidence that they shot into the crowd.  They were only convicted of manslaughter as there was no evidence that the shooting was premeditated (planned in advance). They pleaded "benefit of the clergy," and got reduced sentences--which mostly were being branded on their hands below their thumb.  And they went back to serve in the army!!  Half of this first floor of the museum tells this story, and we also heard a volunteer tell more details about the massacre.


depicting the King of England pushing his horses (Pride and Obstinacy over a cliff)
Upstairs we saw where the early state legislature met and the history of fires in the building.   The original building was of wood and finished in 1711.  Two years later it burnt down and was rebuilt with brick.  In 1747, the building was severely damaged from a hearth fire out on control in the building. 

A lion and unicorn signifying the power of the British were on the front of the building, removed and burned in a fire after Independence.  In 1882, replicas of the lion and unicorn were placed on the front of the building where the originals had been.    In 1830, the building became the city hall and the legislature moved elsewhere.  But in 1841, city hall moved elsewhere and it became a commercial building until 1981 when it  became a museum.  Two more major fires took place in the building, with major renovations because of them and because of the changing use of the building.  

Our next stop was in front of the newer "old" City Hall which has been repurposed as a commercial building with Ruth Chris's Steak House being a major tenant.  A statue of Ben Franklin remains in front of the building, overlooking the first site of the Latin School, the oldest public school in America, established by Puritans in 1635.  

Next we stopped at King's (Chapel and) Burying Ground.  The church was a stronghold of Loyalist opposition and eventually became the nation's first Unitarian congregation.  In the cemetery next to the church, is the grave of the colony's first governor, John Winthrop, and descendants of his.  Many of the grave stones were simple, and hard to read because of weather over the years.
Winthrop family graves
We then walked by the Abiel Smith School, the first school in Boston for African-American children.  It opened in 1835.  it is now the center of the Museum of African American History.  We only went in the gift shop as the museum was crowded with school children.  I did get Jonah a workbook on African-American history in Boston.

 We were both getting pretty tired by then, having walked close to five miles, so our last stop was to the Vilna Shul, the last remaining immigrant era synagogue in downtown Boston.  In 1900, there were 40 synagogues in this area!  After World War II, the city destroyed 2/3rd of the West End as part of an urban renewal project with the Vilna shul one of the few remaining synagogues in the area.

The bottom floor, which I had seen before, has the history of Jews in the Boston area and includes the fact that it is one of the few places where Jews followed African Americans to an area to live.  The second floor held the synagogue.  The building closed in 1885 for lack of members. It was rescued in 1994 in pretty bad condition with broken windows and pigeon droppings inside.  The building in again an active synagogue and the Boston Center for Jewish Culture.  
Jonah in front of two stained glass windows

The inside is pretty and some of the restorers have found that there are layers of paint and murals underneath the pale beige paint.

 Below, mural of Rachel's tomb on the left and the Cave of Machpelah on the right in the back of the traditional women's section
 Looking from the traditional women's section toward the bimah in the center.  There is also a traditional style bimah to the right along the wall.

There are plans to restore the inside as they get more funds.  

Jonah enjoyed reading the names of women on one list and men on an other who were members in the hey day of the shul.  He found a Dina Leah (my Hebrew name) and several Ezekiels but no Jonahs.

Outside the synagogue are some remaining tenements from the early immigrant times.

We then walked three blocks to one of the few above ground T stations and took the red line to Davis Square where I treated us to frozen  blackberry yogurt for Jonah and yummy chocolate soy frozen dessert for me.

On our walk back to Nadav and Leah's, Jonah climbed the rocks in Powder House park.
While Jonah visited, I took some photos of him with his cousins:
With Kai and looking at the personalized calendar I made

With Cousin Eli

Reading to Kai before bedtime


Chilling with Ziva

And working on the African-American museum workbook
The next morning I drove us to the Museum of Science. Although Jonah's school vacation in CT was this week, Boston's is next week, so the museum was not at all busy!

Our first stop was the pendulum.

Then we stopped at the musical stairs, which fascinated Jonah. As he went up the stairs, a musical note was played on each stair that also went up the scale.
Jonah carried his backpack all morning to get extra exercise.
 Jonah (and I) also exjoyed Archemedes excogitation.
Since Jonah enjoys astronomy, we then went to the space section, which I had never been to before. 
 We wondered why it was titled Cosmic Light until we read that almost everything known about the universe has been learned by studying light.
 There were stations about each planet giving pertinent facts about them. 

 When I was growing up, I learned that Pluto was the last planet, but now Neptune is and Pluto is not considered a regular planet but a dwarf planet.  

 It takes Saturn 29 years to orbit the sun,and is tilted like Earth so it has seasons,  and each season is more than seven years.   I cannot imagine having 7 years of winter!!!  Can you?
After learning about the solar system, we read about the Milky Way, of which we are somewhat toward the edge.

 Which stars are nearest us:

and where we are in the universe:

We also saw a model of the first successful rocket, by Robert Goddard, launched in 1926.


We then saw a revolving model of planet Earth

and dioramas of animals that live in NE US.

We were amazed to see that puffins inhabit coastal Maine.  Oooo, I'd love to see them!!

We saw tamarins, who are in the museum as part of a way to help them reproduce, as they are threatened.

Next we made a quick stop at the health section, first looking at actual brains of a human, a monkey, a cat and a turkey.

Images of microbes in our body
 Average height for one's age:
We also saw some newly hatched black baby chicks that had already dried off.

Our next stop was a temporary exhibit (until April 25) entitled Mirror Maze.  It was incredible!  Thank goodness I followed Jonah so that I didn't get lost!



Right outside was a small but fascinating exhibit on patterns in architecture which are derived from nature.

 Below is the Voronoi design, which can be seen in nature, for example on a corn cob!

We then walked to another section of the second floor for an exhibit entitled 
It was hard to take pictures of most of the exhibits so as to have you, the reader, understand them, but here are a few:
Do you see the wife of a young man or his mother-in-law or both in the picture below? Which did you see first? 

 Spin the wheel and look at it for 30 seconds.  Then look at the face of a friend.  What did you notice, Jonah?
We walked to our second to the last destination:  the butterfly exhibit, a small, warm room with butterflies flitting around.  None landed on us to Jonah's relief.  I was disappointed that none did.

Is the one above a Heliconius erato?


 Is the one above a Heliconius erato?




When will the butterflies come out?



Which is the real butterfly below??


The morphos kept on flying so it was impossible to get a good photo of one.

Carnivorous Tropical Pitcher plant
Below a volunteer answering a question of Jonah's

Just outside the butterfly room was an exhibit on ants.



Our last stop was at the hands-on physics area where Jonah saw how a pulley could help to lift things.

We didn't make it to the bottom floor of the science center, but we were tired and it was time for lunch.

We drove back to Davis Square to meet Uncle Nadav and Jonah's family who had driven in from their home in CT on the way to Cape Cod.  We had a yummy lunch at Pokeworks.  Jonah loves dried seaweed and really could use chopsticks well!
Jonah, I had a great visit with.  I hope you did too!  There still is a lot more to do in historic Boston....but that is for another trip.