> Boston Immigrant Trail
Immigrant Heritage Trail is an exciting new journey
through the city's parks, side streets, churches, cemeteries
and historic buildings, where you'll discover the rich
ethnic composition of Boston. The Immigrant Heritage
Trail begins at Boston's newest visitor attraction,
of Freedom Museum , a multimedia exhibit and celebration
of Boston's immigrant communities.
button to link to timelines and information on Boston
Bay | Chinatown/South
of Freedom Immigration Museum
Prudential Center Skywalk
newest celebration of the city's rich ethnic heritage
offers a new multimedia show tracing the city's glorious
immigrant history. Meet the courageous Pilgrims who
founded Boston. Listen to Ben Franklin explain what
liberty means to newcomers. Meet the intrepid Kennedy
clan who reshaped Boston and American politics. Enjoy
the poetry of America's first African-American writer,
Phyllis Wheatey. Find out if Sacco and Vanzetti were
put to death because they were criminals or immigrants.
Learn about immigrants coming to Boston in the 21st
century: Kosovars, Sudanese, Irish, Chinese and dozens
Irish Famine Memorial
and School Street
Irish Famine Memorial was unveiled in June 1998 to commemorate
the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine,
which killed one million people and caused another two
million to flee Ireland. Over 100,000 Irish refugees
arrived in Boston between 1845-49, transforming the
city. Successive waves of Irish settled, making them
the majority ethnic group by 1900. Irish-Americans now
comprise about 20% of Boston, and 26% of Massachusetts
residents claim Irish ancestry, the highest concentration
in the US.
Robert Shure created the twin sculptures, which are
encircled by eight narrative plaques. The Friends of
the Boston Irish Famine Memorial group maintains the
park and has joined with the New England Holocaust Memorial
committee to provide joint educational programs to student
groups. It hosts an annual candle light vigil at the
park on St. Patrick's eve, and various other activities
throughout the year. It has also formed the Irish Famine
Institute to support the work of Irish relief agencies
in Congo, Rwanda, Sudan and other famine-afflicted countries.
Hungarian Revolution Monument
and Kilby Streets
monument is dedicated to "those who never surrendered"
in October 1956, when Soviet troops answered an anti-Communist
student uprising with enforced repression. 200,000 refugees
fled Hungary, some of them settling in greater Boston.
The monument, created by Hungarian artist Gyuri Hollosy,
was dedicated in 1988, sponsored by the Hungarian Society
of Massachusetts. A quote on the memorial from President
23, 1956, is a day that will live forever in the annals
of free men and nations. It was a day of courage,
conscience and triumph. No other day since history
has began has shown more clearly the eternal unquenchability
of man's desire to be free, whatever the odds against
success, whatever the sacrifice required."
Congress Street entrance to Boston City Hall
site marks the embarkation location of 17th
century European immigrants, indentured servants, African
slaves and free African-American sailors. In 1991 the
City of Boston placed a plaque at this site, which reads:
An Immigrant's Gateway
promise has drawn people from all corners of the world
to Boston, in search of a better life for themselves
and their families. Their traditions and values have
become the fabric of our neighborhoods. Here in Boston
we seek to fulfill that promise by providing a life
filled with peace, dignity and opportunity for all
who make this great city their home.
England Holocaust Memorial
Congress Street and Union Street
in October 1995, this memorial pays homage to the six
million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, which historians
consider perhaps the most devastating and cruel episode
of the 20th century. The Memorial features
six luminous glass towers, representing the six main
death camps. The 54 feet high towers are lit at night,
and set on a black granite path. Mist rises from charred
embers at the bottom of the chambers, and six million
numbers are etched in an orderly pattern, suggesting
the ghostly ledgers of the Nazi bureaucracy.
Memorial offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the
meaning of freedom and oppression, and on society's
respect for human rights.
Friends of the New England Holocaust Memorial and the
Friends of the Boston Irish Famine Memorial have created
a joint program to work with students and visitors by
providing tours, educational materials, forums and commemorative
ceremonies throughout the year.
Revere (1734-1818) was the son of French immigrant Apollos
Rivoire. The Rivoire family came from Riocaud, France,
and Apollos anglicized the family name to Revere in
Revere apprenticed as a silversmith with his father,
and owned the North Square house from 1770 to 1800.
In the 1770's Revere was a messenger for local officials.
It was while living in this house that Revere left for
his famous "midnight ride" to warn colonists of advancing
British troops on April 18, 1775. The Paul Revere House,
built about 1680, is the oldest building in downtown
Boston. It is part of the city's Freedom Trail.
Paul Revere statue, located nearby at The Prado, was
created by artist Cyrus Edwin Dallin in 1885 and placed
in the park in 1940.
Leonard of Port Maurice Church
and Hanover Streets, North End
Boston, MA 02113
Leonard's was the first Italian Catholic Church in New
England, established in 1873 to meet the growing needs
of Italian immigrants coming to Boston. The Church continues
to serve mass and hold nightly devotions in both Italian
and English during the week.
401 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113
by architect Charles Bulfinch in 1804, St. Stephen's
became a Roman Catholic Church in 1862, when the North
End was populated mostly by Irish and later Italian
immigrants. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, mother of President
John F. Kennedy, was baptized in this church. It was
restored in 1965 and is considered one of the most beautiful
churches in Boston.
Center for Jewish Heritage
14-18 Phillips Street Beacon Hill, Boston
The Vilna Shul was built in 1919 by Jews from Vilnius,
Lithuania, and is the last of over 50 places of worship
that flourished in Boston during the era of great Jewish
immigration. The building is modeled after Europe's
oldest synagogues. Three layers of original wall art
discovered under layers of sanctuary paint evoke centuries-old
Eastern European carved and painted synagogue interiors.
The Vilna Center for Jewish Heritage Inc. has rescued
the building and is currently raising funds to restore
it as Boston's Jewish museum and cultural center. The
Vilna Shul was declared an American Treasure in 1999
by Save America's Treasures, a partnership of the White
House Millennium Council and The National Trust for
Historic Preservation. The Vilna Center is open with
trained docents in attendance on Sunday afternoons from
1:00 to 3:00 from mid-April through mid-November. Tour
groups can arrange visits at other times by calling
(617) 523-2324 and leaving a message.
of Afro-American History
Street and Smith Court
in 1963, the Museum of Afro-American History depicts
the contributions of the African-American community
of New England during the colonial period. Through workshops
and classes, exhibits, forums and special activities,
the Museum places the African-American experience in
an accurate social, cultural and historical perspective.
Museum is housed in the African Meeting House, established
in 1806, and now the oldest surviving Black church edifice
in the United States. Officially designated as the Boston
African-American National Historic Site, the Meeting
House is one of 14 sites along the city's 1.6 mile Black
Heritage Trail, which covers 19th century
African-American landmarks in downtown Boston.
Bay | Chinatown/South
Common along Tremont Street (next
to Visitor Information Center)
Joseph De Lafayette is perhaps the leading French hero
of the American Revolutionary War. He paid eight visits
to Boston, including one in 1780 when he announced that
the King of France would send ships and troops to aid
the colonies in their war against England. In 1824 he
returned to Boston and was given a hero's welcome on
the Boston Common. It was described as "an occasion
of special splendor, with a military review followed
by a dinner for 1200 people under a marquee erected
for the event."
bronze and granite monument was erected on August 24,
1924 to commemorate the centenary of the visit of the
Marquis de Lafayette to Boston. The artist was John
20 is Lafayette Day in Massachusetts, and each year
a wreath is laid at the monument in a small ceremony
by Boston's French community.
John Barry Memorial
Common, along Tremont Street (Next
to Visitors Information Center)
John Barry (1745-1803) was the first commander of the
US Navy, appointed by President George Washington in
1794. During the Revolutionary War Barry won the very
first and last naval battle of the war. He is widely
considered to be the Father of the American Navy. Barry
came from County Wexford, also the birthplace of John
F. Kennedy's ancestors.
Boston Common, along Charles Street (Between Boylston
and Beacon Streets)
tribute to guerrilla freedom fighters everywhere was
created by Polish artist Andrzei Pitynski in 1979. It
portrays the soldiers as weary but determined. Pitynski
was born in Poland in 1947. The sculpture is on temporary
loan to the City of Boston.
Public Garden, along Boylston Street (Between
Arlington and Charles Streets)
artillery colonel under George Washington, Polish-born
Kosciuszko was one of many Europeans who rallied to
the American Revolution, fighting with distinction at
New York and Yorktown. This statue was unveiled in 1927,
and was commissioned by Boston's Polish community to
commemorate the 150th anniversary of Kosciuszko
joining the Continental Army. The sculptor is Theo Alice
Thomas Cass Memorial
Garden along Boylston Street (Between
Arlington and Charles Streets)
in Queen's County, Ireland, Thomas Cass (1822-1862)
was a successful businessman and member of the Boston
School Committee in the 1860s. When the Civil War began,
Governor Andrew asked Cass to form an Irish Regiment,
the 9th Massachusetts Volunteers. Cass led
the Regiment into battle, and was gravely wounded at
the Battle of Malvern Hill in July 1862. An initial
granite memorial of Cass was replaced by a bronze memorial
created by artist Richard E. Brooks, and was officially
dedicated in 1899 at a ceremony attended by Cass's family
and by Veterans of the Civil War.
Library and Cultural Center
53 Marlborough Street at Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02215
after W.W.II by a group of devoted French and American
Bostonians, the French Library began as a one-room lending
library and today contains over 25,000 books, videos,
audio tapes and other materials dedicated to French
language and culture. The Center occupies two mansions
in Boston's Back Bay, and offers a year round menu of
exhibits, lectures, cooking and wine tasting courses,
language classes, children's activities and visits by
leading French writers, artists, musicians and film
makers. It also provides translation and interpretative
Center hosts a day-long celebration each July on Bastille
Day that includes a street party, gala dinner and fireworks.
England Historic Genealogical Society
Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
in 1845, this venerable institution is a world-renowned
center for family history research. In addition to its
holdings of old Boston and New England family collections,
the Society also has a wealth of information on Irish,
Italian, German and other ethnic groups. The Society
has a 200,000-volume research library in Boston: a 25,000-volume
book-by-mail lending library; an active publications
department; research and photocopy services; and educational
programs, conferences and tours. It has over 18,000
members worldwide. Time Magazine called the NEHGS "one
of the top three resources in the country."
Institute of Boston
Goethe-Institut is a nonprofit organization with more
than 150 institutes in 78 countries. Its task is to
promote the German Language and to foster international
cultural cooperation. The Goethe-Institut Boston offers
workshops and teacher training seminars for teachers
of German as a second language, and also provides an
extensive examination program. The information center
of the Goethe-Institut Boston serves as a resource for
those interested in contemporary Germany, and for those
interested in teaching and studying German as a foreign
language. More than 9,000 books, videos, audiocassettes
and computer software are available.
Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets)
was the second Irish-born mayor of Boston (1902-05).
Born in 1844 in Fermoy, County Cork, his family moved
to South Boston. Collins worked as an upholsterer while
studying at Harvard University. He became a lawyer and
was a member of the state legislature and US Congress,
and served as Consul General in London. Funds for his
memorial were raised in just six days by thousands of
small contributions from Boston residents. The statue
was commissioned to Henry and Theo Kitson and unveiled
Gloucester and Hereford Streets)
as the father of public education in his homeland, Argentina,
Domingo Sarmiento (1811-1888) was also that country's
president. Sarmiento was a disciple of American educator
Horace Mann and his wife Mary. In the 1860s, while serving
as Minister in the Argentina Embassy, he initiated a
number of educational projects between North and South
America. The Government of Argentina offered this monument
to the City of Boston in 1913, and Mayor John Fitzgerald
accepted. It wasn't actually delivered to the city until
1973, when Mayor Kevin White was in office. The artist
was Argentinean Ivette Compagnion.
Viking explorer may have been the first European to
set foot on North America, and this statue commemorates
that possibility. Many people, like philanthropist Eben
N. Horseford, believed that Eriksson and his Norsemen
named the discovery Vinland, and that they purportedly
went up the Charles River. Horseford purchased the statue,
created by artist Ann Whitney, in 1887.
Street facing the Boston Public Library)
regarded poet and artist Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) was
born in Besharri, Lebanon, and spent time in Boston,
which he remembered as a significant time in his life.
His book, The Prophet, is recognized as one of
the most important books of the 20th century.
The plaque reads in part:
Gibran found literary and artistic sustenance in the
Denison Settlement House, the Boston Public Schools
and the Boston Public Library. A grateful city acknowledges
the greater harmony among men and strengthened universality
of spirit given by Kahil Gibran to the people of the
world in return."
plaque was created by Gibran's cousin, Kahlil George
Gilbran in 1977.
Dartmouth and Boylston Streets
BPL is the nation's oldest public library, formed in
1848 when the first waves of Irish immigrants began
settling in Boston. Today it is the fourth largest library
in the country, containing over 6.6 million books, 1.2
million rare books and manuscripts, plus maps, musical
scores and prints. It has been referred to as "The People's
Palace" and the "University of the People" because of
the educational value it offered to immigrant families
and working people seeking a better life.
BPL contains a variety of public statues dedicated to
immigrants like John Boyle O'Reilly, Hugh O'Brien and
Sacco and Vanzetti, all of which are described on this
and Venzetti Memorial
Boston Public Library
McKim Building, Third Floor
Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were two Italian immigrants
living in Boston in the 1920s who became part of perhaps
the most infamous political trial in Boston history.
They were accused, convicted and executed for a brutal
robbery in which two people were killed in 1920 in nearby
Braintree. Their trial took place during a time when
anti-immigrant sentiment and fear of communism were
rampant. Despite seven years of appeals, Sacco and Venzetti
were executed in 1927. 200,000 people lined the streets
of Boston for their funeral procession.
1997 Governor Paul Cellucci and Boston Mayor Thomas
Menino officially unveiled the memorial to Sacco and
Venzetti at the BPL. The City of Boston is currently
searching for funding and a public space to place the
Boston Public Library
McKim Building, Bates Room, Second Floor
O'Brien (1827-95) was Boston's first Irish-born mayor,
serving four consecutive terms from 1884 to 1888. He
silenced the skepticism of the Yankee plutocracy by
providing a democratic and accessible political environment
that benefited all city residents. During his term in
office he supported Frederick Law Olmsted's creation
of the city's Emerald Necklace park system, and laid
the cornerstone in 1888 for the Boston Public Library
McKim building at Copley Square. He was viewed as a
champion of workers. The bust was created by John Donoghue.
Boylston and Fenway Streets
as "a champion of the people," John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-90)
was a soldier, poet, athlete, journalist and statesman
who influenced Boston's transition to a multiracial,
multiethnic city. He escaped from a British penal colony
in Australia and came to Boston in 1870, during a post-Civil
War period where anti-immigrant sentiment, poor working
conditions, and injustice for American Blacks prevailed.
He became Boston's leading reconcillor, defending Chinese,
Jewish and Italian immigrants, challenging anti-Catholic
sentiments, and calling for equality for African-Americans.
O'Reilly memorial was created by artist Daniel Chester
French and dedicated in 1896 in a ceremony that included
Vice President Adali Stevenson and O'Reilly's wife and
is also a bust of O'Reilly in the Boston Public Library,
created by artist John Donoghue.
Fenway, Near the Rose Garden
is one of the oldest works of public art in Boston.
The bronze bell was cast in 1675 by Tanaka Gonzaemon
under the supervision of Suzuki Magoemon, and dedicated
to Bishamon, a Buddhist God of children and good luck.
The bell was contributed to the Japanese war effort
in 1940 but ended up on a scrap heap in Yokosuku. Sailors
from the USS Boston salvaged the bell after World War
II, and offered it to the city of Boston in 1945. In
1953 Japanese officials presented the bell to Boston
as a symbol of peace.
baseball star Roberto Clemente (1934-72) was killed
in a plane crash while delivering supplies to earthquake
victims in Nicaragua. Clemente, who played for the Pittsburgh
Pirates, was considered one of the great players of
baseball. The memorial was created by artist Anthony
Forgione in 1976.
Bay | Chinatown/South
and Otis Streets
of Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns (1759-1796) is
Scotland's most famous and beloved poet. The Burns Memorial
Association of Boston commissioned artist Henry Hudson
Kitson to create this bronze statue, which shows Burns
walking with a book in one hand and his hat in the other,
followed by his collie. It was originally placed in
the Fenway, and was unveiled by Governor Calvin Coolidge
on New Year's Day, 1920. In 1975 the statue was moved
to Boston's Financial District.
Oxford Street near South Station
Ping On Alley (literally, road of peace and security)
is located in Boston's old garment district and near
South Station's railway hub. It is believed to be the
home for Boston's first Chinese settlers, workers who
took trains out to Boston following the conclusion of
contracted work at Sampson's Shoe Factory in North Adams,
Massachusetts. They pitched tents on Ping On Alley and
eventually moved into more permanent housing on Oxford
Place, Oxford Street and Harrison Avenue, forming what
is now known as Chinatown, as other Chinese came to
Boston to work.
Victoria Housing Development
Street, south of Tremont Street
called the "Abraham Lincoln of Puerto Rico, "Dr. Ramon
E. Belances (1827-1898) was exiled from Puerto Rico
by the Spanish colonial government after an unsuccessful
uprising. The ceramic mural, 14 by 45 feet, was created
in 1977-78 by artist Lilli Ann Killen Rosenberg with
the help of over 300 children and residents from the
Villa Victoria estate, and is inscribed as "a gift from
the Hispanic community to this and future generations."