Proposed by Beacon Hill Garden Club, Zone I
Seconded by Chestnut Hill Garden Club, Zone I
“Listen, my children, and you shall hear.” The Old North Church of Paul Revere fame is Boston’s oldest standing church and most visited historic site, attracting half a million visitors each year. Beacon Hill Garden Club has been a partner of the Old North Church for over sixty years, caring for the Washington Garden and Courtyard to the east of the church and coordinating several major redesigns of the space, including a special one for the United States Bicentennial in 1976.
In anticipation of the church’s 300th birthday in 2023, and the nation’s 250th in 2026, Beacon Hill Garden Club and Old North Foundation of Boston, Inc., are launching a campaign to reconfigure the Washington Garden and adjacent Washington Courtyard. This project is part of a larger $10,000,000 project to repair, better protect, and restore the church to its original appearance.
The project is guided by the Old North Foundation’s desire for additional space where the tens of thousands of students who visit the church annually can learn more about their nation’s heritage. The current Washington Garden is a walled space dominated by a single, overgrown tree. Only a handful of visitors at a time can visit. The proposed design will enlarge the opening to the garden, move trees and plants to the edge of the garden in raised planters, add appropriate plant identification, and erect a large glass-andwater feature on which will be etched Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
The new garden will be renamed Longfellow Garden and will provide an outdoor classroom in which students can learn about the meaning and history of Longfellow’s poem. Plantings will incorporate 18th-century favorites and themes. The raised planters will provide seating for the hundreds of thousands of visitors looking for a place to pause and reflect as they follow the Freedom Trail throughout Boston. The adjacent Washington Courtyard will be repaired and reconfigured to blend seamlessly with the Longfellow Garden. Together they will be able to host large outdoor receptions. The project cost for the garden redesign, restoration, and installation is $833,500.
The initial design has been funded by Citizens Bank, the General Society of Colonial Wars, and Beacon Hill Garden Club. The first phase of the project, repointing of the garden walls, is slated to begin in the fall of 2016. A Founders Fund Award, added to other pending grants, would help to fund this, as well as the 18th-century plant materials, shade trees, and garden elements of the proposed plan. Our goal is to complete the garden by the end of 2017.
“One, if by land, and two, if by sea” is the most famous line of the most famous poem in American history. The creation of the Longfellow Garden on the grounds of the Old North Church will insure that future generations of Americans will continue to treasure this iconic structure and honor the values of freedom and civic responsibility embodied in Longfellow’s stirring words.