Boston Marathon Day

Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts, which commemorates the first battle of the American Revolution. Today is also known as the day of the Boston Marathon to us runners. Boston in an important race, this year more so than others due to the tragic events of the 2013 race. Some are running for those killed, those injured, in support of Boston and runners everywhere, and for countless other reasons. To many runners, Boston is THE race. Since you have to qualify based on time and age, it’s often a personal triumph to marathoners. The spirit of the Boston Marathon is contagious. Having not run Boston myself (maybe some day), I’m cheering on a few dear runner friends today, wishing them the absolute best experience.


A few Boston facts for you.

  • The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897, though it was only 24.5 miles as opposed to the full 26.2 miles that we know today.
  • Why the Boston Marathon? The 1896 Olympic Games in Athens included a marathon race, which was based on Pheidippides’ fabled run from Marathon to Athens. When the Boston Athletic Association wanted a race in 1897 of similar style for the New Patriots Day, they chose a route from the Revolutionary War. (See more in this article from The Atlantic).
  • The race begins in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street in Boston (see map).
  • Heartbreak Hill is at mile 20.5. While it’s not the worst hill by itself, any hill at mile 20 is not welcome (at least the uphill part). And since mile 20 is often referred to as “the wall,” this hill packs an extra punch.
  • Women were not allowed to run in the marathon until 1972 (no joke!). From the History Channel: Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb couldn’t wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.
  • There are approximately 36,000 people racing Boston today. 

Are you watching? Have fun!


Boston’s Waterworks Museum

What are three preservationists to do on a sweltering hot summer afternoon in Boston, MA? Even we have our limits for strolling the row house lined streets. When we could bear the heat no longer, we headed out to Chestnut Hill, just past Brookline to the (relatively) new Waterworks Museum, located at the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station.

The Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station was constructed following the realization that poor water quality was related to the spread of disease, and the fact that Boston had an inadequate water supply for its ever-growing population. The 1880s is the era of Boston’s golden age, filled with great industry, financiers, and philanthropists. With this came impressive architecture and many benefits for the public, such as this Chestnut Hill Reservoir. This station operated until 1976. The building has now been rehabilitated into a museum and event space, with adjacent buildings rehabilitated to condominiums.

The Waterworks Museum, designed by Arthur Vinal (1886) with an addition by Edmund Wheelwright in 1897.

The Waterworks Museum, designed by Arthur Vinal (1886) with an addition by Edmund Wheelwright in 1897. It shows obvious influence by Henry Hobson Richardson.

For a better photo of the entire building, see here.

Building plaque.

Building plaque.

Another view of the exterior.

Another view of the exterior.

The pumping station chimney. Look at the detail.

The  interior of the museum doesn’t feel like your typical museum. Interpretive panels, computer animated images, and artifacts guide you through the building, if you choose. Or you can work in your own flow or talk to one of the volunteers who is happy to explain how the engines work. However, the experience is about these giant machines, which stand (but do not operate) in their original location. The building is not the backdrop; it is the museum. Whether you’re a preservationist, a historian, an engineer, an architect, or someone interested in local history, the museum does a good job of offering something for everyone. The themes of this museum are public health, architecture, engineering, and social history. Here are a few interior photographs from my visit.

The heart of the museum is the Great Engines Hall.

The heart of the museum is the Great Engines Hall.

Inside the Great Engines Hall.

Inside the Great Engines Hall.

The building is a beautiful structure, filled with brass, mahogany, pine and no spec of detail overlooked.

The building is a beautiful structure, filled with brass, mahogany, pine and no spec of detail overlooked.

The Worthington steam engine.

The Worthington steam engine, one of the three in the building.

View from the overlook gallery.

View from the overlook gallery. Through the arches is the building addition.

It’s a fascinating building and a great lesson in urban and engineering history. And on a hot summer day, you can truly appreciate the technological advances of clean, fresh water. The museum is free, but donations are appreciated. Can’t get to Boston? Take a virtual tour and read the history sections on the museum website. (For any UVM HP alum – yes, this did feel like a History on the Land class with Bob McCullough! And anyone in the SIA – this is totally up your alley.)


Dear Readers,

Life has a been a blur lately! Between final wedding preparations, house hunting and the process of making offers and buying, working, and trying to stay sane, my attention has been scattered near and far. That would be why the posting is sparse this week. The remaining days of June will be filled with much of the same activities, so I wanted to let you know that Preservation in Pink is on a mini vacation or more like a part time schedule now. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

However, come July, Preservation in Pink will be back with some awesome new guest bloggers, good summer stories and preservation thoughts, and soon – a brand new headquarters. (Well, the blog will be in the same place, but if all goes well, I’ll be blogging from another abode!)

For the time being, enjoy picture posts and let’s hope for some good end of June summer weather.



p.s. here’s one to start:

The coolest flowers I have ever seen. We came across them in Boston Common.

As preservationists, it is important for us to remember that landscape – the natural environment – contributes greatly to our built and cultural environment.  Sometimes taking time to enjoy a flower garden with historic buildings as the background is just as satisfying as gazing up at the building cornices.

More crazy flowers!

Does anyone know the name of these flowers?

Friday Travels in Images

I am out and about this Friday for a whirlwind trip for a friend’s wedding. Left to my own devices this morning, I am free to wander around the great city of Boston and turn whichever direction I choose. Since I am not an expert with the iphone camera, I am practicing and taking better photos with the real camera. But for the sake of a picture week, here are some happenings from today.






I will share more on flickr throughout the day so check the blog sidebar. Happy Friday to all!

Notes from Boston

Late January – early February is the perfect time to visit Boston, probably because people assume it will be 20 degrees or colder. However, I seem to bring some warm weather from North Carolina every year that I visit. Boston is just a great city, and the only complaint that I have heard from people is about the cold winters. But other than that it has everything: public transportation, historic and unique neighborhoods, parks, all sorts of shops, beautiful historic buildings, modern buildings, universities, and good food. This past weekend Vinny and I visited Boston to see many high school and college friends. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Here’s a brief photo recap of some preservation highlights:

Old South Church, Boston

Old South Church, Boston

Old South Church

Old South Church

Since the majority of our group consisted of preservationists, it made sense to visit the Old South Church on Boylston Street in Copley Sqaure. We paid particular attention to the crack in the masonry. (Look for a post about that soon).  If you look closely or zoom in, you can see the crack and the crack monitors.

George Washington in the Boston Public Garden

George Washington in the Boston Public Garden

We wandered through the sunny, snow covered Public Garden and gazed at the row houses on Commonwealth Avenue. I think it’s one of the prettiest streets I’ve ever seen. Had it been slightly warmer, we probably would have stopped to look at every house.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

Commonwealth Ave

Commonwealth Ave

And lastly, here is our mini preservation reunion at Stephanie’s on Newbury for Sunday brunch.  (Jen G was unable to join and Vinny took the  photograph). While it’s not a historic restaurant, it is delicious food.

Mini preservation reunion!

Mini preservation reunion: Kate, Kerry, Sally, Andrew

Modern Reflecting Historic

Taken in downtown Boston, here is modern Boston reflecting historic Boston. The historic building in the lower right is Faneuil Hall, a historic meeting hall dating from 1742. Jen Gaugler commented that it was one of her favorite scenes, representing the cooperation of past and present architecture.  Without her architect-preservationist intelligence, I would not have viewed the scene in such a light.  Jen is always wonderful to talk to because she brings both fields to each other. 
Copley Square, Boston MA

Boston, MA

Thank you, Jen, for your tour of Boston and your constant conversation on historic preservation & architecture & the environment.  I encourage everyone to find places where the old meets the new in a complimentary manner. Please share!