Boston September 15, 2017
Boston’s Tunnel Of Trees Is Positively Magical And You Need To Visit
You don’t expect to discover a tunnel of trees right in the heart of a major city. However, that’s exactly where you’ll find the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a tree-lined walkway that links the Public Gardens to rest of the Emerald Necklace. Inspired by the grand boulevards of France, this 32-acre alley of trees is a magical place to visit in any season.
If you look at Boston from an aerial perspective, you quickly notice this artery of greenery threading its way through the Back Bay.
It’s delightful in warm weather, when the trees are an intense green that complements the avenue’s Victorian buildings.
Commonwealth Avenue is an ideal place to view fall foliage without leaving the city.
There are plenty of benches if you want to take a break and soak in the splendor.
And it’s even beautiful when snow blankets the ground in winter.
Designed by architect Arthur Gilman in 1856, this linear park was built over the next 32 years.
The belief that Frederick Law Olmsted created this mall is incorrect; although he was consulted about planting patterns, the City Council never implemented his suggestions.
Originally, American and Dutch elms flanked the mall. Unfortunately, Dutch elm disease claimed close to half of the trees here during the 1960s.
To prevent that from happening again, the lost trees were replaced with several different species: green ash, linden, sweetgum, zelkova, Japanese pagoda, and maple.
Today, public art dots the mall. As you explore this oasis, pause at the various sculptures. This is the Boston Women’s Memorial.
Added in 2003, these statues pay tribute to the legacies of Abigail Adams (who advocated for women’s rights), Lucy Stone (who launched "The Woman’s Journal," a suffrage publication), and Phillis Wheatley (a slave, kidnapped from Senegal/Gambia, who was the first African writer to publish a book in the U.S. in 1773).
William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist who established the New England Anti-Slavery Society and published "The Liberator," is immortalized as well.
The Vendome Firefighters Memorial is an especially moving piece. It honors the nine firefighters who lost their lives battling the blaze that ravaged Hotel Vendome in 1972.
Even though Commonwealth Avenue is a densely populated area, the houses were set back further than usual in this neighborhood, adding to the feeling of space.
The area's elegant architecture is almost as lovely as the greenery.
Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two!
If you’ve only viewed the Commonwealth Avenue Mall from the inside of your car, it’s time to return on foot and walk through Boston’s tunnel of trees for yourself.
Have you taken advantage of this gorgeous park yet?
If you’re looking for more tranquil green spaces, check out our past article about
epic hiking destinations in and around Boston.