Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes

West End tour

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., will host a West End walking tour from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.

The event will begin with a museum tour of the exhibit “Boston’s First Urban Renewal” followed by a walking tour through the West End urban renewal project area, including Charles River Park, the outskirts of Government Center, North Station and the North Slope of Beacon Hill.

The tour is free but registration is required, by calling 617-416-0781 or online at

Beacon Hill tour

Historic New England will present a tour of Beacon Hill from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 6. Participants will meet at the Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge St.

The tour will focus on the development of Beacon Hill in the Federal era, and how the ambitions and struggles of the early residents, both wealthy and working class, shaped the architecture and character of the neighborhood.

The program begins with a tour of the Otis House, the earliest intact Beacon Hill mansion, and continues through the historic streets.

Registration is recommended, by calling 617-994-5920. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

Visit for more details.

New England composers

The New England Philharmonic Chamber Players will perform in concert at the Boston Athenaeum, 10 ½ Beacon St., from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8.

The musicians will present compositions from New England and abroad to complement the exhibition “New England on Paper: Contemporary Art in the Prints and Photographs Collection.” They will demonstrate that music, like art on paper, is permeated by a sense of place and context, with works by Charles Ives, Bela Bartok, Matt Aucoin, Jason Coleman and Emily Koh.

Tickets are $15 for members and $30 for non-members.

Further information is available at or by calling 617-720-7600.

Classical concert

A lunchtime concert will be held at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9 at King’s Chapel, corner of School and Tremont streets.

The program will feature soprano Rachael Schacter and mezzo-soprano Katie Hoyer, with Yi Li Chang (violin) and Mary Jodice (organ) with works by Bach, Montecerdi and schutz.

A donation of $3 is requested; all contributions are given directly to the musicians. Visit or Call 617-227-2155 for more information.

Cape Cod’s Atlantic shore

The Boston Athenaeum, 10 ½ Beacon St., will welcome author Robert Finch at noon on Tuesday, May 9.

Finch is the author of “The Outer Shore: A Thousand Mile Walk on Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore,” his tribute to the edge of Cape Cod’s arm. In this talk he will call upon the literacy legacy and history of the Outer Beach to consider the strange, mutable nature of time spent near the ocean.

Admission is free. Visit or call 617-720-7600 for further details.

Movie musicals

The West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St., is hosting a musical film series from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays during May.

The library will screen “Sweeney Todd” starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter on May 10; “Carousel” by Rodgers and Hammerstein on May 17; Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” starring Meryl Streep on May 24; and “Billy Elliot” with Jamie Bell on May 31.

Call 617-523-3957 for more information.

Historic collections

The Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge St., will host a talk on Historic New England's outstanding ephemera collections from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10.

Lorna Condon, senior curator of library and archives, will give an introduction to the collections. Visitors can examine the advertisements, tickets, programs, menus, invitations, rewards of merit, greeting cards, broadsides, invoices and trade catalogues, among other items, that shed light on the popular culture and daily life of the region.

Collectors will be able to bring examples from their own collections to share and discuss with others. The evening will include a light reception and optional viewing of collections in Historic New England’s Library and Archives.

Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members and can be purchased by calling 617-994-6678 or online at

Organ recital

The Old West Organ Society will present a free organ recital at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10 at the Old West Church, 131 Cambridge St.

Dennis Chan will perform Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in D Major,” Reger’s “Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor,” Conte’s “Soliloquy” and Vierne’s “Carillon de Westminster.”

A freewill donation is requested. Call 617-739-1340 or visit for more information.

History of Jordan Marsh

Author and historian Anthony Mitchell Sammarco will discuss his history of Boston’s first department store at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 11 at the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St.

Sammarco will share recollections he has gathered from Jordan Marsh employees and shoppers, and memorabilia from his extensive archive of Jordan Marsh-related photographs, advertisements and postcards, documenting the store’s colorful history.

Founded in 1851 by Eben Dyer Jordan and Benjamin L. Marsh, Jordan Marsh later moved to a five-story building on Washington Street, where the novel concept of “department shopping” was unveiled.

For more information, visit or call 617-523-3957

Duckling Day

The Friends of the Public Garden will host the annual Duckling Day at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 14. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Boston Common at the corner of Beacon and Park streets across from the State House. The parade starts at noon.

Children and their families will retrace the steps of the beloved characters, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their family of eight ducklings, based on the children’s classic “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey.

Led by the Harvard University Band, children will parade from the Parkman Bandstand and into the Public Garden to the famous sculptures, dressed like characters from this story.

A face painter, magician, storytellers, the Knucklebones Crew and a puppet show will entertain the children from 10:30 a.m. to noon before the parade begins. Families can bring a picnic to enjoy in the park.

Tickets are $35 per family in advance, and $40 on the day and will include a special goody bag with toys and treats, snacks and entertainment.

For more information, call 617-266-5669 or visit

Women of Beacon Hill

Historic New England will celebrate Mother’s Day with “The Women of Beacon Hill” walking tour from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 14, meeting at the Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge St.

The neighborhood tour will focus on the women who shaped the history and charm of Beacon Hill through the centuries such as Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Peabody and more. These women were wealthy and working class, black and white, artists, preservationists, reformers and entrepreneurs.

Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Reservations are recommended, as space is limited.

Visit for more information and to register.

Swan boats

The famous swan boats have returned to the Public Gardens. Spring hours of operation (now to June 20) are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting.

Established in 1877, the swan boats are a family-owned and -operated business with a unique tradition and place in the history and beauty of the city. A ride on a swan boat lasts about 15 minutes and provides a picturesque voyage on the waters of the lagoon.

Tickets are $3 or $2 for seniors and $1.50 for children. For more information, call 617-522-1966 or visit

Contemporary art in Boston

A new exhibition that sheds light on contemporary art in Boston is on display at the Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., now to Sept. 3.

This exciting exhibition will showcase contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs by New England artists. The works on display, drawings, watercolors, linocuts, lithographs, hand-toned silver gelatin prints, digital photographs, and more, reflect artistic interpretations of New England’s built and natural environment.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-227-0270.

Photographs of the West End

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., is displaying a new exhibition “Under the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord” now to Aug. 31.

The exhibit features photographs from a collection donated by Ira Tarlin that depicts the West End at the time of demolition. Eli Tarlin, Ira’s father, was an original resident who came to own numerous properties in the neighborhood. The demise of the community, says the family, was also Eli’s demise.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Call 617-416-0781 or go online to

Picturing Douglas

The Museum of African American History is presenting a new public exhibition “Picturing Frederick Douglass” at the African Meeting House, 46 Joy St., now through July 31.

Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century, more frequently photographed than Abraham Lincoln, and was immediately recognizable to millions in his own lifetime. Douglass used photography as a tool of reform and to elevate the image of the African-American in contradiction to the demeaning depictions of black life often seen in the 19th century.

Based on the book of the same name by Drs. John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd, co-curators of the exhibit, it features more than 90 objects, including historic photos, books, newspapers articles and original letters by Douglass.

Further information can be found by calling 617-725-0022, ext. 222 or online at