The Public Garden was established in 1837 and was the first public botanical garden in the United States. The twenty-four acre (97,000 m²) landscape, which was once a salt marsh, was designed by George V. Meacham. In 1859, an act by the Massachusetts General Court preserved the Public Garden as an open space.
Together with the Boston Common, these two parks form the northern terminus of the Emerald Necklace,
a long string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. While the
Common is primarily unstructured open space, the Public Garden
contains a lake and a large series of formal plantings that are maintained by the
city and others and vary from season to season. During the warmer
seasons, the four acre (16,000 m²) pond is usually the home of one or more swans and is always the site of
the Swan Boats, a famous Boston tourist attraction.
Several statues are located throughout the Public Garden. Located at the Arlington Street gate is the equestrian statue of George Washington, which faces Commonwealth Avenue. A set of bronze statues based on the main characters from the children's story Make Way For Ducklings is located between the pond and the Charles and Beacon streets entrance. There is also a statute commemorating the first use of ether as an anesthetic.
The Public Garden is roughly rectangular in shape and is bounded on the south by Boylston Street, on the west by Arlington Street, and on the north by Beacon Street where it faces Beacon Hill. On its east side, Charles Street divides the Public Garden from the Common. The greenway connecting the Public Garden with the rest of the Emerald necklace is the strip of park that runs west down the center of Commonwealth Avenue towards the Back Bay Fens and the Muddy River.
National Register #87000761