The Boston Common is the oldest public park in the U.S. and remains the heart and soul of Boston. It sits across from Beacon Hill and Beacon Street. Originally, the Boston Common was just a pasture ground, much like smaller New England villages. Pillory, stocks, and gallows were erected in the 1600’s to discourage law breakers and troublemakers. Ironically, the first person to be humiliated by them was the carpenter who built it. Boston’s town founders thought he overcharged them.
These gallows were used mainly to hang pirates and Quakers. At the time, the Commons was the only place where people were allowed to smoke. Today, the stocks and gallows have been removed and the Boston Common is frequented primarily by runners, Frisbee players, picnickers, dog walkers, and smokers.
Notable features of the park include the Massachusetts State House where the state government resides and, across from it, the Shaw Civil War Monument sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. This monument was constructed to honor the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry led by Colonel Robert Shaw who was made famous by the 1989 film, Glory. Shaw was killed in the 1863 siege of Charleston, South Carolina during the civil war. The infantry was the first black regiment in the U.S. and was served entirely by volunteers.
“Boston Common.” <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Common>
Chase, Suzi Forbes, and Ann Lee. New England. New York: Macmillan General Reference, 1994. ISBN: 0671878999.
“Robert Gould Shaw.”
 Chase, 139
 Id. at 140
 Chase, 141