Commonwealth Avenue Mall, which was designed in the French Boulevard style,
is testimony to the Victorian era, in which a central public open
space or a boulevard lined with trees and fenced with iron picket fence
enhanced the townhouses and served as a public promenade.
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The 32-acre Mall, which was designed in 1856 as part of Arthur D. Gilman’s plan for an elegant new Back Bay neighborhood, is the crucial green link between the Public Garden and Charlesgate connecting to Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. Construction on the first 9-block length of the Mall from the Public
Garden to Charlesgate began in the late 1860s and was completed by 1888.
The mall is bordered by mainly three- to five-story brick-façade residential buildings, with small yard spaces set back in a uniform manner. From building face to building face, it's about 200 feet. There's a central 100-foot-wide pedestrian mall for strolling and sitting. The original idea was to line its length with matching deciduous trees that were spaced at set intervals.
Nine monuments have been added to the park since William Rimmer’s monument to Alexander Hamilton in 1865, with the Boston Women’s Memorial by Bergmann, dedicated in 2003, being the last.
Learn more about the history of Commonwealth Avenue Mall.