National Historic Preservation Month around New England

1756 Map of Boston by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin

May is National Historic Preservation Month, and considering Boston’s unique and illustrious past, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ways to get involved. This year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation encourages us to seek the hidden gems out there—a theme that we focus on throughout our books.

The Boston Landmarks Commission has pulled together a helpful calendar of events to teach residents about the city’s history, architecture, and historic neighborhoods. Likewise, historic organizations throughout New England are celebrating with their own events. With two weeks left in May, there are still many opportunities to partake in Preservation Month activities in Boston and throughout the entire region. Check out our picks and let us know if we’ve missed anything in the comments below. Get out there and celebrate—before Preservation Month is history! (See what we did there?!)


Walking Tour: The Archaeology of the North End
Most Bostonians are familiar with the North End’s famous cannoli and other Italian fare, but this free walking tour will shed light on more obscure topics, like the history of bowling and divorce in the 17th century. City archaeologist Joe Bagley will lead the tour along Boston’s ancient shoreline and through the alleys of this historic neighborhood. Participants will meet at the Samuel Adams statue in front of Fanueil Hall and should RSVP to joseph.bagley@cityofboston.govSaturday, May 19th, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Walking Tour: Beacon Hill
Learn about Beacon Hill’s earliest residents on this two hour walk around one of Boston’s prettiest neighborhoods. The tour, which is being hosted by Historic New England, will depart from Otis House, the neighborhood’s oldest intact manison. The cost is $6 for Historic New England members and $12 for nonmembers. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (617) 523-2338. Saturday, May 26th, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Boston's Gardens & Green Spaces by Meg Muckenhoupt

Back Bay Fens. Image from Boston's Gardens & Green Spaces by Meg Muckenhoupt

Walking Tour: The History, Gardens and Changing Landscapes of the Back Bay Fens
The Emerald Necklace Conservancy docents will lead visitors through the area’s historic gardens and parklands. Highlights include the Kelleher Rose Garden, which boasts more than 15,000 roses, and victory gardens dating back to World War II. The tours, which are free and open to the public, leave from the Shattuck Emerlald Necklace Visitor Center, and registration isn’t required. Don’t forget to bring your copy of Boston’s Gardens & Green SpacesSunday, May 27th, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

It just so happens that the following events are located at sites featured in New England’s Historic Homes & Gardens by Kim Knox Beckius and William H. Johnson. The book, which profiles the region’s 36 most influential and picturesque homes, is filled with stunning photography and compelling stories about these important historic landmarks. Buy a copy and bring it with you to supplement your tour!

Walking Tour: Morrill Homestead and the Village of Strafford, Vermont
This country estate is the former home of Justin Smith Morrill, one of the forces behind the Land-Grant Act of 1862. The walking tour, which costs just $10, includes stops at the homestead, his general store, the Morrill Memorial Library, the Morrill Mausoleum, and the 1799 Strafford Townhouse. Sunday, May 27th, 1:30 p.m.

Walking Tour: Architecture of Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts
Historic Deerfield is offering walking tours that  focus on the architectural history of its picturesque mile-long street. With a unique collection of buildings that span the last 300 years of history,  Historic Deerfield offers a unique New England experience. Visitors will learn to recognize elements of some architectural styles, and will gain a greater understanding of the region’s architectural heritage.  The tour repeats every Friday and Saturday in May from 3:00-4:00 pm, and is included with general admission. More information about the tour can be found on their website.

Roseland Cottage, photograph by William H. Johnson

Open Houses: Roseland Cottage and Hamilton House
Though these events fall just outside of Preservation Month, they’re certainly worth attending. On June 2nd and 3rd, Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Connecticut and Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine, invite visitors to tour the properties at no cost. Saturday, June 2nd and Sunday, June 3rd, 11:00 a.m-5:00pm


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