Monday, June 19, 2017

Louisburg Square Apartments in Boston

Louisburg Square Apartments is considered one of most elite neighborhoods in all of Boston and is the last private square within the city. Current famous residents include Senator John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, the current heir to the Heinz family fortune.

Most of the homes within the square were built in 1835. Upon their completion, the square was named for the 1745 Battle of Louisbourg. A battle fought between the “British” and “French” in “Canada”. How does this relate to Massachusetts? Well, the Battle of Louisbourg was a part of the King George’s War fought between England and France. In this battle (fought in Nova Scotia) the Massachusetts militia actually fought alongside the English who were still allies in the Pre-Revolutionary period of this clash.

Fans of the children’s novel, Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, may recognize the name of Louisburg Square Apartments as the site where Mrs. Mallard and her family did some home shopping before settling within the Boston Public Garden. A popular sculpture commemorating the book resides in this garden.

It may be best that Mrs. Mallard decided to relocate to the Public Garden because it likely saved her substantial living expenses. Louisburg Square was the first neighborhood to create a home owners association within the United States to help pay for its upkeep. On the other hand, having decided not to relocate here Mrs. Mallard and her family would not have been able to partake in the first Christmas caroling in the United States which also occurred here in the late 19th century.

Louisburg Square Apartments
Louisburg Square 
Situated in the center of Louisburg Square Apartments is a fenced in green space. This fence was erected in 1929, approximately one-hundred years after the square was initially developer. Located within the fenced off area are two statues. On the south side is a statue of Aristides the Just (530 B.C. – 486 B.C.). Aristides was known to always do the right thing for Athens even at his own expense. On the north side is a statue of Christopher Columbus. Both statues were presented as gifts in 1850 by a former Turkish consul member who used to reside at 3 Louisburg Square.

Gazing around the home surrounding the square you will notice near perfect symmetry in the architectural styles of the buildings. On the side with even numbered addresses all of the buildings have flat facades. While the odd numbered addresses are a bit more elaborate with bow front, cast-iron balconies and flagpole holders with serpents.

The address at 10 Louisburg Square Apartments was the final home of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. Louisa passed away here at the age of 55 of what was guessed to be mercury poisoning. Louisa likely contracted the poisoning while working as a nurse during the Civil War. Mercury was used often as a treatment for many ailments. Mercury was typically combined with honey and chalk into a mixture called calomel and this, in turn, was used to kill bacteria. The substance’s ill effects of teeth loss and brain damage were not yet recognized.

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  • Address: Louisburg Square, Boston, MA