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4 Interesting Facts About Boston Landmarks

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
admin on April 29, 2014 - 8:30 am in Around Town, Featured
Boston is a city steeped in history and chock-full of historical landmarks known the world over. While we could never cover them all in one post, we thought that these four landmarks had a really interesting story to tell!

The 60 story John Hancock Tower contains 13 acres of glass.

The John Hancock Tower has been the tallest building in Boston for more than 30 years and is the tallest building in New England. While it dominates the Boston skyline today and reflects the surrounding buildings on a sunny day, when it was being built there were serious structural problems with the innovative use of blue reflective glass. Entire 500-lb windowpanes detached from the building and crashed to the sidewalk, forcing police to close off surrounding streets whenever winds reached 45 mph. According to The Boston Globe, a scale model of the entire Back Bay was built in MIT’s Wright Brothers wind tunnel to identify the problem. That and other structural issues made the initial construction of the building a huge embarrassment for the architecture firm that originally designed it.

The famous CITGO sign in Kenmore Square used to contain five miles of neon tubing. In an effort to be more energy efficient, it now uses LED lighting.

While never formally given landmark status, the CITGO sign was refurbished and relit by Citgo in 1983 and has remained in operation ever since after public outcry stopped its destruction in the late 1970s. There is no CITGO gas station anywhere near the sign, but since it’s visible over the walls of Fenway (and subsequently broadcast on TV during every game) it’s now closely tied to the Red Sox franchise. The association with Red Sox is so strong that local little league fields often are decorated with replicas of the Citgo sign to make young players feel like they are in the big leagues.

The largest art theft in U.S. history occurred in Boston on March 18, 1990, when 12 paintings collectively worth $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by two thieves posing as police officers.

One of only 34 known works by Vermeer in the world, as well as Rembrandt’s only known seascape were among the works stolen. Several empty frames hang in the Dutch Room gallery, both in homage to the missing works and as placeholders for when they are returned. The first Matisse to enter an American collection is housed in the Yellow Room of the museum, and The Rape of Europa (1562) by Titian is one of the most famous works in the museum. Isabella Gardner was an avid Red Sox fan. Following the team’s championship win over the New York Giants in 1912, she showed her support by  attending a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert wearing a white headband that read “Oh, You Red Sox!” Throughout the year, visitors to the Gardner Museum wearing Red Sox paraphernalia receive $2 off admission.

 At 90 feet below the surface, the Ted Williams Tunnel is the deepest tunnel in North America.

The Ted Williams Tunnel (TWT) was the first major link constructed as part of Boston’s Big Dig. When the TWT opened in 1995 it was only available to authorized commercial traffic. Later, non-commercial traffic was allowed to access the tunnel on weekends and holidays. In 2003, with the substantial completion of the I-90 portion of the Big Dig, the tunnel was opened to all traffic at all times.

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