George Washington Statue, Public Garden, Boston

The side view of the George Washington statue in the Boston Public Garden, facing north toward Beacon Street, sometime in the 1800s. Image courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

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The statue in 2021:

As mentioned in this earlier post, this statue of George Washington has stood at the Commonwealth Avenue entrance to the Public Garden since 1869. It was designed by sculptor Thomas Ball, a Boston native who also designed the Charles Sumner statue in the Public Garden, and the Emancipation Memorial at nearby Park Square. Since then, not much has changed about the statue or the surrounding park. The trees now obscure the view of the houses in the distance, but many of them are still standing today, along Arlington Street to the left and Beacon Street in the center and right.

2 thoughts on “George Washington Statue, Public Garden, Boston”

  1. Hello,
    I am the great great grand daughter of Thomas Ball. I have a few facts that I can share about the statue. Firstly, the statue was not just designed but was in fact sculpted by Thomas Ball. In the book “My Fourscore Years” there are images of the head of the horse on the floor of the Chickering piano factory in Boston where TB sculpted it. Second of all, there was an old joke my father passed down to me from his grandfather William Couper who studied sculpture from Ball and married his daughter Eliza Chickering Ball. The statue used to be referred to as the horse without a tongue. Back when it was erected in the garden someone said or wrote, and I paraphrase, – The statue appears perfect, but nothing is perfect. Perhaps the horse does not have a tongue. Finally, the Chickering factory supposedly still stands today, but I am not sure of the location or how it has been repurposed. Perhaps the next time I visit my son who is attending college in Boston, I will investigate.

    • Thanks for sharing! That’s quite the family history that you have. The Chickering factory is still standing, at 791 Tremont Street, although it has been converted into apartments. Looks beautiful from the exterior!


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