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Photographer's Note

These are the famous Swan Boats in the Boston Public Gardens. The Public Gardens, established in 1837, is the first public botanical garden in the United States. Its 24 acres were developed from what was once a salt marsh and contain a lake and a large series of formal plantings. In 1859, by an Act of the Massachusetts Legislature, the Public Garden was preserved forever as an open space for the citizenry. The Gardens provides a haven of green space in the heart of Boston's densely packed downtown core.

The Swan Boats tradition dates back to the 1870s when Robert Paget, whose descendants continue to operate the business, was granted a boat-for-hire license by the City of Boston. In 1877, he capitalized on the bicycle principle and with the help of others, developed a catamaran which housed a paddle wheel arrangement that was foot-propelled. To cover the captain, Robert suggested a swan, the idea for which came from the opera Lohengrin. Initially, the fleet was comprised of single-seaters that could carry eight. The present boats are replicas of the originals, but have five or six benches, carrying up to 20 passengers.

Technical: Digitized image from APS film. Rotated slightly, some contrast and saturation applied, and sharpened.

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Additional Photos by Jackie Larson (jassy) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 134 W: 17 N: 308] (1065)
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