J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Looking for the Tea Party Location Today

In the 1850 Boston Evening Transcript story about public memory of the Boston Tea Party that I quoted a couple of days ago, John Russell wrote: “Very few persons now know where to find Griffin’s Wharf, the name of which should have been preserved through all time.”

Boston had grown significantly between 1773 and the date of that article, grown even more since. The site of the tea destruction, the shallow water at low tide beside Griffin’s Wharf, has become dry land. But where exactly?

John Robertson has a website devoted to that question, considering many clues, false clues, and more or less reliable maps produced over the years. Since he first posted his findings, what was a vacant lot has become the site of the InterContinental Hotel Boston, 510 Atlantic Avenue. Under the western slice of that building, Robertson says, was where Griffin’s Wharf lay in 1773.

The tablet above is on 470 Atlantic Avenue, the brick building beside the chrome hotel. It was installed (on a predecessor to that building, numbered 495) as early as 1898 by the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is nearby in the channel.

2 comments:

Marshall Stack said...

Block 4400 from Clough's 1798 atlas seems to support Robinson:
https://www.masshist.org/online/massmaps/clough-img-viewer2.php?img_step=4400

J. L. Bell said...

Many more maps have become available online since John Robertson first created his website. And yes, I think he’s got the mapping right. I don’t know if there’s any impetus to shift the historic marker to be that exact.