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Boston 1860 to 2012

April 16, 2013

In light of the recent events in Boston, I’ve been thinking a lot about the city and its history. The Boston Marathon was in its 117th year this year, and has been an institution that brings joy to the city’s residents and visitors since 1897, something that hopefully will not be changed by the tragedy that befell the event this year.

So what did the city look like at that point? The MET has a photo, one of the first aerials taken of the city taken from a hot air balloon that shows the layout of the city from 1860, about 40 years before the marathon started. Called “Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It”, it was taken by James Wallace Black from about 2,000 feet in the air:


And here is what that same aerial view looks like today, using Google Earth and GIMP (from David A. Dalrymple):


To get a sense of the growth of the city, check out David’s fade from what the city was in 1860 to what it is today here.

Despite being truly saddened by the tragic events that unfolded at this year’s marathon, I’ve watched the city’s people and spirit prevail and been really proud to be a part of a community that comes together in such a strong way. Everything changes — especially our cities — but it’s that growth and adaptation that really defines our legacy.

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