September 17, 1880

Boston Celebrates 250th Birthday

Greater Boston

On this day in 1880 Boston celebrated its 250th birthday. For three and a half hours during the day, a column of 14,500 people marched four and a half miles though the city. The festivities continued that evening with a parade of 1,000 torchbearers and 16 floats depicting the city's history. At a gathering at the Old South Meeting House, the mayor observed that "scarcely a feature of the landscape remains to tell us how nature looked before she was subdued by civilization. The sea has been converted into land; the hills have been leveled — the valleys filled up, the sites of the Indian wigwams are now those of the palaces of our merchant princes." Indeed, in 250 years, Boston had grown from a tiny settlement to a major metropolis.

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