Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Category: Postcards

REST IN THE AGES

Tucked away in a corner of the park, this gate.

Tucked away in a corner of the park, this gate.

The burial ground in Boston Common is the resting place of early patriots, among them the composer William Billings – the latter, by assumption rather than documentation. Historians will note that the headstones in the city’s oldest graveyards no longer stand over their intended bodies, but were moved around by convenience.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

It's a classic New England scene, in cities, towns, and isolated countryside.

It’s a classic New England scene, in cities, towns, and isolated countryside.

 

HOME TO ENLIGHTENMENT STYLE

A prime location in the big city.

A prime location in the big city.

Beacon Hill’s narrow streets and closely set homes invite pedestrians to enter a timeless order and grace. It’s hard for us not to imagine living here early in the 19th century as American ideas took hold.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

A quiet break in a crowded neighborhood.

A quiet break in a crowded neighborhood.

 

Beacon Hill is, after all, hilly.

Beacon Hill is, after all, hilly.

UNDER THE SEA

 

Looking at you, too ...

Looking at you, too …

The big tank at the New England Aquarium provides close-up views of oceanic stars.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

Somehow, I'm reminded of a butterfly.

Somehow, I’m reminded of a butterfly.

A LANE OF LIVING HISTORY

Walking along Benefit Street in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island, can feel like living history.

Walking along Benefit Street in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island, can feel like living history.

 

The first Baptist church in America stands along the way.

The first Baptist church in America stands along the way.

 

Not all of the homes are modest, either.

Not all of the homes are modest, either.

PARADING THROUGH THE PUBLIC GARDEN

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

George Washington rides in full splendor at an entrance to the Public Garden. Sometimes he’s not alone, no matter how much he overshadows mere human equestrians.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

The horse really adds to the impression.

The horse really adds to the impression.

INDUSTRIAL AGE BIRTHPLACE

This is where it began.

This is where it began, starting with the Slater Mill on the left and building into the Wilkinson Mill, center.

The modest Slater Mill complex in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is honored as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

The operation originated when apprentice Samuel Slater slipped through British security with secrets for textiles manufacturing and was hired by Moses Brown to replicate them in America, with the mill opening in 1793.

The fact that Brown, a Quaker, and his partners advertised for what was essentially stolen information troubles me – I do wonder how they justified their actions when questioned by their Friends meetings. The English, meanwhile, had long before enacted barriers that penalized fellow citizens in Ireland and America. Perhaps that was sufficient inspiration, even before the American Revolutionary War. Perhaps one action apologized for the other.

I was resting my finguers on this waterpowered lathe when I realized it was the origin of mass-production.

I was resting my fingers on this water-powered lathe when I realized it was the origin of mass-production. Without uniform parts, each item would have to be handcrafted from scratch.

 

There were differences between the Quaker Work Ethic and the Puritan Work Ethic, but they would have agreed on this sign.

There were differences between the Quaker Work Ethic and the Puritan Work Ethic, but they would have agreed on this sign.

More remarkably, though, Slater’s assistant, David Wilkinson, then provided the next leap – a lathe that produced large screws that were far more uniform than those painstakingly made by hand. Whether he or Henry Maudslay in England was the first to produce such precise work can be argued, but the results were the foundation for the innovative precision toolmakers who would transform industry. This was, in effect, the foundation for mass production. The thinking behind Wilkinson’s model inspired a league of New Englanders to advance the technology in applications across the region.

I doubt this was the origin of the phrase “Yankee ingenuity,” though it certainly fits.

My fondness for old mills, by the way, did prompt a novel, Big Inca.

OH, SUCH PLEASURE IN THE SPRAY!

Penguins at the New England Aquarium take utter delight in the periodic rounds of spray around their pool.

Penguins at the New England Aquarium take utter delight in the periodic rounds of spray around their pool.

The New England Aquarium at the edge of Boston Harbor is a fascinating destination. And penguins can be endlessly amusing.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

 

A BACK BAY FLOURISH

 

In the second-floor railing ...

In the second-floor railing, they strike me as a cross between lions and seahorses.

A distinctive railing adorning a Beacon Hill house somehow fits in with the district’s predominantly federalist style.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

OLD STATE HOUSE

Dwarfed by contemporary office towers, the Old State House stands in stark witness to the earlier roots of New England’s enterprising prowess.

Built in 1713 — long before the American Revolution and statehood — the Georgian-style structure originally served the General Court of Massachusetts. In New England, General Court and state Legislature are synonymous.

From colony to statehood.

From colony to statehood.

Boston is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

HONORING THE MARITIME LEGACY

 

Suspended overhead.

Suspended overhead.

A reconstructed whale skeleton suspended in the New England Aquarium pays homage to the region’s close relationship to the sea. For generations, whaling was a major industry that provided essential oil to illuminate the night. The aquarium sits on a wharf in Boston Harbor.

The city is a rich and varied destination – the Hub of New England, or the Universe, as they used to say. Living a little more than an hour to the north, we’re well within its orb.

And you knew all along it was a flipper, right?

And you knew all along it was a flipper, right?