The Swans of Forest Park

A while back I picked up a couple of photos of Forest Park. They were fairly nondescript - one was a picture of a couple of swans in a pond. But then I looked a little more closely, and was pleasantly surprised.

People familiar with the book "Make Way for Ducklings" will remember the swan boats featured. Those boats still operate in the small lagoon in Boston Common.

It appears that such boats also operated in our own Forest Park. Although I can't date these photos, I suspect they are from the late 1800's. Here's a closeup of the swan boat, faintly visible in the background:

On the right side of the photo are some youths who are anonymously immortalized:

I found an article on the Boston Swan boats. It says that the boats were first created in 1877 by Robert Paget of Boston, by "combining two slender row boats side by side to serve as pontoons of a much larger pedal boat. Inspired by the Wagner opera “Lohengrin,” Paget covered the driver in the pedal box with a swan." That seems to describe the boat in the photo.

The Paget family owns and operates the boats to this day. Too bad such boats are no longer operated in Forest Park.


Who knew?


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