A Once and Future Shoreline (orignal shoreline c. 1630)


Over the past 375 years, the site we now know as Faneuil Hall has been dramatically transformed, from salty tidal marsh to harbor wharf to active urban plaza. In order to build the original Faneuil Hall, the colonists filled in parts of the surrounding water with dirt, creating additional land. The site was expanded again several decades later. Numerous sections of the city's current land were created through landfill, including most of South Boston and the entire Back Bay. In fact, colonial Boston was less than half the size the city is now. A new public artwork in the South End entitled LandWave, will mark the narrow isthmus that once led visitors to Boston. Artist Ross Miller demarcated the original Boston Harbor of 1630 by etching the old shoreline onto the present site. Included are images of materials that might be found at the high-tide line - sea grass, shells, fish, and old rope. These elements have a subtle yet profound effect, bringing the geographical boundaries of the past to our feet in the present. Courtesy of Boston Art Commission. This past shoreline may become the shoreline again in the future with the impact of rising ocean levels as a result of global climate change.

Installed, 1996